Most Valuable Comic Books of All Time
Ever since Superman’s first appearance in 1938, comic books have captured the hearts and minds of children and adults with stories of heroes and the evildoers they vanquish.
And some of these comics are so beloved — and so expensive — that they can fetch hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars at auction. Of course, they include Superman and Batman comics, along with other Marvel and DC classics, as well as gems from other publishing houses.
These are the most valuable comic books in the world.
50. More Fun Comics No. 73
Bottom Line: More Fun Comics No. 73
"More Fun Comics" No. 73 features the origin and first appearance of Aquaman, which has become one of DC's most-loved superheroes.
The copy that sold for $104,563 was an 8.0-graded copy of the 1941 book, and there are only two known copies graded higher. It sold in 2016, its value rising due to the resuscitation of the DC Universe in film.
49. Marvel Mystery Comics No. 9
Bottom Line: Marvel Mystery Comics No. 9
"Marvel Mystery Comics" No. 9 is prized by collectors and comic lovers alike because of the gorgeous front cover and the epic battle between the Human Torch and Namor the Sub-Mariner on the inside pages. The cover was done by Bill Everett and Alex Schomburg.
The copy that sold for $107,550 was a 9.4-graded version, the finest version known to exist.
48. Captain America Comics No. 2
Bottom Line: Captain America Comics No. 2
Captain America got his start during WWII America, and the first comics were basically beautifully drawn pieces of American propaganda (note the "Ageless Orientals Who Wouldn't Die!!!" storyline).
There are six stories in this comic: the aforementioned "Ageless Orientals" tale, "Trapped in the Nazi Stronghold," "The Wax Statue That Struck Death," "Short Circuit," "The Valley of the Mist" and "The Devil and the Green Plague." Nearly all of them were drawn, inked and written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.
The one that sold for $113,525 was a 9.4-graded copy, and it sold in 2012.
47. Walt Disney's Comics and Stories No. 1
Bottom Line Walt Disney's Comics and Stories No. 1
This was the first, regularly published Disney comic book. Published in 1940, the Overstreet Guide called it "The definitive funny animal anthology comic after which all others were modeled."
The book that sold for $116,513 was a 9.4-graded copy. It sold in 2008, and it seems to be the only copy in existence in such good condition.
It's also one of the most expensive Disney collectibles in the world.
46. Detective Comics No. 35
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 35
"Detective Comics" No. 35 is sought after by collectors mainly because of the fantastic cover by Bob Kane. The interior art, done by Kane and Fred Guardineer, features a splash page with Batman holding a smoking pistol — something that looks weird to us today, but was totally in line with the character back in the 1940s.
"Batman was pulp, born and bred. Other than wearing a cowl, that character was a pulp character," comic writer Brian Azzarello told Games Radar.
Good copies of this comic are difficult to find. The one that sold for $119,500 was graded a 7.5, with only one other finer copy known to exist.
45. Detective Comics No. 38
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 38
This issue of "Detective Comics" from 1940 features the first appearance of Robin, who was created to attract a younger audience.
This 9.4-graded copy, which sold in 2005, came from the personal collection of Nicolas Cage.
44. Detective Comics No. 31
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 31
Bob Kane might be a controversial figure, but he sure could draw. This might be one of the best-looking Batman covers ever inked.
According to Heritage Auctions, it’s extremely rare to find a "Detective Comics" No. 31 copy above a 4.0 grade, which might explain how a 5.0-graded one sold for $131,450 in 2017.
The comic features the first appearance of the bat plane, batarang, Julie Madsen and the Monk.
43. Detective Comics No. 359
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 359
Batgirl made her debut in this January 1967 issue of "Detective Comics" (although it actually hit stores in late 1966). In this comic, Barbara Gordon gets the crime-fighting itch after a trip to a costume party, where she then helps Batman and Robin fight the Killer Moth.
Curiously, Batgirl wasn't created just for the comics. This character was created for the 1960s "Batman" television show, after producers noticed how popular Julie Newmar's Catwoman became with audiences.
