9 Articles for Action Comics #900 — Part 2: Why So Valuable?

Image: Action Comics #1/DC Comics is still the Holy Grail of comic collectors.

In 2000, Nicholas Cage had an extremely rare copy of Action Comics #1 stolen from his extensive collection. Last week this gem turned up in a storage unit under somewhat questionable circumstances. The story was everywhere — in fact, if you do a search for “Nicholas Cage Action Comic,” it comes back with 1,010,000 results. Coincidentally, if you slap a dollar sign in front of that number, you’ll have a rough worth of the book itself.

Anytime the subject of comics pricing in the range of the first issues of Action Comics, Detective Comics, and the like comes up, I always get questioned on how much my own collection is worth. Mostly, this comes from non-comics persons. The dollar signs that flash in their eyes quickly fall to the floor, along with their jaws, when I reveal that my 6,000+ issue collection really isn’t worth anything.

“What? Why not?” they always ask, taking stock of the many long boxes cluttering my home. “But you have so many.” Believe me when I say, I wish they could all be so valuable. Alas, it is about as far from that as you can get.

Sure, I’ve had some excitement in the past two decades, don’t get me wrong. The Death of Superman sent a chunk of my budding collection skyrocketing faster than a speeding bullet. The Batman: Hush story arc did the same in later years. Excitement is one thing; however, a million-dollar comic is something else altogether.

Why aren’t comics today worth anything?

I’m being semi-facetious, here; but only semi. There are several reasons I can think of: The industry itself is not really sustaining the collector. Pricing for an individual floppy is around $4 per book, plus tax. Illegal pirating and the advent of the digital comic platform have cut down on hard copy consumption. The glossy paper, which comic companies have used for years, doesn’t decay and breakdown with age or the acids from our grubby little mitts. This was a major curse of early comics, which were often published on cheap paper, with pulps of wood visible in them. Plus, despite dwindling sales, the market is still saturated with comics (supply), when compared to the amount of present readers (demand).

When a hot story comes along, such as the more recent death of Captain America, the constant media attention and fan desire to own the first copy (or ten) to hit the stands can, indeed, drive initial sales up. Unfortunately, the aforementioned detracting factors add up to keep the perceived value in check, forcing the resale value back to cover price, if not lower.

Why do these older ones still hold value?

Why does the first issue of Action Comics, and its ancient comic cousins, still hold that fabled position in the top of comic charts? What is it about this issue in particular that looms larger than most? The short answer: it’s the first appearance of Superman. Moreover, it’s widely held as the beginning of the superhero revolution which has sustained the market for seven decades. Moments like that just do not come along often.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Hulk and The X-Men are all alpha characters in the superhero realm; you’ll find fans still seeking out their first appearance. What’s funny, though, is Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had no idea when they introduced Superman to the public just how lasting and galvanizing the character would become. Since that time, editors have searched and searched for the next metaphorical Superman, a character able to take that evolutionary leap in a single bound. Only time will tell if they ever find one.

Who knows, maybe there’s already such a character in our midst. Perhaps, my son’s generation will be searching for that fabled copy of the first appearance of Batwoman or Steel.

Please, check back throughout the week for fun polls, quotes from your favorite local comic shops, and interviews with Paul Cornell and Pete Woods, the creative team behind Action Comics #900.

You may also want to check out part one of 9 Articles for Action Comics #900.

From: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/9-articles-for-action-comics-900-%E2%80%94-part-2-why-so-valuable/

This Week IN Comics: Superman Visits SLC

By Bryan Young // bigshinyrobot.com

It’s not terribly often that much in the world of comics takes place in Utah. But a meeting of the two greatest heroes in history over the Salt Lake City skyline? That’s a once in a lifetime sort of thing.

This last week in Superman #710, Superman and Batman held palaver in the foothills of Salt Lake City to discuss many things. Sure, it’s only a frame for a much larger story that happens all over the world, but Ogden and Salt Lake City take the spotlight in the beginning and end of the issue and if you’re even mildly aware of the local news, you’ll recognize that the writers (J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson) have done their homework. Superman is brought to a mountain where archaeologists have made an incredible discovery about the history of man, but a giant energy corporation owns the property and is evicting them for their nuclear waste disposal site. Mercifully for the Salt Lake of the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne purchases the waste disposal company and ends their reign of terror on our state. Too bad we don’t have a Bruce Wayne to do that in our version of Salt Lake.

