First Marvel Comics issue sells for $1.26 million US

A rare near-mint condition copy of the first Marvel Comics comic book has sold at auction in Dallas for $1.26 million US (approx. $1.67 million Cdn).

Heritage Auctions says the Marvel Comics No. 1 from 1939 sold on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

This Oct. 8, 2019 image provided by Heritage Auctions shows a rare near mint condition copy of the first Marvel Comics comic book. (The Associated Press)

Heritage says the buyer wished to remain anonymous.

Ed Jaster, senior vice-president at Heritage, calls it  “a historic copy of a historic comic book.” The issue features the first appearances of characters such as the Human Torch, Ka-Zar, Angel and the Sub-Mariner.

Heritage says the comic book was first purchased at a newsstand by a Uniontown, Pa.-based mail carrier who made a practice of buying the first issue of comic books and magazines. Jaster says that since then, the issue has only changed owners a handful of times.

The first issue was originally published in Oct. 1939, under a company named Timely Publications. 

It featured the Human Torch, the detective Angel, the mutant Namor the Sub-Mariner and the western hero the Masked Raider. The cover was illustrated by Frank. R. Paul.

The issue was instantly a success, selling 80,000 copies in its first print run. A second print run in Nov. 1939 sold more than 800,000 copies.

The success of the first issue resulted in the expansion of Timely Publications’ comic book production. 

Timely Publications createed a division called Timely Comic for its comic books and Joe Simon, Jack Kirby and Syd Shores all came on board as creators.

Stan Lee joined Timely Comics in 1939 as an office assistant.

Timely Comics became Marvel Comics in the 1960s. 

With files from CBC Books.

The writer and illustrator of comic book characters such as Daredevil, Spider-Man on how to make it in the comic book industry. 4:31

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