Friday, February 14, 2020

"Your Serve... er, Move, Daredevil!"

Having put together a special series on symbolic splash pages featured in Marvel's major team books as well as in Amazing Spider-Man, the PPC now moves briefly to highlighting some noteworthy efforts made in a random sampling of other titles from over the years which came to mind, some of which may ring a bell for you.

Leading us off are a number of pages from Daredevil, which I lingered on for some time considering their diversity in both style and artists and spanned a range of years from 1964 to 1971. (Perhaps even longer, but DD is monopolizing this subject as it is!) Bill Everett Jack Kirby is who we have to thank for paving the way for us (correction courtesy of Dave Plunkert--thanks, Dave!):

Joe Orlando, whose work began appearing in the industry in 1949, would follow up on the title with the next three issues (though you'll find much of his work for Marvel appearing in titles published in the mid- to late-'50s, in categories ranging from westerns, romance, war stories, sci-fi and mystery). His final work was published in 1997, a year before his death at 71.

Wally Wood, whose work Stan Lee made efforts to spotlight, makes his own SSP contribution (working off artist Bob Powell's layout) in a story from 1965 which he also scripted:

Ross Andru and Herb Trimpe unintentionally provide dueling SSPs featuring Ant-Man, with Andru providing more variety in terms of what awaits us within the story:

While John Romita and Gene Colan line up their versions of face-offs between DD and Spider-Man.  Writer Gerry Conway's "sports fan" caption turns out to be appropriate, since Mr. Colan seems to have Spidey trying to capture DD with a tennis court net.

(Maybe that second title should start off with "...And So Re-enters"?)

The mask and form of Daredevil lend themselves nicely to the SSP format, as Colan demonstrates in his other efforts with the character.

Over in Amazing Adventures, where the Black Widow is splitting the mag with the Inhumans, John Buscema appeals to the action lover with imagery suggesting that the Widow's new series is the one to watch--while Colan takes a more intriguing approach.

Later in that same title, Craig Russell is well-suited to the characters and concepts we'll find in stories adapted from H.G. Wells' War Of The Worlds.

While Colan, Gil Kane, and Jim Starlin show us what they bring to the table for Captain Marvel, old and new... well as for Warlock (with Steve Leialoha working off of Starlin's layout).

Dr. Strange is also well-represented, both solo and as part of the Defenders. Here we see work by Andru, Colan, Barry Smith, and Sal Buscema.

Howard Purcell, whose work for Marvel was limited to backup stories featuring the Watcher and two Nick Fury stories in Strange Tales, turns in this splendid SSP for the Black Knight's appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes.

Finally, Andru takes us out with the opening page to Marvel Team-Up #1, which features the rare display of Spider-Man in battle while poised on his own spider's web.

(Frankly these two don't seem very interested in fighting the Sandman.)

One more SSP for the road... to Transylvania, that is.


Tiboldt said...

I always got the feeling that there was a certain rivalry between Spider-Man comics and Daredevil comics back in the day because they were both New York-based street-level superheroes and had competing sensory powers. So when I say this, I say it with the bias of a Spider-Man fan:

Daredevil had the most pathetic rogues gallery at Marvel!

Every time Daredevil gets mentioned another bargain-bin villain is brought up. The Organizer? Yeah, he strikes fear into everyone. And he created the Ani-Men, who have taken up far too much page-time over the years and somehow still exist!

Big Murr said...

It's really kinda weird how possessive comic creators were with Rogues Galleries back in the once-upon-a-time. These are Spider-Man's villains, go make your own!

As TIboldt says, Spidey and DD both share the same crimefighter niche protecting the streets of NYC. I think it would have make some fascinating stories reading how Daredevil handled Vulture, Mysterio, or being hunted by Kraven. But, no, they all had to reinvent the wheel for each hero.

Comicsfan said...

