The easy joke to make at the top of this post is that I already own Action Comics #1.
In fact, I own two different covers to the book.
If I wanted to I could own even more covers to this comic. According to the Action Comics Cover Gallery page over at Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics there are like four or five more variants that are out there and some of them are even reasonably priced as far as eBay goes. I just haven’t plunked down the money for them. I mean I like variants but there’s a line. It’s completely arbitrary and based solely on my mood at the time, but there is indeed a line.
No, I am talking about this Action Comics #1.
In the interest of full disclosure I did not scan the image you see above this text. Normally I do. I feel like if I am going to post an image I am going to be, if at all possible, the one that scanned it. This “rule” comes from my early days on the internet when “hotlinking” an image (meaning you posting an image you haven’t uploaded by means of copying the url) was considered just above child abuse in terms of crimes against humanity. Of course bandwidth was more of a consideration back then but some things stick with you. To be fair I Googled this image, downloaded it, turned it into a jpg file and then uploaded it to this blog but it’s not originally mine.
Here endeth the disclaimer.
I don’t know how it is for other Superman fans but the same thing happens to me any time a copy of Action Comics #1 hits the news. Someone will invariably ask if I was either bidding on it (usually a joke) or if I would want to bid on it if I had the money. It’s not that I mind getting asked those questions because at the end of the day they are fair. I like Superman therefore I must want to possess his first appearance. It makes perfect sense. I am sure the same can be said of Amazing Fantasy #15 and Spider-Man fans or Detective Comics #27 and Batman fans. The thing is that unless I got stupid rich…I mean like more money than I know what to do with and couldn’t possibly spend it in my lifetime…maybe I would want to own that comic and that is a big maybe.
There are several reasons. First, it’s a security risk. Usually that book goes for something in the millions of dollars range. You don’t take something like that, stick it in a bag and board and put it at the front of where you file your Action Comics books. To be fair I would want to. I mean how cool would that be? Every time you went to get an issue of Action there’s the first issue, big as life and probably beat to hell because mint copies of that book don’t really exist anymore but you just can’t do that. You would either need to buy a safe or store it off site, preferably in a safety deposit box at a reputable bank. This is after you’ve had the thing insured against damage and theft, the latter being why you would need to store it securely in the first place. They usually advertise who won the book and with this being 2015 (as of this writing) people can find out where you live.
I’m not saying someone will definitely come and steal it but why take the chance, right? You can’t be awake twenty four hours a day. Well, you can but you tend to go crazy from sleep deprivation and the last thing my wife needs is me all strung out like a meth addict sitting at a chair with the comic in front me at all times because I am that flipping paranoid. Not now mind you. I’m pretty sane at the moment but the book would drive me mad.
Second, if I did own a copy of Action Comics #1 I wouldn’t own a comic. I would own something more. With all due respect to the first appearance of Batman and Spider-Man or whoever your favorite super-hero may be none of them would be around without Superman. You can argue the point all day long but history backs me up on this. It was the success of Superman that led to the creation of Batman and all of the other costumed heroes of the Golden Age and beyond. Not only that Superman has gone on to be more than just a comic book character or a character on television or in the movies. He’s an international icon and wears one of the most recognized symbols on the planet. He stands for something and means so much to so many people.
This is not just a comic book.
It’s a piece of history.
Which makes it a responsibility.
Because of that I couldn’t look at it as just another comic book or even a really special comic book. I’d feel like I was the caretaker of something bigger than me and I really don’t know if I am up for that. Again, I’d be worried about turning into some kind of paranoid freak that talks about nothing but this comic book and since Superman is only one of the features presented that would get boring after a time. There’s only so many times you can talk about Zatara before friends and family stop wanting to talk to you altogether.
I’m sure he’s a lovely character, but still.
When you combine those two reasons you get something that owns you rather than you owning it. I am sure it would be great at first but I am also sure that eventually my life would turn into an episode of The Twilight Zone where I end up homeless, divorced and destitute while the creepy old man that sold me the Action Comics #1 laughs insanely in the background.
So yeah…because of all of the above I will never own a copy of Action Comics #1.