The world of comic book collecting is insane. Some of the most interesting, dedicated, and die-hard collectors you will find are into comics. They know every detail about every different comic that was ever written. It’s unbelievable. Comic book collectors have a passion for great stories and fascinating characters. It’s no mystery why some of the most valuable comics in the world are worth multi-millions of dollars.
Comic Book Collecting
One of the first comic books released in the U.S. was ‘Famous Funnies’ in 1933. It was only five years later when the Action Comics issue #1 was released with the Superman character’s introduction. Since then, decades of characters from various creators proliferated across the world, where dozens of superheroes made their debut.
If you’re a movie fan, you should be thankful the golden age of comic books existed in the 40s and 50s. It seems that nearly half of all movies made in the last few years feature a famous comic book superhero of some sort. These comics and their superheroes might have single-handedly saved all of Hollywood over the last decade!
Where to Buy Comic Books
During the 1970s, something strange started to happen in comic book land. The boom of the silver age of comic sales began. Stores began forming specifically dedicated to fans of comics. People wanted a place to congregate and discuss their comic book collection. The first comic book store to open was in the Mission District of San Francisco called the San Francisco Comic Book Company.
Gary Edson Arlington founded the store in 1968 after he needed a place to store his massive collection of single issues stored in his parent’s basement once they decided to sell the family home. The store was a massive success and became a gathering place for collectors and artists to discuss their passions.
Comic book price guides became an important tool as the local comic book store scene grew. Publications such as the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide began printing prices in the early 1970s. Collectors needed to know the value of what they owned and what they might want to purchase next. Much like baseball cards, collectors flocked to comic stores and comic book conventions to buy, sell and trade their favorite comics.
Best Online Comic Book Stores
Some amazing online comic book stores exist, with virtually any comic you can think of. One of the largest and best-known shops is Mile High Comics. According to their site, they have over 10 million comics. The website is straight out of the mid-1990s, hopefully by design. Nevertheless, it’s updated daily with its latest deals and releases. Not only do they feature one of the largest online selections, but they also have over 45,000 square feet of the physical store in Denver, Colorado.
Things From Another World is another massive online store featuring comics and collectibles. This website is fresh and updated with tons of great search features to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Not only do they sell comics, but ‘TFAW’ also features graphic novels, toys, statues, apparel, games, and books.
The next great resource for your comic search is Midtown Comics, located in Manhattan, NY. The store sells and also buys all sorts of comics if you’re looking to trade-in a few from your collection. Midtown Comics will buy issues from the golden age of comics, silver age, and key issues from any era. Not only that, but they will also buy pop culture memorabilia of almost any kind.
Comic Book Creators
A recent poll from Comic Watch asked readers to rank the top 25 comic book writers of all-time. If you’re new to comics, this is a great list to familiarize yourself with the creators and writers behind the characters we all know and love. A novice might guess Stan Lee as number one on the list, but I’ll save you the suspense; he was ranked #12.
The creator of the Hulk, Aquaman, Young Justice, and various other epic creatures landed at the number two spot on the list of all-time best comic book writers. Peter David was a writer for the Incredible Hulk character for 12 years. He also was a writer on Star Trek, Young Justice, Babylon 5, Amazing Spider-Man, and Supergirl television series. His epic career spanning nearly 40 years included him on many of the most popular comics, television shows, and movies ever made.
Chris Claremont, the X-Men creator, was ranked as the #1 top comic writer of all-time. Referred to as the king of foreshadowing by dropping hints of future characters years before their appearance, Chris Claremont was an epic storyteller. It is not only developing the storylines over many years but also defining each character and their personalities, enabling fans to make the connection that much more realistic.
One of the oldest and largest book companies in the world is DC Comics. Its rich history as one of the original American comics publishing companies dates back to 1934 when the DC Universe included Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Now, DC Comics, known as DC Entertainment, is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. and competes directly with the Disney-owned Marvel Studios for superhero supremacy at the box office.
Most Valuable Comic Books
The most valuable comic book ever sold is Action Comics #1, featuring the debut of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel’s character, Superman. This is known as the holy grail of the comic book collecting world. It includes the origin story of Superman and the story of why he was sent to Earth from another planet.
The comic is also famous for the first appearance of Lois Lane, who is rescued from a gangster by Superman himself. Action Comics publication #1 marks the beginning of the golden age for comic books and would stretch on for over two decades.
GCG has only graded around 100 copies of the world-famous Action Comics #1 issue. Many of them received a 5.0 or lower grades. There’s only been one issue with a grade above 9.0, a restored version as a near mint 9.4. Something to keep in mind next time you’re browsing through garage sales.
- Action Comics #1 CGC 9 – $3.2 million
- Action Comics #1 CGC 8.5 – $1.5 million
- Amazing Fantasy #15 – $1.1 million
- Detective Comics #27 – $1 million
- All Star Comics #8 – $930,000
- Batman #1 – $560,000
- X-Men #1 – $490,000
- Flash Comics #1 – $450,000
- Tales of Suspense #39 – $375,000
- Marvel Comics #1 – $350,000
- Captain America #1 – $340,000
- Incredible Hulk #1 – $326,000
- Fantastic Four #1 – $300,000
- Whizz Comics #2 – $280,000
- Avengers #1 – $274,000
Comic Book Grading
Comics Guaranty Company began grading and authenticating collector comics in the year 2000. Since then, multiple grading companies have been rating rare comics for collectors all over the world.
CGC has been known as the leader in comic book grading because of its accurate and consistent methods. The trust that CGC has built with collectors and dealers is one of the reasons they remain a leader in the industry. The graded comics from CGC feature a tamper-evident case designed for long-term sustainability and value. The history of comic book collecting has come a long way, and the comic book industry has trusted CGC as an important aspect of grading as a modern key issue.
There’s a high cost to submitting comics for grading to CGC, but what you receive in return might make your investment pay off. Comics authenticated by CGC receive higher prices in the resale market because of the trust they have earned with collectors over the years. In fact, the record-breaking sale of the Action Comics #1 issue for over $3 million was certified by CGC.