MARVEL'S FIRST COMIC BOOK Marvel Comics #1 Billy Wright pedigree (Timely, 1939) CGC VF- 7.5 Off-white to white pages. Our first reaction upon seeing this copy was: what separates it from the 8.0, 8.5 and 9.0 copies that are known to exist? The overall impression of the book in-hand is on a par with all of the above, with perhaps only the famous Pay Copy a being a clearly superior book. Fortunately since all of the above have been in previous Heritage auctions, collectors can submit all of these to their own scrutiny using the archived scans on our website.This book does have scuffing along the spine, but we can see no other defect of any note. If you've seen multiple copies of this key, you know that it's often found printed a bit out of register, with the Human Torch's chin appearing as a double line. There's no such problem here, and the "off-white to white" page quality designation matches the best we've seen.It's worth noting that some of the copies from other pedigrees are restored books, for example the Allentown and Kansas City copies. And some of the other top copies such as the Pay Copy and the Larson copy do have prominent markings on the cover, while this has none.For many years, Marvel Comics #1 was listed as the most valuable comic book by the Overstreet Guide. In the meantime it is #4 behind Action #1, Detective #27, and Superman #1, but for the Marvel fan there's no topping this issue here. It's the first comic the company ever published.Certainly no comic book can claim two first appearances as significant as those of the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner, who both made their debuts here (the latter had been used in a promotional comic previously, but hadn't appeared in a newsstand publication until this issue). And that made this comic the start of the Marvel Universe, a set of characters that left its mark on American popular culture, selling millions of comic books and starring in TV shows, movies, and more. The publisher that produced the issue used many different company names over the years and is usually referred to as Timely, but it's only fitting that when the publisher finally had one official name years later, it took its name from this very comic.After #1 the title of the series was changed to Marvel Mystery, and it's a special thrill to us to be offering the first seven issues of the series, and eleven of the first twelve, together in one consecutive run. We haven't even mentioned the host of other characters making debuts here, the most notable of which are Ka-Zar and the Angel. The cover, showing the Human Torch, is by science fiction pulp illustrator Frank R. Paul. Overstreet 2011 VF 8.0 value = $135,000. CGC census 2/12: 1 in 7.5, 4 higher.