Peacemaker in action. Artist: Pat Boyette.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Charlton Comics
First Appeared: 1966
Creators: Joe Gill (writer) and Pat Boyette (artist)
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Superheroes who take a principled stand for peace are few and far between in the comic book world. The entire concept is geared toward bashing and smashing, and every other form of violence. A rare exception was The Dove, who managed to pull it off by being contrasted with his more aggressive partner, The Hawk. One would think The Peacemaker, whose blurb …

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… said he loved peace so much he was willing to fight for it, would also be an exception. But like most people who take that particular "peaceful" stand, he left a lot more corpses in his wake than did the average pacifist.

The Peacemaker was Christopher Smith, a career diplomat — i.e., one devoted to facilitating international relations by "other means", as Prussian military historian Carl von Clausewitz put it. When diplomacy didn't get his desired results, he put on his superhero suit, replete with relatively non-lethal weapons, and went to war. His opponents were warlords, dictators, their supporting mad scientists, etc. To his credit, he at least tried to avoid extending the conflict to the common people oppressed by his targets, unlike the way such "peace makers" generally behave in the real world, but innocent people did get damaged.

The hero, to the extent he was one, got his start in the back pages of Fightin' Five #40, published by Charlton Comics with a cover date of November, 1966. The comic's stars were a Blackhawk-like organization that fought international criminals in a more overt way. After two issues, the star/second banana relationship was reversed — Fightin' Five ended with #41, and Peacemaker #1 (March, 1967) replaced it, with The Fightin' Five in its back pages.

The Peacemaker was created by writer Joe Gill and artist Pat Boyette. Gill had been Charlton's mainstay for years, co-creating, among others, Captain Atom and The Blue Beetle for them. He also co-created Nukla for Dell Comics. Boyette also spent much of his early comic book career at Charlton, where he drew several issues of Thunderbolt, as well as that company's adaptations of King Features properties such as Flash Gordon and Jungle Jim.

The Peacemaker title lasted only five bimonthly issues, the final one dated November, 1967. He wasn't seen again until DC Comics bought the Charlton characters. In 1988, DC made Peacemaker a minor but persistent part of its superhero universe.

Before reviving him under his own name, however, DC used him as the basis for one of the characters in Alan Moore's graphic novel, Watchmen, where altered and renamed versions of Charlton heroes were players in a dystopian superhero story. There, The Question became Rorschach, Nightshade and Phantom Lady were combined to become Silk Spectre, etc. Peacemaker was represented by The Comedian, a psychopathic murderer working for the U.S. government.


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Text ©2006-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Charlton Comics