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Posted at 7:30 PM ET, 02/25/2010

BREAKING: Holy Outta-Control! Batman comic breaks record in million-dollar sale

By Michael Cavna

batman.jpg (Heritage Auction Galleries / AP)

Well that record didn't last long.

Just three days after a Superman issue became the first comic book ever to sell for a million dollars, a Batman comic book sold today at auction -- for about $75,000 more.

Heritage Auction Galleries in Dallas tells Comic Riffs that a rare copy of Detective Comics No. 27 from 1939 -- in which "The Batman" made his debut -- sold for a record-setting $1,075,500 Thursday.

Both the consignor and the buyer -- who purchased the comic online via a "click bid" -- chose to shield their identities (again, how apropos). And holy deja-vu, Batman: Like the Superman comic that sold Monday in New York, the Caped Crusader comic is graded to be in "8.0" condition on the industry's 10-point scale.

"It really has an amazing appearance," Lon Allen, sales director for Heritage's comic books division, tells Comic Riffs. "The bright yellows with Batman swooping in -- you can really tell it was stored properly from the beginning.

"It isn't faded or dog-earred," continues Allen, 37, who grew up an avid comic-book fan. "To the untrained eye, it looks like it's in near-mint condition."

Last fall, the collector expressed an interest in selling, so Allen traveled to his house [he only reveals that it's in the "northern" part of the United States] to see the "slabbed" book.

"I went there knowing it was going to be a good book. So many have restoration on them," Allen says. "I had to determine how good it is under a chandelier" -- and he was duly impressed.

There aren't any known higher-grade copies of the Batman issue. "Only rumors of them," the Heritage official says.

Somewhere between 100 and 200 copies of Detective Comics No. 27 exist, Allen says. In 1939, the comic sold for 10 cents; the consignor bought the record-setting book in the '60s for $100.

Prior to Monday, the record for a comic-book sale was $317,000 (last year, for another copy of the 1938 Superman-debut issue).

So was Monday's Superman-sale a game-changer for the comics-collectible industry?

"It really does seem like it," Allen says. "I think that the million-dollar result made somebody feel comfortable on [bidding] those kinds of numbers -- $317,000 was so far below what it should have been."

Added Allen: "I think this is ushering in a whole new ballgame [in sale prices]. This is going to give a boost to the ... highest-grade of all comics."


THE MAN OF STEELY DEALS: Super-Man comic sells for record price

By Michael Cavna  | February 25, 2010; 7:30 PM ET
Categories:  The Comic Book  | Tags:  Batman, Detective Comics No. 27  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: DOONESBURY: Garry Trudeau to release 40th-anniversary retrospective
Next: $uperheroes: Not all fans put currency in the million-dollar sale


A recent Harvard grad's thoughts on the cultural implications of recent, large online sales of comic books -- namely, Action Comics No.1 and Detective Comics 27:

Posted by: SteveRDuque | February 26, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I haven't had the pleasure of reading this blog in months, and maybe this has been addressed (or beaten to death) but...

Why the @#&$*( is prickly city still in the WaPo? How much does Stantis pay you to have this garbage published?

There are so many great strips that aren't getting print because crap like this fills the pages instead.

Posted by: MAL9000 | February 26, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

So why is he "The Batman," when Superman is just "Superman"?

Posted by: tomtildrum | February 26, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Agreed re: Stantis. Dude doesn't even try. My best guess is that The Post is trying to look neutral since it runs some unabashedly liberal strips. Still, I don't care about the political leanings of comics artists, just how funny the strips are. Prickly is garbage.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | February 26, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Holy Outta Control? If you are trying to sound clever, you are failing miserably when you use phrase structure from over 40 years ago. Why not "1,075,500 goes 23 Skiddoo for Detective #27"?

Posted by: ChiJason | February 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Why does the Post list of links contain so many comics that have not changed in months? Like Cul de Sac for example.

Posted by: pjohn2 | February 27, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

At least Cul de Sac is alive and well elsewhere, despite the Post's best efforts to kill it off. Unlike Opus, which was retired in November, 2008, but is still listed in the Post's "current" collection, over 15 months later. Someone is clearly harboring a grudge. Perhaps Michael Cavna could find out who it is on the Post's staff who hates Cul de Sac (and Frazz, for that matter).

Posted by: kilby | March 1, 2010 2:33 AM | Report abuse

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