Clark Kent wouldn't necessarily rush to a telephone box to change into superhero garb, but he'd probably put a call in to the 'Daily Planet' after learning that a copy of the comic in which he made his fictional debut has turned up safe and sound, more than a decade after being stolen from the home of Hollywood actor Nicolas Cage.
An original copy of 'Action Comics No 1' -- the 1938 publication which introduced Superman to the world -- was being pored over by detectives yesterday after apparently being discovered among the contents of a disused storage locker in the San Fernando Valley, just north of Los Angeles.
The comic, which features on its front cover a picture of the all-American superhero, was originally sold by newsagents for 10 cents. But today, with only 100 copies still in existence, its value to collectors is upwards of $1m).
Cage bought his copy from Stephen Fishler, a New York comic dealer in the mid-1990s, only to have it taken during a raid on his Bel Air home in 2000. Police are now attempting to establish how the stolen comic came to be in the hands of a local collectibles expert called Mark Balelo.
He insists that an anonymous client found it inside an abandoned storage locker, which was bought during a liquidation auction some time in early March. Mr Balelo said he advised his client to have the comic valued by Mr Fishler, who duly recognised it as the stolen publication.
"Stephen is extremely knowledgeable," Mr Balelo said. "He compared the markings to photographs and it was the one he sold to Nicolas Cage."
Police are refusing either to confirm or deny whether Mr Balelo is now considered a suspect in the original theft.
Cage said in a statement: "It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family." (© Independent News Service)