Arcadia Sanctorum

The Arcadia Sanctorum is a place to learn about comics and comic book collecting. We find lesser-known stories from the comic book universe. We teach collectors how to grow, sell, and preserve their collections. And we share news and insights about the contemporary comic book artform. Enter and discover.

The Story of Nicolas Cage’s Action Comics #1

Nicolas Cage is known for a lot of things. He’s won an Academy Award, and starred in a seemingly endless list of films. But did you know that Nicolas Cage is also a huge comic book fan? He at one time owned an extensive comic book collection of some of the rarest issues in existence, and at one time owned one of the rarest comics of all time, Action Comics #1.

Nic Cage and Comics

Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola. He is the nephew of the well regarded director, Francis Ford Coppola, but decided to choose a different stage name in order to earn his own way in Hollywood. When it came time to pick his moniker he looked no further than his stack of Marvel comic books, and chose the last name Cage, taken from Luke Cage.

He entered the film world with a series of small roles before really making a name for himself as a star. All the while, Cage was continuing to build his collection. Then in 1996, he got the role of his life, the one he’d wanted since he was a child. Nic Cage was cast as Superman in the Tim Burton film, Superman Lives. Sadly, this movie never ended up being filmed, though the stories surrounding the film deserve their own article, and the failed film even received its own documentary (The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? It’s great, watch it).

nicolas cage as superman
Nicolas Cage in his Superman Costume from the test footage of Superman Lives

He eventually did star in a comic book movie of course. He played Johnny Blaze in 2007’s Ghost Rider, and its 2012 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance. He also named his second son after his favorite superhero, Kal-El, the Kryptonian name of the one and only Superman.

Nic Cage and his Action Comics #1

The Issue of Action Comics that were discussing has quite a history. It set a record in 1993, when famous auction house Sotheby’s sold it for $86,000. It was purchased three years later for $135,000 by a man named Stephen Fishler, a Manhattan based comic book dealer. Fishler was approached by Nic Cage, who wanted to connect deeper to the role of Superman, as well as pad out his collection.

Nicolas Cage once owned a copy of action comics #1

Nic Cage and the Theft

It’s important to note that Nic Cage doesn’t only collect comic books. It’s widely known that he loves to buy classic cars, as well as other normal things, like dinosaur fossils. In February of 2000 the police were called to the Cage estate, and found that he kept his collections displayed inside of his living room, the fossils, the comics, and the cars.  

The detectives were lead into another room in which Cage kept his rarest comics. An issue of Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of spider-man), as well as several other rarities including issues of Hour Man, Green Lantern, and The Fantastic Four. They were mounted on the wall behind bullet proof glass, according to the detectives.

The issues that were stolen included the famous Action Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, and Detective Comics #14. These comics are all extra rare, not only because they were published in 1938, but because of the approximate 300,000 that were published of each, it is believed that less than 100 of each still exist.

An (Almost) Happy Ending

 Nicolas Cage ended up auctioning off his entire collection in 2001, 1 year after the theft took place. His collection sold for $1.2 million but the actor often spoke about how heartbroken he was that his prized pieces were never recovered. Then, in 2011 some news came that changed everything.

Nicolas Cage's Detective Comics 27 issue is still missing

Remember that guy Stephen Fishler? The one that sold Cage most of his rare comics? Well he got a call from a rare collectables dealer who had a seller come in with an issue of that famous issue. Fishler flew across the country and instantly recognized it as the very same issue that once belonged to Nicolas Cage. The issue was confiscated, and after some dealings with the insurance company, it was returned to its famous owner.

The End?

The story of this specific issue of Action Comics #1 deserves its own movie. The story is so strange that it almost feels like the type of film that would star Nicolas Cage, and if it ever does get the film treatment, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’ll play himself.

Cage ended up auctioning his prized possession off to pay some debts. The winning bid was a record setting $2,161,000. What about the two issues of Detective Comics? They’ve still not been recovered. Nic Cage’s issue of Action Comics #1 is currently on display in London, in a museum displaying the evolution of comics. At least it’s safe…for now.

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