The stories are haunting, as countless people remember coming home to learn that their parents tossed their entire comic collections into the trash. For years, it seemed parents didn't understand that these weren't just disposable comic books and actually held value -- oftentimes immense value. While the comic book explosion of the '90s devalued most new comics drastically, there are still memories of a day when comics were rare and are now worth a fortune.
When the news broke in 2011 that Nicolas Cage sold his pristine copy of Action Comics #1 for $2.161 million, comic book collectors remembering their parents tossing their prized books stung more than ever. While Marvel Comics doesn't have anything that touched the worth of that Superman book, here are 10 Marvel Comics that would make any fan rich if they happen to find one in the wall of their old house.
10. AMAZING FANTASY #15 (1962)
Amazing Fantasy #15 was the first appearance of the Amazing Spider-Man and remains one of the most valuable Marvel Comics that would make any fan rich. To understand how much this comic book is worth, a man found this comic book at a garage sale and bought it for six cents. It had holes and torn pages and still sold for $2,700.
With that said, in 2011 ComicConnect sold a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 in an auction for $1.1 million. This copy was graded almost perfect, at a CGC 9.6 NM+ quality. Five years later, it sold at the Comics & Comic Art Signature Auction for $5.7 million.
9. MARVEL COMICS #1 (1939)
Before they were known as Marvel Comics, the company that Stan Lee helped build was under the banner of Timely Comics. The very first comic book that the company released in 1938 was Marvel Comics #1. This included stories of The Human Torch, The Angel, Sub Mariner, and Masked Raider.
Because this was the first ever comic that came from what turned into Marvel Comics, and even hit stores before Action Comics #1, it is both rare and worth a lot of money. This is a comic book that would make any fan rich, a high-grade copy selling in 2003 for $350,000.
8. CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS #1 (1941)
Possibly the most iconic cover to any comic book in history came with Captain America Comics #1, which hit in 1941. That cover had Captain America punching out Adolf Hitler and the issue actually came out a year before America even officially entered the war against Germany.
Over the years, the cover has taken on a new meaning and is a super-patriotic part of the past. On top of the iconic cover, it is also very rare due to its age. As for this comic book itself, in 2011 an issue graded at a CGC 9.2 sold for $343,000 through ComicConnect, making one comic book fan very rich.
7. X-MEN #1 (1963)
When it comes to superhero teams in Marvel Comics, everyone may talk about The Avengers now but the most popular team for many years was always The X-Men. X-Men #1 introduced the team with core members of Cyclops, Angel, Beast, Ice-Man, and Jean Grey -- five mutants who remain popular to this day.
Released in 1963, this issue of the X-Men saw the mutants battle Magneto, making this a first for many reasons. That made it one of the top Marvel Comics that would make any fan rich. In 2012, that very issue sold with a grade of CGC 9.8 for $492,000.
6. MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS 128 PAGE ISSUE (1942)
One of the rarest Marvel Comics ever made is Marvel Mystery Comics 128-Page edition. According to reports, there are only five known copies in existence and it was only distributed in New York City. This issue actually reprints two other issues -- Marvel Mystery Comics #41 and Captain America Comics #22.
There haven't been many sold since it was so rare. However, one in average condition rated at a 6.5 grade, sold for $26,000. Later, two versions sold for a huge amount of money, one selling for $159,999 and a variant issue selling for $482,000. The variant issue had different reprints but the same cover.
5. TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 (1963)
Tales of Suspense #39 offered Marvel Comics fans their first look at the Invincible Iron Man. As fans know, this Iron Man was nothing like the red-shelled Avenger that they are used to but instead was his origin story and put him in the clanky old grey armor that he had for a few years.
As Iron Man became more popular, his debut issue where he decided to stop selling weapons during the Vietnam War became more valuable. A few years after the Marvel Cinematic Universe made Iron Man a worldwide star in their movies, a CGC 9.6 graded edition of Shell Head's first adventure sold for an impressive $375,000, a Marvel Comic that would make any fan rich.
4. INCREDIBLE HULK #1 (1962)
The first appearance of The Incredible Hulk came in his own premiere issue, released in 1962. This was a very different Hulk than fans know today -- a grey monster who talked and only changed when the sun went down. Over the years, Hulk changed into the green-skinned hero that came out when Bruce Banner was angry or injured.
For years, there were no pristine issues of Incredible Hulk #1 but that all changed in 2009 when an issue sold for $125,475. However, in 2014, two more issues were sold, both rated at a 9.2 in quality. The first went for $320,000 and the second sold for $326,000, making two very happy Marvel Comics fans rich only months apart from each other.
3. AVENGERS #1 (1963)
In 1963, Marvel Comics brought together some of their biggest heroes in Iron Man, Thor, and Hulk and put them on a team to battle the threat of the trickster god Loki. The results were amazing. Since then, The Avengers became one of the most successful teams for any comic book publisher and they are the basis for the MCU in the movie world.
In 2012, a copy of Avengers #1 sold for a then-record price of $274,850 by Metropolis Collectibles. That comic book had a grade of 9.6, which was one of the three best quality issues of that specific comic book at the time.
2. MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS #9 (1940)
Marvel Mystery Comics #9 was the first time that Marvel Comics ever had two different hero characters cross over and battle each other in an issue. In this case, it was the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Sub Mariner, which seemed like a perfect battle with the fire-based Torch trying to stop the water-based Namor.
There was also a story with the Angel (not the X-Men member), a Masked Raider story and a final story that involved Electro (not the Spider-Man villain) and Professor Zog. The worth of this rare comic from 1940 is an impressive $198,000, enough to make any fan rich.
1. FANTASTIC FOUR #1 (1961)
The first official Marvel Comics superteam was not the Avengers or the X-Men. The First Family of Marvel Comics was The Fantastic Four and they made their debut in 1961. The first issue showed their origin as they flew a rocket through space and were showered with cosmic rays. They then had to battle the Mole Man as citizens were afraid of the superpowered beings in their midst.
While this was the first book that Marvel Comics published when they changed their name and started pushing superheroes out onto the masses, it was surpassed by many others in worth although it is still a Marvel Comics book that would make a fan rich, selling at an auction in 2008 for $450,000 for a CGC 9.6 copy.