It will come as no surprise to you that many of the most popular comic books on record feature the well-known heroes we still love today. Comic books began hitting magazine shelves in 1938, with Action Comics #1 featuring Superman. Since then, it has become a billion-dollar industry, and entire books have been made, called graphic novels, for lovers of the drawn word worldwide. However, when they first started, they were little more than $0.10 floppy magazines that only made modest money at the time. That doesn’t stop the first comic from making headlines, as it’s still the highest-ranking comic on the list!
If you know anything about comic books, you’ve heard about the first-ever issue to hit stands, Action Comics #1, featuring Superman. A single original copy recently sold for over $3 million. Between all the floppy comics on record with Superman as a lead, this first comic idea has reaped a total of $600 million and counting since 1938. The publisher is DC, and they’ve published over 15,000 issues. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created it. This figure doesn’t count the ancillary money spent on movies, nostalgia, or memorabilia. One comic even featured Superman fighting with Muhammad Ali, a fight he loses without his powers.
Coming in at a close second, Batman came out a year later. DC also issued it, and a copy of his first introduction sold for over $2.1 million. It’s no surprise that there have been over 17,000 issues, resulting in $484 million since 1939. Once you add in the number of costumes and Lego figures sold in relation, the number is astronomical. This series has brought us more than Batman, as some of the biggest known names in the DC Universe are Catwoman, Joker, and The Penguin. He was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.
No list would be complete with the teenage kid turned hero at the bite of a radioactive spider. Kids around the world still idolize him today, making his likeness one of the top sold Halloween costumes on the market each year. Floppy issues of Spider-Man top 13,500 since his debut in 1963 by Marvel Comics. The magazine issues have generated over $387 million in revenue. The original creators were Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
Spider-Man wasn’t Stan Lee’s only mass hit. He’s also revered for his creation of X-Men, released in 1963. Marvel Comics got two slamdunks that year and has made $260 million off 9,000 issues of the floppy version of the X-Men comics. Apart from the paper issues, Marvel made $296.3 million off a single movie, and there have been several. It’s evident that comics built a behemoth in the industry.