10 Rare Comic Books That Are Worth a Fortune

iStock.com/crisserbug
iStock.com/crisserbug

If you’ve been collecting comic books since you were a kid, now is the time to list them on eBay. Blockbuster movie franchises from Marvel and DC have made superheroes more popular than ever, and characters that were once only beloved by die-hard comic fans are now mainstream. Here are some of the rare issues that may have been gathering dust—and value—in your attic for years.

1. Action Comics No. 1

The inaugural issue of Action Comics marked the first appearance of Superman and helped kick off the superhero genre. In 2014, a pristine issue of the 1938 comic, with its original price of 10 cents still on the cover, sold on eBay for $3.2 million, making it the most valuable comic book of all time. Action Comics No. 1 also holds the record for second-biggest comic book sale, with a copy previously owned by Nicholas Cage bagging $2.16 million in 2011. It’s believed that 50 to 100 copies of this first issue are still out there.

2. Amazing Fantasy No. 15

Before Spider-Man became the star of multiple comic books series, TV shows, and movie franchises, he was a special character introduced in issue No. 15 of Amazing Fantasy. The comic’s publisher was so underwhelmed by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s character that he only agreed to feature him because it was the series’s last issue. But the web-slinging hero turned out to be a hit with readers after he debuted in 1962, and he remains so popular today that a private collector paid $1.1 million for his first comic in 2011.

3. Detective Comics No. 27

A year after Superman hit the scene, Batman made his first appearance in the 27th issue of Detective Comics. In 2010, an anonymous buyer purchased a well-preserved copy of the 1939 comic for $1 million in an online bid. According to experts, 100 to 200 copies have survived to the present day.

4. All Star Comics No. 8

You wouldn’t know it by looking at the cover, but issue No. 8 of DC’s All Star Comics marked Wonder Woman’s first appearance. The story centers on the Justice Society of America, but it also features the origin story of one of the fiercest superwomen in comics. A copy sold for $936,223 on eBay in 2017.

5. X-Men No. 1

In 2012, the debut issue of X-Men from 1963 sold for $492,937 at auction. The near-mint copy earned a 9.8 out of 10 on the CGC scale, the metric used by collectors to determine the quality of vintage comics. The issue introduced Cyclops, Beast, and Magneto (Wolverine wouldn’t show up for another decade).

6. Tales of Suspense No. 39

Iron Man was considered a B-list Marvel superhero for years—until 2008, when the film adaptation thrust the character into the spotlight. The buzz around Iron Man made his debut issue from 1963, Tales of Suspense No. 39, one of the best-selling comics from the era when it sold for $375,000 in 2012.

7. Marvel Comics No. 1

Today Marvel seems to dominate every realm of pop culture, but the behemoth had to start somewhere. Marvel Comics No. 1 came out in 1939, decades before the X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Incredible Hulk were conceived. But the inaugural issue from the company that would eventually become Marvel Comics did feature an early version of one of the brand’s core characters: the Human Torch. In 2001, a copy of the comic book sold for $350,000.

8. The Incredible Hulk No. 1

The Incredible Hulk’s first comic was listed for 12 cents when it hit stands in 1962, but today it can earn collectors a few hundred thousand bucks. In 2014, The Incredible Hulk No. 1 sold for $320,000 at auction. This early version of the antihero was gray, but due to printing press issues giving him a greenish tint, the creators eventually decided to make the Hulk green on purpose.

9. All American Comics No. 16

The Green Lantern’s origin story is told in issue No. 16 of the DC series All American Comics from 1940. The issue is considerably rarer than other important comics from this era, with just 21 to 50 thought to remain in existence. Those factors led to a copy of the issue fetching over $200,000 at auction in 2013.

10. Suspense Comics No. 3

The third issue of Suspense Comics—a short-lived horror/thriller title—became the most valuable non-superhero comic book ever when a copy sold for $173,275 in 2015. The provocative cover (featuring a bound young woman about to be slain by hooded figures wearing swastikas) meant that some vendors opted not to sell the issue when it first came out in 1944, and today surviving copies are scarce as a result.

6 Facts About International Women's Day

iStock.com/robeo
iStock.com/robeo

For more than 100 years, March 8th has marked what has come to be known as International Women's Day in countries around the world. While its purpose differs from place to place—in some countries it’s a day of protest, in others it’s a way to celebrate the accomplishments of women and promote gender equality—the holiday is more than just a simple hashtag. Ahead of this year’s celebration, let’s take a moment to explore the day’s origins and traditions.

1. International Women's Day originated more than 100 years ago.

On February 28, 1909, the now-dissolved Socialist Party of America organized the first National Woman’s Day, which took place on the last Sunday in February. In 1910, Clara Zetkin—the leader of Germany’s 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party—proposed the idea of a global International Women’s Day, so that people around the world could celebrate at the same time. On March 19, 1911, the first International Women’s Day was held; more than 1 million people in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark took part.

2. The celebration got women the vote in Russia.

In 1917, women in Russia honored the day by beginning a strike for “bread and peace” as a way to protest World War I and advocate for gender parity. Czar Nicholas II, the country’s leader at the time, was not impressed and instructed General Khabalov of the Petrograd Military District to put an end to the protests—and to shoot any woman who refused to stand down. But the women wouldn't be intimidated and continued their protests, which led the Czar to abdicate just days later. The provisional government then granted women in Russia the right to vote.

3. The United Nations officially adopted International Women's Day in 1975.

In 1975, the United Nations—which had dubbed the year International Women’s Year—celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8th for the first time. Since then, the UN has become the primary sponsor of the annual event and has encouraged even more countries around the world to embrace the holiday and its goal of celebrating “acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.”

