The Penguin HBO Max Series and the Key Issues

The Penguin HBO Max Series and the Key Issues

BY MATT TUCK

Spinning out of Matt Reeves’ The Batman, Colin Farrell will star in a Penguin series for HBO Max. Considering the buzz surrounding test screenings for the new movie, this could elevate the classic villain to a new level of infamy. 

After production setbacks and release date changes, The Batman is inching closer to the finish line. While fans were skeptical after seeing Robert “Twilight” Pattinson as an emo Bruce Wayne in the initial trailer, the word from the test screenings is changing people’s tunes. 

Reportedly, the first test audience left the theater blown away by the intensity of The Batman. According to reports online, this is unlike any Bat-flick ever made. Parts of it are said to be scary, and the plot moves at the pace of a psychological thriller. Paul Dano’s Riddler is being hailed as downright creepy, while others said that despite early reservations, Pattinson is perfect as the Dark Knight.

Amidst all the praise, there has been some concern with Colin Farrell’s Penguin. The actor himself confirmed he had little screen time, which is curious. Hiring such a notable star as Farrell, why would he not be in a more featured role? Now, it seems, we know why.

WarnerMedia announced months ago that a new show tied to Reeves’ Batman was in development. WB didn’t provide any other details, and theorists were left to their own devices. Many thought it would be a Jim Gordon or GCPD series. Yesterday, WB made it official: Farrell’s Penguin will be the star. 

On that note, take a dive into his Golden, Silver, and Modern Age keys.

DETECTIVE COMICS #58

For those with deep pockets and wide budgets, here is the Penguin key to own. Like most of Batman’s rogue’s gallery of villains, Oswald Cobblepot began life as more-or-less a comedy act. Throughout the years, as the Batman franchise became more mature, Oswald became a serious crime boss with no scruples. With the new show on the horizon, I expect we will see those DC #58s setting new records.

This is a relatively rare comic, and the graded sales are generally few and far between. The CGC census has only 108 total graded comics on file, with the majority of those being 0.5s.

Since 2019, there has been a grand total of 15 graded copies bought and sold online. Last year saw the most with eight sales, while 2019 had five. So far in 2021, there have been only two. The first of which was in April when a 1.8 earned $4,350. More recently, September 8 saw a 7.5 from the famed Promise Collection sell for $44,400. 

DETECTIVE COMICS #67

In 1942, the Penguin made his first cover appearance when he graced the front of DC #67. Although not as pricey as DC #58, any key issue - even a minor one - comes with a lofty price tag. The thing is, DC #67 is actually more rare than DC #58, at least when it comes to CGC-graded copies; the census data shows only 77 total. Throughout 2020, there were just four sales across the board.

This year, there have been two sales, both of which were for the graded 2.5. One of those brought $2,520 in February before a July sale broke the all-time high with $3,777.

BATMAN #155

What do you do when the first appearance is too expensive? In the case of a Golden Age key issue, you opt for the next best thing: the first appearance in the Silver Age. While this is not the same as owning DC #58, it is much gentler on your purse strings. Take a look at the latest market data.

The past two days have been good for this 1963 beauty. Only a day ago, a 5.0 set a record high of $629. Next is the graded 6.0, and yesterday, one copy sold for $726. The day before, another 6.0 brought $750, which was just $30 from the record set in June. Don’t forget about the 4.0 that sold for $425 on September 13. While that was not a record, it is nonetheless a sign of the times for the Penguin keys.

THE BEST OF DC: SECRET ORIGINS OF SUPER-VILLAINS #10

This could be the sleeper pick among the Penguin keys. There are no first appearances to speak of, but Best of DC #10 could be highly influential to the HBO Max series. This issue is Oswald Cobblepot’s origin story, which was part of a series of villainous origins as part of the title. Many collectors will ignore this comic, but it could pay dividends to add it to your long boxes.

Yesterday, two 9.6s each brought $99, breaking the previous record high of $68. It seems odd that both copies sold for the exact price on the same day, so it will pay to monitor the next sales to see if that is the new trend or if I am right to be skeptical. On the raw side of things, one copy sold for $10 on September 13.

TIME OF THE PENGUIN

Get ready for the Penguin to climb to Joker heights after this series hits HBO Max. This could be WB’s answer to the revered Netflix’s Daredevil series that made a star out of Kingpin.

Considering the test screening reactions to The Batman and the horror-esque tone of the movie, the HBO Max series comes as welcome news for Bat-fans. Farrell is an accomplished actor with an undeniable onscreen presence. Let’s face it, his performance rescued the otherwise bad Fright Night remake and made it a must-watch horror movie. 

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.


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