Another recent appearance of Salt Lake City in comics occurred in Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Wolverine: Old Man Logan. It’s a tale of the future where the bad guys have won and the Kingpin controls Utah (among other parts) and renames our area to Fisk Lake City. Wolverine then has to fight Utah Velicoraptors inside of Rice-Eccles Stadium. It’s quite a hoot.
You can hit any of the local comic book stores for copies of these books.

Bryan Young is the editor of Big Shiny Robot (bigshinyrobot.com).

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From: http://www.inthisweek.com/view.php?id=2467041

April 19, 2011: Superman Comics Shipping This Week


Diamond Comics has released the list of comic books and other items shipping this week. Here are the Superman related items in that list…

Shipping This Week: April 20, 2011.

The following products are expected to ship to comic book specialty stores this week. Note that this list is tentative and subject to change. Please check with your retailer for availability.

Click on the magnifying glass icon () next to a comic’s title to view a sneak peek at the pages within.

  • DC UNIVERSE ONLINE LEGENDS #6
  • JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #56
  • POWER GIRL #23
  • SUPERGIRL #63
  • SUPERMAN/BATMAN #83
  • TEEN TITANS #94
  • TINY TITANS #39
  • YOUNG JUSTICE #3

  • SUPERMAN/BATMAN: WORSHIP TP

  • From: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=9628

    Crowds welcome superheroes to Ogden – Fox 13 Now

    The Man of Steel took a break from crime fighting to make an appearance at an Ogden comic book store.

    Ogden resident Ryan Doman entered a DC Comics-sponsored competition describing why Superman should take a pitstop at his hometown.

    “I wrote in because I thought Ogden could probably use a little bit of help here and there,” Doman said. “It’s a really cool town. Family friendly, but it has like a rough past.”

    Superman may not have flown faster than a speeding bullet into the store, but he was still welcomed by fans of all ages with major fanfare.

    Doman says Ogden has a rough past and a bad reputation, but he expects a bright future, especially with two superheroes present; Superman was joined by Batman at the Ogden event.

    “They figured Ogden needed so much help they sent Batman too, I guess,” said Doman.

    The Dark Knight had another explanation for his appearance.

    “Superman and I had a personal matter to attend to. And since he stopped in here, I’m just keeping track of him,” said Batman.

    Doman didn’t expect to win the competition, but is not humble about what he thinks sealed the deal for the superhero visit.

    “I did send some pictures of me when I was a really little kid dressed up as Superman, so that’s probably what clinched the deal, you know, just because I’m sure I was adorable,” Doman said.

    As an added bonus, Ogden will make a special appearance in an upcoming issue of Superman and DC Comics has promised to send Doman an autographed copy.

    From: http://www.fox13now.com/news/kstu-superman-crowds-welcome-superheroes-to-ogden-20110417,0,1169327.story

    Collectors, kids find comic relief

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    “The movies have really helped,” says Van Peeples, owner of Van’s Comics and Cards in Ridgeland. “People will see a Batman movie or a Spiderman movie, and then want to come check out the comic books about them.”

    Prices are still reasonable from the two largest publishers – $2.99 for new single copies by DC, and $3.99 for those issued by Marvel.

    Visually, comic books have come a long way over the past few decades.

    “They used to be printed in four-color on paper that was much like a newspaper,” Long says. “Today, the art quality is just incredible. They use multi-colors and the pages are slick. And the art really draws the reader in.”

    Some things haven’t changed: Superman, Batman, Spiderman, X-Men and Wonder Woman are among the top sellers.

    “But DC and Marvel will come out with something special for the summer,” Long says. “This year, DC has The War of the Green Lanterns, because there is a Green Lantern movie coming out. DC also has The Return of Doomsday, the character who killed Superman in 1992.”

    Have no fear – Superman is alive and well.

    “Death doesn’t seem to be a big sticking point in comic books,” says Clark Lee, 38, a media specialist at Mississippi Public Broadcasting and an avid collector, particularly of Batman and X-Men. “They even killed Batman off in a way … sent him back to the beginning of time. But they always find a way of reviving them. And it makes for some pretty good collectibles.”

    Like most hobbies, collecting can be as expensive as one wants to make it.

