Comic Book Values
Introduction to Amazing Fantasy Comics
Cover dated August, 1962, Amazing Fantasy #15 is one of the most sought-after comics in the history of collecting for one simple reason: it features the first appearance of Spider-Man. In addition to introducing the world to the web slinger, the book tells his now familiar origin story, introducing the world to Peter Parker, his frail Aunt May, and the soon-to-be deceased but always influential in Peter’s life Uncle Ben. Though the interior art and the first three years of Spider-Man’s adventures are drawn by co-creator (with Stan Lee), Steve Ditko, the now iconic cover, which features Spidey swinging while carrying a generic thug under one arm, was penciled by Marvel mainstay Jack Kirby, and inked by the Ditko. Unlike many modern-day heroes whose origins have been tinkered with and distorted over time, Spider-Man’s origin, as presented here, is the familiar one that’s lasted to this day. From “Puny Parker” to the spider bite at the science fair, from the brief attempt at show business to Uncle Ben’s murder and “with great power comes great responsibility”, this is a tale that’s as timeless and powerful as it is familiar. From the success of this one-off, Spider-Man went on to his own series one that continues to this day, albeit with occasional renumbering. Soon after this origin issue, classic characters like J. Jonah Jameson, Gwen Stacy, and Mary Jane Watson would follow as Spider-Man is bedeviled by his unique cast of villains, including Doctor Octopus, Electro, the Green Goblin, the Vulture, and many, many more. Its historical importance and relative rarity, compared with other superhero titled issues from the same era, has boosted Amazing Fantasy #15 to the top of The Overstreet Price Guide’s list of Top 50 Silver Age Comics. One of only four comic book issues to ever sell for over one million dollars, even lower graded copies typically bring thousands of dollars at auction.
Brief History of Amazing Fantasy Comic Books
Amazing Fantasy’s original run was brief, one issue. The book began as Amazing Adventures and ran from Amazing Adventures #1 through 6. Like most Marvel magazines of its day, it began as another generic monster anthology comic, with staff staple artist Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko sharing most of the art chores to Stan Lee’s scripts. The most interesting feature was the Lee & Kirby creation of Dr. Droom. The Master of the Mystic arts fought occult villains both real and supernatural. Some have tried to peg this feature as the first Marvel super-hero because it pre-dates the Fantastic Four but it failed to catch on. However, Dr. Droom was lifted from the ashcan of history by Roger Stern when he reprinted his early appearances in Weird Wonder Tales #19-22 under the name Dr. Druid in the early 1970s. Dr. Druid continues to pop-up occasionally through-out the Marvel Universe.
Issues #7-14 took on a new look as well as the name Amazing Adult Fantasy. It also adopted the tag-line “The magazine that respects your intelligence.” The comic was changed into a showcase for Steve Ditko as all stories were drawn by him. The stories, however, remained supernatural, science-fiction or monster in nature.
With cancellation looming, something had to happen as Stan Lee explains in Origins of Marvel Comics:
“I figured there was nothing to lose. Amazing Fantasy #15 would be the last issue before its preordained demise. It wouldn’t matter what we did to it, what strips were included in it; it was doomed. That meant I’d have a chance to get out this latest little gnawing idea out of my system, once and for all. The die was cast. It would be a swan song never to be forgotten”.
That little gnawing idea was of course The Amazing Spider-Man, who makes his debut in this short-lived, Amazing Fantasy #15. Like the issues preceding it, Steve Ditko drew the entire issue.
How much is Amazing Fantasy #15 worth?
According to the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide a 9.2 copy is valued at $405,000.
Amazing Fantasy #15 prices - what is the most expensive Amazing Fantasy #15 sold at auction?
In 2011, a CGC 9.6 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for the staggering price of $1,100,00 to become, at that time, only the third comic to sell for over $1M.
What Amazing Fantasy comics are valuable?
As mentioned earlier, the series went through three name changes. Amazing Adventures #1 with the Universal grade of 9.0 (VF/NM) sold for just over $4,200 in 2018. A few high-grade copies of Amazing Adventures and Amazing Adult Fantasy have for over $1,000 but most copies sell for $50 to $500. Amazing Fantasy #15 is the undisputed king of the title selling from the low thousands up to over $1,000,000.
Amazing Fantasy #15 Cover Art
The cover art for Amazing Fantasy #15 was created by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko the co-creator of Spider-Man.
Characters from Amazing Fantasy #15
Enduring characters from this often-told origin of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15 are Peter Parker’s beloved Aunt May and Uncle Ben.
Plot Summary of Amazing Fantasy #15
Book-worm and shunned teen-ager Peter Parker looks like the only student excited about attending the science-fair with his class. Tragedy turns to triumph when Peter realizes the spider-bite has given him strange new powers. But the sky-larking teen-ager is crushed by the death of his Uncle Ben, which he could have prevented. Peter takes his Uncle’s dying words to heart, “With great power comes great responsibility.”
How rare is Amazing Fantasy #15?
It is difficult to determine exactly how many original Amazing Fantasy #15 are still around today due to many of these comics being part of private collections. The CGC census indicates they have certified over 3,300. The real trouble is affordability. Spider-Man is the most desirable character in the Marvel Universe. You can find Amazing Fantasy #15 in Heritage Auctions nearly every week but are you willing to pony up the cash?
Original art to Amazing Fantasy #15
The original art for the entire issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 turned up back in 2008 when an anonymous donor gave it to Library of Congress. The entire issue was drawn by Steve Ditko.
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