People have enjoyed collecting comic books since the 1930s and over time, some issues have become incredibly valuable due to their rarity and condition. In fact, certain comics can be worth a fortune due to their historical importance or cultural relevance.
We’re huge comic book fans around here (much to the chagrin of some of our spouses) and while you’re probably aware that some on this list are highly collectible, chances are some are going to really surprise you. And if you’re like me… you’ll be kicking yourself for not keeping some of these when you had the chance.
Take a look at some of the most expensive comic books and why they’re so valuable.
Action Comics #1
Published in 1938, Action Comics #1 is renowned as the first appearance of Superman and hence is widely considered to be one of the most valuable comic books ever created. Writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster crafted their Superman character using a combination of science fiction, fantasy, and mythology elements which was a fascinating concept for its time. While copies of Action Comics in fine, very fine and near mint condition are estimated to be worth up to $150,000, there was a copy sold at auction for an astonishing $3.2 million in 2014!
Detective Comics #27 (1939)
While Superman may have been the first superhero, Batman has become the most iconic character in comic book history. His first appearance came in Detective Comics No. 27 back in 1939, and it’s no surprise that this issue is valued between $300,000 and $1 million depending on its condition. Written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Bob Kane, both of whom are credited as the creators of Batman, this comic is also the first appearance of Commissioner James Gordon.
Marvel Comics #1 (1939)
Featuring stories about the Human Torch, Ka-Zar, and the Angel, this historic publication was created by Timely Comics (which would eventually become Marvel) and was penned by legendary comic book writer Stan Lee. Copies of this highly sought-after comic book range from $250,000 to as much as $1 million depending on the condition.
Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962)
The Amazing Spider-Man was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko in 1962 when they unleashed him upon the world via Amazing Fantasy No. 15. While the origin story of Peter Parker is legendary, the series wasn’t an immediate hit and was eventually cancelled four issues later. Nowadays though, copies of this specific comic book can range from $200,000 to around $400,000 depending on its condition.
Incredible Hulk #1
The Incredible Hulk made his first appearance in 1962 with a cover that depicted the green giant smashing his way out of a brick wall. Written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, this comic was one of Marvel’s most popular characters during its original run in the early 1960s. Copies of Incredible Hulk No. 1 can fetch anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 depending on their condition.
Uncanny X-Men No. 1 (1963)
This series, which featured some of the most iconic characters in Marvel’s history – including Cyclops, Beast, Iceman and Angel – was one of the most popular superhero teams ever created. Written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, Uncanny X-Men No. 1 is estimated to be worth between $100,000 and $200,000 depending on its condition.
All-American Comics #16 (1940)
Another classic comic book featuring the first appearance of another iconic superhero – Green Lantern. Written by Bill Finger and illustrated by Martin Nodell, this comic is estimated to be worth between $80,000 and $150,000 depending on its condition.
Captain America Comics #1 (1941)
Created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby at the height of World War II, this comic book series debuted in 1941 with a cover featuring Captain America punching out Adolf Hitler. Copies of this historic comic can range from $50,000 to as much as $100,000 if they’re in great condition.
The Incredible Hulk #181 (1974)
This comic book featured the first appearance of Wolverine and was written by Len Wein with artwork by Herb Trimpe. While it’s now one of the most important comics ever created, it wasn’t a hit at the time and copies of this issue were sold for just 25 cents each. Nowadays though, they’re worth around $100,000 to $150,000 depending on their condition.
Tales of Suspense No. 39 (1963)
This boldly colored book is the first appearance of Iron Man and was written by Stan Lee with artwork by Jack Kirby and Don Heck. Being one of Marvel’s most popular characters, copies of this issue can range from $35,000 to $50,000 depending on its condition.