People are Still Running the Fake Superman #1 Scam

People removing the outer cover from a treasury edition sized DC “Famous First Edition” reprint and trying to sell it to unwitting people was something that went around quite a long time ago and maybe it never went away.

I got contacted by a guy on Facebook yesterday trying to sell me one of these reprints as a legitimate Superman #1…  if you’re not aware of this scam, read on.

Back in the late 1970s, DC reprinted a bunch of their classic #1 issues in the 10″ wide by 13.5″ high treasury edition format.  While the main cover (see photo on the left above) clearly shows it to be a Famous First Edition reprint, if you open it up (see photo on right above) you can see that there is a second cover that is on glossy stock, just like a comic book cover, which looks pretty much like the actual comic.  These reprints are almost exact duplications of the original, so if a scam artist merely removes the cardstock outer cover they have a pretty convincing fake copy, down to the inside front cover with the copyright date indicating the actual year of first publication, as shown below:

Inside Cover

So here’s how the scam works.

I got an unsolicited message from a guy saying he heard I collect comics and would I be interested in this comic he was helping his “friend” sell.  “Well, I have quite a few comics, I’m not sure you would have anything I’d be interested in.” I said.  “How about this one?” and the guy sent me a picture of Superman #1 (like the one at the top of this on the right, but with the outer cover not present so it was what appeared to be a picture of an actual Superman #1.  He even sent a picture of the inside front cover, pointing out the 1939 copyright (like the picture above, except the picture above is one I took from my Famous First Edition reprint).

I pointed out that if this was a real Superman #1 then his best bet to maximize the amount of money he’d be able to get would be to have it authenticated & graded and sell it at auction.  Not to be sending messages around on Facebook to people who are interested in comics.  That said, if he could answer a few questions, I could help him understand how likely it was that the comic was the real deal.

“Can you tell me how big the comic is, in inches?” I asked.  “It’s bigger than a normal comic”, he replied.  “They made them bigger back then.”  “Humor me.” I said, and asked him to get a ruler and measure the dimensions of the comic, knowing that an actual Golden Age comic is going to be something approximately like 7 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches, not 10 x 13 1/2 inches.  He said he’d get back to me, and eventually came back with the 10 by 13.5 numbers, reminding me that comics were bigger then.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I explained the size of an actual Golden Age comic book, then pointed out that DC had done oversized reprints in the 1970s that were 10×13.5. I told him I was sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but since his “friends” comic was 10×13.5 it was clearly one of the 1970s reprints.   Further, since it seemed to have  had the outer cover stripped off, it probably wasn’t worth very much at all.

He told me that his “friend” assured him it was a legitimate 1st printing from 1939 and he was just trying to help him sell it.  I pointed out that if it was 10×13.5 inches there was no way that it was an original.  He should pass the bad news along to his friend and stop trying to sell it as a 1939 original, so that he himself would not be involved in selling it as something it was not.

At this point he got indignant and said” “Hey, I get it, you don’t want to buy it…why don’t you just move along!!”

I sincerely hope he does not get some unsuspecting person to pay any amount of money for this coverless reprint comic.

Here are pictures of other comics that were reprinted oversized in the “Famous First Editions” series:

Famous first

Be smart.  Don’t get scammed!

Bob Bretall: By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics


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8 Responses to People are Still Running the Fake Superman #1 Scam

  1. Kon Krypton says:

    I remember those! I had all but the Flash book. But as a kid I unfortunately didn’t save them. But I enjoyed them at the time, and that’s really what mattered. Today, I am reorganizing my comic storage and have almost 4000 DC cooks, most of recent vintage but some of the Batman and Superman books date for the 70’s and 80’s. Love your blog and just followed!

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