The character Daredevil is one that has so many extreme ups and downs since his creation in 1964. The last of the big names to come out of Marvel Comics Silver Age, Matt Murdoch has been all over the place. Hell’s Kitchen is his normal stomping grounds, but he spent a bit of time in San Francisco as well.
In this issue, a new villain is produced, and it’s one that’s even had a prominent role in a film! The spawn of Mephisto, Blackheart, is possibly even more vile than his father. Callously killing anyone that he wants, you get the feeling that if DD and Spider-Man can’t stop him, mankind is in big trouble!
The creative team on this one consists of Ann Nocenti (writer), John Romita jr. (pencils), AL Williamson (inks), Joe Rosen (letters), Christie ‘Max’ Scheele (colors), and Ralph Macchio (editor). That’s a pretty solid line-up with Marvel teetering on the edge of the dark times, and they deliver a solid issue. Nothing spectacular, but a good issue with a team up and first appearance. You’ll notice that Romita jr. hasn’t quite yet developed his now signature style quite yet. There are still some pages/panels that remind you of his father’s work, plus the inker makes a difference in the product as well.
Back again, and this time I have another shot of Daredevil for you! The silly villain this time around is called “Copperhead.” It seems that Daredevil has competition out there in the form of a person imitating a character from a pulp book from the 1930s. This man has no regard for life (sort of like the Punisher), and lays down judgement on wrongdoers all over the city. It’s up to Mr. Murdoch to try to stop this renegade, if he can! Copperhead is no joke…OK, he is but he does have poison tipped darts that he shoots out of his gun, and a diamond hard mask to protect his identity! Plus, we get some political drama with Foggy as well in this issue!
I’m not quite sure why, but the issue is written by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman (he was the steady writer around this time, and Wein the editor). No matter though, as both guys gives us the straight forward dialogue you came to expect from this title in the Bronze Age. The artistic team is one that I’m torn over. Gene Colan (pencils) is without a doubt my favorite penciler of all time. He’s so uniquely talented, you’ve got to love the guy’s work. The inks are provided by Klaus Janson. His work with Frank Miller on Daredevil in the 1980s is fantastic, as is his solo work. He just doesn’t seem like the best match for Colan’s pencils. The colors are provided by Michele Wolfman, and the letters by Joe Rosen. We also get a great cover by the team of Gil Kane (pencils) and Frank Giacoia (inks)!
Has there ever been a better title for a story than this one? Exactly. Lame villains are what make the world go ’round, as we all know. Daredevil has seen his fill of these wacky characters, and it’s why I love this title during the Bronze Age! The book got way too serious for me once Frank Miller took over (even though, I still enjoy some of those stories). But wacky stories involving characters like the “Man-Bull,” are just too awesome to not spotlight. The man without fear versus a guy that’s part man, part bull…what’s not to like?
Seeing the name Marv Wolfman (writer/editor), at the helm always puts me at ease. Whether it was Tomb of Dracula, Batman, or Crisis on Infinite Earths, the guy gets it done. Not the most well known tandem in comics, but Bob Brown (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks), do hold their own and give us some nice visuals. Michele Wolfman (colors) and Joe Rosen (letters), round out the interior creative team! As usual, we get a cool cover, and the team of Rich Buckler (pencils) and Klaus Janson (inks) are responsible!
I’ll be honest, Daredevil isn’t one of my favorite characters. I don’t dislike him, but he just doesn’t get me aroused. There are a couple of aspects about his life that I do like (his terrible love life, his relationship with Foggy), but overall, I find him slightly dull. There is always one reason to check out some DD though, and that’s because of Gene Colan. He was the first consistent artist on the book, lending his pencils to over 80 issues of that title (the 1964 original run). He penciled one of the most socially significant stories of the decade in Daredevil #47, “Brother Take My Hand.” In this reprint book we see issue #22 shown again. The story centers around three villains, the Tri-Man, The Gladiator, and The Masked Marauder! Now, granted these guys aren’t the cream of the crop in the villain category, but Colan makes them look very menacing!
At this point, DD was still in his infancy, so Stan Lee was writing the book (as he was contributing to most scripts back then (1966). Initially, the book had a couple of different legendary artist (Bill Everett, Wally Wood), but it wasn’t until Gene “The Dean” Colan took over on the book that it had the great consistency it lacked. The inks in this one were provided by two men that were absolute stalwarts in the Silver and Bronze Ages. “Fearless” Frank Giacoia and “Darlin'” Dick Ayers, were both excellent inkers that are legends in the industry. The colors were provided by Stan Goldberg, and letters by Sam Rosen.
Unlike most comic book readers, I’m not a huge fan of the gritty era that eventually engulfed the 1980’s. Yeah, I like Watchmen, Swamp Thing, and V for Vendetta (especially this last one), but that’s about it. I like my comics to have more of a lighthearted tone or just not as hardcore as say the works of Frank Miller. The importance and place in history of his work aren’t lost to me, but those stories just don’t get me excited to read comics. Miller is a guy that I like the early work of on titles like The Punisher, and his Spider-Man work. One character that everyone raves about though, as far as Miller is concerned, is Daredevil. Now that is the one character that I can really get into when it’s Miller for some odd reason. I just feel he’s a character that Miller was born to write/draw. Honestly though, I love the material that came out in the years earlier to his legendary run even more.
One issue in particular that I absolutely love is #143. It’s part two of a story that features DD up against his old enemies, Mr. Hyde and the Cobra! These two villains have plagued DD on several occasions, and always give him a run for his money! We get to see a lot of action in this one but also some intrigue as well with Heather Glenn’s father and his “business” ventures. Some jungle action, a man-eating lion, and the usual DD butt-kicking fight scenes are all packed in this comic book!
