Three other comics in the auction sold for over $200,000. A copy of “the most important comic book ever published,” Action Comics #1 from 1938, sold for $298,750, over double its estimate. This is the most expensive comic ever sold, the introduction of Superman, but in a lower grade condition than those copies that have sold for over $1 million. Bringing in $274,850, over three times its estimate, was Batman #1 from 1940. This was the first separate Batman comic, introducing the Joker and Catwoman for the first time. Earning $203,150, another triple-plus of the estimate, was All-American Comics #16, which was the debut appearance for the Green Lantern.
While action heroes from the 1930s-1940s bring the biggest comic prices, more recent items are now breaking through. Heritage offered the original watercolor artwork for a 1989-90 calendar cover by Bill Watterson. Watterson is the creator of Calvin and Hobbes. This comic strip was at its height of popularity when the reclusive Watterson announced that he had taken it as far as he could, and to the dismay of his many fans, discontinued the strip. He explained that he felt it better to leave early than repeat the same material over and over (take that, Marmaduke!). This artwork sold for $107,500, over double the estimate. Heritage noted that such a price is very unusual for material related to a comic strip (as opposed to a comic book).
If you are thinking of collecting comic books, you need to be aware that it is not quite the same as collecting regular books. As noted before, most were printed in very large quantities. This does not mean they are commonplace. Like newspapers, fragile and not deemed worthy of keeping, the vast majority were thrown out long ago. Nonetheless, they are not usually great rarities. Consequently, condition is even more important in separating the very best from the rest. Comics have their own grading system, more intricate and specific than good,very good, and fine. That $298,000 copy of Action Comics #1 was a very nice copy, but there is a reason it didn't match the $2.1 million price of a few months earlier. Be sure you understand condition before you buy. And, if you find some old comics in the attic, whatever their current condition, keep them out of extreme heat and light and treat them with great care. They are delicate, and their condition, and value, are subject to rapid deterioration.