Asking Bronze Experts: Why no love for Superman 233?
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46 posts in this topic

First off, I realize that in terms of Bronze superhero comic values it tends to go Marvel...(big drop-off)...Batman......(massive drop-off).......the rest of DC :(

Secondly, I am by no means an unbiased observer - Superman is my guy, and Superman 233 is my all-time favorite comic cover. Just look at my profile picture.

But I just can't reconcile the value of Superman 233 with the values being attributed to other Bronze Age comics right now. 

Comparing 233, for example, to Batman 227 (which I also own a copy of) - both have classic Neal Adams homage covers - but 233's is recognizable even to people outside the collecting community - and even without the cover, may be the definitive Superman comic of the Bronze Age. Meanwhile, 227 - without the cover - is an entirely forgettable Bronze Age story.

There are also only about 900 copies of Superman 233 in the registry...

Screenshot_20210418-113306.thumb.png.5c2fd8c8b2dca5a9cb7c2c8f662c4158.png

...compared with over 1500 copies of Batman 227, and both are comparably rare in high grade:

66404854_Screenshot_20210418-1132412.thumb.png.2b8909107f23efd74f91ce4cc930281c.png

Has my love of Superman blinded me to something? What am I missing?

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11 minutes ago, jjonahjameson11 said:

Batman is all-ages cool.

Superman is kinda like your grandfather's Pontiac...old and outdated

I get this, but Superman is still the most recognized superhero on the planet. Action Comics 1 is still the undisputed king of comics. Death of Superman comics are selling like hotcakes for insane valuations on eBay despite the fact that DC printed millions of the things.

I know it's not cool to like Superman, but I feel like there's clearly a market for Superman out there. I don't think this alone explains it.

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2 hours ago, Kripsys99 said:

I get this, but Superman is still the most recognized superhero on the planet. Action Comics 1 is still the undisputed king of comics. Death of Superman comics are selling like hotcakes for insane valuations on eBay despite the fact that DC printed millions of the things.

I know it's not cool to like Superman, but I feel like there's clearly a market for Superman out there. I don't think this alone explains it.

I would say that Spiderman is more recognized worldwide than Superman.  And yes, Action 1 is the most expensive key, most assuredly for historical purposes as Superman launched the Golden Age/superhero age of comics, but I would give the nod to AF 15 as the most in-demand superhero key.

and again, I stand by my initial statement that Superman is your grandfather’s Superhero.

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13 minutes ago, jjonahjameson11 said:

I would say that Spiderman is more recognized worldwide than Superman.

Possibly, though I doubt it. Personal opinions not withstanding, even in the USA - where Marvel movies reign supreme - Superman has consistently remained the most recognized and most popular superhero, even recently (though Spiderman now ranks a very close second):

https://nypost.com/2020/03/11/americans-reveal-their-favorite-superhero/

https://www.statista.com/statistics/989799/most-recognizable-superheros-us/

And that's despite a dearth of quality Superman movies for the last few decades.

I get Superman isn't your cup of tea, but I think the above data shows that a lack of popularity of the characters themselves is unlikely to fully account for the difference in value between, for instance, Superman#233 and Batman#227.

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25 minutes ago, jjonahjameson11 said:

Action 1 is the most expensive key, most assuredly for historical purposes as Superman launched the Golden Age/superhero age of comics, but I would give the nod to AF 15 as the most in-demand superhero key.

I agree that Action Comics 1 is valued at least as much for historical purposes, as for Superman's presence in the book. That said, I think AF 15 being more "in-demand" is a function of relative availability (3500 graded copies vs. 70) and affordability (a 1.5 AF15 going for $14k as of this year, a 1.5 AC1 going for $175k as of 2013). There's no demand for the unattainable! :)

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It isn't exactly a cheap book. Mainly a mid grade copy is a chunk cheaper. What have 9.8 and 9.6 some for? The 9.6 ss on ebay is asking half as much as the 227 9.6 ss, but they both might be crazy. I see a lot of them, putting aside the census, might it be more common? And superman is just less interesting. There are zillions of batman mini keys and special books people buy, far fewer superman. Yes, it is an iconic cover, but 227 is more interesting.

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1 minute ago, the blob said:

I see a lot of them, putting aside the census, might it be more common?

That may be the case, but I feel like there would need to be a lot of raw copies in good condition floating around to make up the difference in the census, which I don't see as being that likely for a 50-year-old notable book.

3 minutes ago, the blob said:

There are zillions of batman mini keys and special books people buy, far fewer superman.

I feel like this is actually an argument in support of 233 having an increased valuation - there are a tonne of Batman mini-keys to collect, so the market for any given one should be smaller. For Superman there are relatively few Bronze Age keys (252? 317? AC419?), so 233 should really be in demand.

6 minutes ago, the blob said:

And superman is just less interesting.

Even as a Superman fan-boy, I know this is true! :)

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1 minute ago, Kripsys99 said:

That may be the case, but I feel like there would need to be a lot of raw copies in good condition floating around to make up the difference in the census, which I don't see as being that likely for a 50-year-old notable book.

I feel like this is actually an argument in support of 233 having an increased valuation - there are a tonne of Batman mini-keys to collect, so the market for any given one should be smaller. For Superman there are relatively few Bronze Age keys (252? 317? AC419?), so 233 should really be in demand.

Even as a Superman fan-boy, I know this is true! :)

There are a ton of batman mini keys because collectors ascribe significance to moderately significant books... Just as significant superman books not so much. So it makes sense that the significant ones will be worth more. Anyway, the 233 cover is copied, but looks like a few other muscle flexing superman covers. It may be folks don't know it is a 4 digit book in the 9s.

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1 minute ago, Kripsys99 said:

Likes Superman's pose on 419, and the drawing itself, but have never been able to get behind the cover's background.

As opposed to no background on 233? 233 is a 10 minute sketch. Adams draws that in this sleep.

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12 minutes ago, the blob said:

As opposed to no background on 233?

Neal made frequent use of the type of background seen on 233 to convey movement, action, or emotion - I always felt it was a precursor to Japanese style anime in that regard. A similar background can be seen on 317, seemingly conveying Superman's anger and determination. The background on AC419 is just a photo!

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9 hours ago, jjonahjameson11 said:

I would say that Spiderman is more recognized worldwide than Superman.  

Good god you must be very young to think this. Superman has had non stop presence since 1938 covering comic books, newspaper comic strips, cartoons, radio programs, movies and tv shows. Hell there is even a new Superman TV show on CW right now. Where is the current Spiderman TV show? No way Spiderman had had half the exposure Supes has had! 

Edited by PovertyRow
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