Reevaluating early Daredevil

Daredevil swings down and lands on a car in Daredevil #14, apparently guided more by its sound than its shape.

If you were thinking that I had gone back into hiding, I certainly wouldn’t hold it against you. It’s been over a month since my last post, and I’ve had my share of false starts over the past few years. However, I do have a few posts planned that I would like to get out there before too long, and I’m hoping to finish the year with a total of at least twenty for 2021.

For this post, I would like to talk about a rather surprising epiphany I’ve had over the summer, while working on my book. Or to be more specific, while rereading every single issue of Daredevil and taking detailed notes about how Matt Murdock’s senses are actually used. What I’ve discovered is that, contrary to the idea I’ve had that Daredevil’s senses have stabilized and gotten more “grounded” over time, a case could be made for a very different kind of evolution. Depending on what aspect of the character’s senses we’re talking about, Daredevil has actually been getting more powerful in at least some respects.

Considering that this is not my first time reading every issue of Daredevil (I have, in fact, read most runs many times), how could I have missed the things I’m now noticing? Where does my bias against the sensory portrayals of early, “pre-Miller” Daredevil come from? Well, I think it comes down to a few different factors:
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Daredevil in his own (diminutive) words

I’ll be quite busy for another few days so the longer posts I have planned will have to wait until after my review for Daredevil: End of Days #1 (due out on Wednesday!). In the mean time, I wanted to post this adorable little nugget of Daredevil introspection, from Daredevil #143, by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown.

“A little brains… a little radar sense, and let’s not forget a little billy club. That’s what little daredevils are made of.”

Daredevil comments on himself, as seen in Daredevil #143, by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown

Maybe I should start a series called “Little Daredevils say the darndest things…” 😉

Matt and Foggy’s roller-coaster friendship (part 2)

Matt tells Foggy that he's going to Japan

Hey gang! The time has come for the second installment of a series of posts looking at Matt and Foggy’s many past quibbles, a topic as relevant as it was just over a month ago when the first part of this series was posted. As you might recall, it ended with my mentioning Matt and Foggy’s reunion following the attempt on Foggy’s life. Matt returned from San Francisco to be at Foggy’s side in New York in Daredevil #108 (vol 1). While Natasha would continue to hold a grudge against Foggy for quite some time over his involvement in her being charged for the murder of the Scorpion (see the previous post). Matt and Foggy are quick to resume their friendship, though their professional partnership fails to get back to business as usual. Under pressure from his re-election campaign as District Attorney (to make things worse, this is one of those strange, rigged, only-happens-in-comics kind of campaigns), Foggy asks Matt to come back to working as assistant in Daredevil #126. Matt asks for some time to think about it, but never takes Foggy up on his offer.

Face-off in court (Daredevil #129, vol 1)

In Daredevil #129, by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson, something interesting happens. Matt decides to take on a case defending Man-Bull that sees him go up against Foggy in the court room. The case revolves around whether Man-Bull is guilty of the premeditated murder of a man who died while he was breaking into a jewelry story. Matt contends that his client is innocent of the charge against him because the victim died six months after the burglary and only as a result of being badly shocked by Man-Bull’s appearance. Kind of a strange case, if you ask me, but Foggy goes on to win a conviction and Man-Bull goes mental and gets busy smashing up New York. As far as the two partners are concerned, things are pretty tense.

Despite the Man-Bull trial, Matt and Foggy are heading toward a legal reunion. In Daredevil #130, Matt decides to go into business for himself by starting the Storefront legal clinic (for the first time), and Foggy happily cheers him on. When Foggy goes on to lose his re-election campaign against Blake Towers (after some villanous meddling) the following issue, he joins Matt at his new practice.

Civil War (Daredevil #148-152, vol 1)

Troubles start brewing again almost as soon as the Storefront gets off the ground. The legal clinic is financed by Heather’s father Maxwell Glenn who also is soon found to be involved in more than a few shady deals (As early as Daredevil #131, we learn that he’s apparently a slum lord). Over the span of some twenty issues, this develops into a complex plot that finally reveals that Maxwell Glenn is being manipulated by Purple Man. Meanwhile, Foggy’s girlfriend Debbie Harris is kidnapped, for what might be months, and there seem to be ties to Glenn. With the heartbroken Foggy seeking vengeance on Maxwell Glenn and Matt (as Daredevil) discovering his innocence, it doesn’t take a genius to see a rift opening up.

