A rare piece of Marvel history, a publisher annotated version of the first Marvel comic book, sold at auction Thursday for $2.4 million.
The BookMarvel Comics No. 1, published in 1939, is so valuable because it’s known as a pay-copy, said Stephen Fischler, CEO of ComicConnect, an online comic auction company, that the publisher recorded the payments it owed to animators. House.
Mr. Fischler declined to identify the buyer, but said the auction winner was a longtime comics collector in his 40s and living outside the United States.
“He loved the condition of the copy and the story of how it was found,” Mr. Fischler said on Sunday.
For collectors, comics containing First Appearance Superheroes like Batman and Spider-Man are precious.
1962 version of Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring Spider-Man’s debut, It was sold last year for $3.6 million, which was thought to be a record. In January, buyer Spent $3.18 Million On the 1938 edition of Action Comic No. 1, which debuted for Superman.
Marvel Comics #1 has introduced many recurring characters to what has come to be known as the Marvel universe, although they are less well known than the likes of Thor and Captain America.
The 68-page comic book, published by Timely Comics, one of Marvel’s pioneers, contains short stories about characters including Semi-marine Namur, a mutant living under the sea; and the original human torchwhose body could ignite (not to be confused with a similar Fantastic Four character introduced in 1961).
“They keep coming back to this title to talk about the long history of Marvel Comics,” he said. Julian C. Chambliss, Professor of English at Michigan State University Who researches the history of the comic book.
The copy sold last week is in great condition for a book over 80 years old, said Mr. Fischler, probably because it was hidden in a filing cabinet until it was discovered in 1993 or 1994. The cabinet was owned by Lloyd Jacquet, who founded Funnies Inc. , which sold comic book stories and artwork to publishers. Mr. Jacquet died in 1970.
“It was an irony of nature that this book was preserved,” said Mr. Fischler.
On the cover and seven pages, Mr. Jackett wrote the amount his company owed to artists including Frank R. Paul, who was paid $25 to illustrate the cover, said Mr. Fischler.
Had the book left the publisher’s office, it would have sold for a dime in 1939, or just over two dollars today. The publisher printed 80,000 copies in October 1939 and 800,000 the following month, according to comics.org.
Mr. Chambliss said that picture books at the time were often printed on pulp, a low-quality material that was not meant to last.
The copy has gone through several hands from the time it was discovered in the filing cabinet, and it’s not clear where it is. In 2003, the value of the copy reached $350,000, according to itsjustallcomics.com.
Douglas Walke, who has read all 27,000 Marvel comic books and summarized them into one story for his 2021 book, said owning a paid version of Marvel Comics #1 would be like owning the first edition of his copyrighted Charles Dickens novel. Book, “all marvels. “
Over the past few years, Mr. Fischler said, prices for vintage comic books have skyrocketed. It may become more valuable as more comics are adapted into films.
Mr. Fischler said the latest owner of the annotated version of Marvel Comics No. 1 He auctioned it off because he wanted to buy a house.
“It worked very well,” he said.
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“If I wear that in public, people will call the police.”