4. International Women's Day is an official holiday in dozens of countries.

International Women’s Day is a day of celebration around the world, and an official holiday in dozens of countries. Afghanistan, Cuba, Vietnam, Uganda, Mongolia, Georgia, Laos, Cambodia, Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro, Russia, and Ukraine are just some of the places where March 8th is recognized as an official holiday.

5. It’s a combined celebration with Mother’s Day in several places.

In the same way that Mother’s Day doubles as a sort of women’s appreciation day, the two holidays are combined in some countries, including Serbia, Albania, Macedonia, and Uzbekistan. On this day, children present their mothers and grandmothers with small gifts and tokens of love and appreciation.

6. Each year's festivities have an official theme.

In 1996, the UN created a theme for that year’s International Women’s Day: Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future. In 1997, it was “Women at the Peace Table,” then “Women and Human Rights” in 1998. They’ve continued this themed tradition in the years since; for 2019, it's “Better the balance, better the world” or #BalanceforBetter.

8 Enlightening Facts About Dr. Ruth Westheimer

Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu
Rachel Murray, Getty Images for Hulu

For decades, sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer has used television, radio, the written word, and the internet to speak frankly on topics relating to human sexuality, turning what were once controversial topics into healthy, everyday conversations.

At age 90, Westheimer shows no signs of slowing down. As a new documentary, Ask Dr. Ruth, gears up for release on Hulu this spring, we thought we’d take a look at Westheimer’s colorful history as an advisor, author, and resistance sniper.

1. The Nazis devastated her childhood.

Dr. Ruth was born Karola Ruth Siegel on June 4, 1928 in Wiesenfeld, Germany, the only child of Julius and Irma Siegel. When Ruth was just five years old, the advancing Nazi party terrorized her neighborhood and seized her father in 1938, presumably to shuttle him to a concentration camp. One year later, Karola—who eventually began using her middle name and took on the last name Westheimer with her second marriage in 1961—was sent to a school in Switzerland for her own protection. She later learned that her parents had both been killed during the Holocaust, possibly at Auschwitz.

2. She shocked classmates with her knowledge of taboo topics.

Westheimer has never been bashful about the workings of human sexuality. While working as a maid at an all-girls school in Switzerland, she made classmates and teachers gasp with her frank talk about menstruation and other topics that were rarely spoken of in casual terms.

3. She trained as a sniper for Jewish resistance fighters in Palestine.

Following the end of World War II, Westheimer left Switzerland for Israel, and later Palestine. She became a Zionist and joined the Haganah, an underground network of Jewish resistance fighters. Westheimer carried a weapon and trained as both a scout and sniper, learning how to throw hand grenades and shoot firearms. Though she never saw direct action, the tension and skirmishes could lapse into violence, and in 1948, Westheimer suffered a serious injury to her foot owing to a bomb blast. The injury convinced her to move into the comparatively less dangerous field of academia.

4. A lecture ignited her career.

 Dr. Ruth Westheimer participates in the annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 11, 2015 in New York City.
Robin Marchant, Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

In 1950, Westheimer married an Israeli soldier and the two relocated to Paris, where she studied psychology at the Sorbonne. Though the couple divorced in 1955, Westheimer's education continued into 1959, when she graduated with a master’s degree in sociology from the New School in New York City. (She received a doctorate in education from Columbia University in 1970.) After meeting and marrying Manfred Westheimer, a Jewish refugee, in 1961, Westheimer became an American citizen.

By the late 1960s, she was working at Planned Parenthood, where she excelled at having honest conversations about uncomfortable topics. Eventually, Westheimer found herself giving a lecture to New York-area broadcasters about airing programming with information about safe sex. Radio station WYNY offered her a show, Sexually Speaking, that soon blossomed into a hit, going from 15 minutes to two hours weekly. By 1983, 250,000 people were listening to Westheimer talk about contraception and intimacy.

5. People told her to lose her accent.

Westheimer’s distinctive accent has led some to declare her “Grandma Freud.” But early on, she was given advice to take speech lessons and make an effort to lose her accent. Westheimer declined, and considers herself fortunate to have done so. “It helped me greatly, because when people turned on the radio, they knew it was me,” she told the Harvard Business Review in 2016.

6. She’s not concerned about her height, either.

In addition to her voice, Westheimer became easily recognizable due to her diminutive stature. (She’s four feet, seven inches tall.) When she was younger, Westheimer worried her height might not be appealing. Later, she realized it was an asset. “On the contrary, I was lucky to be so small, because when I was studying at the Sorbonne, there was very little space in the auditoriums and I could always find a good-looking guy to put me up on a windowsill,” she told the HBR.

7. She advises people not to take huge penises seriously.

Westheimer doesn’t frown upon pornography; in 2018, she told the Times of Israel that viewers can “learn something from it.” But she does note the importance of separating fantasy from reality. “People have to use their own judgment in knowing that in any of the sexually explicit movies, the genitalia that is shown—how should I say this? No regular person is endowed like that.”

8. She lectures on cruise ships.

Westheimer uses every available medium—radio, television, the internet, and even graphic novels—to share her thoughts and advice about human sexuality. Sometimes, that means going out to sea. The therapist books cruise ship appearances where she offers presentations to guests on how best to manage their sex lives. Westheimer often insists the crew participate and will regularly request that the captain read some of the questions.

“The last time, the captain was British, very tall, and had to say ‘orgasm’ and ‘erection,’” she told The New York Times in 2018. “Never did they think they would hear the captain talk about the things we were talking about.” Of course, that’s long been Westheimer’s objective—to make the taboo seem tame.

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