An age-old dispute between comic-book collectors has finally been settled by a US auction, after Batman's first appearance issue outsold Spider-Man's first solo mission on May 10.
The Batman character first appeared in Detective Comics issue #27, The Case of the Chemical Syndicate. The issue sees Bruce Wayne transform into the Batman to battle his old business partners who have become embroiled in a murder case.
The issue represented a landmark for National Allied Publications, who later became known as DC Comics, due to the popularity of the Detective Comics series' characters.
Graded NM 9.2, the superb condition of the restored 1939 issue ensured an $113,525 sale price.
There are no other copies of Detective Comics #27 graded above 8.5, with the highest grade assigned to an unrestored copy standing at 8.0. The 8.0 graded copy sold for $1.07m at the same auction house in 2010.
The sale follows the auction house's announcement that a copy of Batman #1, the hero's first individual outing, was sold for $850,000 to an investment partnership.
The first edition of The Amazing Spider-Man #1, published in 1963, followed closely at the heels of Batman, with a sale price of $107,550. Graded NM 9.4, the lot represented a superb condition example of the first issue in the most collected comic book series in history.
The Marvel favourite has experienced a 28.5% value increase since 2009, when another 9.4 graded copy sold for $83,650. The Amazing Fantasy #15, in which Spider-Man appears for the very first time, sold for $1.1m in 2011, the highest-price ever paid for a Marvel Silver Age comic book.
However, both of the heroic lots were defeated by a single page of original art from Marvel's Fantastic Four #55.
The masterpiece was an extract from the issue entitled When Strikes the Surfer, and features the incomparable Silver Surfer. The definitive Silver Age pairing of artists Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott drew huge interest from discerning comic art collectors, who lifted bids to $155,320.
Paul Fraser Collectibles has a superb-range of investment grade comic art for collectors, including this autographed sketch of Snoopy, by creator Charles Schulz.
Several items of cartoon art are also available at PFC Auctions' current sale.