‘Paid Copy’ of Marvel Comics #1 fetches over $2.4 million at online auction

NEW YORK — A particularly prized copy of Marvel’s first-ever comic book fetched more than $2.4 million at an online auction, the auctioneer announced Friday.

Known as the “paid copy” of Marvel Comics #1, it’s “arguably one of the top three comic books in the world of comic book collecting,” said Vincent Zurzolo, director of the operation of ComicConnect. The New York-based auctioneer sold the book Thursday night for just under $2,427,800.

The name of the buyer has not been disclosed. He is “an extremely avid comic book collector and investor” who also collects other items, Zurzolo said.

Published in 1939, Marvel Comics #1 featured characters such as Sub-Mariner and the original Human Torch, a precursor to the character of the same name who was later a member of Marvel’s Fantastic Four. The book launched what became the Marvel Universe of comics, movies, TV shows, and video games.

The very well-preserved “paid copy” is particularly sought after as it bears the editor’s handwritten notes indicating how much the multiple writers and artists were paid. For example, Frank R. Paul won $25 for designing the cover of a book that is now worth almost 100,000 times more.

“It’s an incredibly important look into the creative world and behind the scenes” from a comics powerhouse, Zurzolo said.

The Marvel Universe would eventually include characters such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, the Avengers, Iron Man, Daredevil, and the Hulk, often known onscreen as the Incredible Hulk.

“Without this comic, who knows? Maybe none of this will happen,” Zurzolo said. “Maybe the name ‘Marvel Comics’ resonated with people so much, in a way, that’s what helped bring all this other stuff to life.”

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