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Batman v Superman: See inside this gigantic DC comic collection (pictures)

As DC's two greatest heroes clash in cinemas, take a peek at the legendary issues and first appearances spotted in this new collection, on show in London.

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Luke Westaway

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1 of 28 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

As Batman and Superman do battle on the silver screen, we've taken a peek inside the DC chapter of the "Impossible Collection" -- a new showcase of over 1,000 DC comics, on show in London. Click through to check out the collection, and some of its rarest artefacts.

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The collection is owned by billionaire businessman Ayman Hariri, the son of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005.

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Let's check out some of the famous covers and first appearances. This is the birth of the Silver Age Flash, in 1956.

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The Justice League of America gets its own comic. This first issue dates back to 1960.

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Wonder Woman will soon get her own big-screen outing. This is her first appearance, in Sensation Comics. This issue is from 1942.

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Perhaps DC's most popular character, Batman first appeared in Detective Comics, issue No. 27.

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The comic cost 10 cents back when it first went on sale.

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The jewel in the collections crown are two copies of Action Comics No. 1 -- the first appearance of Superman, and the book that kicked off the golden age of comics.

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The comic was first published in 1938.

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The copy shown here on the right was once stolen from actor Nicolas Cage, who later had the edition returned, before it was sold at auction for over two million dollars.

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The collection contains a number of famous comics, as well as DC artwork.

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Lois Lane gets powers of her own in this Superman issue.

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This is Superman's second-ever cover.

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This painting of the Justice League was created by famous comic artist Alex Ross.

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Superman knocks the stuffing out of Batman.

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This isn't Superman's first appearance, but it is the first time he ever got his own comic. Superman No. 1, from 1939.

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Superman looks patriotic in this cover from 1940.

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The collection also grants a look at comics published during World War II, when superheroes often served as anti-Nazi or anti-Japanese propaganda.

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Depictions of Japanese characters in these wartime issues were often racist caricatures, and would be unacceptable by today's standards.

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In this odd issue of The Flash, the speedy hero becomes suddenly much heavier.

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Elastic Lad v The Ugly Superman -- expect to see this in cinemas in a few years' time.

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Superman forms a one-man band, presumably in a bid to stop evil. Somehow.

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Superman fights The Flash.

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This vintage Batman comic is particularly stylish.

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Batman is a fan of his own adventures. Robin seems keen, too.

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Superman uses his powers to pummel members of the animal kingdom.

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A copy of "Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane". In this bizarre series, Lois is frequently depicted as being obsessed with marriage.

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The Impossible Collection will be viewable by the public, with plans for a global tour.

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