There is no doubt that Halloween is the scariest time of year, but when it comes to comics, the scariest thing must be accidental damage to an expensive key book. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Whether it be a rip or a tear when turning the page or us foolishly leaving a piece of tape as we remove a book from its bag and board. But there is something far scarier and worse than even that. “What?”, I hear you ask? Well, when an expensive key book is damaged on purpose! That’s what. So this Halloween, let’s talk about the scariest thing of all. Let’s talk about the kids who destroyed copies of Action Comics #1… on purpose.
During the war, there was a lot of effort made to encourage the recycling of many materials, including paper. A lot of the time, this was even being advertised and encouraged in the comic books themselves!
This is one of the main reasons why it is so hard to find copies of most Golden Age comic books from the 30s and 40s, especially in high grade.
This is why it is exceptionally hard for Superman. As the publishers of his 1st Appearance within Comic Books actually ran a competition, encouraging their readers to destroy their copy of Action Comics #1 on purpose!
A Little Super History
Superman was created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster and took over 6yrs to sell to publishers.
An advert for this new Superhero was printed within an existing issue of “More Fun Comics”, another more successful book at the time (Issue 31), and is regarded as the first-ever image to have been published of Superman.
Now, Action Comics didn’t have a letters page like a lot of comics have today. But it did have a contest page where readers could get noted for their commitment to the series.Readers of Action Comics #1 were encouraged to colour in a black and white page of Chuck Dawson, (which was a story also featured in Action Comics #1) using their coloured crayons at home. They were then advised to tear out and post the page back to the publishers for a shout-out in an upcoming issue.
That’s right, you heard me.
Children were encouraged to both colour in and rip out a page from one of the most famous, most expensive comic books of all time! But it gets worse…
This page that they were encouraged to rip out wasn’t just an advertisement page. Oh no. On the reverse side was the LAST PAGE OF SUPERMAN’S FIRST-EVER STORY!Now, No one knows for sure how many children entered this competition after destroying their own copy of this famous book. But 25 “winners” were chosen and named in a later issue.
Looking back, we can all agree this was a huge mistake on their behalf. After all, in hindsight, we all know the value of this book. But really, isn’t this just documented proof that these were the FIRST TRUE COMIC BOOK NERDS?These were people (children in fact) that loved and supported the character of Superman from day one. Thanks to this particular page, they will be remembered throughout all of comic book history.