BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
HBO Max has a major hit with Peacemaker. The streaming series has catapulted Christopher Smith to the top of the DCEU, and his key issues are spiking as a result.
From the squared circle to the silver screen, John Cena has won over fans with his portrayal of one of the DCEU’s most morally misaligned superheroes, the Peacemaker. Over the past year, the character has gone from virtually unknown to being one WarnerMedia’s top properties. The Suicide Squad writer/director James Gunn had so much fun with the character that he moved straight to penning the scripts for Peacemaker’s HBO Max series as soon as filming wrapped on the movie.
Now that fans have seen Peacemaker, the obscure hero’s key issues have caught fire. On that note, let’s take a look at six issues you’ll want to watch.
FIGHTIN’ FIVE #40
During the Silver Age, Charlton Comics created the idea for a superhero whose love for peace was so strong that he would fight to attain it. He also was apparently unaware of the irony of his message, which is how he became the goofy character from The Suicide Squad. It didn’t help matters that he wore a helmet so silly that not even Galactus would try it on.
Peacemaker first appeared in 1966’s Fightin’ Five #40, and that has been the major key collectors have at the top of their shopping lists. Being a Silver Age key that, up until now, has not been in high demand, the prices have been grossly inflated for the past year. If you didn’t get into the game early, you can expect to pay a premium for any grade at this point.
Since copies of Fightin’ Five #40 have not been available in abundance, there have been few graded copies sold recently. The highest grade sold this year so far has been the 5.5. For the past 12 months, there have been just five copies to trade hands online for an average of $840. Last year, it reached a record $1,030. While it has not reached the four-digit mark in 2022, the most recent sale was for $940 on January 20.
PEACEMAKER #1 (1967)
In 1967, Peacemaker would star in his first solo title. In this first issue, he would travel to Antarctica to thwart a possible nuclear war as well as destroying a submarine that was targeting fishing vessels. While the stories themselves may not catch your attention, it’s the significance of this being his first self-titled comic that has catapulted Peacemaker #1 to new heights.
Some grades are already approaching their record highs. The 8.0 brought $1,000 on January 8, which is just $25 shy of last year’s record. Then there is the 7.5, a grade that, before this year, hadn’t sold since one brought $99 two years ago. This month, it went for a record $650. Likewise, the 7.0, which had been a $77 comic in 2020, brought $698 last week.
PEACEMAKER #1 (1978)
If that’s too far out of your budget, consider buying the Modern Comics reprint.
After Charlton closed its doors, Peacemaker #1 was reprinted in 1978 by Modern Comics. It was sold as part of a three-pack in select department stores, so it is not overly common to find these, which makes them more appealing to collectors. Being a reprint, these typically sell for significantly lower prices than the original, though the values are inflating thanks to the new show.
Like everything else connected to Peacemaker, the prices are on the way up, but you can own high grades at fractions of the cost for the first print. After all, the last graded 9.8 that sold online brought $145 in December. This month, a 9.0 sold for $112.
PEACEMAKER #1 (1988)
One of the Peacemaker keys that gets overlooked in the mix is the first issue of his debut series with DC Comics. Published in 1988, Peacemaker #1 has been making significant gains in fair market value as of late. From 2011 to 2017, just one 9.8 sold each year with a high of $30, and there were no sales in 2018 and 2019. Last year, the market erupted, and 11 graded 9.8s traded hands through the auction sites. So far in 2022, there have been five sales with a high of $450.
In the Silver Age, Peacemaker was a relatively successful title for Charlton. Four issues into the run, he was given a proper origin story. Like superhero origins, the tale evolves with the times, but the heart of the story remains, and those seeds were planted in Peacemaker #4, which makes this a good addition to your Peacemaker collections. It also is much cheaper than his first appearance, so there’s an added bonus. There haven’t been any graded sales this year, and the last copy to swap owners online was the 6.5, which earned $50 last July. If you’re looking for a raw copy, those are typically selling in the $30 range at the moment.
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #6
Up until the past year, the biggest selling point for Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 was the debut of the Anti-Monitor. Now that the former Charlton Comics properties are making their way into the DCEU, this issue has an added bonus for collectors. This issue marked the official introduction of Charlton characters Peacemaker, Judomaster, Nightshade, and the Question into DC’s main timeline of Earth-One. We’ve already seen Judomaster in Peacemaker, and that leads to theories that other Charlton heroes will appear as well.
This is still a relatively cheap addition to your collection. Raw copies are popular at the moment, but most have sold for around $15-$20. If you insist on the graded variety, the 9.8 has brought as much as $182 this year, which is getting closer to the record $215 from 2019.
PEACE SELLS, BUT WHO’S BUYING?
Peacemaker’s opening dance sequence has become a viral sensation, and it is simply fueling the flames for the character’s climb to stardom. There is no word on whether or not this will be the only season for the hit streaming series or when we will next see Peacemaker. Keep your ear to the ground for that news, which could spawn a new wave of excitement for his keys.
It sounds to me like Peacemaker will be more than one season.
James Gunn alluded to as in an interview discussing the departure of Chris Conrad who was originally cast in the role of Vigilante. In an interview with ScreenRant, Gun said of Conrad “…I don’t think he wanted to continue with the series in the long run” which would suggest the show will be more than one season.
Here’s the full quote:
“[Stroma] came in late. We had already shot five-and-a-half episodes with another actor [Conrad], who’s an incredibly talented guy, but we were on different pages about certain things, and I don’t think he wanted to continue on the series in the long run. So we brought Freddie in, five-and-a-half episodes in, and I reshot all of his scenes, and you’re the first person who asked me that question, which I’m surprised by. But yeah, we re-shot. I directed all of the scenes with Vigilante in five and a half episodes.”