Marv Wolfman (writer), had a decent run on this title as writer and editor (about 2 years). We all know his ability to write a good story, whether it be a one and done, or a lengthy story over a few issues, he can get it done! Artists Bob Brown (pencils) and Keith Pollard (inks) are two guys that don’t get a lot of airplay, but when you look at their bodies of work, you’ll be impressed nonetheless. The cover art was done by none other than Dave Cockrum, and his exploits on the X-Men, and Legion of Superheroes is well documented, as it should be! John Costanza provided the letters, and Janice Cohen the colors, to round out this solid creative team!
This issue is one of the oldest issues of Daredevil that I own. It’s also the second appearance of Bullseye! The first appearance showed Bullseye giving old horn-head a butt whoopin’! But, in this issue, we see Matt get some revenge, and put this crazy villain in his place! At a circus, no less! Back then, Bullseye wasn’t quite as homicidal as he’s portrayed later on by Frank Miller, and other writers, but he certainly wanted to kill Daredevil! In this issue we see everything, from Bullseye riding an elephant (yes, seriously!), and then him shooting another man out of a canon at DD! Created by Marv Wolfman (writer) and Bob Brown (pencils), Bullseye brought something new to the table, and obviously he’s been a mainstay in the Marvel Universe ever since! Inks by Klaus Janson, colors by Michele Wolfman, and letters by Joe Rosen! Great cover as well, and we have Rich Buckler and Dan Adkins for that one! On Friday the 13th, is there anything more frightening than Bullseye riding an elephant? I think not! Enjoy!
With the Vietnam War in full swing, and the tragic deaths of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the atmosphere in the U.S. (and the world) in 1968, was less than inspiring. Many rallied to try to reinforce efforts against such atrocities, and Marvel Comics would add their little story to help ease racial tensions. It might seem to some that a story in a comic book is inconsequential but I beg to differ. Comic books were definitely on the rise in the late 1960’s, and were gaining ground with the youth of America once again. This story, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan is one that still resonates to this day.
In this tale, we see a soldier, Willie Lincoln, who’s a black man who was wounded in Vietnam, and lost his sight. He’s still trying to get his bearings with his blindness, and it isn’t going well. Daredevil has agreed to entertain the troops with some of his acrobatic maneuvers, and Willie is a huge fan of his. They hit it off great, and DD tells Willie to look up a friend of his when he gets back to the states. The friend of course, is Matt Murdoch! It’s a great story that really hammers home the point of no matter what the color of your skin is, we’re all the same.
Written by Stan ‘The Man’ Lee, pencils by Gene ‘The Dean’ Colan, inks by George Klein, and letters by Artie Simek! This is one that I own in a reprint book that was a tribute to Gene Colan. I believe the proceeds (or part of them) went to help Gene with some medical expenses. If you can grab a copy of this book or a trade containing this story, don’t hesitate!
As we all know, Daredevil has had some ups and downs over the years as far as sales are concerned. But honestly, the ups far outweigh the downs, especially when you look at some of the off the wall things Marvel was doing with the character during the Bronze Age. Lets face it, the creative teams changed often, and the quality suffered for a while, but personally, the crazy stories are a hoot, and should be looked at as more of a lark anyway. This was the only Giant-Size book for DD, even though most of the titles in that decade had more, and it was actually a reprint of Annual #1. The Emissaries of Evil were a rag-tag group of villains, led by Electro (also including Frog Man, Gladiator, Stilt Man, and The Matador), and offered very little trouble for Daredevil!
The story was written by Stan Lee, but the visuals told in this story, and the pin-up pages, were the real treat in this issue. Gene “The Dean” Colan, was at his best, and really gave us something to see. The inks were by John Tartaglione, who did an admirable job over Gene’s pencil work. The letters were provided by the always reliable Sam Rosen, and you know he could be counted on to get the job done! Not to be outdone, is legendary artist, Gil Kane, who provided the great cover! Enjoy!
Ho Ho Ho! Merry Christmas! As I write this post a few days before the “big day,” I wanted to toss out a holiday themed story, and this one is great! Everybody loves Santa Claus, and nobody would want to see him hurt, but in this story, he gets mugged by some thugs, and it’s up to Daredevil to stop this senseless violence in the streets of Hells Kitchen! Some good humor in the story as well, when Heather and Debbie coerce Foggy into playing Santa Claus for some kids because the regular guy backed out! Great stuff to contrast this gritty story!
One of the most underrated guys in the biz, is without a doubt, Roger McKenzie. This guy preceded Frank Miller on Daredevil (he actually wrote some great stories before Miller was writer, and was doing pencils), and for that, he gets overshadowed, but certainly shouldn’t be! Trust me and check out those stories! The artistic team of Paul Smith and Terry Austin bring their “A” game for this story, but that’s no surprise as that team always seemed to gel. Throw in Marvel stalwart colorist Glynis Wein, and letterer Shelly Leferman, and don’t forget the always reliable editor Al Milgrom, to round out the creative team on this holiday treat! Cover by Frank Miller! Enjoy!
Now that we’ve seen some of Gene Colan’s early horror work, lets shift gears, and check out some of his Daredevil work from his early days penciling superheroes! He was a master at telling a visual story with a character like DD, and he’ll always be my favorite Daredevil artist! Check out these incredible pages from the ‘Dean’, with some of his Daredevil work originally presented in 1967 (my copies are Marvel Adventure #3, 4, & 6, 1976)! An adventure with Ka-Zar, the wacky Leap-Frog, and a team up with Spider-Man, because you need a partner when you’re facing villains as nefarious as…The Masked Marauder and Stilt-Man? Enjoy!