In Daredevil #148, by Jim Shooter and Gil Kane, Matt asks Foggy to defend Maxwell Glenn. This leads Foggy to kick him out while muttering under his breath that Nelson & Murdock are through if Matt chooses to defend him (see the panel below). The fighting continues over the next two issues, and in Daredvil #150, Foggy calls to yell at Matt for missing a court date.

Matt and Foggy fight, from Daredevil #148

This sequence of events brings up an interesting first in Daredevil. While Matt had certainly been shown to be moody, even a bit melodramatic, earlier in the book’s history, Daredevil #151 sees Matt going through his first bona fide mental breakdown. On top of everything else, Maxwell Glenn has committed suicide and Matt is wracked with guilt. He has trashed his apartment and when Foggy comes over to check on him, his partner’s state has him worried.

The next issue, we see the two partners appear at Maxwell Glenn’s funeral and neither one of them is in great shape. Foggy punches a nosy reporter and when Matt tries to help, Foggy responds with: “Help? Surrrre, Murdock. I’ve heard that old song before! Yeah, you’ve been a big help these last few weeks, haven’t you? Frankly, Murdock, I’m getting sick and tired of carrying you on my back!” Hm, and here people seem to have the impression that Daredevil didn’t get dark until Frank Miller came along…

Finally at the end of Daredevil #152, it is Matt who makes things right by reuniting Foggy with the estranged Debbie Harris, who had been a traumatized recluse since her kidnapping. Next issue, Foggy announces that he’s getting married and asks Matt to be his best man. The Matt and Foggy ride sure is a wild one.

Truce

For most of the Miller run, there’s little to report in terms of Matt and Foggy’s relationship. In the sense that it’s running pretty smoothly. Foggy is portrayed as a pretty good-natured guy whereas Matt is the moodier of the two, but there isn’t much in terms of diva antics going on. The possible exception might be later in the run when the tables are turned around a bit and Foggy begins to strain under his many perceived burdens and responsibilities. This time, Matt is the one to come to the rescue.

The two remain friends into the Denny O’Neil run, until Micah Synn and his gang from the Kingorge tribe show up in Daredevil #202, that is. That odd chapter of Daredevil history has already been touched on in another post, however, so I’m going to refer you to that instead of covering it again here. The short version, though, is that Foggy behaves very, very badly.

While Matt and Foggy manage to rebound from Foggy’s betrayal during the Micah Synn storyline, things are heading in the direction of yet another break-up for the two partners. The law firm is not doing well financially and when Matt skips town in Daredevil #221, in the wake of Heather Glenn’s suicide, Foggy is not happy, warning his partner that there might not be a practice to return to when he gets back. In Daredevil #225, the last issue before the Born Again story arc, the practice finally tanks and both Matt and Foggy find themselves out of a job.

Face-off in court, round 2 (Daredevil #255, vol 1)

During Born Again, Matt and Foggy drift apart and lose touch as Matt descends into madness and Foggy gets a new flashy job working for the Kingpin. Foggy pretty much disappears from the scene during the beginning of the Nocenti run, but when Matt takes the case of suing a company named Kelco for dumping the toxic waste which blinded a little boy called Tyrone, he finds himself going up against Foggy in the court room. Matt isn’t actually allowed to practice law after being disbarred so he works with/through another lawyer. In Daredevil #255, by Ann Nocenti and John Romita Jr, we see Foggy dealing with the guilt of representing Kelco.

Foggy has a guilty conscious, from Daredevil #255

In Daredevil #256, Matt comes to see Foggy, offering him a job at the legal clinic he’s running and berating him for his actions. Glorianna O’Breen, who has been dating Foggy since Born Again, turns Matt’s behavior back on himself and accuses him of being a bully and using his morality like a club. It would take much longer still for the partners to get back together again. In Daredevil #287, we see Foggy busy at work trying to get Matt’s disbarment reversed. At the end of Daredevil #291 (Nocenti’s final issue), Matt and Foggy are finally reunited, and happily so.

