The 20 Most Valuable Comic Books On The Planet (2022)

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Comic books provide an intriguing way of telling stories through words and visuals that offer a unique way of recounting historical events and anecdotes that give readers of all levels a sense of enjoyment.

 In 1897, the first acknowledged comic book in history was penciled, titled “The Yellow Kid in McFadden’s Flats,“leading to the growth of comic books, which have become a vital part of American culture.

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 Over time, the popularity and rarity of comic books have equipped comic book collectors with an investment opportunity, steering us to unveil the top 20 most valuable comic books on the planet.

 

#20 Amazing Spider-Man #1 (Marvel Comics, March 1963)

  • Sold on November 17, 2016, for $262,900 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art and Cover: Steve Ditko
  • Cover price: $0.12

Kicking off the list of the 20 most valuable comic books on the planet is the first issue of The Amazing Spider-Man, a Marvel comic dedicated to the web-slinger, following his smashing success in Amazing Fantasy #15.

The debut issue of Amazing Spider-Man introduces J. Jonah Jameson, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle, and the Chameleon, the original adversary of Spider-Man. Iconic comic book writer, Stan Lee, added another element to The Amazing Spider-Man, delivering a crossover with the Fantastic Four.

The most valuable copy of The Amazing Spider-Man merited a 9.6 by the Certified Guaranty Corporation (CGC), with only two copies of the historic comic warranting a higher grade.

The Amazing Spider-Man is one of the most favored comics of all-time, now in its 6th volume, with over 900 issues published.

 

 #19 Marvel Spotlight #5 (Marvel Comics, August 1972)

 

  • Sold on June 17, 2021, for $264,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Gary Friedrich and Roy Thomas
  • Art and Cover: Mike Ploog
  • Cover Price: $0.20

On August 5, 1972, Marvel Comics issued Marvel Spotlight #5, inaugurating Johnny Blaze as the Ghost Rider. The 36-page issue also features the first appearance of Roxanne Simpson, Craig “Crash” Simpson, and Zarathos.

Due to the rage stemming from the seven-part series of Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider in Marvel Spotlight, Marvel penciled a Ghost Rider series the following year, following Johnny Blaze and the infamous Hell Cycle.

This particular copy of Marvel Spotlight #5 received a CGC 9.8, tied for the most coveted copy, along with three other comics.

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Since Marvel introduced Ghost Rider #1 as a western comic in February 1967, the Ghost Rider has remained one of the most distinctive Marvel comics ever produced, led by the supernatural Johnny Blaze and his flaming skull.

 

#18 Avengers #1 (Marvel Comics, September 1963)

 

  • Sold on July 26, 2012, for $274,850 by Heritage Auctions 
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art: Stan Lee and Dick Ayers
  • Cover: Jack Kirby
  • Cover price: $0.12

Avengers #1 is a 22-page account that divulges the origin story of the Avengers, comprised initially of Thor, Iron Man, Ant-Man, Wasp, and the Hulk. Stan Lee also penned Teen Brigade and the Fantastic Four into the Avengers celebrated comic.

The record-breaking sale for Avengers #1 is certified a CGC 9.6, one of six copies that accepted the comics’ highest grade.

Since Avengers #1 debuted in 1963, the Avengers have been one of the most profitable franchises in Marvel history, with Avengers: Endgame the second highest-grossing film of all time

 

#17 Tales of Suspense #39 (Marvel Comics, March 1963)

  • Sold in April 2012 for $375,000 by ComicLink
  • Story: Stan Lee and Larry Lieber
  • Art: Don Heck, Steve Ditko, and Gene Colan
  • Cover: Jack Kirby and Don Heck
  • Cover Price: $0.12

The 39th issue of Tales of Suspense is a 36-page comic book, 14 pages dedicated to the origin of Anthony “Tony” Stark as Iron Man. The comic recounts Tony Stark, a brilliant inventor, and billionaire who creates a mechanical robot suit of armor to escape captivity, becoming the Invincible Iron Man.

The most expensive Tales of Suspense #39 on record bears a CGC 9.6, with just one copy achieving a higher grade

Iron Man has played an enormous role in the advancement of superheroes, from being a founding member of the Avengers to countless plots throughout Marvel Comics, not to mention the superheroes’ self-titled series with Iron Man #1 in 1968.

 

#16 Journey Into Mystery #83 (Marvel Comics, June 1952)

  • Sold on April 7, 2022, for $432,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art: Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck
  • Cover: Jack Kirby
  • Cover price: $0.12

The 83rd issue of Journey Into Mystery introduces Doctor Donald Blake as Thor, the God of Thunder. The plot follows Dr. Blake’s voyage to Norway, where he inadvertently transforms into Thor and defeats the Stone Men from Saturn.

