Stack of superheroes stolen in Vancouver heist, caped avenger needed

The theft of a valuable stack of rare comic books has Vancouver police calling on superhero fans to help solve the crime.

Legendary Fantastic Four: Issue No. 1 and others worth estimated $10,000 stolen from East Vancouver collector

A rare edition comic, Fantastic Four: Issue No. 1, has been stolen in Vancouver. (Sell My Comic

The theft of a valuable stack of rare comic books has Vancouver police calling on superhero fans to help solve the crime.

The theft was reported by a comic book collector who came home Monday at lunch to find the backdoor was open, say police.

Inside the East Vancouver home not much was amiss, except for a missing 45-kilogram safe.

And inside that safe was a stack of rare comic books valued by the owner at more than $10,000.

The rarest was a 1961 Fantastic Four: Issue No. 1 featuring "The Thing, Mr. Fantastic! Human Torch! and Invisible Girl!"

On eBay bids for damaged copies of the first issue range from $3,000 to $5,000 US, but a pristine version sold for $300,000 a few years ago.

'The series launched the Marvel Age in 1961. The story involves radiation and mutation brought about by a daring outer space adventure,' says Ashley Cotter-Cairns, comic book expert. (Sell My Comic

Why is this comic so valuable?

The 1961 comic book  is described by experts as the genesis of the Marvel Comics universe.

The legendary Stan Lee spent months writing westerns, which he hated, after superheroes were killed off and stopped selling after the war.

Lee begged to go back to what he loved when DC comics re-introducing super heroes in the late 1950s.

"Stan Lee was kind of looking over the fence jealously wondering why he couldn't do this," said Ashley Cotter-Cairns of Sell My Comic Books in Montreal.

He said Lee's publisher relented and the Fantastic Four superheroes were born.

"It started what is known as the Marvel Age of comics. It's a very important comic book," said Cotter-Cairns.

Then came the Hulk, Spiderman and Iron Man, superheroes who continue do battle on movie screens even today.

Have you seen this comic book?

Police are hoping if the unique comic pops up for sale somewhere it will be recognized as stolen by experts.

"It was traumatic enough that they contacted the police. The main goal here is to get these comics back to the owner," said Const. Jason Doucette.

Other titles missing from the safe include Avengers comics issues 1 to 3 and Tales of Suspense No. 41.

"I was surprised. I don't have any experience with comic books. Wow. It's quite a community," he said.

"Someone knows the location of these valuable comics," said Doucette. "We hope they do the right thing."

Fantastic Four were the genesis of the Marvel comic universe created by the legendary Stan Lee. (Flickr/1-800-Hart)