A 9.8-graded copy, the highest-graded copy extant, sold for $132,000 in January 2021, 55 years after it originally hit newsstands.
42. Fantastic Four No. 5 (Tie)
Bottom Line: Fantastic Four No. 5
Dr. Doom, one of the best Marvel villains ever created, debuted in 1961 in "Fantastic Four" No. 5. With art by Jack Kirby, this is a gorgeous-looking comic and an absolute classic comic.
So it's no wonder that one with a 9.4 grade sold for $138,000 in 2021, a record-setting price for this prized possession.
Only three copies are known to exist with a higher grade.
42. Detective Comics No. 225 (Tie)
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 225
Published in 1955, "Detective Comics" No. 225 marks the first appearance of Martian Manhunter, one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe.
But before he was part of the Justice League, battling interdimensional beings, Manhunter went undercover as a human detective, solving very earthly crimes.
The most expensive copy ever sold went for $138,000 in April 2021.
40. The Brave and the Bold No. 28
Bottom Line: The Brave and the Bold No. 28
This issue of "The Brave and the Bold" features the first appearance of the Justice League of America, who band together to fight the Lovecraftian-esque monster, Starro the Conqueror.
A 9.2-graded copy of this 1955 comic sold for $140,000 at Comic Connect.
39. More Fun Comics No. 53
Bottom Line: More Fun Comics No. 53
"More Fun Comics" No. 53 features the second appearance of the Spectre, continuing his origin story for the Golden Age superhero.
An incredible 9.8-graded copy sold for just a tad over $141,000 in 2015.
38. The Avengers No. 4
Bottom Line: The Avengers No. 4
This comic with an amazing cover by Jack Kirby features Captain America joining the Avengers, and a near-perfect 9.8-graded copy of one sold for $143,400 in 2017 at Heritage Auctions.
The 1964 comic is also the first Silver Age appearance of Cap, who had been frozen since World War II.
37. Showcase No. 22
Bottom Line: Showcase No. 22
"Showcase" 22, which was published in 1959, features the first appearance of Hal Jordan.
This comic is pretty much all origin story, with Abin Sur of the Green Lantern Corps crashing into the middle of a desert, and while on the throes of death, finds a worthy successor to the Green Lantern in Hal Jordan.
The most expensive copy of this book sold in 2017 for a bit over $149,000.
35. Hulk No. 181 (Tie)
Bottom Line: Hulk No. 181
"Hulk" No. 181 is the first appearance of Wolverine, one of the most popular superheroes ever created.
When a 9.9-graded copy sold for an astonishing $150,000 in 2011, it became the first comic book from the 1970s to sell for more than $100,000.
Although it may not have been the best deal. Just seven years later, in 2018, a 9.8-graded copy sold for $38,400.
35. Daredevil No. 1 (Tie)
Bottom Line: Daredevil No. 1
This is the first appearance of Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Daredevil was designed by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Bill Everett. The cover for "Daredevil" No. 1 is gorgeous, and drawn by Everett in Kirby's action style.
This issue reveals Daredevil's origin story and also the first appearance of the gangster, the Fixer.
A 9.6-graded version of the 1964 comic sold for $150,000 in 2021.
34. Archie Comics No. 1
Bottom Line: Archie Comics No. 1
The very first "Archie Comics" appeared 77 years ago for 10 cents, and sold in 2012 for $167,300.
It’s not the first appearance of Archie and the gang, but it’s the start of one of the most important non-superhero comics in history.
33. Showcase No. 4
Bottom Line: Showcase No. 4
In "Showcase" No. 4, DC revitalized the Flash with a whole new look and character. This is the first iteration of Barry Allen as the Flash, arguably the most popular Flash character and the first to don the iconic red-and-yellow suit.
It’s also noted to be the first comic to usher in the Silver Age. The 9.6-graded copy of this 1956 comic sold for $179,250 at Heritage Auction in 2009.
32. Action Comics No. 13
Bottom Line: Action Comics No. 13
This comic from DC features a dramatic cover design with Superman stopping a train with one hand, but the cover isn’t this book’s only appeal. It also features the first appearance of the Ultra-Humanite.