    “The most I’ve ever paid for one was $370,” Lee says. “It was The Incredible Hulk, (issue) No. 181. I bought it because it was the first full comic appearance of Wolverine. I got that in 1999.”

    Giamalva, 24, has been collecting about two years.

    “We were setting up for a comic day here at the library and I picked one up and started reading,” she says. “I found it really interesting. Now, I’m into mostly the graphic novels of Lois Lane, Batman, Mockingbird, Hawkeye, Black Canary and Green Arrow. I’m buying something every month.”

    From: http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20110417/FEAT0507/104170314/Collectors-kids-find-comic-relief?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CHome%7Cs

    Hero Worship: The Death of Superman


    Superman. His symbol is known across the world in association with truth, justice, and the American way. It instills hope and optimism. The character himself is the archetype upon which superheroes have been built for the better part of a century. Kids across the world fantasize about flying through the skies and saving the day. He’s one of the few unifying symbols for all of humanity. He’s an absolute; an icon. And he’s dying.

    Superman’s been dead before, of course; DC Comics killed him off in the early ’90s, sparking a comic book boom and tons of external media attention. The death that’s coming for him in the 21st century, however, is far more detrimental. With each passing month, the fear of my all-time favorite hero losing his intrinsic value grows deeper. Between the last film failing to resonate with fans, the constant struggle to sustain quality in Superman comics, and the well-publicized legal battle between Warner Bros. and the estates of Superman’s creators, Kal-El’s legacy is being tarnished.


    If you’re reading this column, you’re well aware that Warner Bros. is throwing a lot of resources into Man of Steel, their upcoming reboot of the Superman film franchise. As much as WB/DC has riding on Green Lantern, it’s got a whole lot more banking on the success of Man of Steel. You know, like the reputation of their flagship character. As much as I like Superman Returns, it’s obvious that the move to connect the film to the ’70s Donner film was an enormous mistake. It maintained that Superman is an icon, but suggested that he’s an icon of a bygone age. In the time since Superman: The Movie was majorly successful in theaters, America has seen their president impeached for perjury, wars for oil, a failing healthcare system, growing economic crisis, banks collapsing, increased corporate influence, our leaders vilified, and a whole lot more. Is a hero that sees the world in stark black and white a hero to the people, or a misplaced idealist?

    I’m not suggesting that I want to see Superman face off with Al-Qaeda, but confronting his conflict with the 21st century head-on is the only way to keep the Man of Steel from drowning. Though Bruce Wayne is often accused of losing himself within his Batman persona, audiences seem to connect with him more now than ever before. At a psychological level, Batman is remarkably insane. Yet, he’s who we identify with because his plight is real. We can project ourselves into Batman’s cowl, pummeling street-level thugs into oblivion because nobody else will. Superman used to be that character; whether he was messianic or the epitome of “the American dream,” Superman could speak for all of us. But against the backdrop of our modern world, he’s become less about inspiration and more about naivety.

    If Warner Bros. wants to keep Superman as a major franchise, Zack Snyder needs to deliver big time with Man of Steel. And that’s not in a monetary sense – it needs to deliver on a real level in addition to generating fat stacks of cash. It needs to reinvigorate our connection to Superman. If that doesn’t happen, it could be the final pull of the thread that makes the character’s iconic stature unravel. Superman is a god in the eyes of mankind, but in a world where the stance on a higher power has become excessively polarized, what does that mean? Approaching these kind of larger questions (while still punching stuff) is the only way to snag our attention back.


    It’s too early to say what direction Snyder and WB will be taking with Man of Steel. One thing is for sure; this film is an opportunity that won’t be given to them again. If Man of Steel bombs, it’s doubtful we’ll see any big screen incarnation of Superman any time soon. And if the Justice League movie does indeed happen, is anyone going to care after yet another Superman flop?

    From: http://comics.ign.com/articles/116/1162166p1.html

    Diane Lane: ‘Superman covers range of years’

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    From: http://www.digitalspy.com/comics/news/a314705/diane-lane-superman-covers-range-of-years.html

    Actor Nicolas Cage’s $1M Stolen ‘Superman’ Comic Resurfaces 11 Years Later

    Actor Nicolas Cage said it was “divine providence” that his stolen vintage comic book was found 11 years later in a storage unit in Southern California. This wasn’t just any comic book. It is the first Superman comic, titled “Action Comics No. 1,” worth about $1 million.

