Who is the world’s most popular superhero? It may very well be Marvel’s Spider-Man.
Now, Spider-Man can officially claim the title of the world’s most valuable superhero. A rare copy of Spidey’s Marvel Comics debut just sold at auction for a record-breaking $3.6 million — making it officially the most expensive comic book ever sold.
Related: Tom Holland Celebrates ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Triumph Over ‘Avengers: Endgame’
Marvel Comics Amazing Fantasy #15 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee was first on newsstands way back in 1962. Nearly half a century ago, the debut of Peter Parker and his wallcrawling alter ego retailed for just 12 cents. The issue provided the legendary origin story of Spider-Man, and was the first of many, many, many depictions of the death of Uncle Ben.
Related: Marvel Replaces Tom Holland, Names New Spider-Man
On Thursday, at the Heritage Auction’s Signature Comics & Comic Art auction, the Near Mint 9.6 rated copy of Spider-Man’s first appearance sold for a $3.6 million. The record-setting comic is one of only four issues of Amazing Fantasy #15 to be rated a 9.6 by the CGC — and none are known to exist with a higher rating.
The previous record holder for the most expensive comic ever sold was the first appearance of Superman, Action Comics #1. That comic was published in 1938 and sold for $3.25 million earlier in 2021.
Who is the world’s most lucrative superhero?
According to a recent study by GAME , Spider-Man is the world’s favorite hero. The analysis relied on Google search volume to determine the most searched hero country-by-country — with Spider-Man claiming the top spot on nearly 50% of the globe.
Related: Did Marvel Finally Make Spider-Man a REAL ‘Star Wars’ Fan?
When Marvel Studios and Sony agreed to share custody of the immensely popular character, they were splitting a very large pie. Entering 2021, the Spider-Man movie franchise had grossed $6.35 billion worldwide. That total includes Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, The Amazing Spider-Man films fronted by Andrew Garfield, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe entries starring Tom Holland.
Related: Marvel May Spoil Big Spider-Verse Reveal With Maguire, Garfield in Next ‘No Way Home’ Trailer
That $6.35 billion number does not include the Marvel Cinematic Universe films that are not considered Spider-Man solo films — like Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) or, second highest grossing film of all-time, Avengers: Endgame (2019).
To put that in perspective, the Spider-Man franchise is more lucrative than the entirety of the DC Extended Universe — featuring films like Batman v. Superman (2016) and Justice League (2017) — which has racked up $5.6 billion in box office receipts.
Related: Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ Shatters Glass Ceiling, Smashes Box Office Records
The most successful film franchise in the history of movies is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As of August 2021, the MCU has raked in nearly $23 billion — and that is not counting the latest Phase 4 release from Marvel Studios, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021).
Popular franchises under the under MCU umbrella, for comparison’s sake, have made considerably less money than Sony and Disney’s Spider-Man films. The Iron Man trilogy starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark was good for $2.4 billion. The Captain America Marvel movies– which included an Avengers-level crossover event film in Civil War — earned $2.3 billion.
Related: Marvel Studios Officially Ends Stan Lee Cameos in MCU
What are the most expensive comic books ever sold?
Prior to this week’s pacesetting sale of Amazing Fantasy #15, the next highest similar sale of the title was for a 9.4 rated copy. It sold in March 2020 for $795,000.
Related: Andrew Garfield Is the Most Popular Spider-Man, According to Twitter
Other than the aforementioned $3.25 million Action Comics title, the previous record sale for the Heritage auction was Detective Comics #27 — the first appearance of Batman, released in 1938 — which sold for $1.5 million in November 2020.
Your friendly Multiverse Spider-Man
Spider-Man’s popularity has arguably never been higher than it is at this moment in pop culture. With the hotly anticipated Marvel Cinematic Universe Spidey threequel, No Way Home, due to hit theaters the end of the year, fans can’t stop themselves from speculating who in the Multiverse will appear in the movie alongside Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
Related: “What Just Happened?” Marvel Drops ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ Trailer
From the Sony trilogy, Alfred Molina will return as Doctor Octopus. It’s also more than likely that Willem Dafoe will appear as Norman Osborn, and Jamie Foxx will reprise his Amazing Spider-Man villain, Electro.
Of course the biggest rumor out there, is that No Way Home will feature Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — who deny their participation despite all indications to the contrary.
Spider-Man: No Way Home from director John Watts will premiere in theaters December 17, 2021.
Is Marvel’s Spider-Man worthy of the title “Most Valuable Superhero” in the world? Let us know in the comments!