Action Funnies Ashcan Edition 'test copy' comic for Action Comics #1 is for sale

You wait ages from one rare comic... then 12 come along at once. Twelve very scarce DC ashcan comic books from the late 1930s and early 1940s are going up for sale in New York on February 22.

Among them is the Action Funnies Ashcan Edition (DC, 1937/38), estimated at $20,000-plus. It is considered to be one of the most important ashcans in existence - and also happens to be one of only three extant copies.

The comic is one of four early placeholders which were created for what would become the most important comic book in history: Action Comics #1, Superman's first-ever comic book adventure.

Back in the days of Action Comics #1, a typically print-run would have been in the hundreds, thousands, or perhaps even millions. Although only between 100 to 1,000 of any given comic book issue would survive...

In comparison, only two or three ashcans would even be made for an issue. The ashcan was a placeholder for the still-in-development final sleeve.


Action Funnies Ashcan Edition (DC, 1937-38).jpg
Action Funnies Ashcan Edition (DC, 1937/38)

The company would create the title's logo, add it to a piece of existing cover art and shoot a velox (photographic print) of it in black and white. This was then trimmed down to comic-book size and affixed to the interior of a previously published comic, or sometimes just random pages.

For practical purposes, the ashcan would resemble a real comic book. This was further validated when the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) apparently accepted them as authentic comic books

Each of the dozen ashcan comics for sale were collected by Gary Colabuono, a foremost expert on Golden Age ashcans. Colabuono devoted nearly 30 years to assembling his collection.

But now the time has come for him to sell a few of them. Many boast impeccable provenance, having been purchased directly from former DC Comic President Sol Harrison.

Watch this space for more news on the sale.

Recent and related articles

  Collecting rare comic books: Top Five reasons why you should buy | 31 December 2011

  Spider-Man #1 comic stars in first Morphy and Sparkle City joint auction | 11 December 2011

  Action Comics #1 grade 9.0 Superman debut hits $2.16m World Record price | 1 December 2011

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