A picture is worth a thousand words. But make it a strip of pictures—with words—and it might be worth a thousand dollars. But just what comic books are worth money?
Comics can be worth considerable cash. Take, for instance, the first issue of Batman’s standalone series. It sold for a whopping $527,000 in 2013. And back in 1962, Spiderman swung onto the scene via issue 15 of the Amazing Fantasy series. Fast-forward to 2011, where that comic sold for over $1.1 million at auction.
Holy collectibles, Batman! What do you do now? Though it’s unlikely you own a comic that could catapult you into early retirement, here’s how to tell what comic books are worth money:
Is Your Comic Book Worth Money? Use a Guide to Find Out!
Do some basic browsing and see where Google takes you. If your search comes up short on information, check a pricing site like www.comicspriceguide.com. You can also browse an auction site like eBay. Search your title, character, and filter by quality (like new, used, etc.).
How Much Money a Comic Book is Worth Depends on the Condition
Comics are like cars. As wear increases, the value depreciates. Comic books are graded from 1-10, using a CGC scale. The categories include Mint, Fine, Good, Fair and Poor—each with varying sub-levels. The more pristine, the pricier the piece. For the best price estimate, outsource the task to a dealer. Obvious things you can look for now include torn pages, missing pages, faded colors, and/or stains.
Learn About the Comic Book Eras and How Much Money They Usually
We’ve heard of the Stone Age and the Renaissance, but who knew comics had their own category of Ages? Milestones and industry trends defined each Age. Classic characters emerged in each of the eras, so your starring superhero(es) can clue you in to your comic’s value. Here are the various periods:
- Victorian And Platinum Age (1828-1933)
- Golden Age (1933-1950): This is known as the most valuable era.
- Silver Age (1956-1970)
- Bronze Age (1970-1985)
- Modern Age (1985-Present)
To Find Out If Your Comic Book is Worth Money, Know the Demand!
Though rarity is important, demand is everything. For example, there are more than 10,000 copies of New Mutants #98—an issue featuring Deadpool’s first appearance—floating around the market. Copies of this issue continually sell for upwards of $1000, even though it’s not hard to come by. Do your research to find out if any of your issues are in high demand.
What Comic Books are Worth Money Today?
Here’s the thing; it’s really, truly difficult to determine which comic books will gain value over time. Then again, the actual age of a comic book might be all it takes for it to gain value. For example, Action Comics #1 with the debut of Superman is worth a literal fortune. Not only is it from the Golden Age of comics, but it features the most popular superhero ever. However, other titles from the same era, like Hour-Man, Hawkman, and the Dr. Mid-Night, aren’t nearly as valuable.
On the other hand, any comic from the 1930s through the 1960s likely has accrued real value. Why? Simply because they’re antiques, and everyone loves going back through time via well-kept, visually-engaging antiques like comic books. But, again, heroes like Superman, Spiderman, Hulk, and Batman will always fetch the big bucks because they’re so wildly popular. Below are a few of the most valuable comics from the last 90 years of comic book history, including:
Action Comics #1- 1938
The granddaddy of them all, this is the comic where Superman, the strange visitor from another planet, made his comic book debut. Selling in 1938 for a measly .10 cents, Action Comics #1 is worth over $3 million today. Man of Steel, meet comic book gold.
Detective Comics #27 – 1939
If you’re a Batman fan, you can thank Detective Comics issue #27. The Dark Knight was introduced in this classic comic, which has fewer than 200 issues in existence. That makes it, as you might imagine, quite valuable. Mint condition issues have sold for well over $2 million.
Amazing Fantasy #15 – 1962
Ever heard of a certain wall-crawler called Spiderman, aka Peter Parker? It’s likely you have, as he’s super popular today. He wasn’t when Amazing fantasy #15 debuted, but that comic shows how much fan-love for Spidey has grown. Today it’s worth over $1 million.
All-Star Comics #8 – 1941
No comic book collection would be complete without Princess Diana of Themyscira, the dynamic Wonder Woman! She came along and changed everything in comics! Finding a copy of this classic won’t be easy, though, as it’s exceptionally rare.
Marvel Comics #1 – 1939
Making their debut in this classic comic is the Sub-Mariner and Human Torch, two of Marvel’s biggest superstars. Even better, since less than 26 of these incredibly rare comics are available, they’re worth around $1 million!
Batman #1 – 1940
Batman and his trusted ward Dick Grayson, aka Robin the Boy Wonder, made their comic book debut in 1940. This issue also saw two of Batman’s famous “rogues gallery” make their debut, Joker, and Catwoman. Today it’s worth nearly $600,000.
Superman #1 – 1939
The last son of Krypton got his own comic in 1939 and, today, there are fewer than 200 around. That makes them worth over $500,000! (Last comic book of Krypton?)
X-Men #1 – 1963
If mutants float your proverbial boat, X-Men #1 is your go-too comic. Difficult to find in good condition, X-Men #1 will set you back about $500,000.
Flash Comics #1 – 1940
Although nt as popular among some comic fans, the Flash is still a big deal. (He’s a part of the Justice League, you know!) Flash Comics #1 is worth over $400,000 at auction.
Sensation Comics #1 – 1942
Wonder Woman makes her first front cover appearance in this classic comic, although finding one in mint condition is insanely difficult. (They go for over $400,000!)
The Incredible Hulk #1 – 1962
Almost impossible to find in excellent condition, the 1st comic about the Jade Giant sells today for about $375,000. That price will definitely smash your savings account!
Tales of Suspense #39 – 1959
Our last comic book today saw the 1st appearance of Iron Man and his alter-ego, Tony Stark. Today’s modern Marvel movie family would never have existed if it weren’t for Tony and his arc-reactor technology!
Now You Know Which Comic Books Are Worth Money!
The more you know about your comic or collection, the easier it will be to appraise. If it turns out your comic is worth something, make sure to get it sealed in a slab. A slab is a plastic sleeve that protects a comic’s value. If the slab is opened, the grade is invalid, so remember to keep it sealed tight!
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This post was originally published on 12/13/2018. It was updated on 1/27/2022.