Oct 18, 2016

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 601: Daredevil #10, October 1965

http://www.comics.org/issue/19535/

Time to reach back into the relatively deep past of Marvel Comics, or, at least, the deep past of one of their more contemporaneously popular characters. It kind of floors me that this comic is over 50 years old. And it shows. This is not to say that it shows in the story (though the use of women as solely simpering love interests or femme fatales is a bit troubling), but more in the physical condition of the comic itself. One can often expect comics of this age to be showing their years in some ways, unless they were stored properly from day one, but this one's been mistreated. At some point the owner of this comic decided that burning particular images out of the pages would be a good idea. I'd thought at first that it might have been accidental, from a cigarette or other smokable substance, until I realized that the tiny holes on the cover were actually the eyes of each character depicted. The more I consider it, the more I think this might have been done using the magnifying glass and the sun trick. Fortunately, aside from a large chunk of the first page having been destroyed, the rest of the charred intrusions don't interfere too much with the story.

It's an interesting story, for a couple of reasons. First, it marks the first appearance of the Ani-Men, a B-list villain group who continue to pop up every now and again, often in completely different incarnations and with different characters. I quite like this iteration of the team - they're not mutated animals or experimental super-criminals - they're low-rent thieves who are given costumes with marginally impressive enhancements. And, unlike most thugs for hire, they evince at least a modicum of intelligence and self-preservation instinct. The second reason this story is cool is that it was both drawn and written by comics legend Wally Wood. The opening page states that Stan Lee has graciously given Wood the chance to write a story (though apparently Lee finishes the story next issue), but one has to wonder if Lee was simply spread too thin, and needed someone to pick up the slack for him.

It's an interesting contrast to read this comic after the last few days of pseudo-realistic art in the Jim Lee X-Men comics. Wood's figures move in a realistic manner, but are lacking the detail that denies the 90s superhero comics the kind of iconicity we associate with early Marvel. Perhaps I'll attempt to read and blog some more 60s comics for the rest of the week.

Onward.

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