Action Comics #1 Homage Covers
Action Comics #1 (June 1938)
“Superman, Champion of the Oppressed” (13 Page Story)
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Penciler: Joe Schuster
Cover Artist: Joe Schuster
Action Comics #1, published by National Allied Publications, launched the super hero genre into the collective American consciousness in April 1938 (with a June 1938 cover date). The American comic, with a print run of 200,000, features the first appearance of the world’s first true super hero — Superman — created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. At its release, the comic sold for 10¢ (the equivalent of $2 in 2018). The issue promptly sold out. Sales of the comic series soon reached 1,000,000 per month, though its success was not immediately attributed to the new super hero.
Like many early comics, Action Comics #1 was an anthology. It featured 11 stories over 64 pages. The story “Superman” was selected for the cover to provide a “thrilling” image for readers. Superman, however, first appeared in Jerry Siegel’s short prose story, “The Reign of the Superman,” in January 1933, which was illustrated by his friend Joe Shuster and self-published in a science fiction magazine. This short story featured a bald villain with telepathic powers. Trying to create a character they could sell to newspaper syndicates, Siegel re-conceived the “superman” character as a powerful hero, sent to our world from a more advanced society. He and Shuster developed the idea into a comic strip, which they pitched unsuccessfully. Until editor Vin Sullivan, pressured by deadlines for a new comic title, offered to buy the story if the strip could be reformatted and pasted into 13 pages. The team of Siegel and Shuster were paid $10 per page for their work, or a total of $130.
Superman has since become a global phenomenon. Today, Action Comics #1 is considered to be the most valuable comic in the world. On August 24, 2014, a copy graded 9.0 by Comics Guaranty LLC (CGC) sold on eBay for USD $3,207,852 and is the only comic book to have sold for more than $3 million for a single original copy as of December 2019.