Action Comics Price Guide

Action Comics #1 -- the world's most expensive comic book!

Value of Vintage Action Comics

Simply, Action is the most valuable comic book in history.

Action #1 introduced Superman. It is the genesis of the Golden Age of comics. A copy of Action #1 in VF/NM condition sold for more than $3,000,000!

Read on to see what YOUR books are worth.

Is There Treasure in YOUR Attic?

We just unearthed this never-before-offered copy of Action Comics #7. Only the second time Superman appeared on a comic book cover!

We unearthed this never-before-offered copy of Action Comics #7.
Only the second time Superman appeared on a comic book cover.

We paid $40,000 for this book!

What do YOU have in your attic or basement?


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There simply are no words for how important Action is. It put DC on the map, and defined, for better or worse, the modern superhero comic.

Action Comics #1 (June 1938):
The Most Valuable Comic in the World!

Action Comics #1 -- the world's most expensive comic book! Click for values

Action Comics #1
First Appearance of Superman

Record sale: $3,200,000
Minimum value: $100,000

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If you have a copy of Action #1, even if it's in bad shape, it's worth a mint.

Siegel, Shuster, Superman. 1938. Three million bucks. That's really all you need to know.

A Zatara story, a few mysteries and adventures, a boxing story, and a story about Marco Polo. Is anyone interested in those? Thought not.

Say it again: Most Valuable Comic in the World!

Copies of Action #1 can command six figures even in battered condition, since there are so few of them around.

How to Identify Reprints of Action #1

There are several reprints of Action Comics #1. Sadly, chances are the one YOU found is a reprint. Here's how you can tell.

Famous First Edition: This like-for-like reprint of Action #1 is oversized. It came enclosed in an outer wrapper, but once you remove that, the book is hard to tell apart from the original

Famous First Edition 1974
This like-for-like reprint of Action #1 is oversized. It came enclosed in an outer wrapper, but once you remove that, the book is hard to tell apart from the original...

...EXCEPT that it is much too large! It measures 13 inches along the spine and 10 inches wide.

How to Tell
Get out a measuring tape! Simply measure the book along the spine. If it's 13 inches, it's a Famous First Edition with the wrapper removed.

What's it Worth?
$5 with the cover removed, $10-20 complete.

Action Comics #1 Safeguard Promotional Giveaway 1976

Safeguard Promotional Giveaway 1976
A promotional comic book given away to customers of Safeguard.

How to Tell
A box on the front cover clearly states REPRINT.

Action Comics #1 Safeguard Promotional Giveaway 1976

What's it Worth?
In top condition in a CGC holder, around $350. Average copies about $20-30.

Nestle Nesquick Promotional Giveaway 1983

Nestle Nesquick Promotional Giveaway 1983
Customers of the chocolate milkshake could send off for this freebie.

How to Tell
It has the Nesquick rabbit on the back cover! Says 1983 in the indicia (fine print).

What's it Worth?
Again, about $300 in top shape CGC graded and $20-30 in decent shape not graded.

Nestle Nesquick Promotional Giveaway 1987
Customers of the chocolate milkshake could send off for this freebie.

How to Tell
It has the price of 50c on the cover in white on a black box.

What's it Worth?
Anywhere from $170-400 in top shape CGC graded and $15-30 in decent shape not graded.

DC Comics Reprint 1988
Two versions exist, one with bar code, one with the Superman logo in place of the bar code with an anniversary message.

How to Tell
The price of 50c is clearly marked in black on a white box.

What's it Worth?
Again, about $100-130 in top shape CGC graded and $5-10 in decent shape not graded.

Any editions with any other prices on their covers ($1 etc.) are obviously not originals either. There are several later reprints from the 1990s and on.

If in doubt, check the fine print inside the book. Measure the book if you still can't tell.

Action Comics #2: 2nd appearance of Superman. Rare comic. Click for value

Action Comics #2
2nd Appearance of Superman

Record sale: $95,000
Minimum value: $1,500

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Action Comics #3: 3rd appearance of Superman. Rare comic. Click for value

Action Comics #3
3rd Appearance of Superman

Record sale: $55,000
Minimum value: $500

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Action Comics #4: 4th appearance of Superman. Scarce. Click for values

Action #4

Record sale: $25,000
Minimum value: $500

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Action Comics #5: 5th appearance of Superman. Scarce. Click for values

Action #5

Record sale: $7,500
Minimum value: $1,000

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Action Comics #6 (November 1938):
1st Appearance of Jimmy Olsen

Action #6: First appearance of Jimmy Olsen. Click for values

Action #6
1st Appearance of Jimmy Olsen

Record sale: $40,000
Minimum value: $500

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Action #6 doesn't even feature Superman on the cover, but is nonetheless worth quite a hefty sum to collectors.

It is the first appearance of Jimmy Olsen. Yes, Superman's pal, cub reporter and general exclaimer of "Gosh, Mr. Kent!"

This issue also features all the other characters that you certainly don't care about, since it was still an anthology. DC hadn't yet figured out that they ought to put ol' Supes on the cover every month. Sheesh!

Action Comics #7 (December 1938):
Second Cover Appearance of Superman

Action Comics #7 (December 1938): Second Cover Appearance of Superman. Click for values

Action #7
2nd Cover Appearance of Superman

Record sale: $188,000
Minimum value: $15,000

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Considered to be "the poor man's Action #1", this is the second-most desirable comic book from the series.

Superman is seen holding a bad guy in mid-air; but he still did not have the power of flight in this issue.

Action Comics #8: no Superman on cover. Click for value

Action Comics #8

Record sale: $5,000
Minimum value: $500

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Action Comics #9: no Superman on cover. Click for value

Action Comics #9

Record sale: $19,000
Minimum value: $200

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Action Comics #10: 3rd Cover Appearance of Superman. Click for value

Action #10
3rd Cover Appearance of Superman

Record sale: $258,000
Minimum value: $1,000

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Action Comics #11: early Superman appearance. Click for values

Action Comics #11

Record sale: $13,000
Minimum value: $200

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Action Comics #12: Ad for Detective #27 in one panel. Click for value

Action Comics #12
Ad for Detective #27 in one panel

Record sale: $4,800
Minimum value: $200

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Action Comics #13 (June 1939): Superman Takes Flight!

Action Comics #13 (June 1939): Superman Takes Flight! Click for values

Action #13: 4th Superman cover;
1st Superman flying in story?

Record sale: $185,000
Minimum value: $3,000

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In his earliest appearances, Superman doesn't fly. In this issue, he is first shown using his ability to "leap over tall buildings in a single bound!"

As legend has it, Supes wouldn't gain the power of "flight" as such for another couple of years, and then mostly at the urging of the Fleischer Bros. Studios.

They were making a series of fantastic Superman cartoons in full color. If you haven't seen the cartoons, do yourself a favor and watch them all.

Arguments exist supporting Superman comic book #10 from 1941 as the first 'accidental' art showing Supes flying.

Action Comics #14. Click for value

Action #14

Record sale: $13,000
Minimum value: $200

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Action #15: 5th Superman cover. Click for values

Action #15: 5th Superman cover

Record sale: $11,000
Minimum value: $300

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Action Comics #16. Click for value

Action #16

Record sale: $5,000
Minimum value: $100

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Action #17: 6th Superman cover; classic war image. Click for value

Action #17: 6th Superman cover; classic war image

Record sale: $9,000
Minimum value: $300

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Action Comics #18 (November 1939): First X-Ray Vision

Action Comics #18 (November 1939): First X-Ray Vision. Click for current value

Action #18
First use of X-Ray vision?

Record sale: $6,900
Minimum value: $200

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So, Superman has powers, yes?

Well, unlike today, when you get to know all of some new hero's powers all at once, with Superman, they came in dribs and drabs, as the gang at DC thought of them.

In Action #18, Superman uses his X-Ray Vision for noble purposes, helping Senator Hastings, who'd been set up by some dastardly blackmailers.

The cover, which is the last issue of Action Comics that does not feature Superman, is pleasantly undistinguished work by Fred Guardineer.

Action Comics #23 (April 1940):
First Appearance of Lex Luthor

Action Comics #23 (April 1940): First Appearance of Luthor (Lex Luthor later). Click for values

Action #23
First Appearance of Lex Luthor

Record sale: $65,000
Minimum value: $1,000

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Action #23 introduces one of the Man of Steel's main nemeses, namely Luthor.

The "Lex" wouldn't come until later, but for now, what's important is this: Luthor kidnaps Lois, then uses a mysterious green ray against Superman, which weakens him.

A precursor to Kryptonite, you say? Could be.

Kryptonite wasn't introduced until 1943, and even then it was first mentioned in the Superman radio program, and as a continuity device to allow Bud Collyer, the voice of Superman, to have a break.

Action #29: 1st Appearance of Lois Lane

Action #29: 1st Appearance of Lois Lane. Click for values

Action #29
First Cover Appearance of Lois Lane (Superman's Girlfriend)

Record sale: $26,000
Minimum value: $200

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Action #32: First Appearance of Krypto Ray Gun. Click for value

Action #32
First Appearance of Krypto Ray Gun

Record sale: $4,000
Minimum value: $100

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Action #47: First Lex Luthor cover. Click for value

Action #47
First Lex Luthor cover

Record sale: $15,000
Minimum value: $100

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Action Comics #60 (May 1943): Lois Lane, Superwoman

Action Comics #60 (May 1943): Lois Lane, Superwoman. Click for values

We've featured this comic book in our Supergirl comics values article
(click to open in a new tab or window).