Fake deaths and secrecy

Nothing tests friendship quite like faking your own death and then showing up again to reveal you’ve secretly been a superhero for years. After a string of issues of business as usual for Matt and Foggy, at the start of Chichester’s run, Matt uses experimental technology and clones (the plot itself is far too complicated to get into) to fake his own death in Daredevil #324. Much later, in Daredevil #347, by J.M. DeMatteis and Ron Wagner, Foggy and Karen find Matt alive and confused, wearing his yellow Daredevil costume. As one might imagine, it takes Foggy quite a while to digest this information, and the two don’t start working together again until Daredevil #353, the first of Karl Kesel’s run, when Matt simply shows up in the court room and follows Foggy back to his office. Despite Foggy’s reservations, this is the beginning of a relatively positive era for Nelson & Murdock and many of the stories told by Kesel, and later Joe Kelly, revolve around the law office and the parterns’ personal lives.

Foggy finds Matt, Daredevil #347

For now, we’re leaving Matt and Foggy on a high note, but we’ve got plenty of drama left when the time comes to look at Daredevil, volume 2.

Daredevil and the big cats who attack him

Daredevil is rescued by Ka-Zar, panel from Daredevil #12

Before I get to anything else, I want to tell you about an interview that the law blog Abnormal Use did with Mark Waid earlier today, with a particular focus on Matt’s job as a lawyer. The interview also contains spoilers for Daredevil #4 which is due out in stores tomorrow, though these are clearly marked and easy to avoid.

And, speaking of Daredevil #4, anyone who’s seen the preview will know that Matt is going up against some cats. Big ones. One might think that this would be a rare occurrence in Matt Murdock’s life, but as we’re about to see, it certainly isn’t the first time he’ll be battling – or in other ways engaging with – a larger member of the Felidae family. And, before we get to some flashbacks, I’d like to thank fellow fan Francesco for the comment on TOMP’s Facebook page which inspired this post. 🙂

Daredevil #12 by Stan Lee and John Romita

The issue in which Daredevil meets Ka-Zar and is carried off on the back of his kitty. This is going to sound weird, but I think early Daredevil has a real knack for looking like an adorable little rag doll while unconscious.

Daredevil is rescued by Ka-Zar, panel from Daredevil #12

Daredevil #23 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan

The issue which sees Daredevil battle the Gladiator and the Masked Marauder (also known as the world’s creepiest landlord) while beating up a lion with what looks like a lawn chair.

Daredevil beats up a lion with a lawn chair, Daredevil #23

Daredevil #72 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan

The really strange issue in which Matt first battles, then befriends, the blind Tagak, who telepathically uses the eyes of his jaguar to see. Unrelated, but this issue also sees Matt smash a mirror, thus strengthening the otherwise superstitious notion that doing so causes a bad and prolonged case of bad luck.

Daredevil battles a jaguar in Daredevil #72

Daredevil #111 by Steve Gerber and Bob Brown

The issue which sees Daredevil fight alongside Shanna the She-Devil and her large furry companions. Curiously, Shanna spends the entire issue wearing a barely there lace night gown. By her standards, this means she’s covering up much more than usual.

Daredevil and Shanna the She-Devil, from Daredevil #111

Daredevil #143 by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown

The issue in which Daredevil learns about the existence of a jungle atop an eighty-story skyscraper which has apparently escaped the attention of city officials. It is, in the words of the man responsible for its construction:

“A jungle paradise eighty stories above Manhattan […] This place is a compromise between reality and my fantasies. A place for survival where a man can really be a man.”

Daredevil battles a lion in Daredevil #143 by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown

Daredevil #89 (volume 2), by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark

The issue which sees Matt Murdock marvel at Ed Brubaker’s decision to make The Matador a legacy villain (and one who is made only marginally cooler by also being able to fight lions).

Daredevil watches the new Matador in Daredevil #89 (volume 2)

Okay! I hope you all had fun making this little journey through the archives with me. I will see you when it’s time to post my Daredevil #4 review.

Review of Blind Justice (1979)

Cover to Stan Lee Presents: The Marvel Superheroes (1979)

The first time Mark Waid mentioned a particular Daredevil story from the late 70’s, I was definitely intrigued. When it continued to pop up in interviews, I decided I just had to get my hands on it, particularly since Waid’s reasons for singling out this particular piece of superhero prose was writer Marty Pasko’s (under the pen name Kyle Christopher) impressive ability to get inside Matt Murdock’s head. “Blind Justice” is a 47-page prose story that appears in a book called Stan Lee Presents: The Marvel Superheroes, edited by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman. It was published in 1979 and was the ninth book in a series of Marvel novels.

Because there are no pictures to help tell this story, the writer has to spend more creative energy building Daredevil’s sensory world from the inside than if he had been writing this as a regular comic book which allows for a greater amount of “show and tell.” With no art to hide behind, so to speak, Pasko has to use words to describe what Matt percieves and how, and I have to agree with Mark Waid and say that I’m impressed with the way Pasko accomplishes this.

Of course, Blind Justice isn’t the only prose Daredevil story out there. Having read the Daredevil movie novel adaptation by Greg Cox, along with Madeleine E. Robins’ The Cutting Edge and Christopher Golden’s Predator’s Smile, I can safely say that there is quite a bit of variation in how successfully writers are able to translate Matt Murdock’s unique experience into something we can understand. In this regard, Pasko’s rendition is above and beyond the rest.

“Now he had a sensation of waves creeping out from somewhere behind his eyes. The waves lapped against the sliding door that opened onto the balcony and carried back the flat hardness of plain glass: he had forgotten to draw the blinds last night. He felt warmth and knew that he would not need a heavy jacket today, but the smell of ozone in the air meant he should carry a light raincoat for later. He stood in his darkness and let the sunlight warm him for a moment.”

Another thing that I found remarkable about this story is how mature it seems. These days, I have a hard time imagining that very many under the age of eighteen read Daredevil, but this story is from just around the time Frank Miller took over the book when readers had yet to be acquainted with the darker side of Daredevil and comics in general had more of an “all ages” appeal. In contrast to the comic book title at the time, Blind Justice feels fairly dark.

The appeal of the story rests to a great degree on the general tone and the innovative way of describing Matt Murdock’s world from the inside. The plot itself, on the other hand, is a fairly standard crime story that fails to make a big impact by itself. The few surprises that do exist are mostly in the strange departures from established canon that Pasko introduces. I’m generally pretty open to writers (particularly in a non-canon story) taking liberties with the material if that helps the story, but in this case, changes are made for no real reason. The more noticeable things are that Battlin’ Jack Murdock is described as a father who openly and enthusiastically encouraged his son to take up boxing – the opposite is true in the comics – and that Matt has now been endowed with an ability to tell time exactly without having to check a watch. Does that sound weird? It sure did to me. Classic Daredevil villain The Owl, who appears in this story, has also been given a new civilian name, though this is more curious than jarring.

In short, this was a story that I was very glad to find and one that I can certainly see a writer draw inspiration from when it comes to imagining Matt’s senses. It goes a step further than any other prose Daredevil writing I’ve seen in truly describing the sensory content and make-up of his experiences. Considering how vision dominates the sensory input of ordinary humans (in those of us with all senses intact), it takes quite a bit of creativity on behalf of any writer to take most of that ability out of the equation – save for a crude and colorless sense of space and obstacles – and fill the void with other things. This is where Marty Pasko really shines and if this is indeed someone Mark Waid is drawing inspiration from, I think that’s very positive news for those of us who enjoy seeing writers emphasize Daredevil’s unique physiology.

If you want to check out this book for yourself, you should be able to find it pretty easily through online used book vendors. The ISBN number is 0671820915.

Seeing things #10

Daredevil points out the color of someone's clothing, Daredevil #126

Yes, it’s time for the next chapter in the series “Seeing things” in which we catch Daredevil, well, seeing things. While we know that Daredevil’s senses can be tuned up or down to suit the writer and/or story, what these incidents have in common is that they clearly appear to be writer (or, more rarely) artist goofs.

For those who’ve missed this series in the past, I particularly recommend the mother of all seeing goofs in which Daredevil sees a painting of the Deathstalker’s mother from clear across the room.

The example below is from Daredevil #126 by Marv Wolfman with art by Bob Brown and Klaus Janson. This is the issue which sees Daredevil fight the Torpedo and it also marks the first appearance of Heather Glenn. In these panels, we see Daredevil interrupt Brock Jones in his attempt to rescue a young boy. Matt is such a glory hog. That bastard.

Daredevil points out the color of someone's clothing, Daredevil #126

Interestingly for the purposes of this series, Daredevil also sees fit to describe Brock as “the man in the gray flannels.” Well, how would he know that? He wouldn’t. On the other hand, to complicate things even further, Brock isn’t even wearing gray, he’s clearly dressed in green throughout the issue. This begs the question of who messed up or even if Wolfman deliberately had Matt call out the wrong color (and has thus made a fool of yours truly). On the other hand, this could be another example of the process that made the originally gray Hulk turn that lovely shade of green.

