Here we go again. Another record price in the sort-of books, paper ephemera category. Once more, a comic book has achieved a new record price - $3.6 million. If there is anything surprising here it is that the new record goes to Peter Parker, not Clark Kent nor even Bruce Wayne. Superman usually holds the number one spot, with Batman runner-up, Spider-Man number three. I would not be surprised if the next record price returns the Man of Steel to his regular lofty post, but for now, the web-spinner holds down the top position.
The comic book in question is Amazing Fantasy #15 from Marvel, published in 1962. Back then it cost 12 cents. That is a 3 billion percent increase in value. Have your investments done that well? Too bad your mother threw out your copy of this “junk” 60 years ago. She didn't love you.
This comic is remarkable for two things. One is that it was the first appearance of Spider-Man. Hard to believe, but he is not yet even old enough to collect social security. Spider-Man was instantly a hit, so much so that he immediately was given his own dedicated comic book. He next appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #1, meaning that Spider-Man #1 is actually #2.
The other remarkable thing about this copy is its condition. It is almost like new. It is graded at 9.6, out of 10, one of only four copies achieving that level. None has ever been certified higher. You cannot find a better copy.
In this story, we are introduced to Peter Parker's amazing transition to Spider-Man. He is bitten by a radioactive spider which gives him his great strength and the ability to climb walls. He fails to use those abilities to stop a thief, who in turn kills his Uncle Ben (or should we now call him “Ben's Original?”). Peter now realizes he must become a crime fighter. As the comic intones at the end, “With great power there must also come—great responsibility!” Spider-Man has been fighting crime ever since, though in just six more years he will be eligible to retire.
This new record price beat the old record by 10%. The previous highest price was $3.25 million paid for a copy of Action Comics #1. That is the one that introduced Superman to the world. The highest price poor Batman has ever reached is $2.2 million.
The record price was achieved at Heritage Auctions Comics and Comic Art Signature Sale on September 10.