Female features and muddy shoes

Hey gang! Don’t worry, I’ll let you in on what’s hiding behind that mysterious title in a little bit, but first I just wanted to let you know that I made another (two!) guest appearances on the Fantasticast podcast with Steve and Andy. The Fantasticast is all about the Fantastic Four, as you might imagine, but since the Marvel Universe is all kinds of connected, I’ve had the great honor of being invited whenever the FF and Daredevil collide.

In the first of the two episodes I was in, we devote the entire 90 minutes to four issues of Daredevil (#36-39) that lead feature the FF and leads into Fantastic Four #73. The second episode is devoted to that very issue, which also features Daredevil. So check those out!

Let’s get back on schedule. Today I’m looking at two scenes from Daredevil #93 (vol 1), by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, for no other reason than that they are different kinds of hilarious. For some background information, this issue takes place when Daredevil and the Black Widow were sharing both the title and a rented house in San Francisco. At the start of the issue, Natasha attacks Daredevil after having been hypnotized (along with old associate Danny French with whom she cooperated on the mysterious Project Four) by madman Damon Dran.

In a rather startling case of Daredevil being jumped from behind and not immediately recognizing Natasha – for some reason, he doesn’t use her heartbeat, and it would be another few years before Frank Miller came along and started actually using Matt’s nose – he attempts to figure out his attacker’s identity. This includes feeling the features of her face to make sure he’s really dealing with a woman. I don’t know about you, but I could think of others for him gather that kind of information. 😉 Either way, there’s something rather amusing about these two pages.

Daredevil is attacked by the Black Widow, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
Daredevil feels the Black Widow's face, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Later in the same issue, Daredevil has managed to subdue his girlfriend and carry her back to their house. This is when he goes into full C.S.I. mode. You see, there’s mud underneath Natasha’s shoes. Mud! And it hasn’t rained in San Francisco in a really long time. And it’s not as if there are any sprinklers, lakes, fountains or any other sources of water within the city limits that might translate into local deposits of wet dirt. Obviously, she must have been in Oakland. Where it rains, apparently.

Next, Matt calls fellow attorney Sloan to check if he knows any creepy, and possible deranged, rich people who live in Oakland. And of course he does! Ah, don’t you wish all crimes were this easy to solve? 😉

Daredevil does some quick detective work, as seen in Daredevil #93 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Well, that’s it for now! See you later in the week for a review of Daredevil #4. Now, you didn’t miss the preview, did you?

This time, it’s a cop!

As previously demonstrated, early Daredevil made a habit of assaulting innocent people. One reader even joked that this behavior is clearly still an issue after he gave a similar treatment to the little girl he had just rescued in Daredevil #1. In his defense, there are situations where the ends not only justify the means but are even in the best interest of the “victim” in question. On the other hand, the scenes where he stole a man’s coat and left his law partner unconscious in an alley in a fictional country in South America are just jerk moves. Necessary? Maybe. I still say Matt got a little slap happy there for a while. 😉

In the panels below, a page and a half of Daredevil #90 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, is another case of Daredevil doing exactly what he pleases. What’s odd about this scene is that his “victim” in this case is A) a cop, and B) someone who clearly doesn’t mind getting punched in the face. I’m sure people could write entire essays about the view of masculinity that’s on display in this scene. I’m more confused by how a case of property damage (which Daredevil has clearly confessed to and seems more like a civil matter in this particular instance) would lead to his arrest. And why does he have to hit friendly Paul with such a heavy punch? You’d think a simple shove would and some turned-over furniture would do the trick in facitlitating his escape.

And for those who are curious about how Matt ended up screaming at the “sight” of an old lady, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Mister Fear!

Daredevil having coffee with his cop friend Paul, from Daredevil #90 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
Daredevil hits his cop friend Paul, as seen in Daredevil #90 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

While Lieutenant Paul Carson seems just a little too happy to have a superhero punch him in the face, I wouldn’t mind a little cameo appearance from this guy in the near future, now that Matt is back in San Francisco where this story takes place. Make it happen, team Daredevil! 😉

Wacky Power #24 – Another case of flight radar

Welcome back to another installment in the Wacky Powers series in which we look at Daredevil doing truly strange things. Once again, we’ll be looking at a case of Daredevil using his radar sense as bona fide flight radar. Thankfully, we haven’t seen much of this strange power for the last forty years, but it kept rearing its strange and ugly head from time to time, during the first ten.

