Archive for December, 2011

Daredevil #19

December 31, 2011

Stan Lee // John Romita
August 1966
***

Daredevil resembles Spider-Man more & more. And it’s not just Romita’s gymnastic fights, it’s Lee’s quippy dialogue & his tease at villains’ secret IDs. While DD protects his lawyer pal from hoodlums, his foes (the masked mastermind & razored bruiser) butt heads while forming an alliance.

last issue: Daredevil #18
next issue: Daredevil #20

also indexed for Aug. ’66
The Avengers #31
Tales of Suspense #80  (Captain America)

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Daredevil #18

December 30, 2011

Stan Lee & Denny O’Neil // John Romita
July 1966
****

Foggy buys a Daredevil suit & hires the costumer to attack him on a date. But the guy’s a psychotic w/ an armored, razored suit of his own! The dockside fight (once DD shows) makes this Romita’s strongest issue so far. And his realistic anatomy mirrors its focus on bodies & super-clothing.

last issue: Daredevil #17
next issue: Daredevil #19

Also indexed for Jul. ’66
The Avengers #30
The Amazing Spider-Man #38
Tales of Suspense #79  (Captain America)

Daredevil #17

December 29, 2011

Stan Lee // John Romita
June 1966
***
Guest-star Spider-Man kayos the henchmen, leaving the mastermind for Daredevil. Romita stages the fights as fisticuffs, failing to show off the superheroes’ powers. But he & Lee soap the mag’s romantic triangle by having the suddenly flabby Foggy equivocate to his sec when Spidey IDs him as DD.

last issue: Daredevil #16
next issue: Daredevil #18

also indexed for June ’66
The Avengers #29
The Amazing Spider-Man #37
Tales of Suspense #78  (Captain America)

Daredevil #16

December 28, 2011

Stan Lee // John Romita
May 1966
***

A super-criminal pits Daredevil against Spider-Man as cover for his techno-heist. Romita’s inaugural take on Spidey must’ve looked odd to Marvelites used to Ditko (looka those ripe muscles! And slips in the web pattern!). Spider-fans might scoff at DD’s too-easy defeat of their hero—but it is his mag.

last issue: Daredevil #15
next issue: Daredevil #17

also indexed for May ’66
The Avengers #28
The Amazing Spider-Man #36
Tales of Suspense #77  (Captain America)

Daredevil #15

December 26, 2011

Stan Lee // John Romita
April 1966
***

A bruiser, created by Ditko but perfect for Romita, returns to take a few more pokes at DD—after a mad scientist swaps bodies w/ him! It ends w/ a sentimental twist as the onetime brute, now a wimp, gets a second chance at life. Romita artfully allows more panel time for the actors than the action.

last issue: Daredevil #14
next issue: Daredevil #16

also indexed for Apr. ’66
The Avengers #27
The Amazing Spider-Man #35
Tales of Suspense #76  (Captain America)
The X-Men #19

Daredevil #14

December 25, 2011

Stan Lee // John Romita
March 1966
***

Ish #14 caps the mag’s detour into the glamorous tropes of the international superspy. The horned hero stops an English lord (in gaudy costume) from using a ray-gun to conquer the world. Romita, now solo on DD & showing fizzy chemistry w/ Lee, echos Kirby’s perspec but already has those full faces.

last issue: Daredevil #13
next issue: Daredevil #15

also indexed for Mar. ’66
The Avengers #26
The Amazing Spider-Man #34
Tales of Suspense #75  (Captain America)
The X-Men #18

Daredevil #13

December 24, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & John Romita
February 1966
***

Propelled by Kirby’s imagination, Daredevil shoots off on a tangent. Ka-Zar, lord of a polar Lost World, has a super-metal inheritance sought by his evil bro, pirates, & a spy-ring! Did I mention DD’s power loss, combat w/ a caveman, or a sabre-toothed tiger’s fight w/ a carnivorous plant?

last issue: Daredevil #12
next issue: Daredevil #14

also indexed for Feb. ’66
The Avengers #25
The Amazing Spider-Man #33
Strange Tales #141  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #74  (Captain America)
The X-Men #17

