The first comic to feature an appearance from Peter Parker aka Spider-Man has sold for a staggering USD $3.6 million, or roughly AUD $4.8 million.
Amazing Fantasy no. 15 has now broken the record that was previously held by Action Comics no. 1, which was published in 1938 and contained the first appearance of Superman. The graphic novel sold for USD $3.25 million earlier in 2021.
Written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Amazing Fantasy no. 15, gives readers their first introduction to the extremely shy Peter Parker, who gains incredible powers but whose selfishness leads to the death of his beloved Uncle Ben, leading him to learn of the great responsibility that comes with great power.
The popularity of the comic and new character led to Spider-Man getting his own monthly comic book before diversifying into a cartoon and newspaper strip. Now Marvel’s most popular superhero, Spider-Man is the focus of a billion-dollar movie franchise and has sold millions of video games globally.
Amazing Fantasy no. 15, which is one of only four known copies in existence and in near mint condition, was sold as part of Heritage Auction’s Signature Comics & Comic Art auction. The auction house is having a good year in the comics trade given it sold the only known Batman No. 1 for USD $2.22 million in January. Prior to that, the world record for the sale of a Batman title was USD $1.5 million in November 2020, for a copy of 1939’s Detective Comics no. 27. At the time, that was the highest sale price ever for any Batman comic book.
Comics have been setting and breaking record prices during the pandemic with Forbes theorising a few reasons for the boom. The publication suggests that the cancellation of large scale, in-person conventions may have shifted the trend away from impulse purchases at the events to serious buyers having the time and focus to pursue their collections online.
Forbes also noted that “rising markets, including in areas like cryptocurrency, may have lead to a “wealth effect,” encouraging people to open their wallets wider for discretionary passion purchases”, while the fact that comic books can be easily stored and transported makes them attractive investments to people who want to manage part of their wealth discretely.
For reference, a quick search on realestate.com.au revealed that for the same price as Amazing Fantasy no. 15, you could buy this charming three-bedroom home in the Sydney suburb of Paddington.
I’m honestly not sure what is more insane – the fact that comic books are selling for squillions or the fact that the housing market in Sydney is so ridiculous right now that almost five million dollars will only get you three bedrooms.
What a time to be alive.