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.

4 thoughts on “An extra story in a rare comic book

  1. Mason Porter

    Amen! I get this type of feeling when I see certain old baseball cards…
    On a related note, when I got Harlan Ellison to autograph an anthology of his that I own, he really appreciated the fact that it was obvious that I was actually reading it, especially given that the person right before me in line gave him half a dozen things to sign that were in pristine condition in their plastic covers. I remember Ellison gave me a look while I was patiently waiting that said very loudly, ‘The guy in front of you is a schmuck.’

  2. JSpur

    Your Mom gave me a mint signed, first edition condition copy of SUTTREE by Cormac McCarthy for my 50th birthday. For so long as I’m alive, no one will be allowed to touch it, much less read it.

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