This sale of a CGC 9.4 copy of Journey Into Mystery #83 set a historic record for the comic, while just one copy attained a higher grade by CGC

Thor is arguably one of the most loved comic book superheroes of all time and continues his reign, as over 700 comics have been issued. For good measure, Thor is also a significant player in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

 

#15 Flash Comics #1 (D.C. Comics, January 1940)

  • Sold on March 12, 2010, for $450,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Gardner Fox and John Wentworth
  • Art: Harry Lampert, Dennis Neville, and Sheldon Moldoff
  • Cover: Sheldon Moldoff
  • Cover price: $0.10 

The first D.C. Comics on the list is Flash Comics #1, marking the debut of Jason Peter “Jay” Garrick, the first superhero known as The Flash. The plot follows Jay Garrick, a Midwestern University student who succumbs to a laboratory accident and unintentionally inhales hard water gas, enabling him to move at superhuman speeds and harbor swift reflexes.

It’s easy to understand why this is the most valuable copy of Flash Comics #1 in existence, as it endures a CGC 9.6, the highest graded copy in the CGC Census.

In total, D.C. Comics published 104 Flash Comics, and the character continues to be rather successful as one of the founding members of the Justice League.

 

#14 Detective Comics #140 (D.C. Comics, October 1948)

  • Sold on June 18, 2021, for $456,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Bill Finger
  • Art: Dick Sprang and Curt Swan
  • Cover: Win Mortimer
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Detective Comics #140 remains significant to this day as it features Edward Nigma, otherwise known as The Riddler, a criminal mastermind, supervillain, and one of Batman’s most well-known adversaries.

The 52-page comic is authenticated with a CGC 9.6, the finest copy of Detective Comics #140 ever recorded.

Detective Comics #140 emerged from The Promise Collection, one of the most prominent comic book collections ever. Detective Comics #140 also carries a CGC Pedigree Certification Label, dedicated to comic books and other vintage books submitted to CGC by their original owner.

Surprising absolutely nobody, the most recent Batman film (2022) incorporates The Riddler, who remains one of Batman’s most notorious archenemies to this day.

 

#13 Phantom Lady #17 (Fox Features Syndicate, 1948)

  • Sold on June 18, 2021, for $456,000 by Heritage Auctions 
  • Story: Ruth Roche
  • Art and Cover: Matt Baker
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Phantom Lady, one of the first superheroine in comic book history, originally made her debut in Police Comics #1 (1941). However, Phantom Lady #17 is often considered the most coveted in the series, mainly due to the comics’ acclaimed and seductive cover.

This CGC 9.6 copy of the Phantom Lady #17 is the highest certified copy by CGC, which only has a CGC census of 101 copies. 

Like Detective Comics #140, Phantom Lady #17 is also part of The Promise Collection and endures a CGC Pedigree Certification Label. Moreover, both comic books sold for the same amount during Heritage Auction’s 2021 Comics and Comic Art Signature Auction, which ran from June 17 to June 19. 

Phantom Girl #17 continues to be the most sought-after comic from the series and is a distinctive investment piece for any comic book collector.

 

#12 Incredible Hulk #1 (Marvel Comics, May 1962)

  • Sold in January 2022 for $490,000 by Comic Connect
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art: Jack Kirby and Paul Reinman
  • Cover: Jack Kirby and George Roussos
  • Cover Price: $0.12 

Marvel Comics debuted Bruce Banner as the Incredible Hulk in May 1962, which ran for six total issues. The Hulk reappeared in Tales to Astonish in 1964, reviving the character, ultimately garnering traction, and once again becoming its own series with The Incredible Hulk volume 2 in 1968.

While this distinct copy of a CGC 9.0 Incredible Hulk #1 sold for a record-breaking $490,000, there are seven copies with a higher grade, signifying the prospective astronomical value of the comic in more mint condition.

Although the Incredible Hulk had a brief hiatus in the 1960s, the ongoing comic book series continues to thrive, with over 750 issues released by Marvel Comics.

 

#11 The Brave and the Bold #28 (D.C. Comics, March 1960)

  • Sold in June 2022 for $750,000 through a private sale
  • Story: Gardner Fox
  • Art: Mike Sekowsky, Bernard Sachs, Joe Giella, Murphy Anderson
  • Cover: Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson
  • Cover price: $0.10

The Brave and the Bold was a comic book series that debuted from August 1955 to July 1983. One of the most significant issues of the series is none other than the 28th issue of The Brave and the Bold.

The 28th issue introduces the original seven members of the Justice League of America, featuring Aquaman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, The Martian Manhunter, Superman, and Wonder Woman. The Comic also presents antagonists Starro the Conqueror and Starro’s Spores.