What makes the scene below, from Daredevil #85, particularly hilarious is that it’s clear that the actual pilots of the Boeing 747 that provides the stage for this issue, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, are clearly within visual range of where they decide to land. Daredevil asks them to take the plane lower so that his radar sense can do its magic, but that would also allow for them to get the plane down safely just by looking at the terrain. In essence, they should be looking out the window, not at Daredevil while acting completely helpless. Also, what the hell is Daredevil doing trying to tamper with the equipment?

Daredevil assists in landing a Boeing 747, in Daredevil #85 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

For me, there are two major problems with the suggestion that Daredevil’s radar sense could act as flight radar. The biggest one has to do with the science of it (or lack thereof), which I’ll return to below. But, just as importantly, every time Daredevil is called on to do something this extreme, it also introduces some major inconsistencies into how the character normally behaves.

Even in early Daredevil, the radar sense is very rarely used to detect anything that is very far away, say farther away than a city block. On the contrary, there is a strong sense that it has a limited range, and the Marvel Universe Handbook states explicitly:

“Its resolution is not very fine, probably on the order of several feet at a distance of one hundred feet. By repositioning his head and adding input from his other senses, Daredevil is able to resolve the image of an average flagpole (three inch cylinder) at a distance of over 80 feet.”

While there is good reason to take most of what’s written in the MUH with a grain of salt (I have no idea whether creators are in any way required to abide by it – I suspect not – and it also contains highly questionable information pertaining to how the senses work in real life), it at least gives us some idea of what Marvel considers reasonable.

The biggest problem is that, provided that we assume Daredevil has an actual radar sense (rather than a metaphorical one), he has to generate his own signal. Regardless of whether this is some kind of high-pitched sound (i.e. sonar) or radiowaves, the intensity of the signal fades pretty quickly, in accordance with the inverse square law. This means that, in order to reach very far, the signal has to be strong. This in turn requires a lot of energy. Even if we imagined that the radar sense had the output equivalent to a 40 W light bulb, that would require almost 1000 kcal per day of just to fuel the radar. Which doesn’t sound too unreasonable. It’s probably a great way to lose weight, but it’s just not something that you could use to land a jet. 😉

You might argue that it’s superhero comics, so anything goes. But I don’t think even comic book publishers and creators agree with that, or else they wouldn’t feel compelled to try to explain how it is that certain characters can fly (such as by suggesting a mystical external power source). The explanations are always bogus of course, but there always needs to be at least an attempt at addressing the issue to allow readers to suspend their disbelief.

And, characters need to abide by the rules that have been laid out for them, or else the illusion that these stories make sense start to break down. If Matt Murdock started sticking to walls for no reason, and Peter Parker woke up on morning and started hearing heartbeats, readers would like to know why. And, given the usual parameters of Daredevil’s power set, we really shouldn’t expect him to be able to land airplanes. That’s just wacky.

Ivan the Terrible

Hey gang! I haven’t been as lazy as it seems, I swear. I’ve been working on a massive essay-type post that isn’t quite ready to post yet, so here’s a little something to entertain you (hopefully) in the mean time.

I went to see the new Captain America movie yesterday (I really liked it!), so at first I thought I’d post something Natasha-related. Then I realized that there are some delightful absurdities involving Matt’s first meeting with her chauffeur Ivan that needed to be ridiculed.

So, let’s go back to Daredevil #82 and #83, both written by Gerry Conway with art by Gene Colan and Alan Weiss, respectively. It starts something like this, on a page that follows the one discussed in another post, incidentally:

Matt finds a man in his home, from Daredevil #82, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

The scene begins with just some minor absurdities, such as the fact that blind people don’t generally use a cane in their own homes and aren’t expected to (a common head-scratcher in early Daredevil), as well as the weird notion that Matt wouldn’t notice if there was someone in the room watching him. He can easily hear heartbeats, not to mention relatively louder breath sounds, and it’s unlikely that someone would have had the time to mount some kind of elaborate camera equipment for remote viewing.

I also have to wonder why Matt would study the man’s features just to fool somebody else if it actually takes touching his face to determine that he doesn’t know him. Hm, I probably think too much… I love the brillo pad description though! And there’s also the colorful and semi-offensive mention of ”harsh peasant features” (seen below). 😉

Matt finds a note about the Black Widow being kidnapped, from Daredevil #82, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Matt now rushes off to save the Black Widow who has been kidnapped by the Scorpion. The trio end up fighting on the top of a tall building and just as the villain falls to his death while Natasha is trying to save him, the most annoying crime scene witness ever shows up in time to misunderstand the whole thing and accuse her of murder.

