The cover of Superman No. 3, published in 1940.
The cover of Superman No. 3, published in 1940.

Comic books like these great for meth-profits laundering

One of the more unusual aspects of the enormous meth ring authorities announced they busted yesterday was the alleged conspirators' chosen instrument for cleaning their dirty money: classic comic books. Investigators seized approximately 100 boxes of comics, including first-edition Batmans and Supermans in plastic sheaths to protect their value. As Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said at a news conference about the 41 arrests, "What we are talking about is money laundering -- a means to have something of value that can easily be converted to cash but keeps you from having stashes of cash around."

It's a smart method, since comics from the art form's golden age can go for thousands of dollars, as a quick visit to eBay confirms. Superman No. 3, seen here, is currently priced at $9,500 -- although interested parties have the option of making a lower offer. And good news: Shipping is free! Superman Annual #1 is an even bigger bargain, with a starting price of just $7,750, and free shipping, too. And for someone who wants an instant collection, issues one through twenty of Superman's 1939 run can be had for $69,999. And you thought you couldn't get those titles for less than seventy thou.

The meth kings' comic-book treasure trove was reportedly worth $500,000, and if the accused dealers are convicted, the government will likely auction off their colorful booty. For comic-book guys, the idea of such a bonanza hitting the market is more powerful than a dose of... well, you know.

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