I can agree that some of the concepts of DD's foes could have used a second go at the drawing board (was Stilt-Man's first appearance in DD? He'd certainly be "Exhibit A" in that regard)--but I did think several of them deserved their place in a rogues gallery. E.g., the Masked Marauder... the Gladiator... the Owl (three whose pages are featured in a previous post)... the Purple Man... Bullseye... and the Kingpin, off the top of my head. Granted, it's slim pickings. :)

Anonymous said...

The Stiltman actually defeated Spider-Man twice...sort of.
Once in the pages of Daredevil, back in the Gene Colan days, he knocked Spidey out with a gas grenade.
Quite a few years later, in ASM, he used the machinery in some automated factory to knock him unconscious again. Ol' Stilts briefly considered stomping on Spidy's head while he lay prostrate, but thought the better of it.
A classy move from a D-lister. In the words of Jebediah Springfield, "a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man."

M.P. Acting secretary, Stiltman Anti-defamation League

Big Murr said...

M.P. - is your League aware of last year's Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man (issue #6)? It ranks easily as a top-tier done-in-one story. Really delightful. In it, Spider-Man teams up with Spider-Bite to challenge the machinations of...Stilt-Man!!

Stilts still takes Spidey disrespect: "Please, he has the proportional powers of a man with a convenient ladder".

Anonymous said...

I was unaware of this, Murray. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. It's time to write some angry letters.
…"Spider-Bite"? Wha?! I think I've lived too long.


Comicsfan said...

I swear I thought that Stilt-Man was kaput. That's the last time I give any credibility to his bar buddies.

Big Murr said...

Sorry gents, I didn't expect to evoke that sort of response. I have to confess I was being a bit coy in the interests of spoilers and humour.

SPOILER-SYNOPSIS of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #6

We open with Spider-Man already in dire straits in a battle with Doctor Octopus. (A small eyebrow twitch from the reader because this is the classic Doc Ock, long before any developments of the last decade.)

Swinging to Spider-Man's rescue is a diminutive figure in spider costume, announcing himself as SPIDER-BITE! Doc Ock laughs "What? Are you eight??" Ker*POW! "I'm nine and a half!" WHAM

Doctor Octopus is rescued by Vulture. Spider-Man and Spider-Bite are in hot pursuit. On a subway car, Doc Ock and Vulture are joined by Black Cat and Kraven. The running battle ends up in Grand Central Station where the Spider duo face a half-dozen villains. "The new Sinister Six?" Mysterio removes his cloaking field, revealing the "SINISTER SIXTY!"

(Okay, what is going on here??)

It is a magnificent double-page spread of everyone and anyone Spider-Man has ever battled. (Well, I couldn't spot any glaring absentees) It is followed by another double spread mosaic of tiny panels as Spider-Man and Spider-Bite annihilate the army of evil. When Spider-Man demands to know what Green Goblin is trying to accomplish, it is then revealed that STILT-MAN is the mastermind!

Spider-Man is gobsmacked, but Spider-Bite takes it in stride. Stilt-Man is quickly defeated and the Spider duo sit on a rooftop to debrief. Spider-Man is still incredulous that Stilt-Man was the mastermind when Spider-Bite has a spasm of coughing. Spidey pulls back the kid's mask to help him breath...

...and we're in a hospital room surrounded by cardboard boxes crayoned up to look like buildings. Spidey and a kid in Spider-Man pyjamas and Halloween mask are sitting on top of some lockers. They are surrounded by several adults in homemade props and costume bits to make them look like the villains we've seen.

It's a "Make a Wish" scenario for a young cancer patient. It's a charming heart-tugger of a story.

(Stilt-Man was chosen by the kid simply for being so impressively tall.)

Anonymous said...

I guess I took it in stride that Stilts had come back from the dead, like pretty much everybody else in comics. That's how jaded I am.
As a result of my failure to keep up on current events, the League has demoted me to janitor.

M.P., Acting Custodian, Stiltman Ant-Defamation League

Comicsfan said...

Heh--"took it in stride..." Even demoted you retain your sense of humor, M.P. ;)

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