Heritage’s latest Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction, which takes place March 30-April 2, will rank among the auction house’s most historic. This event counts among its essential offerings one of the most significant groups of key Golden Age books ever available in a single auction, especially at such high grades, among them Detective Comics No. 27, Superman No. 1, Marvel Comics No. 1 and a Batman No. 1 never before seen at auction.
In this auction, collectors will find Batman’s May 1939 debut in Detective Comics No. 27 – a book so rare there are just 75 copies known to exist in any condition and only 14 graded higher than the CGC Fine 6.0 offered in this auction. This copy could rank among the most coveted of all: As CGC notes, Batman’s co-creator Bob Kane left a message, written in ink, on its first page to his friend (and beloved collector) Robert Crestohl.
It’s also one half of a dynamic duo that includes two stunning copies of Batman No. 1 from the spring of 1940. One is graded CGC Very Fine 8.0, and has a remarkable origin story involving a father’s secret collection of 300,000 books and a son’s revelation in 2020.
Rounding out the World’s Finest team is another essential from the medium’s earliest days: a Superman No. 1 bearing a CGC Restored Grade of Apparent Very Fine 8.0. Launched in the summer of ’39, and the shadow of Action Comics No. 1, this was the first comic book whose title and contents belonged to a single hero, himself the very first of the superheroes. It wasn’t even intended as the beginning of a series, merely a one-off meant to ride Superman’s cape and coattails, hence the lack of a No. 1 on its cover.
Another of comicdom’s most important first issues missing a “No. 1” on its glorious front was the book that eventually turned a pulp publisher called Timely into a comics goliath called Marvel: October 1939’s debut of Marvel Comics. This is among the finest examples ever to come to auction – one of only three graded CGC Very Fine 7.5, with just five ever graded higher. Save for the Windy City copy Heritage offered in 2019, this is the finest copy we’ve offered in more than a decade – and the only CGC Universal-certified copy noted as having white pages.
It wasn’t long ago that Timely’s entry into the superhero market, 1939’s Marvel Comics No. 1, was the most coveted title among collectors – partly because there are fewer than 68 copies on CGC’s census report, with almost half of them restored. It also introduced two characters still in the company’s employ more than eight decades later – the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner – and others (the Angel and Ka-Zar) whose names were subsequently recycled.
The Justice Society of America first gathered around its round table in All-Star Comics No. 3, available in this auction in a CGC Fine- 5.5.
Shortly after that, Wonder Woman made her debut – “a little slinky,” Jill Lepore once wrote, and “very kinky” – in All Star Comics No. 8 before getting her own book with Sensation Comics No. 1, both of which are also offered here.
This is an event drenched in gold: Captain Marvel’s first flight in Whiz Comics No. 1 also soars in this auction, alongside Doctor Fate’s debut in the highest-graded copy of More Fun Comics No. 55, a gem bearing the Mile High Pedigree.
But all that glitters isn’t just Golden Age superheroes:
Here, too, is one of the highest-graded copies of Archie Comics No. 1 – a CGC Fine 6.5.
The first all-horror book haunts this auction, as well: Eerie No. 1 from 1947 graded CGC Near Mint- 9.2 – the highest graded copy in existence. It’s horrifying, but like everything else in this auction, historic.