1964: Daredevil #1

10891878_1588806334685997_7910419172389076029_nWritten by Stan Lee with art by Bill Everett (who also created Namor) this issue takes us through Matt Murdock’s origin and his search for his fathers killer.
The story begins with Daredevil confronting a posse for a crime boss named “The Fixer”. There is an awkward fight scene and the whole thing seems odd until we are taken back to 1950 and are taken through Matt Murdock’s early days. We learn of his father’s occupation as a boxer, and that his father pushed him to spend all his time studying and that Matt would secretly work out when his father wasn’t around. We see Matt get injured and lose his eyesight and then subsequently discover his new abilities. The origin finally ties into the opening scene when we learn that The Fixer is a man who wanted Matt’s father to throw a boxing match and then ordered his murder when that fight was not thrown. To be fair, Matt’s father sought out The Fixer when his career was on the ropes (see what I did there), so it should have been no surprise that this was the outcome. As we return to the present Daredevil confronts The Fixer and the trigger man anduses his special abilities to chase them to a train station where the fixer has a heart attack and dies. We also meet Foggy Nelson and Karen Page but all they do the entire story is worry about him, because, in the 60’s, blind people are incapable of looking after themselves and only need to be pitied.
I have been reading comics for just over 12 years and Daredevil is one of my favourite characters, but I had never read this issue before. I knew his origin, and I knew his supporting characters, but I was surprised at how much this just seemed like a rip off of Spider-Man. A young boy, who hits the books and gets teased at school (he gets nicknamed “Daredevil” because of how inactive he is) has an accident that gives him powers, his father figure dies and he confronts the person who did it. Of all the Stan Lee creations I feel that this is the least original. It is super obvious that this is just Stan’s way of milking the success of Spider-Man because Spidey’s face is in the cover next to a bubble that says “Remember when we introduced Spider-Man, now we continue the mighty Marvel tradition withDaredevil” but he does not show up in the book at all. In fact, until today I had never read what the cover said I just assumed he was in the book. Which is what I’m assuming customers thought too.
All in all, not a bad read, typical of its day. I think this issue is better than his avengers work but not nearly as good as his Spider-Man.
Daredevil premiered in 1964, but really hit his stride in the 80’s when a then young Frank Miller started work on the book, initially drawing, and then assuming writingresponsibilities as well. Daredevil was relaunched in 1998 by Kevin Smith and has been a consistently popular title since with award winning runs by Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Mark Waid. He has had 1 pretty bad feature film, 1 even worse made-for-tv film with the hulk, and will star this may in a Marvel Studios/ Netflix Original Series (fingers crossed).

Next week I will discuss Lost In Space, and, if I can get through it, Frank Herbert’s Dune!

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