I don’t know if there was anything I enjoyed more as a kid (outside of fishing) than sitting down in my parent’s backyard, on a hot summer’s day and reading a stack of comics. Rain or shine. On a hot sunny day a place under our old willow tree was my go to spot. A six cent bottle of green apple mini-pop and a ten cent bag of chips and I was all set. If it rained it was into the tent with my books, pop, and chips and an afternoon of reading was on. Wet canvas and musty comics mix for a smell you never forget.
Today I am sitting out in my own backyard. There is no willow tree, no tent, and no mini-pop! Instead I have a lawn chair, a side table with a stack of “well loved reader quality” comic books held down by a rock so they won’t blow away. A nice cold bottle of beer and a few chips accompany the scene. It’s not the same, but it’s not bad either!
One of my go to comic characters from the 60’s was Daredevil. He was easier than most comic characters for me to relate to. No real super powers, Matt Murdock had acquired enhanced sensory powers when he lost his sight in an accident while trying to save someone when he was just a kid. He didn’t let his loss of sight slow him down and the youngster grew up to be a successful lawyer and the longstanding crime fighting hero Daredevil. My initial comic reading of this character took place in the issue’s #20 thru #53 time period. Our arc and run feature today take’s place right in the middle of this run and we also take a quick jump over to the Fantastic 4 to complete our story. Let’s take a look at this run, broken into four story arcs.
Gene Colan is the artist on all of the Daredevil books and IMO in peak form here. He does a great Daredevil. Inks are by John Tartaglione on all but issue #38 which is inked by Frank Giacoia. Fantastic 4 #73 features of course Jack Kirby as artist and Mr Sinnott looks after the inking. The 44th Overstreet price guide prices will be listed below.
Arcs & Runs #11: Here comes Daredevil! Daredevil #30-38 & Fantastic Four #73
July – Sept. 1967
Our first tale begins with Matt Murdoch watching news about a crime-spree by Mr. Hyde and the Cobra. As they are both long time foes of Thor, Matt decides that he will impersonate Thor in attempt to flush them out. Matt is already juggling three identities and adding a fourth turns out to be a bad idea, as the real Thor finds DD in costume and attacks him. There is a quick battle and Daredevil reveals who he is and why he is in a Thor costume. The God of Thunder is not amused and still admonishes DD and leaves him with a warning never to try it again. The ruse however does get the attention of Mr. Hyde and the Cobra and with no Thor to be found attack Daredevil, throwing a chemical solution at him that causes blindness. Although Daredevil is already blind the solution does take away his enhanced senses and now he is truly blind. He manages to get away from Mr. Hyde and the Cobra and with great difficulty works his way to the offices of Nelson & Murdock. Once there he appears as Mike Murdoch. He tells Foggy the news about his newly acquired blindness (Foggy believes Mike Murdoch is Daredevil, and his identical twin brother Matt is his blind friend and partner in law). Foggy offers to help Mike as his eyes and ears as they go after Mr Hyde and Cobra and hopefully find an anti-dote to the chemical which caused the blindness. It doesn’t work. Foggy is quickly taken out by the Cobra and Daredevil is just as quickly captured and taken to a lighthouse where Mr. Hyde and the Cobra have been holed up. Luckily for DD the anti-dote is at the lighthouse and he eventually gets a hold of it and reverses the chemical effects. Caught by surprise Mr. Hyde and the Cobra are beaten fairly quickly by the rejuvenated Daredevil as this story comes to a close. This storyline seems to move Mr. Hyde and the Cobra off of the A-list villain’s roster where they had been in their many appearances with Thor in Journey Into Mystery. We move on to Montreal and Expo 67!
Oct. – Nov. 1967
An armed robbery is taking place and The Beetle and his band of goons are battling Daredevil while absconding with the loot. They are successful in this endeavour; Daredevil will have to get him as they say – next time. Over at Nelson & Murdoch, Foggy Nelson and the lovely Karen Page are planning a trip to biggest event on the North American continent at the time – Expo 67 in Montreal. It could have been taking place in the wilds of New Guinea from my own personal ability to attend the event, but I didn’t care about that now. What had been so important to Canadians away back then was in my comic book. Daredevil was coming to Canada! It was the first time I had ever read about a super-hero even mention Canada (I didn’t have Ivan to teach me about Canadian Whites back then). It was a big deal to me, and my comic reading buddies. Meanwhile, Foggy, Karen and Mike Murdoch who decided to come along (of course) are on a train to Montreal. The Beetle is also on this train with plans for a jewel heist. As the heist begins to go down Mike Murdoch changes in to Daredevil and the fight is on. There is a long protracted battle with the Beetle that moves off the train and in to a small town where the Beetle and his gang eventually defeat and capture Daredevil. The Beetle announces that he is going to bring Daredevil to Expo and unmask him on live TV (how exciting for the CBC –high ratings without hockey). We are then treated to a Beetle (alias Abner Jenkins) origin story and how crime does pay. No mention of how it didn’t pay to fight Spider-Man and the Human Torch in the past. The stage is set and the Beetle brings Daredevil bound on to TV stage. Just as the Beetle is about to unmask Daredevil he manages to squirm loose and takes on the Beetle for a third time, this time winning when it counts and on National TV to boot! Daredevil hands the Beetle over to the Mounties as this story comes to a satisfying conclusion.
