Coming Attractions: The Original Daredevil!

When you think of Daredevil, you probably think of lawyer Matt Murdock, Marvel Comics' blind protagonist whose sense of justice compels him to prowl Hell's Kitchen taking out the trash (i.e., baddies like "The Kingpin").A product of comic icon Stan Lee, Daredevil premired in 1964 and quickly became one of Marvel's hottest series, running continuously until a "reboot" in the late 1990s.

Daredevil's legacy today spans not just comics, but toys, video games, live-action movies and a hit Netflix series.

But long before Matt Murdock roamed the streets of New York, Bart Hill sought to avenge the deaths of his parents, who had been killed by a gang of crooks intent on stealing on one of his father's inventions.

Left scarred and mute by the torture they inflicted on him, Hill did what any reasonable person orphaned by a band of scofflaws would do: don a superhero outfit and a signature weapon (in this case, a boomerang matching the scar on his chest) and run out into the world fighting crime. As PopMatters points out, this backstory isn't too far afield of Bruce Wayne/Batman's, who Frank Miller introduced to the world a year earlier.

Created by Jack Binder, this Daredevil first appeared in Lev Gleason's Silver Streak #6 (Sept. 1940), in which Hill took on two rival gangs in an otherwise forgettable story featuring some questionable writing by Don Rico ("trapped like a rat in a trap"?) The character's positive reception earned Daredevil a title of his own less than a year later (complete with costume change).

This time, Charles Biro would take up the scripting for the primary story, which featured Daredevil infiltrating a Nazi command post and battling Adolf Hitler with other Silver Streak heros. Notably, the story was written before the Pearl Harbor bombing, and therefore foreshadowed America's eventual entry into the war.

Daredevil's primary nemesis during his stay on the series was not Hitler, but a rather racist charicature of the Japanese people named "The Claw." Notable for his ominous visage and bony, talon-tipped fingers, The Claw first appeared in Silver Streak #2 (January 1940). He first battled Daredevil in that series (#7, January 1941), and was ostensibly killed off in Daredevil #31 (July 1945), coinciding with the end of the war. Despite his regular appearances, The Claw was never fully developed as a character, and although the extent of his superpowers are unclear, it is evident they are of supernatural origin.

Daredevil, being an anthology series, left the title character with a malleable backstory that changed several times. He was eventually scrapped from his comic altogether. Although the series retained the "Daredevil" title, a kid gang known as "Pee Wee and the Little Wise Guys" began sharing the cover and eventually took over the comic completely. Daredevil's last cover was Issue #48 (May 1948) and his last appearance for Lev Gleason was in Issue #70 (January 1951).

The series lasted a total of 134 issues, all of which you can read soon on VillainPaper! Hit "join" below and get ready to feast on one of the most iconic Golden Age characters!


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