Daredevil #12

December 23, 2011

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & John Romita
January 1966
***

Now monthly, Daredevil gets a new artist: John Romita. His balanced classical style, honed on romance comics, sits oddly atop Kirby’s dynamo layouts & fevered creativity. DD gets pressganged by a pirate (in 18C togs) & his submersible sailing ship, bound for a Cretaceous oasis & its Tarzan.

last issue: Daredevil #11
next issue: Daredevil #13

also indexed for Jan. ’66
The Avengers #24
The Amazing Spider-Man #32
Strange Tales #140  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #73  (Captain America)
The X-Men #16

Daredevil #11

December 22, 2011

Stan Lee // Bud Powell
December 1965
**

Wood inks, not pencils, his finale with the mag’s first two-parter, some city politics given color by an animal-themed gang. Wood has a great eye for pace, form, & shading—he made magic w/ the shadows for DD’s crimson outfit—but his style, reminiscent of Plastino, may be too straightlaced for the Marvel Era.

last issue: Daredevil #10
next issue: Daredevil #12

also indexed for Dec. ’65
The Avengers #23
The Amazing Spider-Man #31
Strange Tales #139  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #72  (Captain America)
The X-Men #15

Daredevil #10

December 21, 2011

Wally Wood & Bud Powell
October 1965
**

Lee (busy on annuals?) lets Wood pen as well as pencil this conventional tale. As you’d expect from an artist’s story, it’s got a nifty visual hook: a gang fitted in high-tech animal costumes. They work for a hooded villain who aims to spoil a city election—incl. Foggy Nelson, standing for DA.

last issue: Daredevil #9
next issue: Daredevil #11

also indexed for Oct. ’65
The Avengers #21
The Amazing Spider-Man #29
The Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2
Journey into Mystery Annual #1  (Thor)
Strange Tales #137  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #70  (Captain America)

Daredevil #9

December 20, 2011

Stan Lee // Wally Wood & Bud Powell
August 1965
**

Daredevil ends the rule of a Ruritanian duke who tyrannizes his people w/ robot knights & an atomic pile. It’s a typically ebullient plot and tone for its era, but it doesn’t mesh with the “dark” urban, Shadow-type hero. Still, Wood’s art is so confident and streamlined, it’s a fun read.

last issue: Daredevil #8
next issue: Daredevil #10

also indexed for Aug. ’65
The Avengers #19
The Amazing Spider-Man #27
Journey into Mystery #119  (Thor)
Strange Tales #135  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #68  (Captain America)

Daredevil #8

December 19, 2011

Stan Lee // Wally Wood
June 1965
***

The cover shows the visual for DD’s foe: a criminal w/ hydraulic stilts! That gimmick takes part in the mid-’60s mania for gadgets, & so does our hero, now kitted out w/ transistor radios & zip-lines. Wood positions his figures perfectly w/in each panel, adding plenty of pep to keep the eye moving.

last issue: Daredevil #7
next issue: Daredevil #9

also indexed for Jun. ’65
The Avengers #17
The Amazing Spider-Man #25
Journey into Mystery #117  (Thor)
Strange Tales #133  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #66  (Captain America)

Daredevil #7

December 18, 2011

Stan Lee // Wally Wood
April 1965
****

Wood proves his worth to doubters like me in this rousing title-bout. Namor wants to enter his legal claim to the surface world, w/ Nelson & Murdock as advocates. Way out of his weightclass, DD (one year in, w/ a new crimson costume) can’t stop the Atlantean juggernaut, but he can lose with honor.

last issue: Daredevil #6
next issue: Daredevil #8

also indexed for Apr. ’65
The Amazing Spider-Man #23
The Avengers #15
Journey into Mystery #115  (Thor)
Strange Tales #131  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #64  (Captain America)

Daredevil #6

December 17, 2011

Stan Lee // Wally Wood
February 1965
**

Why does the Lee/Wood Daredevil dissatisfy, despite Wood’s panel-by-panel expertise? Take this ish, which sees a sinister fearmonger recruit his gang from other Marvel mags. It lacks the out-there weirdness of FF & Thor, the alienation of Spidey. Instead, we get Lee’s stock love-triangle angst.

