Monthly Archives: June 2009

An extra story in a rare comic book

Today I held in my hands a copy of the most valuable comic book issue in existence, Action Comics #1 (which contains the first appearance of Superman).
Well, actually I was holding an impermeable plastic capsule containing the book; naturally I couldn’t touch it directly or leaf through it. And it was far from mint condition, so this one was worth far less than some of the other remaining copies of this famous issue. But nevertheless it was exciting to see this piece of comics history, a time capsule from 1938.
It goes without saying that the better condition a comic book is in, the more valuable it is—at least on the collector’s market. And indeed this is true of most goods. But I felt like the experience of seeing this as a historical artifact was actually enhanced by the fact that it didn’t look like it had come right from the printing press. The left edge was cracked from frequent reading, there was a food stain on the cover, and the name “Junior” was written in pencil in the corner. Some kid loved this book. I can imagine him reading it at the dinner table. The book itself has its own story that a mint copy wouldn’t have.