Wednesday, April 17, 2013

"As a distant planet was destroyed by old age . . . "

The cover date was June, 1938, but the first issue of Action Comics, featuring the debut of that strange visitor from another planet, actually hit the stands 75 years ago today: April 18, 1938.

Creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster were paid $10 per page for a 13-page story, so you can do the math. You won't be able to take the kids to see "Man of Steel" this summer, with popcorn and sodas, for $130.

According to Wikipedia:
Action Comics was started by publisher Jack Liebowitz. The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies, which promptly sold out although it took some time for National to realize that the "Superman" strip was responsible[3] for sales of the series that would soon approach 1,000,000 a month.

Action Comics #1 has set several sales records for comic books. On February 22, 2010, a copy of Action Comics #1 CGC Grade 8.0 sold at auction for US$1 million, becoming the first million-dollar comic book. The sale, by an anonymous seller to an anonymous buyer, was through the Manhattan-based auction company[13] On March 29, 2010, sold another copy for US$1.5 million, making it the most expensive and most valuable comic book of all time.

Harlan Ellison famously observed:
If one of the unarguable criteria for literary greatness is recognition, consider this: in all of the history of literature, there are only five fictional creations known to every man, woman, and child on the planet. The urchin in Irkutsk may never have heard of Hamlet, the peon in Pernambuco may not know who Raskolnikov is; the widow in Jakarta may stare blankly at the mention of Don Quixote or Micawber or Jay Gatsby. But every man, woman, and child on the planet knows Mickey Mouse, Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Robin Hood... and Superman.

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