Which brings us to Daredevil #83 and Daredevil returning home to realize he forgot about Ivan lying unconscious on his floor. No Matt, you didn’t “almost forget,” you pretty much just left the guy there. But we understand, Natasha was more important. Anyway, this is where things start to get weirder…

Daredevil comes home to Ivan whom he left on the floor, from Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss

Somewhere along the line – I forget where – Ivan entered the conversation between Matt and Natasha which means that Matt has put two and two together and figured out that the man in his home is Ivan. But, the two haven’t been formally introduced so it’s perfectly reasonable that Matt would ask Ivan who he is.

Oddly enough, this seems to confuse Ivan who concludes that the only reason Matt would ask who is is because he’s blind. Unless Ivan is a very well-known public figure, this makes absolutely no sense at all. Things go from weird to violent, however, when Ivan learns that Natasha has been arrested…

Ivan goes nuts in Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss

Really, I don’t care how distraught Ivan is, this is not normal behavior. Ivan needs a psychiatric diagnosis or at the very least some serious anger management therapy.

At the realization that he’s hit a blind man, which I think is presumably more frowned upon that beating up a kid with glasses, he comes to his senses. Matt meanwhile, is amazingly forgiving.

Matt relates to crazy Ivan, as seen in Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss

The scene ends with some odd ideas about manhood, and Matt going all wordy and overly dramatic on us, which was something he did quite a lot during Gerry Conway’s run. In his defense, I think Conway was still a teenager when he started writing Daredevil, so we’ll forgive him the lack of subtlety. 😉

That’s it for now! I will return shortly with something quite a bit more profound.

Oops, he did it again!

Today was one of those days I could have used some sweet Daredevil: Road Warrior #3 happening on my iPad. Sadly, it looks like Marvel has pushed up the publication until tomorrow. Oh well, what are you going to do? How about another look at Matt Murdock being an absolute jerk!

You may recall my post from a couple of months ago, “He did what, now?!” which revolved around a scene from Daredevil #45, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, in which Matt beats an innocent man unconscious and steals his coat. It was all very heroic.

This time around, we’re going to watch him do the same thing to his very best friend. Yes, Matt is that much of an asshole. And it wasn’t even an emergency. He just needed to “get away.” Below, I give you this scene from Daredevil #75, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, in which Matt hits Foggy over the head while they’re on a fact-finding mission in the made up South American country of Delvadia.

Matt beats Foggy unconscious with a blow to the head, from Daredevil #75 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Foggy eventually comes to, and is helped by a young local boy whose lines are written in the kind of deliberately broken English that you just can’t get away with these days. Matt, meanwhile, goes on to berate himself over this little incident in the following issue (by the same creators). Not because of the brain damage his friend may or may not have sustained, but because he actually feels guilty about it. Oh Matt, you should count yourself lucky that I still like you and will continue to chronicle your adventures…

”You’re even sorry that you had to knock out Foggy… Sorry, regardless of the need for you to get away from him and change to Daredevil.”

Daredevil berates himself for feeling guilty about hitting Foggy, from Daredevil #76 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Speaking of liking Matt Murdock, despite his shortcomings, I suggest you read new Daredevil editor (former assistant editor) Ellie Pyle’s recent tweet, seen below, and write to Marvel to tell them what Daredevil has meant to you! I intend to myself.

I will see you back here shortly, as soon as Daredevil: Road Warrior #3 finally comes out!

Matt Murdock’s first move to San Francisco

Hello all! It’s been a little over a week now since we found out that Daredevil will be relaunched under the Marvel NOW! banner in March, still in the capable hands of Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Javier Rodríguez, and Joe Caramagna. We also learned that the new title would see the main character move to San Francisco. Due to reasons that should reveal themselves as we head into the home stretch of the current run (which ends with February’s Daredevil #36), Matt will presumably have no other choice than to uproot his life in the Big Apple and head west.

Since the news first broke, Mark Waid and Chris Samnee have given several interviews that I suspect many of you have read already (I’ve personally posted links to all of them on the TOMP Facebook page), but I will also link to them here. As you may recall, the news broke November 25 with an interview by Nerdist.com. The next day, there were no fewer than four follow-up interviews in various places, such as CBR, Newsarama, IGN, and, of course, Marvel.com. The Marvel.com interview is interesting in that Mark Waid just comes out and tell us what he’s thinking in terms of which cast member(s) will make the trip with Matt to San Francisco. So, if you don’t want to know, don’t read it! Although it may just be a massive misdirection. 😉

Anyway, for this post, I really just wanted to share with you the first pages from Daredevil’s previous move to San Francisco which took place in Daredevil #87 (volume 1), by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, published in the spring of 1972.

