Long before the days of variant covers and annual reboots, there existed a time where the House of Ideas had the most humble of beginnings. In 1939, the publishing house at Timely Comics released its first Marvel comic book — appropriately titled Marvel Comics #1. It featured the first appearance of the Human Torch (Jim Hammon), Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the original Ka-Zar to name a few. As some might expect, the comic was eventually popular enough for Timely to adopt the moniker of the series as its trade name.
Now, 80 years later, one of the original copies of that comic has fetched a serious sum of cash. Dallas-based Heritage Auctions had a near-mint copy of Marvel Comics #1 up for auction Thursday and when all was said and done, the auction house sold the 9.4 copy for a whopping $1.26 million dollars. In a statement released by Heritage, the purchaser of the comic chose to remain anonymous. One of the most sought-after Golden Age comics of all-time, CGC only had two copies tracked in its census that graded at a 9.0. The Marvel Comics grade nearly bested the highest-graded Action Comics #1 (First Superman) and Detective Comics #27 (First Batman) by nearly half of a point.
Heritage senior vice president Ed Jaster said the issue is "a historic copy of a historic comic book." Despite the hefty price tag, it's still not the most expensive comic book ever sold. The record still belongs to a copy of Action Comics #1, which sold for $3.2 million in 2014. That copy was one of the CGC-graded 9.0 copies previously mentioned.
“Without question, this is the granddaddy of all Marvel Comics, without which we would not have the characters and stories we enjoy in today’s comics and feature films,” Jaster added.
More recently, Marvel paid tribute to the stories told in Marvel Comics #1 with Marvel Comics #1000, an oversized one-shot that featured over 80 creative teams. “This is by far the most complex and complicated and difficult book I’ve ever had to assemble," Marvel editor Tom Breevort said at the time.