last issue: Daredevil #5
next issue: Daredevil #7

also indexed for Feb. ’65
The Amazing Spider-Man #21
The Avengers #13
Journey into Mystery #113  (Thor)
Strange Tales #129  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #62  (Captain America)

Daredevil #5

December 16, 2011

Stan Lee // Wally Wood
December 1964
**

Wood is less known for his superhero work than for his classic ’50s SF & Mad! at EC. But his short run on Daredevil is a meteoric flare, w/ superbly realistic athletic bodies. Still, his style turns a silly ’60s super-comics idea—a matador turns to crime—into a fun duel of cape-&-sword v. billyclub.

last issue: Daredevil #4
next issue: Daredevil #6

also indexed for Dec. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #19
The Avengers #11
Journey into Mystery #111  (Thor)
Strange Tales #127  (Dr. Strange)
Tales of Suspense #60  (Captain America)

Daredevil #4

December 15, 2011

Stan Lee // Joe Orlando
October 1964
***

An only-in-comics supervillain—an ex-spy stained purple by nerve gas!—adds vim to a formulaic ish. The strange sight puts onlookers in a thrall, so while Daredevil can resist his commands, others (like the mag’s love interest) cannot. Lee loves a mob scene, so the crowd turns on DD at one point.

last issue: Daredevil #3
next issue: Daredevil #5

also indexed for Oct. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #17
The Avengers #9
Journey into Mystery #109  (Thor)
Strange Tales #125  (Dr. Strange)

Daredevil #3

December 14, 2011

Stan Lee // Joe Orlando
August 1964
**

A corrupt financier w/ an owl motif hires Matt Murdock to defend him, then sets up death traps & aims to organize NYC crime. The swashbuckling dazzles, & so does the irony that it’s executed by a blind man. But Joe O’s realism sits stiffly next to the era’s surrealism (ex. Daredevil in a bird cage).

last issue: Daredevil #2
next issue: Daredevil #4

also indexed for Aug. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #15
The Avengers #7
The Fantastic Four #29
Journey into Mystery #107  (Thor)
Strange Tales #123  (Dr. Strange)

Daredevil #2

December 13, 2011

Stan Lee // Joe Orlando
June 1964
**

Issue #2 leans hard on Stan Lee’s NYC. The protag’s alter ego is hired as lawyer to the Fantastic Four, & he spends the ish chasing Spidey’s electrical enemy all over town, via bewilderingly diverse types of transportation. Orlando supplies action, good cheer, & imaginative layouts.

last issue: Daredevil #1
next issue: Daredevil #3

also indexed for Jun. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #13
The Fantastic Four #27
Journey into Mystery #105  (Thor)
Strange Tales #121  (Dr. Strange)

Daredevil #1

December 12, 2011

Stan Lee // Bill Everett
April 1964
***

Lee hypes a new hero, only his third to get a solo title. Daredevil’s origin is formulaic—radioactivity, orphaning, a garish costume—but unlike other Marvelites, he’s also cheery & he has a job. Hypersenses offset a handicap of blindness, a superpower that lets Lee insert the reader into DD’s head.

next issue: Daredevil #2

also indexed for Apr. ’64
The Amazing Spider-Man #11
The Fantastic Four #25
Journey into Mystery #103  (Thor)
Strange Tales #119  (Dr. Strange)

Captain America Comics #10 (part 2)

December 11, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
December 1941
B-story: *** // C-story: ***
Simon & Kirby bow out, having made their rep w/ their lush curves & their boosterism. Their plots, of course, remain mostly conventional for the era. #10’s B-story focuses on Bucky when Cap is shanghaied by Nazi spies in a “Gotham City” hotel. The final tale rips off A.C. Doyle’s “Baskervilles”.
[A-story: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #9]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #11]

Captain America Comics #10 (part 1)