To anyone who might shrug off this move with a “meh, he’s already lived in San Francisco, it’s repetitive” I’ll have you note that most readers (including yours truly) were not even born the last time he lived there. Sure, many Daredevil readers will have read these issues before, but I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of the current readership have not. However, the fact that Matt does have some previous experience with the city will hopefully make its way into the stories in interesting ways. Heck, the current creative team even had us relive Matt’s lecture on aliens at Carter College, so I’m sure they’ll have tons of fun with this one, digging up worthwhile things from the past and making excellent use of continuity.

A couple of interesting things to note about he pages below: The second page features a rare instance of Matt actively generating a sound to get a better sense of his surroundings. Also, the fact that Matt and Natasha moved in together without being married was actually kind of a big deal at the time. Conway makes sure to point out that the two will not be sharing a room, or even the same floor!

Matt and Natasha pull up to their new house, from Daredevil #87 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
Matt and Natasha explore the house, from Daredevil #87 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
Daredevil atop the Golden Gate bridge, from Daredevil #87 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Matt Murdock – master mechanic

Daredevil expertly constructs a new cane, from Daredevil #82, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Hey all! I’ve been busy on my end. So busy, in fact, that I didn’t even notice this IGN interview with Mark Waid until two days after the fact. Anyway, before I finish editing the next episode of the podcast, I thought we’d touch bases again with another look at the Daredevil archives.

In the panels below, from Daredevil #82 (vol 1), by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, Matt is constructing a new cane. This apparently involves using a blowtorch…

Daredevil expertly constructs a new cane, from Daredevil #82, by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

Of all the obnoxious things Matt has spoken over the years, this piece of monologue (and why is he talking out loud?) ranks high on the list:

“Forget lawyering, Murdock — you just know you missed your latent vocation. Give this boy a blowtorch and a toolshop and he’ll build you a better mouse-trap! Matthew, sometimes you astound me. Aside from being a first-class monologist — you’re a top-notch engineer!”

You’d almost think this guy feels like he has something to prove. 😉

Matt and Foggy’s roller-coaster friendship (part 1)

Foggy thinks about Matt, from Daredevil #50, by Stan Lee and Barry Smith

Although this particular plot thread wasn’t dealt with in Daredevil #15 (despite what had been hinted at in the solicitation), it looks like we might be heading down a rockier road for the two friends and law partners in the months ahead. With that in mind, I thought we’d take a look at all the other times there has been trouble in paradise. And, to be sure, there is no shortage of examples. In fact, with the way they always seem to be pulled back into each other’s lives despite all the drama, I almost expect one of them to finally blurt out “I don’t know how to quit you!” Though with a slightly less bromantic vibe, of course. 😉 For this first part (of three), let’s start at the very beginning…

Matt takes a surprising leave of absence (Daredevil #11, vol 1)

So, the first incarnation of Nelson & Murdock lasted all of, well, ten an a half issues. While Foggy decided to run for District Attorney in Daredevil #10 (after being approached by the corrupt Reform Party), Matt had given no one reason to suspect he was looking to leave the firm. At the end of Daredevil #11, by Stan Lee and Bobby Powell, after Foggy talks about how he won’t be the new D.A. after all (that’s what happens when you’re unwittingly backed by a criminal mastermind), Matt remarks that they still have a law firm to run. Yes, it would seem like Matt is 100% on board. If it weren’t for the fact that he utters these words just two panels before he suddenly reveals that he’s taking a leave of absence, that he’s got some money saved up and has always wanted to travel. What happens within these two panels to prompt such a complete change of heart? Well, Foggy tells Matt that they have no clients and are all in a big jam. Yes, this is when Matt decides to bail. Asshole…

Matt takes a leave of absence, from Daredevil #11, by Stan Lee and Bobby Powell

Matt isn’t gone for long though. In the next issue, the ship he’s on is attacked by the Plunderer and he ends up in the Savage Land, on an adventure with Ka-Zar. This gives Foggy the opportunity to be the bigger asshole of the two. After hearing that his supposed best friend is missing after a ship wreck, he seems more concerned about improving his odds with Karen than worrying about whether his best friend is still alive. After this less than restful vacation, Matt decides to return to the practice, and by Daredevil #15 he’s back in New York.

The two part again… (Daredevil #48, vol 1)

In Daredevil #36, Foggy once again decides to run for District Attorney and this begins a period of Foggy often being under a lot of stress and Matt acting like a less than supportive friend. A lot of times, there’s good reason for this (such as the fact that he’s trying to find time for superheroics and ways of covering it up), but it has to be said that Matt’s skills might be lacking in the diplomacy department. In Daredevil #48, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, the situation reaches a boiling point when Matt forces Foggy out of his office at a crucial time in his campaign to attend to some “personal work.” In reality, he’s really trying to protect Foggy from Stilt-Man, but he can’t exactly say that, can he?

