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Man Finds First-Edition Superman Comic Hidden in His Wall

A man finds a copy of "the most important comic book in the history of comic books" stuffed in the wall of his new fixer-upper

smithsonian.com

June 1938 saw the first appearance of Superman, the tights-wearing superhero invented by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel in the first edition of an anthology—Action Comics #1. That comic, published by a company that went on to become DC Comics, is “the most important comic book in the history of comic books,” says Comic Connect, a website for comic book collectors.

Though the comic was a huge hit right from the get go, it’s clear that not everyone saw it that way. In Minnesota, says UPI, a man recently found a copy of the comic stuffed in the walls of his house. It was being used as insulation.

Superman’s appearance in Action Comics #1, says Comic Connect, “is the introduction of the archetype of all other heroes to come.”

The creation of two struggling sci-fi fans from the Rust Belt, the Man of Steel became an instant icon to depression-era readers, and easily transformed into an icon of American spirit and spunk during the brutal days of WWII. Since then, he has lasted as both a beloved character and a symbol of modern hope and vigor, making this first appearance not just a piece of comics’ history, but of American history as well.

David Gonzalez, the man who discovered the comic buried in his wall, has put the comic up for auction. So far, with 20 days left to go, bids have reached $127,000. Two years ago a copy of the same comic—though in far better condition—netted $2,161,000.

Gonzalez, who works as a remodeler, bought the house for $10,100 with plans to fix it up. Bidding on the Superman artifact hasn’t even ended yet, and yet the lining in the wall has already proved to be ten times more valuable than the house itself.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Superman Turns 73
Cleveland, the True Birthplace of Superman

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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