Record sale: $15,800
Minimum value: $100

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Action #64: First Appearance of Toyman. Click for values

Action #64
First Appearance of Toyman

Record sale: $10,000
Minimum value: $50

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Action #158: Origin of Superman retold. Click for value

Action #158
Origin of Superman retold

Record sale: $1,000
Minimum value: $30

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Action Comics #241 (June 1958):
First Appearance of the Fortress of Solitude

Action Comics #241 (June 1958): First Appearance of the Fortress of Solitude. Click to see values

Action #241
1st Appearance of Fortress of Solitude

Record sale: $900
Minimum value: $10

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Well into the Silver Age, and some things that we have long considered staples of Superman's world are still being introduced.

In Action #241, writer Jerry Coleman and artist Wayne Boring trot out one of the more important ones: the Fortress of Solitude.

So, this issue isn't super-high in value, but it does have a giant cake, baked by Batman. And that's got to be worth something.

Action Comics #242: 1st Appearance of Brainiac

Action #242: 1st Appearance of Brainiac. Click for value

Action #242
1st Appearance of Brainiac

Record sale: $18,000
Minimum value: $100

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Action Comics #252 (May 1959):
First Appearance of Supergirl

Action Comics #252 (May 1959): Introducing Supergirl. Click for values
Action comics #252 is on our Hot 100 Must-Buy investment comics list. Click to read more!Action comics #252 is on our Hot 100 Must-Buy investment comics list. Click to read more!

Action #252 is the first appearance of the "true" Supergirl.
Again, see our full article for more details.

Record sale: $45,000
Minimum value: $200

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Action #267: First Appearance of Supergirl as Superwoman

Action #267: First Appearance of Supergirl as Superwoman. Click for value

Action #267
1st Appearance of Supergirl as Superwoman

Record sale: $4,600
Minimum value: $10

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Action #276: 1st Appearance of Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy, Sun Boy and Shrinking Violet. Click for value

Action #276
1st Appearance of Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl,
Bouncing Boy, Sun Boy and Shrinking Violet

Record sale: $5,500
Minimum value: $10

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Action #340: 1st Appearance of Parasite. Click for value

Action #340
1st Appearance of Parasite

Record sale: $1,100
Minimum value: $10

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More History of Action Comics and Superman

Superman was introduced in Action #1, a character who goes way beyond the tradition notions of "comic book character." Along with Batman, ol' Supes is the most recognizable fictional character in the world.

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's new idea for a "super-hero" was incredibly modern, in every sense of the word. Coming from another planet, Krypton, which had been doomed to destruction, young Kal-El (then "Kal-L") was sent to earth.

There he found by Ma and Pa Kent out in Smallville, grew to manhood, and took his secret identity as Clark Kent to the big city, Metropolis, to be a reporter for the Daily Star (later the Daily Planet).

Have Your Action Issues Valued!

If you've got some Gold or Silver Age issues of Action Comics (Especially #1, #6, #13, #18, #23, #241, #252, etc.), then click here to have them valued FREE by Sell My Comic Books!

Superman isn't just a New York superhero (indeed, it's hard to say what city "Metropolis" is supposed to stand in for--perhaps Philadelphia?), and he isn't just an American superhero, or even a superhero of the world. He is a superhero of the galaxy, of the cosmos, of the entirety of all who live in the known universe and beyond.

Sounds kinda godlike, huh? That messiah vibe wasn't lost on the makers of the most recent Superman reboots, Superman Returns and Man of Steel. It's not an easy job being the most powerful fellow on this or any other planet, and makes for some dull stories (especially once you've been through the whole "Kryptonite" thing) unless you really juice them up with difficult moral choices and make the godlike being as "human" as a Kryptonian can be. 

Are you convinced now as to why the dude in the red and blue tights with the cape is important? So, back to Action. The series debuted in June of 1938 as an anthology comic, and Siegel and Shuster's idea for our favorite son of the ol' Krypton somehow ended up as the cover story.

The story goes that then-DC publisher Harry Donenfeld thought that the Superman story in Action #1 was "ridiculous," and forbid the character from ever appearing on the cover again.

Of course, time and the actual sales data showed that Supes was the reason for all the sales of that issue, and so Donenfeld went the way of the money, as all publishers must eventually go.

The rest is, really, history. Superman would appear in every issue of Action Comics thereafter, although not always on the cover until #19.

Sure, some other characters had appeared in Action along with Supes in the early days, including Zatara, the magician (who?), along with such incredibly memorable ones as Tex Thompson (later the Americommando), the Vigilante, and Hayfoot Henry, the comedic and poetic copper who solved both crimes and rhymes. Not joking.

The anthology format would hold for quite some time, even after Superman was the acknowledged star of the series, all the way until the 1950s, when the title became known forever more as a Superman title, just as Detective Comics became known as a Batman title.  

Volume 1 of Action ended in 2011, with Action #904. Yes, #904. Nine hundred and four issues of the fellow with the blue long johns and the red blanket tied around his neck.

Think about that for a while. 73 years of Superman. The mind boggles.

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