FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A longtime Alaska comic book buff is selling one of the gems in his vast collection, a rare copy of Batman No. 1 published 70 years ago.

Mike Wheat of Fairbanks has put the 1940 comic book on the auction block through Dallas-based Heritage Auction Galleries, where it’s expected to fetch more than $40,000. Online bids already have climbed to $35,000 for the book, believed to be one of fewer than 300 still in existence.

Online bids will compete with a live auction set for Thursday.

The second and fourth Batman issues also will be part of Thursday’s auction. They are expected to bring more than $5,000 combined.

Wheat, a retired city wastewater treatment plant operator, says he considers the Batman comics an investment. He says it feels like the right time to sell.

“My wife has been bugging me for years. It’s gone from ‘When are you going to sell these?’ to ‘Are you going to sell these?’ to ‘You’re not going to sell these, are you?’” Wheat told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Wheat’s copy of Batman No. 1 has a backstory that would make any junk collector proud, according to the News-Miner.

Fairbanks businessman Ron Jaeger said he bought an old dresser at a local garage sale for $25 in the early 1970s, then put it in storage for a few years. When he finally dug it out, he noticed one of the drawers didn’t slide easily.

Beneath the drawer and a piece of plywood were three comic books and old issues of the News-Miner. According to the newspaper, the haul included a copy of Batman No. 1, Superman No. 17 and an old Red Ryder Western comic.

In 1974, Jaeger was put in touch with Wheat, who had a reputation as an avid comic collector. The three comics went for a quick $300.

Alicia Keys marries producer

NEW YORK — Call her Mrs. Beatz. Alicia Keys has married producer Swizz Beatz, with whom she is expecting her first child.

A representative for Keys confirmed the wedding Sunday.

The Grammy winner and Beatz – whose real name is Kaseem Dean – announced in May that they were engaged.

They were wed Saturday at a private ceremony. Deepak Chopra conducted the ceremony.

It is the 29-year-old singer’s first marriage. The 31-year-old Beatz has been married before and has two sons.

Their baby is due later this year.

Rodman unhurt in rollover

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — An SUV carrying former NBA star Dennis Rodman flipped over in South Florida, but he wasn’t hurt.

Sgt. Mark Wysocky of the Florida Highway Patrol said Rodman and another passenger weren’t injured in the single-vehicle crash Saturday on I-95 near Fort Lauderdale. The driver was taken to a hospital.

Wysocky said the Land Rover flipped over after having a tire problem. No charges were expected.

Rodman’s agent, Darren Prince, said he spoke with his client Sunday, and he confirmed that Rodman was unhurt.

Prince said Rodman had just returned to the United States from the Caribbean island of St. Tropez, where he had a disc-jockey gig.

Prince said: “Thank God he’s OK.”

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