December 10, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
December 1941
A-story: *****
Despite its cover date, #10 hit the stands a few months after Pearl Harbor. But it may be the first issue to be drawn post-attack, since its A-story revives the patriotism that had ebbed recently. When a female Nazi agent steals an experimental grenade launcher, Cap mounts a swift counterattack.
[B/C-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #9]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #11]

Captain America Comics #9 (part 2)

December 9, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
November 1941
B-story: *** // C-story: ***
A convict seems to shrug off the electric chair’s shock; an artist goes on a murder spree when an MD replaces his hand w/ a condemned, uh, black man’s limb. Jack & Joe’s plots are playing up grim violence. Ironically, the decadence makes the mag a bit better—except for the racism, of course.
[A-story: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #8]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #10]

Captain America Comics #9 (part 1)

December 8, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
November 1941
A-story: ***
Some fascinating panels in this A-story. Simon & Kirby position the reader at odd angles over the action, like gargoyles. And a few beats are entirely silent! The plot is yet another conventional mystery, w/ a murderer stalking the heirs of an estate in a mansion honeycombed by secret passages.
[B/C-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #8]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #10]

Captain America Comics #8 (part 2)

December 7, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
October 1941
B-story: *** // C-story: ***
A crumb from Vichy spoils the army’s war-games; an heiress must spend 3 nights in a “haunted” castle. W/ such conventional plots, S & K’s artwork is the main draw: the density w/in the panels that doesn’t impede the flow between them, legs that’re always midstride & faces that telegraph expressions.
[A-story: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #7]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #9]

Captain America Comics #8 (part 1)

December 6, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
October 1941
A-story: ***
FBI agent Betty Ross is spending the weekend with society pals, one of whom has a cursed Egyptian ruby! With Cap & Buck as her muscle, she exposes the ibis-masked murderer who’s been offing guests. Offering yet another murder-mystery, the mag has lost its focus on adventure & interventionism.
[B/C-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #7]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #9]

Captain America Comics #7 (part 2)

December 5, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
September 1941
B-story: ***
C-story: ****
The ballpark is the perfect setting for Simon & Kirby’s athletic bodies & outer-borough faces. If only they recounted, manga-like, a baseball tale rather than this Scooby-Doo murder-mystery. Later, Cap uncovers a Nazi assassin plot around bombs w/ harmonic triggers and a fatal, hypnotic melody.
[A-story: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #6]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #8]

Captain America Comics #7 (part 1)

December 4, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
September 1941
A-story: ***
As Cap’s only memorable foe, it’s good to see the Red Skull return—even if his MO simply mimics other nemeses like the Joker. Here he aims to sever the chain of command at Camp Lehigh by killing officers. Joe & Jack don’t do much with a subplot about amateur theatrics. But their art’s superb!
[B/C-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #6]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #8]

Captain America Comics #6 (part 2)

December 3, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
August 1941
B-story: ***
C-story: **
The B-story is this issue’s strongest, both in art & action. Pages riff jazzily on standard 2×4 layout, even adding a few smart 3-panel rows. It’s got a heartpumping fight scene, but also CAC‘s most racist caricature so far: a Fu Manchu w/ monkey face & fangs. The C-tale rips off The Thin Man.
[A-story: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #5]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #7]

Captain America Comics #6 (part 1)

December 2, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
August 1941
A-story: ***
The opening splash offers the chilling image of a cackling grey fiend with a camera fetish. Notably, the tale brings focus to the first of Kirby’s boy gangs, the Sentinels of Liberty. They’ve ditched the black kid, losing the ahead-of-its-time integration but also the awful caricature. Prob’ly best.
[B/C-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #5]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #7]

Captain America Comics #5 (part 2)

December 1, 2011

Joe Simon & Jack Kirby
July 1941
C-story: ****
D-story: ****
Happy to see this C-story, which distinguishes German-American citz from the US bund. Bucky hits the pictures w/ Herr Schmidt’s kid, & recruits an “integrated” gang of kids to be Sentinels of Liberty. The final short urges us to war, as Cap rescues an old pal from torture in a Vichy prison.
[A/B-stories: Captain America]
[last issue: Captain America Comics #4]
[next issue: Captain America Comics #6]