Batman Comic Book Values
by Christopher Tanis and Ashley Cotter-Cairns
This Batman comics price guide will help you to identify and value the Batman comics in your collection.
Remember that there is also the original Detective Comics series, as well as other comic books featuring Batman. If you have found some Detective Comics, then we have now published a separate guide to Detective Comics values here.
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Everyone loves Batman. Don't they?
They should, if they don't. "But wait," you say, "maybe they just don't know the good Batman, the stuff that really makes Batman Batman." And what would that be? Oh yeah, well, then the dark stuff. You know, the early stuff.
Truth to tell, by the time that the Caped Crusader got a series named for him, he wasn't so dark any more, and wouldn't be until the 1970s.
Three Decades of Frivolous
So, from 1940, when the Batman comic first appeared, until 1970, you say? 30 years of silly? Three decades of frivolous? Well, yes.
Even so, Batman was just one of the titles that Bruce Wayne strolled through each month. Of course, Batman was not the first title to star that character.
Batman was first introduced in Detective Comics #27, published in May 1939, the Bat-Man was an instant hit, and would occupy the pages of Detective for the next 70+ years.
The title we know as Batman Comic book began as a quarterly spin-off of Detective Comics in the Spring of 1940, eventually becoming a bi-monthly with #5, in September of 1941, but not a monthly until #80, in December of 1953. The idea that Detective is the "real" Batman comic while the title that bears his name is just another revenue stream for DC is difficult for some to grasp, especially those who don't know the history.
"Wait, Dad--you mean there are TWO Batman comics? And they each have different story arcs that don't necessarily intersect? Whaaat?"
"Well, son, there were also The Brave and the Bold, which was kind of like Marvel Team-Up, only with Batman, and there was World's Finest, which was Batman and Superman working together, and then later on there was Batman and the Outsiders, you see..."
"Aww, geez, Pop!"
Whatever your relationship with Batman, there are a number of important Golden and Silver Age key issues, although fewer than Detective Comics keys. Somehow, the most important events in Batman's timeline always seem to happen in the pages of the comic that gave him his first appearance.
Have Your Issues of Batman Valued!
If you've got some old Golden and Silver Age issues of Batman (especially #1, #2, #3, #5, #16, or #232), then click here to have them valued FREE by Sell My Comic Books!
It's hard to know what to say about a Golden Age comic that features the first appearances of The Joker and Catwoman (then simply called, "The Cat"), and which is also a first issue. Those facts say it all, don't they?
Whatever sort of introduction a comic like Batman #1 requires, it is most certainly valuable. True, it is not in the same league as Detective #27, but then again, neither is Detective #28.
With five stories written by Bill Finger (who was not credited at the time, and whose authorship was something of a bone of contention for many years) and penciled by creator Bob Kane, Batman #1 is a Bat-Bonanza, beginning with the first of many retellings of the character's origin. Each retelling, it should be noted, generally adds something to the story. Batman's origin grows in the telling, and this issue's opener, "The Legend of the Batman: Who He Is and How He Came to Be" is no different.
The Joker features in two stories in this issue, "The Joker," and "The Joker Returns," although neither reveals anything about his origins. That would have to wait until Detective #168. Either way, the Joker is revealed as a homicidal menace, willing to kill without hesitation if need be, or to stab himself without a care. He is already leaving his victims dead with a Joker-style grin (at least some of the time) and is in almost every way the fully-formed Joker we know and love.
As for Selina Kyle, in her appearance here, she is known only as "The Cat," and does not appear in costume. Rather, she is a cat burglar and ingenue, the first femme fatale of Batman's superhero career. She is beautiful and intelligent, and tries to seduce Bruce, asking him to become The King of Crime and be her partner, full of promise and suggestion. He refuses, but when she jumps over the side of the yacht which Batman is using to bring her to justice, he allows her to escape, opting not to pursue her. Hmmm...
There is also a Hugo Strange story in this issue, which on the whole is full of killing and guns, both on the parts of the villains and Batman. Batman #1, notably, would be the last time that Batman would be seen to kill a villain willingly, or to use a gun, given the new, more youth-friendly direction both the new and established Batman titles were taking.
The value for Batman comic book #1? Well, as the saying goes, "if you have to ask..."
