Why rare Action Comics nameplate was on display in Mount Prospect

  • Glen Gribac of Streamwood and his son Grady, 7, point out detail on the prototype for the first Action Comics book that eventually would feature Superman.

    Glen Gribac of Streamwood and his son Grady, 7, point out detail on the prototype for the first Action Comics book that eventually would feature Superman. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Grady Gribac, 7, of Streamwood, Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect, marvels at seeing a prototype created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s ahead of Action Comics' first official book that would feature Superman.

    Grady Gribac, 7, of Streamwood, Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect, marvels at seeing a prototype created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s ahead of Action Comics' first official book that would feature Superman. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights displayed his prototype of Action Comics #1 Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect. The comic was created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s as a prototype for the book that eventually would feature Superman.

    Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights displayed his prototype of Action Comics #1 Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect. The comic was created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s as a prototype for the book that eventually would feature Superman. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights, owner of Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect visited with others as he displayed a 1937 prototype of what would become Action Comics #1, soon to feature Superman.

    Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights, owner of Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect visited with others as he displayed a 1937 prototype of what would become Action Comics #1, soon to feature Superman. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights displayed his copy of Action Funnies at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect Wednesday night. The comic was created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s as a prototype but never went into mass production.

    Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights displayed his copy of Action Funnies at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect Wednesday night. The comic was created by DC Comics artists in the late 1930s as a prototype but never went into mass production. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • A late-1970s reprint of Superman's first comic book appearance was on display Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect.

    A late-1970s reprint of Superman's first comic book appearance was on display Wednesday at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights, owner of Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect, looks at Action Comics issue #1000.

    Gary Colabuono of Arlington Heights, owner of Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect, looks at Action Comics issue #1000. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 4/19/2018 6:04 AM

A prototype of a comic book nameplate known the world over -- which had to be created before Superman could be -- was on display for awestruck suburban superhero devotees Wednesday in Mount Prospect.

Before Action Comics #1 -- the book that introduced the world to Superman and launched a genre in 1938 -- could be drawn and printed, artists had to create the famous "Action Comics" logo, the logo that's still used today. One of those prototypes, from 1937, was on display during a brief visit at Comix Revolution in Mount Prospect.

 

"I just fell in love with it," said owner Gary Colabuono, who acquired two of the three prototypes in 1985 but has since sold one. The third is kept in DC Comics' vault.

"They're pop culture artifacts, and now they've ended up in Mount Prospect 80 years later," Colabuono said.

DC Comics published more than 200,000 copies of Action Comics #1 in 1938, but fewer than 100 are still known to exist, making it arguably the world's most valuable comic book. A copy sold for $3.2 million four years ago in an online auction.

The prototype visiting Comix Revolution on Wednesday is even more rare -- one of just three made in preparation for the issue's main run.

Among those visiting the store for a glimpse at the comic book rarity was Superman fan Mike Korcek of DeKalb. Looking around the shelves of comics and collectibles at the store, Korcek, 70, said, "There's none of this without Superman."

Korcek said he's been collecting comics since he was a kid and bought his first Superman book in the mid-1950s.

"I learned how to read because of Superman," he said.

This is only the third time Colabuono, who ran the Moondog's comic chain for nearly 20 years, has publicly displayed the prototype. He brought it out of its bank vault Wednesday to celebrate the publication of Action Comics's 1,000th issue.

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