Mainstream comic book characters seem to enjoy a special kind of immortality. Not only do they rarely die (and stay dead), but many of them don't fade away either. Even the most obscure characters are just one reboot (or new art team, or film/tv appearance, or video game) away from catching fire. Such is the case for current DC Comics character The Peacemaker. The character has risen from his humble beginnings as a backup story in obscure special ops / paramilitary action comic Fightin' Five from publisher Charlton Comics, to inspiration for the Watchmen character The Comedian, and ultimately to Warner Bros tv and movie star. There's a copy of Peacemaker's first appearance in Fightin' 5 #40 CGC 7.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 March 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122111 from Heritage Auctions.
As originally developed for Fightin' Five #40 by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette in 1966, Peacemaker was the secret identity of Christopher Smith, a diplomat who is described as an "Envoy to the Geneva Arms Conference" in that issue. And as explained in the title page blurb, "This is a man who detests war, violence and the dreadful waste of human life in senseless conflicts between nations… a man who loves peace… so much so, that he is willing to fight for it!!"
Smith is cast as a cross between James Bond and Bruce Wayne in the original Charlton stories. To engage in his fight for peace, he has created a wide range of military-grade weapons and planes, including his jet pack-powered Peacemaker suit. His expanded origin in Charlton's Peacemaker #3 suggests that he has a background as an aerospace engineer who had participated in X-Plane development and testing at Muroc Army Airfield (now part of Edwards AFB, the location of his X-Plane experimental work is called "Modoc" in the story). While the duties undertaken by Christopher Smith strongly suggest he's part of the State Department, Peacemaker also makes specific references to the CIA in early stories, implying that he has connections to that agency, just as the Fightin' Five themselves do.
Originally a well-crafted character whose adventures were loaded with real-world-inspired political and covert ops detail, the character got another lease on life when it was acquired by DC Comics which has ultimately led to its Suicide Squad and HBO Max series fame today. And it all started in Fightin' Five #40 in 1966. There's a Fightin' 5 #40 CGC 7.5 up for auction in today's session of the 2021 March 14-15 Sunday & Monday Comics, Animation & Art Weekly Online Auction #122111 from Heritage Auctions.