Comics are the center of Chris Rupp’s universe.
The 41-year-old owns the Fremont store Rupp’s Comics, a curious place chockfull of comics, action figures and memorabilia.
But Rupp’s most recent purchase is by far his most unique and historical item: a 1933 original copy of “Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48.”
“It is such a piece of comic book history, even in the condition it’s in,” Rupp said. “I would put it in a grade of 1.0 on a scale of one to ten.”
Detective Dan “No. 48” is considered the first modern comic book, inspiring the creation of superheroes such as Superman and Batman.
The comic book was brought to him for an appraisal by Marilee Spore, for a real estate transition company.
She was cleaning out a home on Catawba Island when she discovered 10 historic comic books.
“The family from the home had a full library,” Spore said. “We found these comic books — one was a 1930s Detective Dan book that wasn’t in great shape, but it was intact. It was all so much fun.”
Spore’s other comics had little value, but Rupp purchased the “Detective Dan” copy for $300.
“They had these 10 comic books — nine from the ‘80s and this one from 1933,” Rupp said. “I was confused because I had never seen this book before and it looked like a true comic book.”
The store will place the comic out for display on Saturday.
The creators of Superman created their first story after they saw Detective Dan being sold on newsstands in the 1930s, Rupp said. They sent the artwork and script to Detective Dan’s publishing company, who rejected it. Consequently, the creators burned their original copies out of frustration.
“All the creators saved was the original cover,” Rupp said. “It wasn’t until four years later they sold it to DC comics. Without Detective Dan, there may not have been a Batman or a Superman.”
Saturday’s unveiling of the influential comic will also be the store’s 22nd anniversary celebration.
Rupp opened the store when he was 19 years old.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do back then,” he said.
He now employs seven people, operating lucratively through online sales and representing companies at international trade shows.