But that's not such a silly question, really. Batman #1 can easily pass the $50,000 mark, even in higher grade but restored condition, and the highest-known to date (CGC 9.2) recently sold for over half a million Dollars!
Record sale: $567,000
Minimum value (poor but complete): $10,000
Sure, Batman #2 isn't worth what Batman #1 is, but it's still quite valuable to collectors, primarily for the development of the Catwoman character.
In #2, Selina Kyle is still not in costume, but still beautiful and beguiling, and still exerting an influence over our man Bruce. In the lead story, "The Joker Meets the Cat-Woman," Batman and Robin are foiled in their attempt to change The Joker into a model citizen through an operation by a "famous brain specialist."
Just let that sink in for a minute, all right?
So, things don't work out, and the Joker gets kidnapped by some other thugs (who want his help in stealing some gems) before he can be lobotomized, and Cat-Woman gets involved, helping to save Robin after the Boy Wonder goes and gets himself captured by The Joker. We begin to see that she can't be all bad at this point, and that along with the sex appeal, there is someone worth Bruce's attention.
The Joker tries to kill Cat-Woman and Robin just as Batman arrives to save the day. Cat-Woman leaps from the tower in which they'd all been fighting (her recurring MO), evading capture by Batman (or is it delaying the inevitable romance?).
Bill Finger and Bob Kane do their usual things, for which Bill Finger didn't get much money or credit. Bob Kane got all the glory, and probably didn't really handle all the pencils on his own. It doesn't matter much, really. There were three other stories involving nondescript thugs and undistinguished super-villains who would not appear again.
If you have one, get it appraised for free today.
Record sale: $43,000
Minimum value (poor but complete): $700
Batman #5, from the Spring of 1941, is the final issue of the title as a quarterly. Henceforth, it would be a bimonthly comic book, and would remain so for 12 years.
Mostly, this issue is notable for the first appearance of the original Batmobile, which would, of course, undergo much evolution over time, but which here has a very dark, almost Gothic appearance.
The Joker appears, along with a number of other undistinguished villains, but it is not his presence that makes this issue valuable. It's all about the car, baby. Batman drives it. Robin rides in it, since he's not old enough to drive. It's black (OK, midnight blue, really) and as sleek as a car can be in 1941. In those pre-World War II days, it was still OK to build a new car. If DC had waited even eight more months, folks would have made a fuss about not using the metal for the war effort.
Bob Kane does his usual thing, abetted by the usual anonymous helpers. Bill Finger does his usual uncredited scripting. Bob Kane's name is on the cover, and all over the place. It's worth mentioning that Bill Finger died, broke, in 1974. Bob Kane, however, did alright for himself.
Record sale: $33,000
Minimum value (poor but complete): $200
Bruce Wayne's butler and frequent cover, Alfred Beagle, first appeared in Batman #16, in April of 1943.
The bumbling son of a retired military agent who had worked for the Wayne family, Alfred applied for the job of butler and all-around "gentleman's gentleman" for Bruce and Dick at Wayne Manor.
Of course, fearing for their secret identities, the two were initially reluctant, although unwilling to hurt Alfred's feelings by rejecting him utterly. In the end, he became vital to the long-term future of Batman and Robin...
Record sale: $7,300
Minimum value (poor but complete): $100
What's most interesting about Batman #47 is the further development of Batman's origin story.
Joe Chill is murdered by some thugs, angry that he "created" Batman by killing his parents, luckily before he can tell them Batman's secret identity (which Batman has, for some reason, decided to tell him).
In the course of the story, we see the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne in greater detail than ever before. It's compelling stuff.
What's most ridiculous about Batman #47 is the story called "Fashions in Crime!" in which Catwoman figures, and in which Bruce and Dick battle villains around a giant sewing machine, a giant pair of scissors, and a giant thimble. Yes, a giant thimble.
Batman #47 isn't as valuable as earlier Golden Age Batman keys, but the origin story retelling certainly adds value. It can sell for several thousand in top condition. Bob Kane, Bill Finger, you know the drill.
Record sale: $8,000
Minimum value (poor but complete): $100
By now, we're into the technicolor Batman, the early days of the science-fiction-ish, silly Batman era. Whatever the case, we get Selina Kyle's origin story in Batman #62, and it's a doozy. We also see Catwoman retire from crime, and promise to help out the Gotham PD when she can.
