What Price a Soul? Pretty Cheap These Days, I’d Wager.

36 Comic Book Titles Posing the Question “What Price…?” 

So where did the phrase “What price [noun}?” first show up? Darned if I know. I thought it was something Shakespeare first coined, or maybe it was something one of the American founding fathers wrote in their revolutionary writings, but if they did I can’t find it.

There was a play called What Price Glory? about a pair of rival U.S. Marine Corps officers that premiered on Broadway in 1924 and was later made into a film in 1926 and in 1952. From what I can tell, its popularity helped cement “What price [noun]?” as a popular idiom.

If you’ve never seen the phrase before, it’s a question that asks the audience to think about the real costs of whatever is on the table to be discussed. For example, “What price victory?” is an invitation for us to think about the means by which a victory was achieved, and whether the costs of achieving that victory were really worth it.

The phrase’s brevity makes it a favorite of headline writers… and, as it turns out, comic writers:

“What Price Freedom?”
Marvel Mystery Comics #60 (12/44)

“What Price Fate?”
Headline Comics #33 (12/48)

“What Price Friendship!”
Laugh Comics #31 (02/49)

“What Price Love?”
Darling Love #2 (12/49)

“What Price Stardom”
Romantic Secrets #22 (09/51)

“What Price Folly!”
Pictorial Romances #9 (09/51)

    

“What Price Courage”
War Heroes #1 (05/52)

“What Price Charm”
Candy #41 (08/53)

“What Price Pride?”
Lovelorn #54 (11/54)

“What Price Beauty?”
Mysterious Adventures #24 (03/55)

“What Price Protection!”
Phantom Lady #4 (06/55)

“What Price Jealousy?”
True Love Confessions #8 (07/55)

    

“What Price Beauty?”
Girls’ Love Stories #37 (09/55)

“What Price Friendship?”
Archie’s Pal Jughead #64 (09/60)

“What Price Ecstasy?”
I Love You #47 (08/63)

“What Price Archie?”
Archie #164 (06/66)

“What Price Life?!”
Iron Man #19 (11/69)

“What Price War?”
G.I. Combat #158 (02/73)

    

“What Price Love”
Vampirella #25 (06/73)

“What Price Cleanliness?”
Adventures of the Big Boy #244 (1977)

“What Price Oblivion?”
Eerie #87 (10/77)

“What Price Courage?”
Blackhawk #254 (01/83)

“What Price a Soul?”
The Thing #9 (03/84)

“What Price, the Prize?”
Batman #372 (06/84)

    

“What Price Failure”
Archie’s TV Laugh-Out #96 (08/84)

“What Price Power?”
Megaton #3 (02/86)

“What Price Glory?”
The Legend of the Shield #14 (08/92)

“What Price Victory?”
Thor #459 (02/93)

“What Price Honor?”
Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #6 (Fall 1993)

“What Price Redemption?”
Night Thrasher #19 (02/95)

   

“What Price Utopia?”
Agents of Law #1 (03/95)

“What Price the Unicorn?”
Frank Frazetta Fantasy Illustrated #4 (Winter 1998)

“What Price, Freedom? What Price, Humanity?”
X-Treme X-Men: Savage Land #4 (02/2002)

“What Price Glory?”
Captain America: What Price Glory #1 (05/2003)

“What Price Paradise?”
Countdown #16 (03/2008)

“What Price Tomorrow?”
Superman #1 (11/2011)

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