Read a pristine copy of Action Comics #1 online, starring Superman!
October 27, 2014 7:47 AM   Subscribe

There are a ton of free sources of Golden Age comics (Comic Books Plus, Digital Comic Museum, Fury Comics, and more scans on, to name some of the major sources), but Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) has recently posted a very significant issue in near pristine condition: Action Comics #1, with the first appearances of Superman, Louis Lane and Zatara, which was recently auctioned off for a record-breaking $3,207,852 USD. posted by filthy light thief (19 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
I realize this is just a typo, but for a moment, I was very intrigued by the idea of Superman with a love interest named Louis Lane.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2014

Damn my lazy, hasty posting, but I agree, it would be interesting if the original issue was Louis instead of Lois Lane, but everyone agreed that it was a typo and it was Lois from the second appearance on.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on October 27, 2014

Comics are meant to be read. Glad this is up and all these others so far, too.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:53 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh, if you're having trouble reading the scans in the little embedded window, you can right-click and open the image in a new window to see one of the two pages in full resolution (which isn't that high, but is better than the reduced-size image).

Also, I was hoping that CGC had posted more of their highly graded scans online, but no such luck (at least, no luck finding them easily).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:55 AM on October 27, 2014

Ah, this is the Action #1 from the alternate timeline with Superman's "longtime companion" Louis Lane. I always preferred that one to our timeline to be honest. Even if the 50s run of Superman's Male Companion Louis Lane was even weirder than ours.
posted by Naberius at 8:01 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for this! When I was a kid still living in Germany, one of my most treasured gifts from the US was an Action Comics #1 reproduction that my grandmother sent me. Superman and America have been inextricably connected in my mind ever since, and I still vividly remember the thrill of "reading" that comic (couldn't read English back then and neither could my oma but the pictures told the tale well enough)... (Used to get superman confused with Curious George, too, though, due to the similarity of color palettes used in both.)
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Hah, that would be another great crossover comic. Replace Jimmy Olsen with Curious George, or supes with the monkey, and instant comedy!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:14 AM on October 27, 2014

The back cover is a surprise. It's nearly identical to the ads in the comics I bought in the 70s & 80s.
My brother bought army men from an ad like that. The price and quantity were too hard to pass up for a seven-year-old waging enormous infantry battles on a concrete patio.

They were an odd size and poorly cast. I think it was our first lesson in "you get what you pay for."
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:16 AM on October 27, 2014

Man. The guy who sacrificed his mint Action #1 for this will sure feel stupid once the internet fad is over.
posted by clarknova at 8:20 AM on October 27, 2014

I had no idea Action #1 contained so many other stories. I've never seen a copy (other than the ubiquitous cover scan) but I'd always imagined it roughly the same thickness as comic books of my childhood. Now I imagine it being one damned thick book.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:25 AM on October 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love that Superman's first acts of heroism were:

1. Breaking into the governor's mansion to prevent an unjust execution.
2. Rescuing a victim of domestic abuse.
3. Wrecking the car of a dude who got violently butt-hurt because Lois wouldn't dance with him.
4. Thwarting a lobbyist trying to bribe a senator into clandestinely dragging the USA into a war.
posted by straight at 8:56 AM on October 27, 2014 [18 favorites]

Truly a social justice warrior!
posted by ymgve at 9:14 AM on October 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Thorzdad, I also never knew the second story in Action #1 was a "Hey, kids! Color this story!" I wonder how many copies were "wrecked" by kids doing just that.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:23 AM on October 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I love that Superman's first acts of heroism were:

I actually believed that was the kind of thing the American sense of justice was all about--this comic made huge impressions on me and probably kids in other countries all over the world.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:31 AM on October 27, 2014 [3 favorites]

In the beginning, super heroes didn't need to battle super villains, there was enough wrong in the world that wasn't being addressed.

It would be interesting to see a chart of plots from Superman and other super heroes over time, with significant world events added as points in the timeline. (One of) the first supervillains was Ultra-Humanite, Superman's first nemesis, and he was created in 1939. A year later, the first super-group was formed, the Justice Society of America, which is pretty clear about it's goal in the name of the group, as compared to other superhero teams and groups.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:53 AM on October 27, 2014

Heh, TGD Batman's first acts of heroism involved more or less executing a criminal on his own:
posted by randomkeystrike at 10:16 AM on October 27, 2014

Batman's first acts of heroism

Metafilter: WHUD WHUD WHUD
posted by thelonius at 11:05 AM on October 27, 2014

Oh, and (for a while) it just gets better. Action Comics #2 features Superman kidnapping an arms merchant and carrying him to the front to see battle first hand. It ends with Superman grabbing the two opposing generals and telling them they have to settle the war with a one-to-one fight. They generals decide they have no actual quarrel and declare peace.

In Action Comics #3, Superman investigates a mine where conditions are unsafe for the workers. He tricks a the owner of the mine and his rich party guests into taking their party down into the mine, causes the entrance to collapse, and the owner breaks down in repentance when he finds all the emergency equipment to be useless.
posted by straight at 12:01 PM on October 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

Meanwhile in an alternate universe, Sticky-Mitt Stimson has just been licensed for a series of blockbuster films where he faces his even-more-popular arch rival, Ma Hunkel, The Red Tornado.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:43 PM on October 27, 2014

« Older Jian Ghomeshi fired from CBC   |   Bye Bye Mrs. Kot-ter Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments