Friday, February 26, 2010

Superman vs. Batman: first to a million

The New York City snowfall is not the only force of nature that broke records this week.

On 2/22/10, Superman made history yet again. A original, high-quality copy of his debut, Action Comics #1 (1938), became the first comic book to auction (to sell, period) for $1 million.

A mere four days later, another historic sale made national news. An also high-quality copy of Detective Comics #27, featuring the 1939 debut of Batman (who was, it should be noted, created in response to Superman), sold for $1,075,500.

In true superhero fashion, neither the buyer nor the seller in either transaction has revealed his (or, less likely, her) identity.

This will not settle the decades-long debate about which character is more popular or "better"...but given my forthcoming news about Batman, I'll take it as a good omen. Batman and omens, they do go together.

Two distinguished benchmarks: Superman was first to a million and Batman was first to surpass it. Again, given Bruce Wayne's wealth, that seems thematically appropriate.

But one inevitable day, someone will break this Batman record. Superman's, however, will always be his. And since he is the world's first traditional superhero, that, too, is only appropriate.

3/30/10 addendum: In a presumably unrelated auction, another copy of Action #1 sold yesterday for $1.5 million. That means three major records were broken within one month.