Collecting in the DMZ

Collecting in the DMZ



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DMZ has landed on HBO Max, and Rosario Dawson’s star shines bright, but what’s the impact on the key issues?

Dawson is at her best in DC’s latest, DMZ. A far departure from the likes of Peacemaker, DMZ is less science-fiction and more human drama. No doubt, many viewers will draw a comparison of the pilot episode’s warzone and images of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Many reviewers are calling DMZ a post-apocalyptic drama, but that is not quite accurate. The world hasn’t come to an end, and society hasn’t completely crumbled. The DMZ, which stands for demilitarized zone, is a lawless “no man’s land” with various gangs and would-be warlords laying their claim to the former Manhattan. Outside the DMZ, life goes on as a second American Civil War rages. Dawson’s Alma “Z” Ortega goes into the DMZ, risking her life to find her son. Little does she know, the boy she lost when the war began has sided with his father, Parco, played by Benjamin Bratt. The personal stories amid the chaos makes DMZ less Mad Max and more The Walking Dead without zombies. 

In many ways, it is reminiscent of The Warriors, as the gangs of Manhattan Island join together to elect a governor for their self-declared state. The end of episode two sees Parco addressing the individual gangs and promising to run out both armies. The only thing missing was for him to ask, “Can you dig it?”

Although Ava Duvernay helmed only the pilot, she excelled in the director’s chair. Before, I thought it may have been a blessing that her New Gods movie was dropped, but now I wonder what could have been with Duvernay and Tom King combining their efforts. 


This is comic collecting, and it all boils down to owning those key issues. In this case, there’s only one: DMZ #1. How have those fair market values performed in light of the new streaming series? Let’s dive into the data and see.


Ever since the word spread that DMZ was getting the live-action treatment, the series’ first issue received the perfunctory spike. In 2019, when WarnerMedia first announced that the comic was in development for HBO Max, it immediately inflated prices for DMZ #1. By 2020, the first issue was breaking records for the graded 9.8s and ended the year with a high of $200 and a fair market value of $137. Last year, the record fell to a $440 sale, and the average jumped to $282. So far in 2022, the highest sale has been for $395, but the 90-day FMV has been raised to $388. 

If you are willing to take the gamble on eBay, you can find raw copies for around $30. 


These days, practically every issue from a major publisher gets a dozen variant covers. When DMZ #1 reached comic shop shelves in 2006, the variant craze had not quite taken off. Instead of numerous additional covers, there was just the standard edition and a convention edition DMZ #1 two years later. There hasn’t been a 9.8 to sell online since 2009 when a slab brought $10. This month, a 9.6 sold for $205, and that makes me believe the next 9.8 will easily crack the $300 mark. Just yesterday, a 9.4 earned $80.

To save money, consider the raw copies. The last time a con raw sold on eBay, it went for $20 in January.


Depending on the reception for the initial episodes of DMZ, those first issues could see their FMVs continue rising. Unless it is a major hit, the prices will plateau in the coming weeks, and they could drop as the new wears off. On the plus side, that makes these affordable keys, especially if this is another win for HBO Max.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.

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