Sold in June 2022 to a private collector, this is officially the most valuable copy of The Brave and the Bold #28, not to mention the highest graded copy as well, certified a CGC 9.6. 

The 28th issue of the Brave and the Bold holds immense historical volume, as the Justice League of America is one of the most prominent teams of superheroes in comic book history, hence the six-figure price tag.

 

#10 X-Men #1 (Marvel Comics, September 1963)

 

  • Sold on June 24, 2021, for $807,300 by Comic Connect
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Cover and Art: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Price: $0.12

X-Men #1 is the origin story of the X-Men, showcasing Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, and Marvel Girl, along with the first appearance of Professor X and Magneto, one of the most prominent antagonists of the X-Men. 

According to the CGC Census, only four comics have warranted a CGC 9.6, with only two copies in better condition, both receiving CGC 9.8. As such, a copy of the X-Men #1 has the potential to reach the $1 million plateau should a CGC 9.8 go up for auction.

Despite being canceled in 1970, just a few years after its debut, the X-Men had a triumphant revival in 1975, becoming an extremely prevalent Marvel Comics series in the process.

 

#9 Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel, November 1961)

  • Sold on April 7, 2022, for $1,500,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art and Cover: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Fantastic Four #1 is the origin story of the Fantastic Four team, featuring Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Girl), Jonny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing.)

Certified with a CGC 9.2, this copy of Fantastic Four #1 is one of the most well-preserved copies, with just five copies in more mint condition.

Making a transition from Timely Comics to Marvel Comics in the early 1960s, historians have deemed that the start of the Marvel Universe began with Fantastic Four #1. The first issue of Fantastic Four also solidified the rise of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, two of the most iconic comic book visionaries. At the same time, Fantastic Four #1 is also the first comic on the list to surpass the $1 million threshold.

 

#8 All Star Comics #8 (D.C. Comics, December 1941-January 1942)

  • Sold on June 16, 2022, for $1,620,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Gardner Fox, and William Moulton Marston
  • Art: Jack Burnley, Sheldon Moldoff, Bernard Bailey, and Harry G. Peter 
  • Cover: Everett E. Hibbard
  • Cover Price: $0.10

The first issue of All Star Comics debuted in the summer of 1940 and was issued by All-American Publications, the predecessor to D.C. Comics. The 8th issue of All Star Comics was published on October 21, 1941, ultimately hitting shelves on January 19, 1942.

The astronomical sale of All Star Comics #8 in the summer of 2022 bears a CGC 9.4, the highest graded copy of the comic in existence

All Star Comics #8 comprises individual chapters of Dr. Mid-Nite, Dr. Fate, The Atom, The Sandman, Hawkman, The Spectre, and Johnny Thunder. More significantly, it highlights the origin and first appearance of Wonder Woman.

 

#7 Detective Comics #27 (D.C. Comics, May 1939)

  • Sold on May 21, 2022, for $1,740,000 million at Goldin Auctions
  • Story: Bill Finger, Jerry Siegel, Jim Chambers
  • Art: Bob Kane, Joe Shuster, Jim Chambers, and Fred Guardineer
  • Cover: Bob Kane
  • Cover Price: $0.10

The most cherished issue of Detective Comics is hands down #27, which starts with the story “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” introducing the world to Bruce Wayne as Batman. Detective Comics #27 also introduces Gotham City Police Department Commissioner James Worthington “Jim” Gordon. In other respects, the initials for D.C. Comics emerge from Detective Comics, an American comic book series that began in 1937. 

The whopping $1.74 million sale of Detective Comics #27 is graded a CGC 6.5, though eight copies are graded higher, cementing the comics’ prospective value in a higher grade.

Batman’s origin story is just six pages long, yet the 27th issue of Detective Comics is arguably one of the most essential and revered comics from the Golden Age of Comic Books.

 

#6 Batman #1 (D.C. Comics, Spring 1940)

  • Sold on January 14, 2021, for $2,220,000 by Heritage Auctions 
  • Story: Bill Finger
  • Art and Cover: Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson
  • Cover Price: $0.10

After the debut of Detective Comics #27, the Caped Crusader merited his own series in the spring of 1940, known as Batman #1. The first issue of Batman from D.C. Comics marks the first appearance of The Joker, criminal mastermind and adversary of Batman, and Catwoman, referred to in the comic as The Cat.

Batman #1 surpassed the $2 million plateau on January 14, 2021, for a CGC 9.4 copy, the highest awarded grade for the comic on record.

After the origin of Batman in Detective Comics #27 and the ongoing series of Batman by D.C. Comics, the defender of Gotham is arguably the most recognized superhero ever penciled.

