Superman: This Island Bradman

What is the rarest Superman comic book in existence? That’s a question that would invite a great deal of debate. But there’s some compelling evidence to indicate that it may be this one. This Superman custom comic book had a print run of only around 200 copies total, and was distributed to an incredibly select group of people.

Godfrey Bradman was a British real estate mogul who had accrued an enormous fortune measured in the billions. In 1988, his son Daniel was both an enormous Superman fan and also coming up on his Bar Mitzvah. So Bradman made arrangements to give him a very special gift.

He commissioned DC Comics to create an original 8-page Superman story starring his son, his son’s friends and all of the family. The book was given out to guests at Daniel Bradman’s Bar Mitzvah–the only distribution it ever had. Custom comics have been a part of most publishers’ publishing plans for decades, so this wasn’t out of whack. But typically, most custom comics are produced for a client in order to get a message across–either an advertisement for their product or services or else a public service-style warning about some societal danger. But it was unheard of that somebody would commission a custom comic intended to produce only 200 copies for a single child’s Bar Mitzvah.

The story was written by David Levin, who worked briefly for DC, and illustrated by famous Superman artist Curt Swan. As this was a custom comic, I’m guessing that the page rates were a bit richer than the norm for the work. (Bradman reportedly spent 10,000 pounds for the original comic.) Angelo Torres provided the inking.

The balance of the issue was made up of a reprint of the story from SUPERMAN #2 by John Byrne as well as a gallery of covers.

As you’d imagine, the few copies that have been sold publicly have gone for premium prices. And apart from its novelty and its scarcity, there’s not all that much to recommend it. Unless you’re Daniel Bradman, that is.

And here’s a video of DC expert Mark Waid talking about the issue.

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