While the Ultra-Humanite isn’t exactly a popular or even well-known bad guy, he’s the world’s first comic book supervillain. Ultra-Humanite was Superman’s greatest antagonist until Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Lex Luthor in 1940.
31. Action Comics No. 7
Bottom Line: Action Comics No. 7
Superman made his first appearance in the first "Action Comics" issue, but he didn't again appear on the series' cover for another six months, until the seventh issue of "Action Comics" hit newsstands.
This comic's cover from 1938 shows Supes holding a man high above the city streets. The copy that sold in 2017 was only a 5.5-graded one, and even though it had a couple of stamps on the cover, it still fetched $188,000 at Comic Connect.
30. All Star Comics No. 3
Bottom Line: All Star Comics No. 3
The third "All Star Comics" from 1940 featured the first superhero team ever. It was called the Justice Society of America, and its members included memorable heroes like Green Lantern, Hawkman, Flash, Atom, Sandman and Spectre, along with not-so-memorable heroes Doctor Fate and Hour-Man.
A 9.6-graded copy sold for $126,500 in 2002, but that record was demolished when an 8.5-graded copy that originally sold for $49,294 was resold for $200,000 through Heritage Auctions’ make-an-offer feature in 2012.
29. Action Comics No. 1 Ashcan
Bottom Line: Action Comics No. 1 Ashcan
Ashcan comics were not intended for sale. Rather, they were used in the 1930s and 1940s to secure trademarks for titles and logos.
In 1937, DC publisher Harry Donenfeld was worried that a competing publishing house would steal the "Action Comics" title, so he mocked up this comic book and sent it to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to secure the title.
The interior of it is previously published pages from "Detective Comics" No. 1, and the cover art is by Craig Flessel. It was originally going to be used as the cover for "Detective Comics" No. 2, but it was believed to be too gruesome.
The copy that sold is one of three known to exist and was the highest-graded copy, with a 9.2 grade.
28. Tales to Astonish No. 27
Bottom Line: Tales to Astonish No. 27
"Tales to Astonish" No. 27 features the first appearance of Henry Pym, a master scientist who has developed a serum that could shrink him all the way down to the size of an ant.
Yes, it’s arguably the first appearance of Ant-Man, a character that has become pretty dang popular ever since the "Ant-Man" movie grossed over $500 million at the box office in 2015.
A 9.4-graded copy sold for $205,501 in 2016 at Comic Link.
27. More Fun Comics No. 52
Bottom Line: More Fun Comics No. 52
This comic from 1940 features the first appearance of the Spectre as well as the Presence, DC’s representation of the Abrahamic god.
Not much is known about the sale, only that it occurred in 2001. A 9.2-graded copy also sold for $119,500 in 2006.
26. All-American Comics No. 16
Bottom Line: All-American Comics No. 16
This issue of "All-American Comics" from 1940 features the first appearance of Alan Scott as the Green Lantern.
It’s an extremely rare comic, and in early 2018, a 6.5-graded copy sold for $215,100 at Heritage Auctions.
25. Justice League of America No. 1
Bottom Line: Justice League of America No. 1
The first issue of "Justice League of America" features the team of world-saving do-gooders fighting against prehistoric dinosaurs, Despero, and planet-destroying missiles.
The record-setting sale, which went for $215,100, occurred in 2018, and it was for an incredible 9.6-graded version with off-white pages
Only two copies in such good condition are known to exist.
24. Fantastic Comics No. 3
Bottom Line: Fantastic Comics No. 3
"Fantastic Comics" No. 3 is a coveted item among collectors because of its amazing cover by Lou Fine, which depicts a giant named Samson beating iron monsters to death with a spiked flail.
There are no first appearances or really anything of importance within the comic’s plot, but the book’s cover is so beloved and original prints are so hard to find that some people will pay a huge premium for one in great condition.
A 9.4-graded comic sold for $243,000 in 2017.
23. Action Comics No. 10
Bottom Line: Action Comics No. 10
There doesn’t appear to be anything notable about "Action Comics" No. 10's story.
