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Batman goes up against Superman at auction

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Batman goes up against Superman at auction

The UK’s leading comic book auction house Excalibur Auctions is to offer two historically important and exceptionally rare comics by the famous American publisher DC, that have never been offered in the UK before.

The first is Superman #1 which is currently ranked #3 on Overstreet’s list* of the Top 100 Golden Age comics. The Golden Age ran from 1938 to 1956 and was a period when the concept of the ‘super-hero’ was created and many well-known characters were introduced, including Superman, Batman, Captain America & Wonder Woman. An event cited as the beginning of the Golden Age was the debut of Superman in 1938 and his popularity helped make comics a major arm of publishing, which then led rival companies to create superheroes of their own.

Superman #1 arrived in 1939, one year after his first appearance in Action Comics #1 which demonstrates his fast rise in popularity. Creating a comic book for a single character had not been done before and this therefore set a precedent. Superman was also the first ever hero character to appear in more than one comic magazine. It was the first time DC* included a letters column for fans to write to the Editor, which also proved very popular.

The issue retells the origin of Superman by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, with new material and the Superman pin-up on the back cover is the first pin-up in comics. Comics specialist at Excalibur Auctions tells us: “This comic is graded 1.8 by CGC and presents well considering it is 85 years old and was printed on cheap paper at the time. At the time of writing, there are currently 77 unrestored copies on the CGC census* (with only 37 of them graded higher).” It has a starting price of £20,000 and considering its rarity and ranking is expected to far exceed that.

The second rare comic is Batman #1, also from the Golden Age and currently considered the 5th most important Golden Age comic. Having first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in 1939, this is Batman’s first solo-titled comic and features the first appearances of two of his most famous foes – The Joker & Catwoman.

The issue saw the publication of four stories, including The Joker, The Giants of Dr. Hugo Strange, The Cat and The Joker Returns. The stories are believed to have been written by the American comic book, TV and film writer Bill Finger (1914-1974) and it has a classic cover image by Bob Kane (1915-1998), the American comic book writer, animator and artist, who co-created Batman and most early characters for DC Comics*. It dates from 1940 and is graded 3.0 (RESTORED C-3) by CGC*. It has a starting price of £5,000.

Jonathan Torode, Excalibur’s Auctioneer:

“We are thrilled to be able to offer these two pieces of exceptionally rare comic history! At Excalibur Auctions we are brought rare items all the time but when something as extraordinary as this is brought in, we are excited, not just for ourselves but for our customer base of comic collectors. Having not been sold in the UK before (except one without a cover), this is a historic moment for us as specialists and the comic industry and comic fan base. We anticipate interest from around the globe, especially due to their rankings and rarity at auction.”

Both comics will be offered in Excalibur Auctions Marvel, DC & Independent Comic Books sale on June 8, 2024.

The catalogue for this sale is published online now. For more information about the auction, including registration and bidding details, please visit the official Excalibur Auctions website at www.excaliburauctions.com 

*DC is an initialism for ‘Detective Comics an American comic book series first published in 1937, an American publishing house

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