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The Market Confirms: Batman Beats Superman

The Market Confirms: Batman Beats Superman

"Detective Comics" #27, which features the first appearance of Batman, sold for more than $1 million in Dallas yesterday.


March 04, 2010

Dallas, TX — A rare surviving copy of Detective Comics #27, which in May, 1939, featured the first appearance of Batman, sold for a comic-book record $1,075,500 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas yesterday.

Drawn by the legendary Bob Kane, the comic had been expected to do well, perhaps fetching in excess of $300,000. But the $1 million sum crushed the previous auction high for any comic, set last year at Metropolis Comics in New York, when a copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold for $317,000.

The anonymous seller of the Detective Comics — the cover of which shows the bat-wing-caped superhero swinging through the air with a bad guy under his arm — had bought the comic more than 40 years ago for $100, meaning he or she realized some whopping capital gains through the sale.

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The six-page original Batman story was titled “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” and offers no biographical data about the newly invented superhero, such as reference to the character’s real life persona, industrialist and playboy Bruce Wayne. At one point in the rather gruesome comic, Batman drops one of the villains into a vat of acid. The cover of the issue blares the banner headline “Starting this issue: the amazing and unique adventures of the Batman.”

Though slow to gain credit for the co-creation of the famous character, writer Bill Finger is now thought to have had a significant role in developing the physical appearance of the Caped Crusader, also sometimes known as the Dark Knight.

The comic is certified with a VF 8.0 rating by the Comics Grading Corporation (CGC), on a scale of one to 10, one of only two known Detective Comics #27 issues certified at that near pristine grade.

“This is one of the finest known surviving copies of Detective Comics #27,” said Lon Allen, of Heritage’s comics department. It’s certainly in better condition than Batman’s nefarious foes.

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