This Superman Comic Book Is Now the World’s Most Valuable

The inaugural issue of Action Comics introduced the superhero in 1938.

Record-Breaking First Issue of Action Comics. Image: Heritage Auctions /

A first issue of Action Comics—which introduced audiences to Superman in 1938—has become the world’s most valuable comic book, selling at Heritage Auctions in April for $6 million.

The Superman comic has been deemed “the most important, impactful comic book ever published,” with the Heritage Auction copy being “one of the world’s finest copies” of the issue. It was written by Jerry Siegel and illustrated by Joe Shuster. In the listing, the auction house described how the character of Superman links to the creators’ experience of the “American Dream” as second-generation Jewish immigrants.

Justice League of America. Image: Heritage Auctions /

Heritage Auctions have previously sold several copies of Action Comics No. 1, as well as individual pages which reached up to just under $60,000 apiece. The auction house has said they have “never had the privilege of offering one as breathtakingly beautiful” as the copy that smashed records last month.

A historic 1934 letter from Siegel to the artist Russell Keaton about an early-conception of Superman also sold at auction, realizing $264,000.

Other lots that broke records during the first day of the Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction included a near mint condition 1963 edition of The Avengers, featuring several of the Marvel Universe’s best-loved heroes. The book, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by Jack Kirby, achieved $432,000, the record price for the title. A comic book featuring the second appearance of Wonder Woman also broke records, selling for $420,000. A copy of the first issue of Justice League of America, with the highest ever condition report, set a record, too, at $348,000.

After the sale of Action Comics No. 1, a professionally restored copy of the same issue reached the highest-ever price for a restored comic book, at $576,000.

Typed letter from Jerry Siegel to Russell Keaton

Letter from Jerry Siegel to Russell Keaton On the Origin of Superman. Image: Heritage Auctions /

Barry Sandoval, vice president of Heritage Auctions said: “The first three lots today would be tough to beat when it comes to exciting bidding wars—the all-time record for a comic book, bracketed by two absolutely stunning surprises. We’re thrilled to have made history today with an auction that’s rich in history, encompassing everything from a pre-Golden Age Superman artifact to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

Original artworks also did well at auction, including artwork for Bram Stoker’s Dracula paperback published in 1993, cover art for the Fantastic Four, and the cover for The Amazing Spider Man featuring Peter Parker in his famous Black Costume for the first time.

In total, eight comic books reached near or surpassed $500,000. The auction realized $28.2 million in total, beating the previous record for a comic book and comic art auction, set by Heritage Auctions in September 2021, by $1.7 million.

“The fact that we had some of the finest known copies of some of the most sought-after comic books meant we were confident this would be one of the most successful auctions we had ever had,” said Sandoval. “But once Friday’s comic art session started and we saw that collectors’ appetites were just as ravenous, we realized we had a serious chance at a new record.”

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