Thursday, February 26, 2009

Action #1 on the Auction Block

Time to start shopping for my birthday

NTT pointed it out, so I should mention that Action Comics #1 is going on the auction block.

In case you don't know (and I find it hard to believe you've been reading this site for any length of time and somehow missed it, but whatever...) Action Comics #1 is the first appearance of Superman from 1938. Its not the first appearance of a super-hero, in my opinion, but it DID manage to launch 70 years of superheroes as a part of American pop culture, and, I'd argue, culture in general (remember how Spidey is hitting Broadway?)

Here's an article that manages to incorporate a screen-grab of Superman Homepage, which we mention here from time to time. It gets a little into the restored/ unrestored issue in collectible comics.

So, if I had the $400,000, would I buy this comic?

Well, no. I like my Superman comics, but, come on... give me a little credit. If I had a few extra million lying around, probably not even then. It's just a very different thing than, say, my Jimmy Olsens, which I pick up anywhere from $4 - $15 and I doubt are ever going to turn me a huge profit. That's my personal enjoyment from both a story and collector's perspective, not an investment.

And you may not have my Jimmy Olsens anyway.

My co-workers accidentally opened up a whole can of worms yesterday when they asked me a few leading questions about Superman. Anyway, it ended poorly (for them). But, at least they now know better than to ask about that one again.

But, hey, now they know all about the publishing history of Superman, and perhaps that will serve them well in the future.

What is funny is how people have such strong opinions of Superman as a character, even if they really haven't ever touched the character in anything but the most tangential ways. And nobody is ever shy about telling you what's wrong with Superman. I don't know if its years and years of articles, pre-Superman Returns, that seemed intent on instructing why Superman was irrelevant. And with the Watchmen movie hitting the screen and the press trying to explain the relevance of the original Watchmen comic, its easy enough to imagine that Watchmen was a cosmic shift from the hands-on-hips goofiness of the 1950's and that Superman comics hadn't really changed in that whole time, which is both true and not true (Superman was very firmly a kid's book until the mid-80's. I'd still hand a kid a modern Superman comic, but I'd want them to be fourth grade or so.).

Anyhow, as a dime comic it somehow seems fitting as a reminder of the value of inexpensive fantasy can have in troubled times, 70 years on.


J.S. said...

Why is Superman attacking those people with that car?

The League said...

Cause Superman don't play, yo...

I will show you the story when next you pop over. I'd say Superman "used" to do stuff like that, but the Man of Steel still will drop a car on you. So, you know, no jaywalking in Metropolis.

NTT said...

Superman was rather mean in the beginning. He mellowed out in the 50s.

The League said...

Well, he had a bit more of a "devil may care" attitude. I don't know if I'd characterize him as mean, but he did undergo a bit of a change to the big blue boyscout persona of the 50's. There's lots of reasons, including a company skittish about the parents groups and the perception of their product. And the accusations from Wertham, etc...

Anyhoo, you used to see a, uhm, bit more of a proactive approach

Michael Corley said...

I thought 4th grade interesting, since that was the year that I began to WANT comics, not merely read them when they dropped in my lap.

I mean this literally, when my parents went out and hired a babysitter, they would purchase one of those grab bags of comics at the grocery store. I still have a few, including my first, and only, horror comic, my only Conans and my first introduction into the world of X-men which had the lucidity of a fever dream as Wolvie fought off the effects of the Brood growing inside him.

I was leaning a bit toward DC comics initially, but that X-men tipped me over and when my father agreed to start funding my annual subscriptions (Did I mention my dad rocks? He does) I went Marvel for years before giving DC another look in college.