It’s about time DC Comics fans finally receive closure to pop culture’s most burning question: if Batman and Superman got in a fight, who would win? Would Superman prevail over Batman with his superhuman strength, or would Batman be resourceful enough to exploit Superman’s weakness to Kryptonite? Many authoritative figures have chimed in on the subject, including an actual writer of Batman Vs. Superman, but we may never receive a definitive answer that pleases everyone. After all, what’s the fun in a debate that has a single right answer?
More importantly, how do they stack up in the world of collecting?
Round 1: Batman Collectibles
For collectors of rare Batman items, there’s great diversity in the collectibles you could look for, with over 2,000 collectibles in the hobbyDB database.
If you’re into novelty toys, Batman’s got you covered. From the Justice League’s Attack Armor Batman that faced a limited production run, to the 1966 Ideal Batman Utility Belt which is virtually impossible to find sealed and intact, you could spend days figuring out how many thousands of dollars can be spent on Batman toys.
Perhaps the most infamous of all Batman toys, however, is the Mego Elastic Batman. For those who don’t know, the toy company Mego produced a series of toys throughout 1979 called the “Mego Elastic Heroes,” which were functionally similar to the popular “Stretch Armstrong” toyline, but instead featured Superheroes. They were so similar to Stretch Armstrong, in fact, that Kenner filed a lawsuit against Mego for ripping off their product. By July of 1980, Mego ceased production of the Elastic Heroes, and the stage was officially set for these toys to become extremely sought after collectibles more than 30 years later.
As the rarest and most valuable item in the series, the Mego Elastic Batman has sold for as much as $15,100. Even a loose and worn Mego Elastic Batman can be worth approximately $300.
But wait: Batman collectibles get even crazier. If you ever thought of owning the very first Batman comic book, you might be looking at spending in the area of $1,380,000! If that is not rich enough for you, then we advise you to look into the original Batmobile used in the famous 1960s Batman TV series. Designed by famed auto customizer George Barris, this vintage car sold for $4.6 million at auction, trumping even older vintage cars being sold at the same venue. Regrettably, the Funko Pop Batmobile is not quite as valuable.
Round 2: Superman Collectibles
On the surface, Superman collectibles don’t hold quite the same clout as Batman collectibles do (just over 500 items in the hobbyDB database). However, don’t take this to mean there aren’t some valuable gems to be discovered.
For instance, those who were part of the “Supermen of America” club during the 1940s had a chance of receiving an exclusive member’s ring that is considered one of the first superhero collectibles ever made. Though one of these rings was infamously turned down for sale on an episode of Pawn Stars, this same collectible has also sold for as much as $40,000 online.
And yes, there is a Mego Elastic Superman, too.
However, much like a malicious supervillain with a trick up his sleeve, the world of Superman collectibles has a secret weapon: The original Superman comic. The inaugural issue of Action Comics is a holy grail among comic book collectors, and a mint condition print of the notorious comic more than doubles the value of Batman’s Detective Comics debut. In fact, it has sold for as much as $3.2 million! Some may say that this number is still well below the vintage Batmobile described above, but remember that this issue of Action Comics sold for a mere 10 cents once upon a time. If we were to calculate an increase in value by percentage, nothing would come close to Action Comics #1. Even if you owned many of the rarest Batman toys ever made, it would still take a lot to amass a collection that is worth as much as this single comic.
In terms of which hero has the single most valuable collectible in his arsenal, it’s hard to argue with Superman’s comic book debut. Excluding one-of-a-kind movie memorabilia, nothing even comes close.
However, if we are to judge the overall spread of valuable collectibles across comics, toys, and even original sketches, Batman reigns supreme. Fact of the matter is, Batman is a more relevant superhero to modern pop culture than Superman is, and the Bat’s spread of portrayals from Adam West to Christian Bale has made the character as much of a meme machine as he is a dramatic hero. The comic book industry owes a lot to Superman for setting the foundation for the Superhero genre today, yet while we do love the Man of Steel, we can’t argue with the data: Batman is the king of collectibles.
Consider this, though… Batman has the Batmobile, the Batboat, the Batcycle, the Batcave… Superman had some sort of flying car with fists that was slower and weaker than he already was. Batman has a much larger cast of cohorts and villains, so it’s not a fair fight. There are almost as many models of various Batmobiles on hobbyDB as Superman items total.
But hey, we’re not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t like. Whether you’re a fan of Superman or Batman, you should enjoy everything each legend has to offer regardless of who has the more expensive collectibles. Just remember to hold off fighting fans who disagree and leave the battling to the heroes.