The Underappreciated Saga of Deathlock, Up for Auction

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The concept of the Marvel character Deathlok and "Deathlok technology" is underappreciated in terms of the way it has stood the test of time even though it has roots in a very specific moment in history.  Of course, Iron Man is a cyborg of sorts as well, and a concept likely inspired in part by the same cybernetics research of scientist Norbert Weiner which would eventually influence Deathlok.  But the notion of cyborgs had made its way into the pop culture mainstream by the 1970s, most obviously via Martin Caidin's Cyborg novel series which in turn inspired the Six Million Dollar Man television show.  A character and concept that has been rebooted by Marvel to good effect, there's a Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White pages up for auction in the 2021 September 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122139 from Heritage Auctions.

Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990)
Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990)

According to creator Rich Buckler, the character actually made it into print when Marvel failed to obtain the Six Million Dollar Man license (Charlton would begin publishing Six Million Dollar Man comics in 1976). "Roy told me Marvel was putting in a bid for the rights to Six Million Dollar Man (which was a hit television series at the time). My concept had some similarities to it, he said. The television series was a known commodity, commercially viable, and so if Marvel got the property, he explained, they would run with that and I would be out of luck. That wasn't too encouraging, to say the least! But undaunted, I decided to pick up a copy of Martin Caidin's novel "Cyborg" – which the TV series was based on – and give it a critical read. Nothing beats going to the source. If my concept had similarities, that couldn't be helped (both characters were cyborgs) – but I could certainly enlarge the differences! Besides, I thought the television version of it, The Six Million Dollar Man, was lame anyway (you know you're in for some watered-down Hollywood fluff whenever they incorporate a dollar sign into the concept). So departing from what they came up with (which was shamelessly uncritical and pro-establishment) wasn't going to be too difficult."

Out of those circumstances, Marvel developed a character which has been rebooted several times since, and there's a copy of one of the most noteworthy of these in Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White pages up for auction in the 2021 September 26-27 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122139 from Heritage Auctions.

Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990)
Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990)

Deathlok #1 (Marvel, 1990) CGC NM/MT 9.8 White pages. Joe Jusko cover. Jackson Guice art. Overstreet 2021 NM- 9.2 value = $5. CGC census 9/21: 35 in 9.8, 2 higher.

View the certification for CGC Certification ID 3837972002 and purchase grader's notes if available.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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