EDIT: “I’ve since learned this is a literary reference (see the comments) and thus not a seeing goof at all. Aw shucks!”

Either way, I think we can assume that it’s safer for Daredevil to not be shouting out colors at random. Later in the issue, he again proves his blindness by putting on the absolutely hideous pajamas pictured below. Yes, I know this issue was written in the 70’s but that’s really no excuse. Taking advantage of someone’s blindness to sell such a hideous clothing item should really be a crime.

Matt puts on his hideous pajamas, Daredevil #126

Another example of Daredevil seeing things comes from his first encounter with Klaw. Since we know that Klaw will be making a return to Daredevil during Mark Waid’s run, you may want to take a look at it.

The fashionable Mr Murdock

Almost two weeks ago, I promised to do a post about the fashion history of Matt Murdock. Obviously, I lied. No, that’s a little harsh. Frankly, I totally forgot about it (even after digging up all the panels I needed). So, for those of you who have been looking forward to this post – go ahead and admit it – let’s have a look. The 94.1% of you who have JavaScript enabled can just click the thumbnail images to make them pop up to full zoom (click again anywhere on the image to close). This is true for all images on the site in case you didn’t know.

Matt Murdock – mild-mannered attorney

Matt with Foggy and Karen, from Daredevil #25 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan

In this early panel from Daredevil #25, by Stan Lee with art by the inimitable Gene Colan, we see an example of the classic Matt Murdock look. A dark suit, usually black, brown or blue, coupled with a tie. It’s a nice, clean conservative look, perfect for a lawyer. Though I have to ask: What the heck is up with that purse?

While Matt has kept to this kind of workwear to the present day, it’s interesting that early Daredevil features nearly exclusively images of Matt in either his Daredevil costume or a business suit. Matt Murdock the civilian who lounges around his apartment in a t-shirt and sweat pants obviously hadn’t been invented yet.

Mike Murdock – wanted by the fashion police

Mike Murdock charms Karen Page, Daredevil #28, by Stan Lee and Gene Colan

I’ve said before that Mike Murdock is the proof that Matt doesn’t really do colors. This is what happens when he decides to ditch the safe suits and improvise. And this outfit, from Daredevil #28, wasn’t even the worst in “Mike” Murdock’s wardrobe. We must wonder where he got this suit to begin with. Maybe a dishonest salesman decided to dump some of the harder to sell suits on the blind customer. Note to Matt: Go with something safer or take your girlfriend with you when you go shopping. Please. This is a travesty.

The groovy seventies

Matt and Heather, from Daredevil #127 by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson

By the 70’s, with more than one hundred issues under his belt, Matt’s wardrobe had diversified quite a bit. There are many items that don’t match the straight one-piece dark suit description. For the most part, he looks pretty darn classy too (as classy as the decade itself allowed).

From Daredevil #128 by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson

On the left, in a panel from Daredevil #127, by Marv Wolfman with art by Bob Brown and Klaus Janson, we see Matt being more or less attacked by new acquaintance Heather Glenn. I’m not sure I’d match a striped tie with a plaid jacket, but the fit is nice at least.

On the right, from the following issue (same creators), Matt is hitting the streets of New York – still with stalker Heather Glenn in tow – in a different kind of outfit. The jacket looks a little big, but I like the fitted pants.

Miller and the 80’s

Matt showing his suit in Daredevil #185, by Frank Miller

I really like this panel, from Daredevil #185, because it’s such a classic superhero image with the hero revealing the hidden costume underneath his suit. All artwork in this issue is actually courtesy of Klaus Janson, but it’s a good representation of the whole Miller era and echoes his penciling style (which was usually inked by Janson). Lots of blue suits, occasionally ill-fitting, but pretty stylish for the most part. There is definitely a Robert Redford vibe happening here.

The hideous winter coat that should never be Born Again

Matt sports a hideous winter coat, Daredevil #229 by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli

Matt spends quite a bit of time during the classic Born Again storyline walking the streets of New York, out of his mind and stripped of everything he owns. To add to the whole street look, he wears this hideous winter coat. It looks even nicer after the Kingpin nearly drowns Matt although we may have to give it some credit for possibly pulling double duty as life vest. David Mazzucchelli drew an oftentimes stunning Matt Murdock, but this winter coat should be left in the back of the wardrobe where it belongs.