Some thugs break Selina Kyle out of jail with dynamite, so they can enlist her help with some thefts. Batman and Robin give pursuit, and in the course of trying to evade them, Catwoman endangers Batman's life. In a fit of conscience (or love) she saves him, but is hit on the head, with a brick, in the process.
Well, what do you know! When she wakes up in the Batcave, Selina Kyle turns out to have had amnesia. She's not really a crook! She was a stewardess who'd fallen from a crashing airplane, and the whole cat thing was because her father used to own a pet store when she was young. So, Batman and Jim Gordon immediately trust and believe her, and she helps them out before retiring.
Phew! Glad that one worked out well for Bruce.
Values are high for Batman #62, especially considering its late Golden Age cover date.Bill Finger wrote the scripts, and Bob Kane (now more in name than in practice) and Dick Sprang did the pencils, with a Win Mortimer cover.
Record sale: $8,000
Minimum value (poor but complete): $100
There certainly was a lot of origin revealing and retelling in Batman comics, let me tell you! Then again, when a character runs successfully for that long, you need to remind the new kids every so often about what they've missed out on in the past. And as with Batman's origin, every time Robin's origin is discussed, it grows in the telling.
In Batman #129, which features scripts by Bill Finger and Jerry Coleman and art by Sheldon Moldoff and Dick Sprang, we get a few unimportant stories, one of which features The Spinner, an entirely unimpressive villain in an unlikely costume, along with the good stuff: Robin's past.
Passing by a circus, Batman and Robin become involved investigating a crime that leads them to Sando the Strongman, who knew and worked with young Dick Grayson and his parents, the Flying Graysons. In the course of solving the crime, we get a more detailed retelling of the circumstances in which Dick Grayson became Robin, namely, the organized criminals who murdered the Graysons, to whom the owner of the circus had refused to pay protection money.
For "technicolor Batman," it's riveting stuff.
Record sale: $1,200
Minimum value (poor but complete): $5
Well, now. This is another sort of Batman, indeed. Denny O'Neil's mission to make Batman comic book vital again, meaningful again, and perhaps most importantly, dark again was in full swing by mid-'71, and Batman #232, with O'Neil script and mind-bogglingly good Neal Adams art making this issue a pure pleasure to read, regardless of the fact that it features the first appearance of Ra's Al Ghul.
Neal Adams' Batman, following roughly on the heels of his turn in the glory days of Marvel's original X-Men, is pure genius: the logical extension of the John Buscema style into pure modernism. Flowing and idealized-but-realistic, with incredibly well-rendered musculature, the pencils are gorgeous. Adams is up there with Buscema and Gil Kane among the greats, and perhaps surpasses them.
Batman #232 gives us a first glimpse of Ra's Al Ghul, who has figured out that Batman is Bruce Wayne, and has Robin kidnapped an spirited away to Calcutta and then the Himalayas to lure Bruce there, under the guise of seeking Batman's help to recover his own kidnapped daughter, Talia.
Bruce sees the connection between the kidnappings, and agrees, only to find out when he finally rescues Robin that it had all been a test, staged by Ra's Al Ghul. He wanted to see if Batman would measure up to be his successor as leader of The Brotherhood, a mysterious and mystical organization, and if he would be a suitable husband for Talia.
Needless to say, this opens up a whole world of intrigue that would flower over the following years. In many ways, this story is the true beginning of the "modern Batman", in terms of art, story, and feel. No, it wasn't the first issue that Denny O'Neil wrote, nor was it the first that Adams penciled. Somehow, though, it all comes together, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Values for this issue are sky-high for an early Bronze Age comic, because of Ra's Al Ghul, Denny O'Neil, and Neal Adams, and The Dark Knight Rises movie.
Record sale: $1,200
Minimum value (poor but complete): $5
These turn up way more frequently. It's quite common to find 1970s to 1980s Batman comic books. They are usually described as "near mint" whenever they're in plastic sleeves, but truly near mint examples are not easy to come by. You must be exacting about their condition.
Typical issues from this period are worth a few dollars each. Do not overpay for them, unless their condition is exceptional.
Condition is very, very important to collectors of Batman comic books. See our comic book grading article for help on identifying the grade of your comics.
The easiest way to find out what your comic books are worth is to send quality images to us using our free comic book appraisal page. We'll be happy to help you find out what they're worth, and to realize the most money possible for them.
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