Saturday, May 25, 2013

40 Years Ago Comic Book Collecting Changed Forever With the First Big Action Comics # 1 Sale

I think I'm going to play the lottery today, my odds of winning have to be infinitely greater than finding a copy of Action Comics #1 stuffed in the wall. But that's just what happened to David Gonzalez who discovered the 10 cent gem was serving as part of his newly purchased fixer-upper's insulation.

As you may know, this is the most valuable comic book on earth, the very first appearance of Superman. Unfortunately Gonzalez' aunt-in-law grabbed at the comic, causing what an auction expert called a "$75,000 tear." The book was already in poor condition, now a 1.5 out of 10, but is still expected to bring in over $110,000. The guy only paid $10,000 for the house!

comic collector Back in May of 1973, 18-year old Mitchell Mehdy made national news when he bought Action Comics # 1 for a little over $1,800. He was the laughing stock of the nation, what kind of idiot would pay that much money for a comic book?!? He was joke fodder for morning radio jocks and late night TV shows (Carson made a crack about him). The generation that lived through the tough times of 1938, when that comic was published, were not amused that a teenager had that kind of cash to spend on something so frivolous.

But seeing this item in the newspapers sparked families into searching their attics in hopes of turning up unexpected gold; many did. Suddenly the neighborhood kids who were amassing comic book collections didn't seem so dumb after all.

The publicity that followed was swift and pervasive, Mehdy even made it on 'Tomorrow' with Tom Snyder. That summer the New York Comic Art Convention run by Phil Seuling really took off in popularity.

So here's to Mitchell Mehdy, he brought respectability to comic book collecting by monetizing the hobby. For better or worse, it would never again be the same.