The rights to Superman were sold in 1938 for $130, but the paycheck brought significant more money to the heirs of the two cartoonists. The document was sold during an online auction that was held on Monday for $160,000 says Reuters.
Superman holds a very special place in the American culture because he was the first to start the super-hero tradition. He inspired the creation of many other heroic cartoon characters, such as, Batman, Spiderman and X-Men. Despite his significance, the creators of Superman, Jerome Siegel and Joe Shuster, sold their rights to DC Comics in exchange of a $130 paycheck.
Siegel and Shuster understood that they should have sold the rights for a bigger sum of money as their American icon gave birth to a billion-dollar industry. Their heirs tried to make up for the loss by suing DC Comics and its parenting company, Warner Bros. Nevertheless, the creators didn’t receive anything until now when a DC Comics employee sold the paycheck on behalf of the heirs.
Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of New York-based ComicConnect, was the person in charge with the organization of the auction. He told reporters that the paycheck cost $160,000 because it is “the holy grail” for comic book fans and collectors. Zurzolo further explained that the check is the document attesting the birth of the comic book industry, so it is worth all the money.
Siegel and Shuster grew up in Cleveland as childhood friends. They came up with the idea of Superman while they were in their 20s and shared the stories they created with their friends before they eventually sold the character’s rights to DC Comics. Their decision to sell was wrong as Shuster was broke when the first Superman movie was released in 1978.
The auction of the check took place months after the first issue of Action Comics was sold for $2.16 million in December. The magazine is also very important because it was the first comic book that unveiled the Superman character. Its value grew considerably as the magazine could be bought for only 10 cents when it was first published in 1938.