The 1938 Action Comics #1 is the first appearance of Superman and only 50 to 100 copies are known to still exist, making it the most valuable comic of all time. The copy in the best-known condition of the comic classic sold in August for more than $3.2 million on eBay.
Not all of us have the money rattling around in our Scrooge McDuck vault to buy our own, especially the best of its kind. But thanks to modern technology, we can all flip through what a nearly pristine 1938 comic book looks like.
The comic book received a 9.0 on a scale of 10 from the Certified Guaranty Company's comics grading service. To put that in perspective, some dings in a newer comic can take it down to a 9.0 pretty quickly. CGC has put scans of this exact comic up for viewing on their website. Watch this video of the eBay seller flipping through the book, take a peek at a few pages below or check out the full issue at CGC's site:
"The quality and preservation of the Adams Action #1 is astounding," said CGC grader Paul Litch, according to eBay. "The book looks and feels like it just came off the newsstand. It is supple, the colors are deep and rich, and the quality of the white pages is amazing for a comic that is 76 years old."
It's also unique because many reprints of Action Comics #1 only include the Superman story, while there are numerous other characters featured in the actual comic, along with advertisements that have also not usually been reproduced. While known for being the first appearance of Superman, it's also the first time the character of the magician Zatara appeared. While not a particularly well known character, his comic book daughter Zatanna has appeared on TV shows like "Smallville" and enjoys a relatively high comic book profile.
The story itself features a Superman that's more intimidating and aggressive than the Superman most think of. He fights a wife beater, corporate crooks and political corruption rather than the supervillains he'd later face, and he goes so far as intimidating Lois Lane to keep his deeds a secret.
Watch comic book dealer Darren Adams tell the story of how he got his hands on one of the only remaining copies of Action Comics #1 remaining from an original print run of 200,000 copies: