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Collection charting DC Comics’ eight-decade history goes on sale

Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman feature in the lot.

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The first issue of Batman from spring 1940 (Sotheby’s/PA)

The first issue of Batman from spring 1940 (Sotheby’s/PA)

The first issue of Batman from spring 1940 (Sotheby’s/PA)

A superhero comic book collection featuring every release by DC Comics between 1935 and 2014 has gone on sale in a private auction.

The 40,000-strong collection includes complete runs from the Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Hornet, Aquaman and Justice League series.

Also featured are supervillains Lex Luthor, Joker, Two Face, Penguin and General Zod.

The Superman’s first appearance in June 1938 (Sotheby’s/PA)

The collection was amassed by Northern Soul disc jockey Ian Levine, also a collector of vinyl records and Doctor Who memorabilia, whose interest in comic books began at the age of eight.

His collection charts the rise of superhero comic books from cheap entertainment to a dominant force in Hollywood.

The sale marks the 81st anniversary of The Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27 on March 30 1939.

The private sale is being held at Sothebys.com.

Wonder Woman makes her comic book debut in January 1942 (Sotheby’s/PA)

Richard Austin, head of Sotheby’s books and manuscripts department in New York, said: “The Ian Levine collection is the holy grail for comics collectors.

“Amassed over decades of hunting, Levine’s collection embodies the passion and fandom that has defined comics culture for generations, which today is best encapsulated not through printed issues but popular superhero films that regularly break box office records.

“Featuring some of the most valuable individual books as well as extremely rare promotional issues, the Levine collection includes all the DC heroes that are among the most recognisable and versatile pop culture touchstones in the world.”

The auction record for a comic book was achieved in 2014 when Action Comics #1 sold for 3.2 million US dollars (£2,500,000)

PA Media