With DC Comics rebooting their entire line of comics this month and sale of their #1 issues being sold out faster than comic shops can get them in, it’s a great time to take a look at some of the most valuable single issues in comic book history. For the sake of not having a boring list, repeat issues of sales featuring the same comic were eliminated.

5. Marvel Comics #1 (CGC 9.0) – sold for $350,000

Despite the title, ‘Marvel Comics’ #1 was originally published by Timely Comics in 1939. Timely would change it’s name to Atlas Comics in the ‘50s and finally to Marvel Comics in 1961. This issue is the beginning of it all. It features the first appearance of a Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner. Of note, though, is that the Human Torch in this issue is an android and not the beloved member of the Fantastic Four that we’ve all come to love. That version of Human Torch would not appear until Marvel Comics published ‘Fantastic Four’ #1 in 1961.

Other issues of ‘Marvel Comics’ #1, also graded at 9.0, have sold between $201,250 – 208,000.

4. Flash Comics #1 (CGC 9.6) – sold for $450,000

Published in 1940, ‘Flash Comics’ was an anthology series that featured several stories per issue, including those of its title character. ‘Flash Comics’ #1 was the first appearances of both the original Flash (Jay Garrick) as well as Hawkman. This version of the Flash was used throughout the DC Universe and eventually became part of the Justice Society of America (the precursor to today’s Justice League). What has become of Jay Garrick in the DC reboot is unknown.

Other issues of ‘Flash Comics’ #1 of the same 9.6 grade have sold for $273,125 – 350,000.

3. Detective Comics #27 (CGC 8.0) – sold for $1,075,000

The first appearance of Batman and the namesake of DC Comics was first published in 1939. In his first appearance, the caped crusader was called the “Bat-Man”, wore purple gloves and carried a revolver. ‘Detective Comics’ went on to become one of the longest-running American comics ever with over 800 issues. This week, the series is relaunched for the first time in the publication’s history with ‘Detective Comics’ #1, written and illustrated by Tony Daniel (‘Teen Titans’, ‘Flash: The Fastest Man Alive’).

Issues of ‘Detective Comics’ #27 have sold for $200,000 – 657,250 with the only other grade 8.0 issue being sold in 2001 for #278,190.

2. Amazing Fantasy #15 (CGC 9.6) – sold for $1,100,000

It’s hard to believe that the first appearance of Marvel Comics’ flagship character, Spider-Man, was only introduced because this series, originally titled ‘Amazing Adventures’ and ‘Amazing Adult Fantasy’, was already pegged for cancellation. Marvel figured that it had nothing to lose and gave Stan Lee’s quirky arachnid-based superhero a shot. The rest is, as they say, history. The throwaway character of Spider-Man has gone on to become one of the most recognizable characters in the comic book world. He’s had multiple comic book series, television shows, and movies. The latest Spider-Man movie, titled ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ is set to release in 2012 and stars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone.

Other issues of ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15 have sold for $210,000 – 227,000 with the highest being a copy graded at 9.4 in 2007.

1. Action Comics #1 (CGC 8.5) – sold for $1,500,000

At over 900 issues, ‘Action Comics’ is the longest running American comic book series in history. It is also the birthplace of the world’s most famous superhero… Superman. When Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created the Man of Steel in 1938, they had no idea what they were unleashing on the comic book world. Like ‘Flash Comics’, ‘Action Comics’ was an anthology series that featured other characters alongside Superman, but it’s Siegel and Shuster’s creation that went on to be copied by the other comic creators and essentially birthed the superhero comics that we’re still reading today. Like ‘Detective Comics’, DC is relaunching ‘Action Comics’ as part of the New 52. ‘Action Comics’ #1, written by Grant Morrison (‘All-Star Superman’) and illustrated by Rags Morales (‘Identity Crisis’), hits newsstands today.

Other lower-graded issues of ‘Action Comics’ #1 have sold for $250,000 – 1,000,000

Comic book sales courtesy of ItsAllJustComics.com

article updated 9/7/11