Batman comic fetches $1.075 million, rewrites record

Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:22pm EST
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Superman and Batman's first appearances in comic books have each set auction sales records and broken the $1 million barrier, in an age when traditional investments have fared badly and superheroes look attractive.

A 1939 comic with the first ever appearance of masked crime fighter Batman sold at auction in Dallas on Thursday for a record $1.075 million, said Heritage Auction Galleries.

Three days earlier, a buyer paid $1 million for Superman's world debut in Action Comics #1, more than tripling the previous comic book sales record set last year.

Shirrel Rhoades, former publisher and executive vice president of Marvel Comics, said high sales for those comics is partly a reflection on the poor economy.

"When the stock market is down, when real estate investments are over the cliff, collectibles offer an alternative that you can invest in that may have some growth potential," Rhoades said.

He said the 1938 Action Comics #1 is arguably more historic than the first appearance of Batman, but that this week's sales seem to be following their own logic.

"We're probably seeing a little bit of a feeding frenzy," Rhoades said. "With the sale of Action #1 for a million, I think that's going to keep prices up for awhile."

Heritage Auction Galleries did not disclose the name of the previous owner or the winning bidder for Detective Comics #27, the first book featuring Batman.   Continued...