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The finest known copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold late this afternoon on eBay for a record $3.2 million. It’s the first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction.
The previous record price of $2.16 million was paid in 2011 for a copy of the same comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage. While both are rated 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages”; this one is considered to be in pristine condition. They’re the only two copies of Action Comics #1 to receive that high of a rating.
This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.
Halfway through the 10-day eBay auction, bidding for the finest known copy of Action Comics #1 has surpassed $1.95 million.
Owned by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, it’s just one of two copies of Superman’s first appearance to receive a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company. The other, previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million. The difference between the two is that the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages,” while Adams’ copy is considered to be in pristine condition.
Bidding has slowed considerably as the price inches higher: The comic jumped from a starting price of 99 cents to more than $1.6 million in the auction’s first day. Still, already this morning the price has moved from $1.8 million to a little more than $1.95 million. It appears just nine people have participated in the auction, for a total of 27 bids.
The auction continues through Aug. 24, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, dedicated to curing spinal cord injury. Adams, who acquired the comic several years ago, is only its fourth owner. He said he recently turned down an offer of $3 million, deciding instead to sell the book on eBay.
It’s just one of two copies to receive a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company. The other, previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million. However, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages,” while this copy is considered to be in pristine edition.
An opening bid of $1 million was submitted Thursday within four minutes of the auction’s opening. Although the comic’s owner, retailer Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, had said more than 75 people had applied to bid in the restricted sale, it appears as if just five have participated so far.
For serious collectors with seriously deep pockets, this is a momentous day: It’s the beginning of the 10-day eBay auction of the holy grail of comic books — the finest known copy of Action Comics #1.
“I’ve been in business 28 years and you chase a lot of leads hoping to find something like this,” retailer Darren Adams, who owns the CGC-graded 9.0 copy, tells Seattle’s KCPQ TV. “This is the needle in the haystack, because most books are not preserved with such quality.”
The owner of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, Adams acquired the comic several years ago in a private sale, and stored it in a temperature-controlled vault. He tells the Federal Way Mirror the original owner bought the comic (for 10 cents) from a newsstand in 1938, and then stored it in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.
Horning in on Batman Day, eBay has announced it will auction a CGC-graded 9.0 copy of Action Comics #1, the finest known copy of the 1938 first appearance of Superman.
Just one other copy of Action Comics #1, the one previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, has received a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company, but it had “cream to off-white pages,” while this comic is considered to be in pristine edition. The Cage issue sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million; the expectation is, of course, that this copy, owned by collectibles dealer Darren Adams, will fetch a considerably higher price.
“The quality and preservation of this Action #1 is astounding,” Paul Litch, CGC’s Primary Grader, said in a statement. “The book looks and feels like it just came off the newsstand. It is supple, the colors are deep and rich and the quality of the white pages is amazing for a comic that is 76 years old.”
The eBay auction will be held Aug. 10-24, with a portion of proceeds going to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury.
You can view the comic on the CGC Comics website.
You may recall that in January, Metalocalypse and Venture Bros. director Jon Schepp launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary about Superman Lives, the abandoned Tim Burton film that would’ve starred Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, Tim Allen as Brainiac. Well, that drive surpassed its $98,000 goal, and now The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? has a teaser trailer.
And it’s very teaser-ish, with a lot of quick shots of websites that covered the campaign (including ROBOT 6), production art from the abandoned film, and glimpses of new interviews with the likes of Mark Waid and Grant Morrison — and all tied together by somewhat-haunting audio and video from a March Q&A in which Cage talks about the Kickstarter.
Better still, the trailer promises The Death of ‘Superman Lives’: What Happened? will arrive in summer 2014, which means by this time next year, we could know the full story behind what could have been “the weirdest Superman movie ever made.”
Over the past decade or so, Superman Lives has achieved almost mythical status, a movie project so delightfully terrible that there’s no way it could possibly be true. Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, Tim Allen as Brainiac — that’s the stuff of fever dreams.
However, Tim Burton’s nightmarish vision for the Last Son of Krypton almost became a reality, with roles cast, costumes created and Pittsburgh selected to double for Metropolis. And then in 1998, to the relief of many, Warner Bros. pulled the plug. But why, exactly?
Graded at 9.0, the rare 1938 comic easily surpassed the previous record of $1.5 million set in March 2010 for the same issue, featuring the first appearance of Superman. That copy was graded slightly lower, at 8.5.
Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of ComicConnect/Metropolis Collectibles, told Comic Riffs that the issue that sold this evening — bidding closed at 7:25 p.m. ET — is the best copy of Action Comics he’s ever seen.
“The buyer was extremely excited about the prospect of bidding on this,” he said. “I think he had an adrenalin rush for the last two hours.”
The comic was stolen from Cage’s Los Angeles home in 2000, and discovered in April by an unidentified man who claims to have bought the contents of an abandoned San Fernando Valley, California, storage locker. Although Zurzolo wouldn’t reveal the comic’s previous owner, he did confirm that his company played a role in its recovery.
About 100 copies of Action Comics #1 are believed to exist, but only a handful of those are in good condition.
Publishing | On the heels of Monday’s direct-market overview for March, ICv2 has released its sales estimates for the month, placing the top-selling FF #1 at 114,472 copies — more than 37,500 ahead of the No. 2 title, Green Lantern #64. The retail news and analysis site notes that the relaunched FF #1, aided by variant covers, joins the Human Torch-killing Fantastic Four #587 as the only titles to sell more than 100,000 copies in the past six months.
While 11 of the Top 25 comics saw sales increases, if only slight, the graphic novel category looked decidedly more grim, with just the third volume of The Unwritten and Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn breaking the 4,000-copy mark. [ICv2.com]
Crime | Los Angeles police have recovered a copy of Action Comics #1 stolen from the home of actor Nicolas Cage in 2000. The 1938 comic, worth as much as $1.5 million, was discovered last month by an unidentified man who claims to have bought the contents of an abandoned San Fernando Valley storage locker. It’s now in an LAPD evidence safe while the department’s art details detectives try to track down the thieves, but Cage says he can’t wait to get the comic back. “It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family,” he said in a statement. [Ventura County Star, Los Angeles Times]
Why make a comic book about Nicolas Cage? Because I think it would be a really funny, strange, and entertaining thing to do! Also, Nicolas Cage is probably the biggest comic book fan in Hollywood (he changed his last name to Cage, after a comic book character, and named his son Kal-El) and I have a hunch it is his secret dream to BE a comic book character – so why not? I promise to make Nicolas Cage! The Comic Book Experience the best comic book it can possibly be – it will not suck! It will SHINE!
Here’s a sample of what the comic will look like. Webb, the creator of Tuesday Moon and several other comics, has put together several prize packages for folks who contribute. For instance, the $35 package includes the above T-shirt. Go check out his Kickstarter page for more information.
As many of us grapple with the recession, layoffs and a looming tax deadline, it may be difficult to muster much sympathy for the problems of millionaires, but we can try.
A historic 19th-century mansion owned by Diamond Comic Distributors CEO Steve Geppi will be sold today for $7.7 million at a foreclosure auction at the Baltimore County (Maryland) Courthouse. Cliffeholme — yes, it has a name! — has an outstanding mortgage debt of $3.25 million.
Geppi and wife Melinda paid $4.8 million in 2004 for the eight-bedroom, 13,000-square-foot mansion and nine-acre estate. The home features nine fireplaces, a 65-foot grand hall and a master bedroom suite with a gym. The couple moved to another home in the area before putting Cliffeholme on the market in January 2008.
As the Baltimore Sun notes, it’s not been a good year or so for Geppi: He’s been sued over investment properties and printing debts; his Gemstone Publishing closed its offices in White Plains, Missouri, laid off five employees, and failed to renew the Disney comics license; and Geppi’s Entertainment Museum has struggled to pay its bills. Diamond, meanwhile, has experienced its share of difficulties.
Last month the star of Ghost Rider and the upcoming Kick-Ass sued his former business manager for $20 million, blaming him for financial problems that include more than $6 million in tax liens. However, in a countersuit filed last week, Samuel J. Levin claims that by the time the actor hired him in 2001 Cage “had already squandered tens of millions of dollars he had earned as a movie star.”
Levin asserts that he advised Cage he would need to earn more than $30 million to maintain his lifestyle, and persuaded him to sell a dozen automobiles and his comic-book collection, which included copies of Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #1 and All-Star Comics #3.
But by the time Ghost Rider was released in 2007, Cage reportedly had fallen back into his old habits: Levin contends that in that year alone the actor purchased three homes worth more than $33 million, 22 cars, 12 pieces of expensive jewelry and 47 pieces of artwork. Within a year, Cage’s tally of homes had reached 15. He also owned an island in the Bahamas, four yachts and a Gulfstream jet.
No wonder he’s so eager for another Ghost Rider movie.