On 14th July 2021 in Dallas, Texas, an original copy of Batman #1 (1940) sold at auction for $2.22 million. Graded at 9.4 — the highest grade ever for a Batman #1 from the Certified Guaranty Company – its value topped the $1.5 million sale price for Detective Comics #27 (1939), despite the fact that it features the first proper appearance of Batman.
The reason for its greater value? The first story “The Legend of Batman and How He Came To Be” reveals Batman’s origin, practically unchanged throughout all the retellings and interpretations over the years. Secondly, the next story debuts The Joker. In a perfect introduction to the character, he’s seen killing pre-announced targets with his infamous Joker Venom and leaving a Joker playing card behind (incidentally, a story currently being re-imagined by Tom King in Batman: Brave and the Bold (2023)).
The third story features the lesser-known Hugo Strange. Established two months prior in Detective Comics #36 (1940), he failed to make a lasting impression – although his creation of Monster Men, had greater longevity, appearing some thirty times across the years. However, the fourth story features the first appearance of Catwoman. A jewel thief known in the story simply as The Cat, her real name isn’t revealed, but her flirtatious relationship with Batman certainly is. Not only does she try to convince him to join her as a thief, but when she escapes the police, Batman has developed a soft spot for her and allows her to get away. If only they knew what was ahead of them….
The same month that a copy of Batman #1 sold at auction in 2021, a copy of Action Comics #1 (1938), one of only 100 copies thought to exist in the world, sold for $3.25 million. While Superman maybe doesn’t have quite the same level of popularity as Batman (to be fair, who else does?), the issue has greater historical significance as it features Superman’s first appearance and is now considered to mark the start of the popular superhero genre.
Action Comics was hurriedly put together by DC to capitalize on the success of their Detective Comics anthology title, and the time constraint forced the editors to trawl through rejected strips rather than solicit new material. Writer Jerry Seigel and illustrator Joe Schuster had developed a powerful character from another world which, thanks to the sudden pressures of necessity, seemed like a headline-grabbing enough idea to lead the first issue. Not only did the character make the cover but was given the lion’s share of the issue – in a 64-page comic featuring a whopping eleven stories, thirteen of those pages were taken up by Superman. In a typical example of the astonishingly concise storytelling of early comics, the story included Superman’s arrival on earth, adapting to life with his adopted parents, and then several heroic displays of his powers as Superman including the rescue of Lois Lane (making her debut, of course) from mobsters.
That scene provides the comic with the inspiration behind its legendary cover. A perfectly composed image featuring the terrified face of a mobster, and Superman’s Herculean pose, it’s also brilliantly retro thanks to the model of the car and the rudimentary symbol on Superman’s chest. As for Batman #1, his look had already been refined with a larger cape that flowed from his cowl rather than also his arms (to look like wings), and a more streamlined mask. He’s also accompanied by Dick Grayson, the first Robin, who had only just made his debut (in Detective Comics #38 (1940)). Then there’s that iconic logo, faithfully recreated for the Batman television show during the 1960’s. As for retro, check out that cover price!
Created by Brandlite, both posters are 15.7″ by 10.8″ and are rimmed with a mains-powered red LED light that includes a dimmer switch. This will not only grab your attention, but also provide some mood lighting for your room. Fixtures and fittings are included too.
Thanks to Superman, Action Comics #1 kickstarted the Golden Age of comics, changing comics forever, and Batman was hot on its heels. You can’t own the original comics, and the stories themselves are a dated artifact of a different era. What is important is recognising these iconic covers as representing vital moments in modern mythology. The Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 LED posters give you the opportunity to have glowing recognition to these two important moments for the medium of comics and, eventually, popular culture itself.
DC Comics LED Illuminated Poster Signs bring your favorite character to life with brightly lit inkjet print, embedded in a solid slimline Acrylic (PMMA) body. The high-end posters illuminate the graphic and have a unique ‘neon-style’ edge glow that adds a magic atmosphere to any room in the house!
Height: 15.7″ (39.9 cm)
Width: 10.8″ (27.4 cm)
Depth: 0.5″ (1.3 cm) *
Height: 1.18″ (3 cm)
Width: 11.81″ (30 cm)
Depth: 19.68″ (50 cm) *
* Size and weight are approx. values
Images and Press Release Courtesy of Sideshow Collectibles