Dec. 1967 – Jan. 1968
Our story begins in the offices of Nelson & Murdock with the Trapster (of the Frightful Four) entering the office demanding legal advice. He wants to know if he can be charged with murder if the body is never found. He plans to kill Daredevil and then destroy the Fantastic 4. Foggy and Matt give him no usable advice and he leaves in frustration. Now that he has been tipped off Matt quickly changes in to Daredevil and is in hot pursuit of the Trapster. He catches up to him and is definitely winning when the Trapster pulls out some anti-gravity discs he borrowed from his partner in crime The Wizard and attaches them to Daredevil who begins to float towards space. We now know what he meant by never finding the body! As Daredevil floats toward space the Trapster is…what? He is dressing himself up as Daredevil in disguise. Doesn’t anyone in the Marvel universe just want to be themselves? Once in his Daredevil guise he heads to the headquarters of the Fantastic 4 the Baxter building and is let in by the Invisible girl. The Trapster catches Sue Storm unawares, wraps her up, and plants a bomb intended for all members of the FF. Back to Daredevil who finally frees himself of the anti-gravity discs and deftly avoids a tragic fall. Onward to the Baxter building where he saves the Invisible girl, explains the situation to the rest of the FF and then takes off after the Trapster. He catches up and they doe battle and then crash into the subway. As Daredevil begins to revive, he hears a clanking sound coming down the tracks. It’s none other than Doctor Doom as this story comes to a conclusion and a new ominous one is about to begin…
Feb. – Mar. 1968
This issue begins wither another baddie planning to use Daredevil as means to destroy the Fantastic 4. Doctor Doom is not just another guy named Victor, he’s the baddest of the bad and Daredevil is in deep trouble. He try’s to fight off the dear Doctor twice to no avail, and the Doctor casually gives us fan’s a recount of how he escaped death at the end of his recent epic Silver Surfer/FF battle ( FF#57-60). Daredevil tries valiantly to escape once more to no avail. He wakes up and finds himself enclosed in a glass tube and Doctor Doom is in one beside him, it’s a…….. What the hell is this? It’s a body transfer machine, and as Doom throw’s the switch, Doom and Daredevil transfer into each others body. Doctor Doom as Daredevil puts Daredevil as Doctor Doom in a prison cell. Yes this might get confusing without pictures. In his new guise Doctor Doom heads off to the Baxter Building. When Daredevil wakes up in his new body he can see again, but knows he must get out of this predicament to save the FF. He calls the guards who see only Doctor Doom and they release him from the cell. He sends them out after “the escaped” Daredevil. Daredevil tries calling the FF to warn them. This only serves to confuse them, as they hear Doom’s voice in the warning coming over a secure channel. Meanwhile Doctor Doom is marvelling over his new body and speculates on the secret of Daredevils powers. He is then accosted by his own men Daredevil had sent after him. Despite his appearance Doctor Doom convinces his men that he is the real deal and sends them back to the embassy after the fake Doctor Doom. They probably feel like keystone cops. Daredevil uses his new appearance to slip out of the embassy and catches up with his old body and Doctor Doom. He hands Doom a radio transmitter and tells him to listen in and Matt clanks his way back to the embassy. He has a plan and it’s a beauty. Once there Daredevil (in Doom’s voice of course) declares war on all countries that border Latveria, and calmly walks to the body transfer room. Doctor Doom hears the announcement on the radio transmitter and races back to the embassy knowing a war would be a disaster for his country. DD is waiting in triumph at the body transfer machine and the transfer quickly takes place. DD smashes the machine and waits for a violent response from Doctor Doom. It is not forth coming, Doom gives a tip of the hat to Daredevil for his ingenuity and lets him go, with a not so veiled threat that they would meet again.
Once Daredevil leaves, Doctor Doom sends a repeat warning to the Fantastic Four this time with Daredevil’s modulated voice that Doctor Doom would be coming to attack them in a Daredevil disguise. This time the Fantastic Four takes the warning to heart and our story concludes in the pages of Fantastic Four #73.
Following the events that took place in Daredevil #38, Daredevil is on his way to the Baxter building when he is attacked by the Human Torch. Daredevil manages to get some water on him and get away running into Spider-Man along the way. Daredevil explains the situation to Spidey who decides they will need more muscle and he knows where to find it. He catches up to a labouring Thor who is having troubles of his own with The Wrecker (Thor #148-150) but reluctantly agrees to help. Good thing Thor is a guy who doesn’t hold a grudge (per our first issue today DD#30). The usual interesting Marvel misunderstanding battle takes place and ends when the Invisible girl breaks it up by sayings that Doctor Doom is live on TV from the Latverian embassy. There are apologies all around as our tale comes to an end.
Daredevil must be completely fed up with switching identities and takes care of one of his own by killing off his “Mike Murdoch” persona in Daredevil #41.
A reader run of these Daredevil issue’s cost on average between $5 -$10 in the 3.0 -5.0 grade. I think with a little digging you can do this with other 60’s books in said condition as there is a plentiful supply. I bought a little higher grade on my favourite covers #37 and 38. Do yourself a favour and pick up a stack of readers sometime and enjoy a warm summer day in the shade. Beer and chips extra, rock not supplied.
44th Overstreet price guide for today’s issues.
Daredevil #30, 37-38: 6.0 $18 | 8.0 $48 | 9.0 $76 | 9.2 $110
Daredevil #31-36: 6.0 $18 | 8.0 $37 | 9.0 $66 | 9.2 $95
Fantastic 4 #73: 6.0 $30 | 8.0 $69 | 9.0 $147 | 9.2 $225