Marvel Fan Drops $2.4 Million on Merch That Started It All

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Credit: Marvel Studios

For comic book fans, there are specific issues that they consider grails – ultra-rare and incredibly expensive comic books – that they long to have in their collections. Action Comics #1 (1938) by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was the first appearance of Superman/Clark Kent/Cal-El and sold for $3.18 million last year. Others dream of the day they can hold a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, which gave Marvel fans the first appearance of Peter Parker/Spider-Man and sold in 2021 for $3.8 million.

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Credit: Marvel Comics

Now another Marvel Comic is making news for its outrageous price tag. Marvel Comics #1 (1939) by Ben Thompson, Carl Burgos, Al Anders, and Bill Everett was sold at auction for $2.4 million.

It is known as the Marvel Comics #1 “pay copy” because it bears the publisher’s handwritten notes recording how much each writer and artist was paid. “It’s “arguably one of the top three comic books in the world of comics collecting,” said Vincent Zurzolo, chief operating officer of ComicConnect. The New York-based auctioneer sold the book Thursday night for under $2,427,800.

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Marvel Comics #1 Cover First Appearance of Human Torch and Namor
Credit: Marvel Comics

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Even Marvel calls this “The one that started it all, featuring the first appearances of both the android Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner!” This book proceeds the introduction of every character MCU fans have ever heard of, including Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Steve Rogers/Captain America, Tony Stark/Iron Man, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Matt Murdock/Daredevil, and teams like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and the Avengers.

It was published under Marvel Comic’s predecessor, Timely Comics. Even the version of the Human Torch is not the one most fans of the Marvel Universe know. The Human Torch, also known as Jim Hammond, was actually an android created by scientist Phineas Horton. Created by writer-artist Carl Burgos, he possessed the ability to surround himself with fire and control flames. The only reference to this version of the Human Torch in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was during the Stark Expo in Captain America: The First Avengers (2011).

The name the Human Torch would later be used by Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, who did not first appear in Marvel Comics until Fantastic Four #1 (1919) by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko alongside the rest of Marvel’s first family: Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman and Ben Grimm/The Thing.

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Credit: Marvel Comics

Namor, the Submariner, has stood the test of time. Namor is the Marvel Universe’s version of Aquaman/Arthur Curry as an underwater superhero and King of Atlantis. Though Namor was introduced first. He was Marvel’s first-ever mutant, and he is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Marvel’s Phase Four.

Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (November 11, 2022) will debut Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta as Namor. The Black Panther (2018) sequel is moving forward without the star who held it together, Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa/Black Panther, tragically passed away from colon cancer.

Marvel Comics #1 was the foundation of everything that came after it. Whoever bought this copy of the legendary comic book issue is lucky to add it to their collection.

What would you pay for a copy of Marvel Comics #1? And what is the one issue you are currently hunting for?

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