What is probably the best copy of Action Comics #1, the 1938 comic book that featured the debut of Superman, has sold at auction in Philadelphia for $2.16 million. Though the identities of the buyer and the seller are being kept secret, it is apparently the copy that was stolen from Nicolas Cage back in 2000.
After being off the radar for more than a decade, the book was discovered in an abandoned storage shed in California last April.
This particular copy has been auctioned twice before. In 1992, it sold for $86,000 and was resold in 1997 for $150,000. Each time, it was the highest-priced comic ever sold, a record it has now achieved for the third time.
Most articles about the sale include the factoid that there are only about 100 copies of the book left in existence. I have no idea where they came up with that number, but back when I started at DC Comics in the '70s, the guess was that maybe two dozen were still out there. Of course, that guess was no more scientific than the one used today. In any case, it will probably remain a guess because I suspect that the people who own one aren't about to advertise it.
For whatever reason, today seems to be a day for lists making the news. Among those I've come across this morning are:
* America's 30 Druggiest Colleges
The University of Colorado leads the list, followed by Dennison College in Ohio and Dartmouth (which I guess can now claim to be the "highest"-ranking of the Ivy League schools). Also on the list are five campuses of the State University of New York (Fredonia, New Paltz, Oneonta, Oswego, and Purchase). None of the schools on this list made it onto this next one...
* America's 10 Unhappiest Colleges
The students at the New Jersey Institute of Technology are apparently the unhappiest of all. Also on the list are the students at the Merchant Marine, Coast Guard and Naval Academies. The students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania also made the top ten, perhaps because they are not sure which state they are in.
* The 10 Saddest Cities in America
St. Petersburg, Florida tops this list but its residents can cheer up just a little by driving over to Tampa, which ranked as #4. Detroit and Memphis are in between. Thankfully, none of the unhappy colleges are located in the saddest cities; that would be just too depressing.
* The #1 Stolen Car in America
A 1994 Honda Accord! The article says they are stolen for the parts, but how many of these 18-year-old cars are still out there? You have to wonder, are there more 1994 Honda Accords or copies of Action Comics #1 in the world?
Also at the top of the list is the 1991 Toyota Camry, which makes you wonder if the thieves are new car dealers trying to force people into buying vehicles built in this century.
* The Places You Must See Before You Die
Machu Picchu beats out such destinations as the Great Pyramid of Giza, Yellowstone National Park, Easter Island, Red Square in Moscow and the Great Barrier Reef. You could spend quite a bit of money just getting to those six places... or you could do a Google Images search.
Also in the news, there's the story about the 4,000-pound unexploded bomb that was discovered in the Rhine River in Koblenz, Germany. It is believed to have been dropped by the RAF during World War II and has been sitting there ever since. Half of the city's 45,000 residents -- including hospital patients and prison inmates -- are being evacuated before any attempts are made to defuse it.
If anyone is putting together a list of The World's Most Dangerous Cities, Koblenz should probably be on it.
Finally, Coca-Cola has announced that they are abandoning their special white holiday cans and switching (or "reverting back," as one article put it) to the traditional red ones. One of the complaints was that consumers were confusing the white cans with the silver Diet Coke ones. But there were also people complaining that the soda tastes different in the white cans!