Duncan McAlpine, Head of Development celebrates Batman’s birthday in Elite Business

As Batman celebrates his 80th anniversary, Elite Business asked how can businesses learn from the Dark Knight? Duncan McAlpine, Head of Development at Wilson Worldwide Productions was the perfect person to ask having been an expert in these comics for years!


Ah! Batman #1. For most comic book collectors this is the holy grail. Originally there were about 500,000 copies printed as a new first issue launch but today there are less than 300 left in any condition. In high grade you would fork out over a million pounds at auction. For my own part in 1980 I spent my first term’s grant at Warwick University (£1,000) on a copy which I still have. I starved and worked in a bar to make ends meet but it was worth it. I only told my mother afterwards and being a businesswoman herself, she recognised my financial foresight and spoke to an artwork dealer who had access to Mylar inert plastic sleeves to keep the comic in perfect condition.

What makes this comic so sought after is the character content. The Bat-Man first appeared a year earlier as the lead feature in Detective Comics from issue #27 (May 1939) and proved so successful that his own title launch was inevitable. Batman #1 introduces his arch-nemesis The Joker, surely the most well-known comic book villain of them all. And we also meet a jewel thief by the name of The Cat who would become Catwoman and today is Batman’s lover.

For any entrepreneur, it is clear that comic books are one of today’s best collectibles investment opportunities. Supported by the recent film franchises, characters like Batman are universally known and owing original comic books are now seen as cool rather than nerdy. Investing in comics now is rather like socks and shares: when news of a new film is released, collectors stampede to pick up back copies of Wonder Woman or Aquaman, The Avengers or Guardians of the Galaxy. The latest Captain Marvel film has blown the box office away at $981 million with the billion dollar mark easily within reach so prices have rocketed on her first comic book appearance. A Joker film will be out soon and a new Batman film is in pre-production.

As Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter-ego built up a global business corporation solely through the force of his own personality and surrounding himself with a loyal and trusted team – valuable lessons for any would-be billionaire. Bruce Wayne also practices immense self-discipline through the study of martial arts and meditation – keeping the balance between healthy body and healthy mind at the pinnacle of perfection.

As Batman’s crime-fighting partner Robin would say “Holy

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