They Call Me Mellow Yellow: Daredevil #1-6

We will begin this month with the start a new series in Arcs & Runs focusing on the first six issues of some of Marvel’s long-time super-heroes. There is no order here, these will be sprinkled intermittently amongst other posts.

In todays comic world, stories are usually written in 4-7 book arcs and then they are packaged in to trade paperbacks and sold again. Today titles don’t last as long, and they are constantly being re-booted or cancelled all together depending upon how they performed.

We need to look at the first run on these guys anyway, and we already know how they have fared. I thought it would be fun to review these books through our comic eye of today. Would these books have cut it our comic world now? If you were reading these books back then, what did you think of them?

We will begin our series with the late comer to the first wave of Marvel s super-heroes – Daredevil.  In my early collecting days Amazing Spider-Man was my favourite comic, followed by Tales of Suspense, and everyone else was tied for third. If I was going to re-rank them today my third would be Daredevil.

The first six issues of Daredevil were all individual self contained stories. Daredevil doesn’t get to multi-issue story lines until issue #10. Let’s take a look at the first six.

Daredevil 1Daredevil #1
April 1964
The Origin of Daredevil

Cover by Jack Kirby. Interior art Bill Everett, inking by Steve Ditko and Sol Brodsky. Story by Stan Lee.

We begin with the Yellow/Black/Red clad Daredevil taking out a gang of thugs at Fogwell’s Gym. He is looking for “The Fixer”. The story then switches to a detailed Origin of Daredevil. Battling Murdock, a past his prime boxer, widower, and single parent to eight-year-old Matthew Murdock is trying to instill the value of an education to his son. He wants him to be more than a pug like himself. Years go by and young Matthew takes his fathers message to heart and becomes a grade A student to the exclusion of all else. No fun, no sports etc. Battling Murdock is getting older and is having difficulty getting fights until he meets the “Fixer”. The Fixer is going to use Murdock by building him up with phony fights to be a fall guy in the future (Murdock doesn’t know this). Battling Murdock now has the money to put Matt through college, but on that same fateful day Matt has an accident. Matt see’s a blind man walking across the street in front of a delivery truck. He pushes the blind man out of the way but is hit by the truck. A radioactive cylinder falls from the truck and hits Matt in the face. When he comes to he is blind, but has increased senses and continues with school. Fast forward to Battling Murdock’s big fight with Davis #2 contender for the title. Matt and his buddy school mate Foggy Nelson attend the fight. Battling Murdock is supposed to throw the fight in the first round but doesn’t with Matt in the crowd, and KO’s Davis. Battling Murdock is as proud as a peacock, but has crossed the “The Fixer” who has him shot and killed later that night. Matt eventually get’s over his grief, pushes and graduates from college, and joins Foggy Nelson and Karen Page as a lawyer in their joint firm.  Matt feels the need to solve his dad’s murder and set’s about the process of becoming Daredevil. He designs and makes his costume and billy club. He takes the name Daredevil from the kids that used to tease him by that name, for never coming out to play. He sets out to find his dad’s employer the Fixer and we get to Fogwell’s gym. As Daredevil, Matt takes out the thugs and tracks down the Fixer and Slade the trigger man in Battling Murdock’s murder. The Fixer dies of a heart attack running away and Daredevil catches Slade and turns him over to the police all the while showing off Daredevils special powers.

A really well thought out first issue. Marvel’s marketing machine is on point having images of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man on the cover to spur interest.

Daredevil issue 1 page 6 by Bill Everett. Source.
Daredevil issue 1 page 6 by Bill Everett. Source.

Daredevil 2Daredevil #2
June 1964
The Evil Menace of Electro

Cover by Jack Kirby. Interior art Joe Orlando, inking by Vince Colletta. Story by Stan Lee.

