Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a Superman comic, selling faster than a speeding bullet. A fan of the Man of Steel paid US$1 million for the 1938 first edition Action Comic on Monday. This is a record price for any comic, the collection of which is clearly no laughing matter, for there are only 100 such still in existence. The cover of that June edition shows Superman lifting a large green car and smashing it into a pile of rocks. Maybe he is just angry that the accelerator has stuck, or the brakes failed to engage. He was created by Jerry Siegel with drawings by Joseph Shuster. Superman's look has not changed much over the years. Apparently he was modelled on the actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr, while his alter ego, Clark Kent, a reporter for The Daily Planet, owed his image to the 1920s Hollywood comedian Harold Lloyd, particularly the round horn-rimmed glasses.
Some things don't change, except perhaps the price. A return of $1 million on an investment of 10 cents over 72 years is something even a hedge fund manager might envy. Perhaps rather than bonuses this year, they should hand out comics to the banksters on Wall Street and tell them to hold them for the long-term. In the long-running struggle between Batman, Spiderman and other characters, it seems that Superman - dubbed rather disparagingly as the "big blue boy scout" by his fellow superheroes - has come out on top. Not bad for a character who has worn his underwear over his trousers for more than 70 years.