    “It’s the most important and valuable comic book,” said Stephen Fishler, who sold the comic book to the actor in 1995. “Before this book was published, there was no such thing as a super hero. It really created the comic industry.”

    Detective Donald Hrycyk, head of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Art Theft Detail, has been working on this case since the actor filed a theft report Jan. 21, 2000. The actor, who won an Oscar for his role in “Leaving Las Vegas,” said the item was stolen from his home in Los Angeles. He reportedly received insurance money for its loss, according to Hrycyk.

    Cage’s publicist released a statement from the actor that said: “It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family.”

    Fishler would not disclose the amount the actor paid for the comic book in 1995.

    “It’s worth considerably more than it was then,” said Fishler, who owns ComicConnect.com, the world’s largest retailer of comics. In March 2010, he said his company broke the record for the most expensive comic book for another copy of “Action One” for $1.5 million. In February 2010, he said his company sold another copy for $1 million. While there are about 100 in existence, only six of those comic books are in similar preserved condition, he said.

    Mark Balelo, a collectibles expert in Simi Valley, Calif., was contacted by a man who said he found what was later discovered to be actor’s comic book in a storage locker in San Fernando Valley. The man, who does not wish to be identified according to Detective Hrycyk, bought the locker’s contents through American Auctioneers, a company based in Riverside, Calif. Elisabeth Metzidis, controller for Balelo Inc. confirmed that the man who found the comic book asked Balelo to sell it.

    From: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/nicolas-cages-stolen-comic-book-found-11-years/story?id=13356779

    Police recover Nicolas Cage”s USD 1 million Superman comic

    Los Angeles, Apr 13 (PTI) A ”Superman” comic book worth USD 1 million stolen from Hollywood superstar Nicolas Cage”s collection a decade ago, has been recovered.
    The comic book printed in 1938, which was stolen from the actor”s West Los Angeles home in 2000, was found in an out of order storage locker, reported TMZ.
    The comic features the debut of Superman and is widely regarded as one of the most important comic books ever published.
    The stolen copy was discovered in a storage locker in the San Fernando Valley that had been bought at an auction.
    The man, who was not identified, bought the storage unit in an auction through Riverside-based American Auctioneers.
    New York dealer Stephen Fishler, who sold the copy to Cage, was able to identify it as the original.
    Cage, 49, was an avid collector of comic books until the theft at his home. He was said to be so upset at the loss of three comics that he gave up collecting.
    Cage, star of ”Con Air” and ”Face:Off”, later sold his collection of 141 comics for more than USD 1.6 million.
    Cage has already received an insurance payout on the stolen comic and a LAPD spokesman said it has yet to be decided who the comic will be returned to.
    “Whether he will regain legal title or not, is between Cage and the insurance company,” said Donald Hrycyk.
    Action Comics No 1, published in June 1938, is the first issue of the Action Comics series. It features the first appearance of Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
    Despite reprints in the 1970s, 1988, 1998 and 2000, the original 1938 print run (originally 20,000 copies) remains highly prized.

    From: http://news.in.msn.com/international/article.aspx?cp-documentid=5117286

    Nicolas Cage’s ‘Superman’ Comic Found

    An infamous Superman comic, owned by Nicolas Cage worth at least $1.5 million, was found at an auction over 10 years after the actor reported it stolen.

    Nicolas Cage

    The very first issue of Action Comics, in which the character of Superman was introduced, was in 1938, and Cage had a copy of that extremely rare issue. That copy was taken from his home in a home invasion in 2000. Having had it insured for an unknown amount, Cage cashed out on the theft.

    Skip ahead a decade and change when a man finds it inside a storage locker he bought in an auction in Los Angeles. It is unclear if the discovery will affect the money that Cage had been given originally; the amount of which is unknown. In fact, due to Cage having cashed out, it’s unclear if he has ownership or claim on the comic at all. That being the case, the insurance company will claim it once it’s released from evidence.

    The very first “Superman” comic

    Regardless, Cage is pleased. He released a statement April 11, saying, “It is divine providence that the comic was found, and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family.”

    Cage is a well-known Superman fanatic, going so far as to name his son Kal-el—the superhero’s real name.

    From: http://celebs.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474979214741

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