Marvel is wasting no time integrating Daredevil in to the Marvel universe. In this issue Daredevil faces off against Spider-Man’s foe Electro, but not before the Thing and the FF visit Foggy Nelson at the office of Nelson and Murdock. The FF want a review of their lease at the Baxter building. Matt Murdock is the one to do it, but we find him battling a group of car thieves as Daredevil. This gang works for Electro who decides he needs bigger fish to fry. After viewing a TV broadcast saying the FF will be out of town he decides to break in to the FF’s HQ and steal some tech. toys and sell them to some more bad guys. It’s never that easy it? DD and Electro eventually hook up at the Baxter building, with Electro taking out Daredevil in quick order and dispatches him to outer space in a rocket! Daredevil manages to turn the rocket back to earth and crash lands in Central park! He then makes his way back to the Baxter building by hitching a ride on a helicopter and Electro is still there. Electro can’t believe it (I’m having trouble too). Electro melts a safe but not Mr. Fantastic secret papers and part two of the DD/Electro battle is on. DD finally takes out Electro in a much lower tech. fashion with a theatre curtain and some water. DD puts the not wet or melted secret papers back in the safe and then welds the safe back together (I’m not kidding). Matt still hasn’t looked at the Baxter building lease and loses the Fantastic Four’s business because he is too slow, as this issue comes to an end (yes I’m still laughing).

Daredevil 3Daredevil #3
August 1964
The Owl, Ominous overlord of crime

Cover by Jack Kirby. Interior art Joe Orlando, inking by Vince Colletta. Story by Stan Lee.

We get a look at the first of four new super villains created for Daredevil with the 1st appearance of the Owl. This more of an introduction of the Owl than a battle issue. The Owl is a crook who has always been behind the scenes and is about to break out into more organised crime. He picks up two thugs to be part of his gang, Sad Sam Simms and Ape Horgon. A quick demonstration of all of their powers (the Owl is smart, strong, and can fly) and they are off to find a flunky lawyer (guess who?). Matt meets the Owl and his minions as Daredevil and things are going well until a late working Karen Page stumbles in and upsets the apple cart. Daredevil surrenders to the Owl and they head to his cool looking hide-out. Daredevil and Karen Page eventually escape their captures and after a very brief battle with Daredevil the Owl escapes as well. He returns in issue #20.

The Owl becomes a long standing character in the Marvel universe as a Daredevil antagonist. The character also made it to Season 1 of Daredevil on the Netflix TV show.

Daredevil issue 3 page 3 by Joe Orlando and Vince Colletta. Source.
Daredevil issue 3 page 3 by Joe Orlando and Vince Colletta. Source.

Amazing Spider-Man 16Amazing Spider-Man #16
September 1964
Duel with Daredevil

All art by Steve Ditko. Story by Stan Lee.

We make a very quick unbilled jump to the pages of the Amazing Spider-Man issue #16, This is Daredevil’s first cross-over smartly placed in the month between issues #3 and #4 of Daredevil.

Daredevil meets Spider-Man for the first time and they end up in a battle with each other first, (obligatory and courtesy of the Ringmaster), followed by a brief team-up, and then Spider-Man’s punch out of the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime goons. The important part here is the meeting these two super-heroes. They become allies and meet often in some big time team-ups against the Masked Marauder and others.  Their next meeting is in Daredevil #16.

Daredevil issue 6 page 2 by Wally Wood. Source.
Daredevil issue 6 page 2 by Wally Wood. Source.

Daredevil 4Daredevil #4
October 1964
Killgrave the Unbelievable Purple Man

Cover by Jack Kirby. Interior art Joe Orlando, inking by Vince Colletta. Story by Stan Lee.

On to issue# 4 of Daredevil and my own personal favorite villain in this run Killgrave the Purple Man. Man I wish I had this guys power of suggestion. I just wouldn’t want to be purple or a traitor to have it. Killgrave however, does have the power and he uses it to rob banks, pick up Karen Page, break out of jail, have gangs attack Daredevil, all with the power of his voice. Daredevil does figure out Killgrave’s power does have limits. Killgrave’s body must have a clear contact with his victims. Daredevil use’s a plastic sheet to break the contact and our villain is down for the count. The Purple Man does not return to the pages of Daredevil until issue #88. He does become a long standing villain in the Marvel universe showing up all over the place.

The Purple Man is used a character in the Netflix show Jessica Jones and is played by former Doctor Who David Tennant.

Daredevil issue 6 page 4 by Wally Wood. Source.
Daredevil issue 6 page 4 by Wally Wood. Source.

