A rare copy of a Superman #1 comic book that sold on newsstands in 1939 sold for $2.6 million at auction on Thursday.
The comic, which was sold at newsstands for ten cents at the time of publication, reached a staggering sum at ComicConnect.com – an online auction and consignment company.
Superman is among the first comics in the superhero genre, and comics featuring the character command astronomical prices at auction. ComicConnect.com announced in April that a copy of Action Comics #1, the inaugural 1938 Superman comic, sold for $3.25 million in a private sale.
The iconic Superman character was created by writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, two Jewish-American artists. Siegel and Shuster had originally developed the Superman story and character with plans to sell it as a syndicated newspaper comic strip, though after years of failures, they agreed to publish Superman as a comic book. They sold all rights to Superman in 1938 for $130 ($2,390 today when adjusted for inflation).
While Siegel and Shuster had several subsequent copyrights battles, they periodically worked with DC comics until finally reaching a settlement with DC comics for a $30,000 annual stipend in exchange for never again contesting ownership of the copyright to Superman.
“Now you look at the comic books and you go ‘superheroes everywhere.’ You look back in the ’30s, there was no such thing. So this was literally the first superhero,” ComicConnect CEO Stephen Fishler told the Associated Press.
According to the auction house, the magazine has only changed hands twice – its original purchase at a classic US newsstand in 1939 and a sale to Mark Michaelson, who bought the comic in 1979 from its original owner and kept it in a temperature-controlled safe.