Casual in the 90’s

Matt sports a casual look in Daredevil #361, by Karl Kesel and Cary Nord

The 90’s may be known for a lot of things, including Daredevil’s switch to the now infamous armored costume. After things got back to semi-normal following Chichester’s time at the helm, Karl Kesel came along and gave the book an unusually carefree vibe. Daredevil suddenly started featuring lots of scenes of Matt and Karen hanging around the house, and we got to see Matt wearing clothes that didn’t scream lawyer. One such example is from Daredevil #351, with art by Cary Nord.

Modern sex appeal, Maleev style

Matt and Foggy, from Daredevil #37, vol 2, by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev

During the Bendis and Maleev run, Matt reached new heights of both style and general attractiveness. Like something from the pages of GQ, Matt really started dressing like a hip New Yorker and even got a goatee to match for a while when he took a break from superheroing.

Matt fighting ninjas, from Daredevil #57, vol 2, by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev

As far as I’m concerned. Maleev’s Matt was as hot as it got, and it was nice to see him wear a wide range of different outfits. Or hardly any clothes at all. That worked too. And yes, drooling over a fictional comic book character is totally fine. Guys do it all the time…

That’s a lot of suits…

Matt picks out a suit, art by Michael Lark

Michael Lark also had the opportunity to try a few different styles, though the orange jump suit was definitely a first for Matt Murdock. After traveling around Europe following his escape from prison, Matt settled back into his normal routine for a while. Though maybe things got a little too boring since his wardrobe (shown here in a panel from the Without Fear arc) is obviously filled with many nearly identical business suits. Brown was a common color too, as well as black, bringing us right back to basics.

Matt Murdock – leader of The Hand

Matt in a panel from Daredevil #505, by Diggle, Johnston and Checchetto

We haven’t seen much of Matt lately as he’s spent most of his time in his Daredevil costume since Diggle took over the book. During the most recent arc, Left Hand Path, we finally got to see him out of costume again, and it was something to behold. Here we see Marco Checchetto try out a new look for Matt and I have to say I like it!

Only the current creative team knows when Matt Murdock will show up in a business suit again, but he usually looks nice when he does.

Lose your head, Daredevil?

Earlier today, I promised to return with some panels that see Daredevil’s head go *poof*. That may have been a little inaccurate; it’s more a case of his head going SWAP!, SKUD! and SPIF!

For the sake of speed and efficiency, many of the artists of yesteryear had a knack for finding angles (and yes, the occasional sound effect) to obscure a character’s face. Looking back through the Daredevil archives, you find a ton of examples like this during Marv Wolfman’s run, particularly while Bob Brown was the main artist on the book.

It was well known even at the time that Bob Brown was gravely ill during his later work on Daredevil – he passed away from leukemia in 1977 – and his illness may have well contributed to his taking certain shortcuts. Even so, many of these shortcuts provide wonderful humorous gems for us Daredevil fans more than thirty years later. Let’s have a look.

Man-Bull’s fist vs Daredevil’s head

Man-Bull swats Daredevil's head into oblivion, Daredevil #129
Man-Bull swats Daredevil's head into oblivion, Daredevil #129

Issue: Daredevil #129
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Bob Brown & Klaus Janson

This is a great panel, not only because Daredevil gets his head reduced to a god-knows-what, but because he’s got that cute helpless look about him. This is what happens when a horned supervillain is looking for a door to slam shut in frustration, but has to settle for your face.

Is that the sun? No, it’s a paper plane

Daredevil has his head blown up by a paper plane, Daredevil #141
Daredevil has his head blown up by a paper plane, Daredevil #141

Issue: Daredevil #141
Writers: Marv Wolfman (plot) & Jim Shooter (script)
Artists: Gil Kane & Bob Brown (pencils), Jim Mooney (inks)

This hilarious panel is actually part of a longer scene during which Bullseye very nearly kills Daredevil with a paper plane. You can read more about it in the aptly named post “Now that’s an embarrassing way to go…”. Luckily, both of these players picked up their game a little since their early days (Wolfman actually created Bullseye).

It’s the conjoined triplets!

Conjoined triplets, panel from Daredevil #136
Conjoined triplets, panel from Daredevil #136

Issue: Daredevil #136
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: John Buscema (pencils) & Jim Mooney (inks)

Bob Brown is completely innocent in this case, and it’s not even real a clear cut case of the hero’s head going conspicuously missing. Actually, it’s much worse than that. Can anyone match these people’s various body parts and come up with a nice even number? What the hell happened here?