Matt saves Foggy from Stilt-Man in Daredevil #48, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan

It takes a while before Matt and Foggy patch things up. In Daredevil #54, Matt fakes his own death (after evil genius Starr Saxon has figured out Daredevil’s secret identity), and is not reunited with Foggy until Daredevil #58 when he is offered the position as Foggy’s special assistant. In Daredevil #50, below (by Stan Lee and Barry Smith), Foggy expresses his anger and Matt – and his appreciation for him.

Foggy thinks about Matt, from Daredevil #50, by Stan Lee and Barry Smith

A Russian wedge (Daredevil #83, vol 1)

The next time Matt’s and Foggy’s friendship hits a rough patch, it involves a newcomer to Daredevil’s world. The Black Widow saved Matt’s life by fishing him out of the sea in Daredevil #81, and shortly thereafter he has the chance to return the favor when she is falsely accused of killing the Scorpion. First, however, he has to go through Foggy, and it turns out that the two have very different views on vigilantism. From Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss:

Matt and Foggy fight, from Daredevil #83, by Gerry Conway and Alan Weiss

Matt is very upset, and in Daredevil #84, he even refers to Foggy as an “ex-friend.” But that’s before he runs into Foggy, as Daredevil, and listens to Foggy tell him about the pressure he’s been under while he’s been blackmailed by a mysterious man named Klein. He was forced to do things against his will, including going so hard on Natasha.

In Daredevil #87, Matt moves to San Francisco with Natasha, marking the first of a long separation between Matt and Foggy. Fortunately, after a heartfelt conversation in the previous issue, the two leave on good terms. When they meet again, in Daredevil #108, Foggy is in critical condition after a shooting, and Matt flies back to New York to be at his friend’s side. But that’s a story for another day. 😉

I’ll see you again very shortly for some more action on the Matt and Foggy front!

That time Daredevil dated… me?

Daredevil has been stood up by a woman named Christine, from Daredevil #77 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

No, not really me. Just my namesake. Every time I come across the panels below, from Daredevil #77 (by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan), I remind myself that I should do a post about this little nugget from the archives. Apparently, in the wake of Karen’s recent move to Los Angeles, Matt had been dating a woman named Christine between issues. Now, she has stood him up (see, I’d never do that), and this fact enters into Matt’s monologue about all the things that are wrong in his life.

Daredevil has been stood up by a woman named Christine, from Daredevil #77 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

The early issues of Gerry Conway’s run, which began with Daredevil #72, was initially quite a roller-coaster in terms of Matt’s emotional state, so the “woe is me” going on above was pretty much par for the course for a while. Perhaps this is something to get back to in a future post.

In other news…

Newsarama has a new interview with Mike Allred, who will be the artist for Daredevil #17, due out in August. So, go read that!

Also, there was quite a bit of enthusiasm for my previous post about Matt’s hair, and someone even suggested I do a post about his glasses over the years (seriously, you guys are as weird as I am). I do take post requests, so consider that one officially on its way! In the mean time, I suggest my post from two years ago about Matt’s sense of fashion for those of you who crave more of the mundane details of our hero’s life.

Before I go, I just want to thank Mark Waid for plugging this site on Twitter the other day (and thanks to Paolo Rivera for doing the same on more than one occasion!). It absolutely made my day. The only problem is that now I might develop a bad case of performance anxiety. Hm, maybe Mark Waid is evil after all… 😉

Okay guys, that’s it for now. Have a great weekend!

Seeing things #11

Panels from Daredevil #77 in which Daredevil notices a light on the horizon

Let’s add another entry to the old series “Seeing things“! But first, here’s a hot off the presses press release from Marvel about how Daredevil is the best new series of the year. It also features some Daredevil #9 preview art!

Now to the seeing portion of our programming. This little piece of he’s-not-supposed-to-be-doing-that Daredevil action comes from Daredevil #77 (volume 1), by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan.

“Heads up, hero. Unless your radar senses are “seeing” things — that’s some sort of light filling the dusky horizon… perhaps a power line’s down — or something worse.”

Panels from Daredevil #77 in which Daredevil notices a light on the horizon

So Matt, care to tell us which one of your “radar senses” told you there was a light in the sky? Daredevil can’t see light – plain and simple – and he’s too far away to realistically (and I’m using the term loosely) pick up any other sign of a light source near by, such as heat. But apparently, he also notices that the horizon is dusky! How about that? 😉

Nope, I call seeing goof on this scenario!