Earlier this week, DC released a comic featuring Batman’s dick. But now, just days later, they’re taking it away from us! DC had already scrubbed clean the digital version, but they’ve also promised that future printings of the comic won’t feature what Batman has got going on underneath his utility belt, either.
Which got me thinking: Since this means a limited number of existing Bat-dick issues, and scarcity = value, surely this thing will be worth a crap-ton of money 20 or 30 years from now? Basically, if I could get my hands on a copy, could the Dark Knight’s schlong be my retirement fund?
It’s not that crazy an idea. Action Comics #1, which featured Superman’s first appearance, sold for $3.2 million in 2014. Then there’s Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27, which sold for $1.075 million in 2010. Hell, I’d even settle for the $275K Thor’s first appearance in Journey into Mystery #83 netted in 2014.
But before rushing out to my nearest comic book store, neatly bagging and boarding a pristine edition and placing it in the safe beneath my floorboards, I figured I should get a realistic estimate on just how big a version of Wayne Manor I’ll be able to buy with it one day. With this is mind, I reached out to comic appraiser Pete Beaudoin from That’s Entertainment Pop Culture Emporium, who promptly killed the boner I had for my Batman dick scheme.
“My guess is that it’s not going to be worth a great deal,” Beaudoin tells me. “For a comic to be valuable, something has to happen that captures people’s excitement in the long term, and there has to be scarcity.” So, while the issue featuring The Dark Knight’s dong may sell some extra copies due to the attention it’s getting, the shock value of that will likely wear off pretty fast. Also, while some shops opted not to sell the book for moral reasons, DC didn’t require retailers to pull it, which means there are probably anywhere from 50,000 to 70,000 copies of this comic out there, says Beaudoin. So, not exactly scarce.
Beaudoin went on to explain that very few comics from the 1980s and later are valuable at all. “While they may have printed a million copies of Batman’s first appearance in 1939, nobody had any inkling that these would be valuable someday, so people didn’t take care of them. Moms threw them away and people went off to war, so the few that survived became very valuable.”
By the 1980s and 1990s, comics were well established as a collectors market, so it became common for people to buy three copies of a first issue and preserve them in the hopes they’d get rich off of them one day. So many people did this, in fact, that there was no scarcity whatsoever, and those comics ended up not being worth shit. This rampant speculation would end up crashing the industry around 1996, and Marvel, still over a decade from becoming a movie industry behemoth, even had to declare bankruptcy in 1997 due to exactly this problem.
Now, Beaudoin does say that, because of the media attention, there may already be people selling this comic online for ridiculous prices. Some people may even get suckered into buying it for a couple hundred bucks. But the fact is, you can currently still go to a major retailer and get it for the $6.99 cover price. Beaudoin even had several copies still in his store when I spoke to him.
If anything, this comic may have more in common with the infamous Star Wars trading card featuring C-3PO’s dick (or so it seemed). While that legendary card was an accidental trick of the light as opposed to DC’s intentional nudity, “Card King” Gary Gerani, who created the card for Topps, explains to me that there were hundreds, if not thousands of that initial card printed and sold. So despite the prominent droid dick, the card was never all that rare or valuable. In fact, he says, the corrected version of the card (sans dick) ended up being more rare because the marketplace already had so many of the naughty version.
By that logic, if there’s a reprint of Batman Damned featuring a castrated Caped Crusader, that version may end up being harder to find than the one with the nudity. So, unless somehow the other 49,999 copies of this thing go missing, my Bat-dick probably isn’t worth, well, dick.