Sound effect all over my face…

Kick on the head, Daredevil #133
Kick on the head, Daredevil #133

Issue: Daredevil #133
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Bob Brown & Jim Mooney

This one is more of a classic sound effect to the face panel, but I’ve included it here for it’s simple elegance. Oh yes, in case you’re wondering, this list is merely scratching the surface when it comes to panels just like this one.

This issue is the same one that famously featured an appearance by Uri Geller, whose “origin story” you can read more about here. Together, Uri and Daredevil fought the villain Mind-Wave who’s proudly showing off his moves in this panels.

Seriously, necks don’t bend that way

Bullseye loses his head, Daredevil #132
Bullseye loses his head, Daredevil #132

Issue: Daredevil #132
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Bob Brown & Klaus Janson

This panel doesn’t actually feature Daredevil, but I had to include it on the list anyway. You know how Daredevil once broke Bullseye’s neck, paralyzing him? Yeah, this wasn’t that time.

I know you can sort of see something that looks like a flattened head popping up behind his body, but this pose must violate virtually every law of anatomy there is.

No, this isn’t what it looks like!

Daredevil getting a face full of rosin, Daredevil #132
Daredevil getting a face full of rosin, Daredevil #132

Here’s another panel from Daredevil #132, and it’s still Daredevil versus Bullseye. At least here we have something physical covering Daredevil’s face an not something vague and intangible like just an impact or a sound effect.

At least Matt learned not to sniff white powder up his nose. If only Karen Page had had the same level of insight. Fine, I know she was a heroin addict, but I’m guessing she didn’t go directly from pot to smack.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey through the archives, back to a time when Daredevil wasn’t quite as serious as it is today.

Before I go, I also want to remind people to check out the Legion of Dude’s podcast Speak of the Devil which I first mentioned back in March. They just did a show focusing on Shadowland #1, so have a listen!

Domestic Violence

I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that I caught a nasty cold over the weekend which prevented me from going on my business trip. The good news is that this means I’ll be able to read Shadowland #1 along with everyone else tomorrow (Thursday is the usual comic book day in Europe, but North American comics are delayed a day due to the 4th of July).

Barring any unforeseen shipping delays, I’ll be posting my review tomorrow. Later in the week, we’ll take a look at Matt Murdock’s civilian wardrobe with a brief journey through the fashion archives. For now, here’s another bizarre gem from Daredevil’s past.

Matt looking like he's hitting Heather with a powder puff, Daredevil #127
Matt looking like he's hitting Heather with a powder puff, Daredevil #127

This odd scene on the left is from Daredevil #127, written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Bob Brown and Klaus Janson. The match between Matt and Heather always seemed odd to me, and their dynamic was quirky to say the least. At this point they hadn’t know each other very long and Matt already seems tired of her, going so far as to physically push her away.

It’s the art here that really gives this panel its unusual vibe. Is Matt grabbing her breast to shove her? And is he using a powder puff of some sort? Is it a decorative sofa pillow or perhaps an oversized pin cushion? What the heck was Bob Brown thinking?

As a whole, it seems like his failed relationship with Natasha wasn’t enough to teach Matt how to have a relationship with a woman without morphing into a complete pig…

Matt’s about to get some…

Since I’m in the middle of writing a post summing up the entire last two years of Daredevil stories in preparation for Shadowland – an endeavor about as time-consuming as you might expect – I thought I’d stall you with this off-beat panel from Daredevil #135, by Marv Wolfman and Bob Brown. Here, we see Matt being a little upset while Heather Glenn, his then girlfriend, tries to lift his spirits by offering him to play a game “that has smiles built right into the rules.” Oh, whatever could that be?

Heather is cheering Matt up by offering a game for two
Heather is cheering Matt up by offering a game for two

Whatever Heather did to him it must have been pretty effective since he appears to have been given a healthy dose of silly power. You see, later in the issue, he goes out in search of aberrant radio signals. Oh dear. Did Heather bang his head against the headboard or is the built-in antenna back in town? Ah, wacky days…

Daredevil uses his radar to detect the presence of an out of place radio signal
Daredevil uses his radar to detect the presence of an out of place radio signal

As a reminder, don’t forget to enter the contest I put up last week where you get the chance to win a copy of the Ultimate Elektra: Devil’s Due TPB.