Daredevil 5Daredevil #5
December 1964
The mysterious masked Matador

Cover by Jack Kirby/Wally Wood, all interior art by Wally Wood. Story by Stan Lee.

The Matador is the next new villain on the docket for Daredevil and the title also gets a new artist. Legendary artist Wally Wood takes over from Joe Orlando. Wally Wood is the artist for issues #5 thru issue #11.  The Matador turns out to be a formidable foe for Daredevil in this action packed issue. The Matador takes down Daredevil in the first round at a costume party (Karen Page is gorgeous as Cleopatra). Matt Murdock does what he does best – a little homework and finds out the Matador’s identity. He uses the info at a key moment in round two of their battle and takes out the Matador. Next up for the Matador is Daredevil Annual #1 as a founding member of Electro and his Emissaries of Evil. The Matador is in DD#129 but I don’t remember seeing him after that again.

Daredevil issue 5 page 20 by Wally Wood. Source.
Daredevil issue 5 page 20 by Wally Wood. Source.

Daredevil 6Daredevil #6
February 1965
Trapped by the Fellowship of Fear

All art by Wally Wood. Story by Stan Lee.

We are at the last issue we will cover today. In many ways this is the best one. Daredevil takes on and defeats a pretty tough little team lead by a new villain Mr. Fear (Zoltan Drago), some big muscle the Ox previously with the Enforcers (Amazing Spider-Man #10 & #14), and the slippery Eel who has battled the Human Torch over in Strange Tales (#112 & #117).

Daredevil busts in on a movie in progress or so it seems. It’s really a front for a robbery in progress. Daredevil tackles the Ox and the Eel and is holding his own when Mr. Fear arrives and shoots a pellet at Daredevil and turns him into quivering Mr. Chicken. Daredevil is overcome with fear and flees the scene. This is all caught on film and is on the news the next day much to the chagrin of Matt Murdock, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. We head next to a wax museum and Zolton Drago. We are treated to a Mr. Fear origin story. Zolton Drago is a sculptor of note who is trying to find a way to brings his sculptures to life. His specialties are super-heroes and villains. I think Wally Wood must have a had ball drawing all of these Marvel characters (I counted over 25 of them). Back to Zolton and his chemical potions. One day he accidentally discovers a potion that brings on momentary feeling of fear, and goes on to become Mr. Fear. He is also a full time nutter.

Mr. Fear wants another crack at Daredevil and set’s a trap for him at his wax museum. He displays a new Daredevil figure to lure him in. It works of course. There are a couple of battles at the museum and Foggy gets hurt helping Daredevil in one of them. At the end of the day Daredevil takes out the Eel, Ox, and the hopeless Mr. Fear who is quivering chicken himself without his pellet gun. Foggy is OK, Karen Page and Matt Murdock reconcile at the hospital and office, and the complicated life of Matt Murdock carries on.

Daredevil 6 splash by Wally Wood
Daredevil 6 splash by Wally Wood.

Daredevil’s adventures would continue from here for another 30 plus years before this run concluded in October 1998 with issue #380. An incredible run really. Any series that lasts as long this does have it’s ups and downs. Daredevil has endured, failed, and succeeded. And despite that less than stellar yellow costume to start (which would change forever in the next issue #7) he has survived, and still thrives today.

45th Overstreet Price Guide values for the Arcs & Runs books covered today are listed below. Interesting to note that Daredevil’s appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #16 his second most valuable.

Arcs & Runs 31

We will leave you now with a page from What If #8 “What if the world knew that Daredevil was blind?

What If 8 page 11

Here is the set-up. Daredevil and Spider-Man have just met, they team-up for the first time and have battled and defeated Electro. During the battle Electro has discovered that Daredevil is a blind man.  Daredevil and Spider-Man meet on the roof top. Spider-Man has the final word on Daredevil’s Yellow costume. See you next month!




Mike Huddleston
Mike Huddleston

Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.

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mel taylor
mel taylor
8 years ago

Hey Mike
As you already know, I think this is a great idea for a series of posts, and am really looking forward to more after enjoying this first one.
Now I can hardly wait for your take on the first six Hulks, since there were only six initially, and the first six Fantastic Four (especially #6, since the rumour persists that Jack actually wrote this one). Rave on!