It features the third cover appearance of Superman, and a story involving an abusive prison warden that Superman has to bring to justice. Three other stories not including Superman are included in the 64-page book from 1939.
But that cover art is awesome. A 9.0 grading may have also been the 80-year-old comic’s selling point when it sold in 2011 at auction.
22. Pep Comics No. 22
Bottom Line: Pep Comics No. 22
You wouldn’t know it just by looking at its cover, but "Pep Comics" No. 22 contains the first appearance of Archie.
One year after his debut in 1941, publisher MLJ created "Archie Comics," which is still running to this day, albeit with a more mature story.
This 8.0-graded comic fetched $252,100 in 2017, the same year that "Riverdale" debuted on the CW network.
21. Suspense Comics No. 3
Suspense Comics No. 3
What a cover. "Suspense Comics" No. 3’s value comes singularly from its Alex Schomburg cover, which depicts a tied-up damsel in distress surrounded by sinister robed figures bearing swastikas.
A 9.2-graded copy of the 1944 comic sold for $292,900 in 2017, shattering the previous record of $173,275 for a 9.0-graded copy that sold in 2015.
20. The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1
Bottom Line: The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1
The first issue of "The Amazing Spider-Man" was published in 1963 and features two stories.
In the first, Spider-Man saves J. Jonah Jameson’s son’s space shuttle from disaster. Naturally, this causes the Daily Bugle owner to castigate the webslinger in an editorial for deliberately sabotaging the shuttle.
The next story features the Fantastic Four and the first appearance of the Chameleon. A 9.6-graded copy sold for a record $262,900 at Heritage Auctions in 2016.
19. The Avengers No. 1
Bottom Line: The Avengers No. 1
The comic that arguably started the entire Marvel Comics Universe arc that dominated the box office for years, "The Avengers" No. 1 began with only Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Ant-Man and the Wasp as its founding members.
A near-mint, 9.6-graded copy of the 1963 book sold for a mighty $274,850 in 2012.
18. Journey Into Mystery No. 83
Bottom Line: Journey Into Mystery No. 83
Thor made his first appearance in 1962 within the "Journey Into Mystery" series. Thor didn’t even know he was Thor at first. He was sent to Earth by his father, Odin, in order to teach him humility.
To do so, Odin temporarily wipes Thor's memory and turns him into a nerdy scientist while Earth is under attack by the stone men from Saturn.
A 9.4-graded copy of this iconic comic sold for $275,000 at auction in 2014.
17. Whiz Comics No. 2
Bottom Line: Whiz Comics No. 2
Captain Marvel was originally created not by Marvel, but by the comic publisher M.F. Enterprises. He, originally the character was male, made his first appearance in 1940 within the pages of "Whiz Comics" No. 2. He was similar to Superman — perhaps a little bit too similar.
DC sued M.F. Enterprises for copyright infringement (and perhaps a bit of saltiness, since Captain Marvel went on to outsell Superman), and Captain Marvel ceased to exist by 1953. By the 1960s, the actual Marvel comic publisher created its own trademarked Captain Marvel. So when DC went to revive the character, they couldn’t use the name, and turned him into Shazam.
This book is therefore the first real appearance of Captain Marvel and also Shazam. A 9.0-graded copy sold for $281,001 in 2012.
16. Wonder Woman No. 1 with Promotional Materials
Bottom Line: Wonder Woman No. 1 with Promotional Materials
Wonder Woman received her first line of comic books in the summer of 1942, not long after the United States entered World War II. But it was still 1942, and a female superhero might not have been as appealing to young boys as Captain America or Superman. So DC sent out a press packet of hand-typed letters detailing the awesomeness of America’s first superheroine.
"In a recent poll of child readers, 80 percent chose 'Wonder Woman' as their favorite over seven male characters," reads one letter. The press materials also tout that the book was penned by William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who would later invent the prototype to the modern-day lie detector.
One of these comics sold for $291,100 in 2016.