 

#5 Marvel Comics #1 (Timely Comics, November 1939)

  • Sold on March 17, 2022, for $2,427,777.65 by Comic Connect 
  • Story and Art: Carl Burgos, Bill Everett, Paul Gustavson, Ben Thompson, and Al Anders
  • Cover: Frank R. Paul
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Marvel Comics #1 is debatably the most beloved comic in history, as it marks the first-ever Timely Comics/Marvel Comics issue on record, leading to the iconic Marvel Universe. Marvel Comics #1 introduced the Human Torch, Ka-Zar, Angel, Jungle Terror, Masked Raider, and Sub-Mariner.

This copy of Marvel Comics #1 is rated a CGC 9.2, the second highest certified copy of the iconic issue, with just one copy in more mint condition, enduring a CGC 9.4.

This exact copy of Marvel Comics #1 is known as the “Pay Copy,” as the famed publisher, Lloyd Jacquet, penciled on the cover of the issue with payments to those who contributed to the beloved comic.

 

#4 Captain America Comics #1 (Timely Comics, March 1941)

  • Sold on April 7, 2022, for $3,120,000 by Heritage Auctions
  • Story: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, and Ed Herron
  • Art: Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, and Al Liederman
  • Cover: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Initially published by Timely Comics, now known as Marvel Comics, Captain America Comics #1 marks the debut of Captain America, in addition to the first appearance of Bucky Barnes and Red Skull.

There are only 90 CGC-certified copies of Captain America Comics #1, and this 9.4 CGC graded copy is tied for the second highest graded copy of Captain America Comics #1, with only one copy certified higher with a CGC 9.8. 

Captain America Comics #1 features one of the most recognized comic book covers of all time. As one of the founding members of the Avengers, the sensation of Captain America continues to the present day.

 

#3 Action Comics #1 (D.C. Comics, June 1938)

 

  • Sold on April 6, 2021, for $3,250,000 by Comic Connect 
  • Story: Jerry Siegel and Fred Guardineer
  • Art: Fred Guardineer, Joe Shuster
  • Cover: Joe Shuster
  • Cover Price: $0.10

Action Comics #1 unveils the comic book landscape to Clark Joseph Kent as Superman. The debut of Action Comics #1 also presents Lois Lane and Zatara.

One of the lowest recorded comics on the list, the CGC Census only depicts 43 copies of the Man of Steel’s comic book debut. Bearing a CGC 8.5, only two copies in the world are graded higher. 

Currently ranked as the third most valuable comic book on record, Action Comics #1 once held the record for the most valuable comic book sale at $3.2 million when a CGC 9.0 copy was sold in August 2014 for $3,207,852. 

The Man of Steel is amongst the most popular superheroes year after year, and the significance of his origin story depicts just how remarkable his presence has become in mainstream media.

 

#2 Amazing Fantasy #15 (Marvel Comics, August 1962) 

  • Sold on September 9, 2021, for $3,600,000 by Heritage Auctions 
  • Story: Stan Lee
  • Art: Steve Ditko
  • Cover: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Price: $0.12

Amazing Fantasy #15 provides the origin of Peter Parker, who gains superhuman strength, speed, and agility after being bit by a radioactive spider at General Techtronics Laboratories East. The 15th issue of Amazing Fantasy also exemplifies adored characters Uncle Ben and Aunt May. 

Graded a CGC 9.6, this copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 is the second most worthy Comic in history. This exact copy is listed for sale on Heritage Auctions for $5.4 million, an amount that would be the most valuable Comic of all time. 

Spider-Man is often regarded as the most relatable superhero due to his quirkiness and relatability, leading to his popularity, illustrated as the most searched superhero, with five million monthly searches

 

#1 Superman #1 (D.C. Comics, Summer 1939)

  • Sold in January 2022 for $5,300,000 by Mile High Comics
  • Story: Jerry Siegel
  • Art and Cover: Joe Shuster
  • Cover Price: $0.10

While Superman made his debut in Action Comics #1, the first issue of Superman, which documents Clark Kent’s first day working at the Daily Star newspaper, is significant in that it became the first time a superhero received a self-titled series.

Earlier this year, the first issue of Superman became the most valuable comic book in existence, fetching $5.3 million in a private sale. Only 71 Universal Superman #1 copies are currently graded, and this CGC 8.0 copy is the second-highest grade, with just a single copy graded higher.

The 64-page comic book solidified the Man of Steel as a cultural and universal icon, setting the standard of comic books for future generations.

 

The Everlasting Significance of Comic Books 

The aforementioned comic books are the most valuable one’s ever sold, as many of these have very low populations, with even fewer possessing grades in mint condition.

As more and more people have admired the unique art, characters, storytelling, and collectible aspect of comic books, the value of these top 20 comic books of all time will only appreciate. 

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