It’s time again for the Oddball of the Week, and the winner of this round is one of the most enigmatic characters in all of comics, Matter-Eater Lad.
It would only be fitting for Matter-Eater Lad to appear in a James Gunn project. Now that he has been name-dropped in the DCEU, he could be on his way to the world of live-action. The big moment came in Peacemaker’s fourth episode, “The Choad Less Traveled.” Peacemaker told an anecdote about teaming with Matter-Eater Lad and seeing him devour a Wendy’s restaurant, building and all.
Who is Matter-Eater Lad? He is an alien from the planet Bismoll (which sounds an awful lot like Pepto-Bismol) where the residents have evolved to be able to consume any and all matter in the universe. Aside from being the butt of many jokes, there’s not much else to say about Matter-Eater Lad. That makes his key issues cheap investments for a character who could shine in Peacemaker.
Debuting in 1962, the living garbage disposal appeared in the pages of Adventure Comics #303. Of course, he was a DC Comics original, and he would have fit with the oddballs of the Golden Era. What’s interesting is that he was co-created by one of the most famous names in all of comics, Jerry Siegel, who helped create Superman with Joe Shuster in 1938.
Besides this being Matter-Eater Lad’s first appearance, AC #303 was also when he officially joined the ranks of the Legion of Superheroes. He is most associated with the Legion, so that makes this key issue twice as important.
The highest grade ever sold was a 9.6. The only sale on record occurred in 2010 when it brought $975. There’s been just one graded copy sold online this year, a 7.0 that sold for $314. While those prices may seem high depending on your budget, don’t fret; on April 3, a raw copy sold for $6.50.
There’s not much research available for a character like Matter-Eater Lad, so it takes time and patience to dig through the online databases.
To the best of my knowledge, his first cover appearance was on AC #318. There he is, riding in a spaceship with the other members of the Legion of Superheroes.
Those first covers can turn into big money, so this could be a good investment if Matter-Eater Lad appears in the next season of Peacemaker.
Last year, a graded 9.4 sold for $1,440. If that’s too much for you, the 8.5 brought $140.
By no means will AC #338 suddenly become a major key, but it is worth adding to your budding Matter-Eater Lad collection. In this issue, his real name, Tenzil Kem, is revealed.
Surprisingly, a graded 9.4 sold online just this month. On March 20, it brought a record $660. Again, opt for the raw copies if you want to keep your investment to a minimum. By minimum, I mean almost nothing considering one copy sold for less than $10 on March 22.
A FUTURE STAR?
If it was anyone else in the director’s chair, it would be easy to dismiss Matter-Eater Lad. As we have seen for years, James Gunn loves the quirkiest of superheroes, and he can make stars out of the most unlikely figures.
That could mean a bright future for Tenzil Kem in the next season of Peacemaker. He’s such a weird character that it would be a travesty if Gunn didn’t find a way to incorporate him into the show’s second season.