15. Fantastic Four No. 1
Bottom Line: Fantastic Four No. 1
They stretch, go invisible and build bridges of ice and fire. They’re the Fantastic Four, a Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation that quickly became a fan favorite. One issue from 1961 that was graded a 9.4 sold for $300,000 cash. But in 2008, a copy sold for around $450,000 in a cash/trade deal, according to Bleeding Cool.
A 9.4 copy is currently for sale on Comic Link for $485,000. Maybe the seller is hoping for renewed interest in the series.
Marvel’s First Family came back in 2018 after a three-year hiatus from the comic book pages, and Disney recently purchased the franchise rights back from Fox.
14. The Incredible Hulk No. 1
Bottom Line: The Incredible Hulk No. 1
Bruce Banner first transformed into the Incredible Hulk in May 1962. But he wasn’t green, at least not on the cover. Stan Lee wanted Hulk to be a big grey monster, but an issue with the printing ink turned the Hulk varying hues of green on the inside pages.
Eventually, the green color was decided on, and eventually the 12-cent comic sold for $326,000 50 years later, in 2014. It was graded in a near-mint, 9.2 condition.
13. Detective Comics No. 33
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 33
We all know Batman’s origin story: A young Bruce Wayne and his parents are leaving the movies when a no-good crook emerges from the shadows, brandishing a gun and demanding Mrs. Wayne’s necklace. Bruce’s father tries to intervene, and the criminal shoots them dead.
This is the first time that story was told (you can see those original panels here). A 9.2-graded copy sold for $341,234 on Comic Connect in 2018 after 50 bids.
12. Tales of Suspense No. 39
Bottom Line: Tales of Suspense No. 39
Iron Man made his first appearance in this 1963 comic book written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Of course, Tony Stark looks a bit less like he does now, and a bit more like a golem made out of steel. And instead of putting together a suit in the caves of Afghanistan as he does in the 2008 "Iron Man" movie, this Tony Stark built his crude metal armor in a Vietnam POW camp.
A 9.6-graded copy sold for $375,000 in 2012, although a 7.0 version can go for around $17,500.
11. Sensation Comics No. 1
Bottom Line: Sensation Comics No. 1
"Sensation Comics" was a 109-book series by DC Comics that mainly featured Wonder Woman stories.
The first issue, published in 1942, is the second appearance of Wonder Woman. It continues her origin story and also includes the first appearance of Wildcat and Mister Terrific.
In 2017, one buyer purchased "Sensation Comics" for $399,100 on eBay. The copy had an incredible 9.6 grading and is the highest-graded copy in existence.
10. Flash Comics No. 1
Bottom Line: Flash Comics No. 1
A near-mint 9.6 copy of "Flash Comics" sold for $450,000 at auction in 2010. The comic book, which originally sold for 10 cents in 1940, also features a one-page history lesson about postage stamps and a comic strip about an evil ventriloquist dummy.
Oh, and then there’s the whole first appearance of the Flash and Hawkman.
9. X-Men No. 1
Bottom Line: X-Men No. 1
An extremely well-kept copy of "X-Men" No. 1 with an incredible 9.8 grading sold for over $490,000 in July 2012.
This comic book marks the first appearance of iconic X-Men, including Charles Xavier, Magneto Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast and Iceman.
Copies with as low as a 0.5 grading can fetch over $2,000 on eBay, and one recent sale on the auction site was a 7.0, which sold for $19,000 in May 2019.
8. Superman No. 1
Bottom Line: Superman No. 1
A "Superman" No. 1 sold for $507,500 in 2017, and it was only graded as a 5.5. So why was it so expensive? According to Bleeding Cool, the first "Superman" comic book is rare to begin with and then notoriously difficult to find in good shape.
This comic was mostly distributed in cities when it was first printed in 1939, which may have resulted in a higher rate of destruction because of a lack of storage space.
Also curious is the record-setting price for the sale in 2017, since a 2011 Superman No. 1 with the same 5.5 grade sold for only $214,000 in 2011.
7. Captain America Comics No. 1
Bottom Line: Captain America No. 1
The first appearance of Captain America — featuring him gloriously punching Hitler on the cover — sold for a whopping $343,057 in 2011. The 68-page comic originally released in 1941 with a 10-cent cover price.
It was a near-mint 9.2-graded copy and is said to be one of the highest-graded versions known to exist.
Then, in 2019, a 9.4-graded version sold for a very patriotic $915,000.
6. All Star Comics No. 8
Bottom Line: All Star Comics No. 8
Wonder Woman first appeared in the eighth issue of "All Star Comics" in 1940. The comic book has skyrocketed in value, possibly because of Wonder Woman's resurgence in film and popular culture.
A 9.0 copy sold for $411,000 in 2016 at auction, and three years later a 9.4-graded copy sold for over double that price on eBay.
5. Amazing Fantasy No. 15
Value: $1.1 million
Bottom Line: Amazing Fantasy No. 15
The first appearance of Spider-Man — back when he had webs underneath his armpits — is the second most valuable comic of all time. In 2011, a pristine 9.8 copy of the comic, printed in 1962 and originally sold for 12 cents, fetched an astounding $1.1 million at auction.
Pinning down the true value of the comic is a bit tough. One current listing on eBay is graded a 9.2, but it couldn’t sell at $531,000 — less than half the price of the 9.8 copy — so the bidder cut the price to $414,180. It’s still for sale.
A 4.0-graded copy sold for $30,000 on eBay in March 2019.
4. Marvel Comics No. 1
Value: $1.26 million
Bottom Line: Marvel Comics No. 1
The first issue of "Marvel Comics" features the first appearance of Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch and Angel.
Previously, the highest-priced issue of this book sold for $227,050 and was a 9.0-graded pay copy, meaning it was used to record how much each contributor was paid. For instance, there’s a note on the cover that says Frank R. Paul, who drew the cover, received $25 for his work (about $460 today).
In 2019, that record was absolutely smashed when a 9.4 graded copy sold for $1.26 million on Heritage Auctions.
3. Detective Comics No. 27
Value: $1.5 million
Bottom Line: Detective Comics No. 27
The first appearance of Batman in the 1939 "Detective Comics" No. 27 broke the record for the most valuable comic book when an 8.0-graded copy sold in 2010 for $1,075,000.The seller purchased the comic in the late 1960s for $100. As Robin might have said in the original "Batman" television series, "Holy profit!"
Then, 10 years later, another copy — this one only graded a 7.0 — broke that record when it sold for $1.5 million in 2020, making it the third most expensive comic book in the world.
Even worse-for-wear versions of the Caped Crusader’s first appearance can go for big bucks. A 2.5-graded copy sold for $410,000 in 2018.
2. Batman No. 1
Value: $2.22 million
Bottom Line: Batman No. 1
This iconic comic marks the first appearance of the Joker and Catwoman.
A near-mint condition, 9.2-graded copy of Batman’s first comic book from 1940 sold for $850,000 at a private auction in 2012. That was the previous record holder, which was completely smashed in 2021, when a 9.4-graded copy sold for an astounding $2.22 million in January 2021, making it the second most expensive comic book in the world and the most expensive Marvel comic book ever sold.
The comic is certainly rare. A single page from this book — and our first look ever at the Joker — sold for $660 on eBay in 2013.
1. Action Comics No. 1
Value: $3.25 million
Bottom Line: Action Comics No. 1
The holy grail of comic books is the 1938 "Action Comics" No. 1, the first appearance of Superman, and in turn, the origination of comic book superheroes as we know them today. In 2014, a 9.0-graded copy sold for $3,207,852 on eBay, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
And before that sale, a 9.0 copy of "Action Comics" No. 1 that belonged to actor Nicolas Cage fetched $2.161 million in 2011. Someone had stolen it from his home, but it was found 11 years later in a Southern California storage locker.
The second most expensive sale of the iconic comic book occurred in 2018, when an 8.5-graded copy sold for $2,052,000 in 2018 at Comic Connect. In 2021, that record was broken, when the same comic was sold again for $3.25 million.