Greetings and salutations to all my readers. Welcome back for a new RETRO REVIEW. This week it is time to look at a Marvel Comics book, so I’ve descended into my comic book vault and returned with Daredevil King-Size Special # 1, from the summer of 1967, though it is cover dated; September 1967. It features an interesting cover drawn by “Gentlemen” Gene Colan, and features Daredevil facing off against the Emissaries of Evil. The emissaries were made up of villains; Electro, the Matador, Stilt Man, Leap Frog and the Gladiator!
Here is that cover for your viewing enjoyment:
This first Daredevil annual sports a lead story that runs thirty-nine (39) pages, plus a number of bonuses, but we’ll get to those bonuses later. First up the long lead story, entitled; “Electro, And The Emissaries Of Evil” The story is written by Stan “the Man” Lee with the pencil art provided by Gene “The Dean” Colan and the inks done by John Tartagione.
Things get started with Matt working out in his private gym, in the building he owns. Then he talks to himself, bringing the reader up to date on his life as Daredevil, as well as how things stands with his partner, Foggy Nelson and the love of his life, Karen Page. This take up the first five (5) pages. Finally Daredevil swings into action and encounters the Matador and Electro discussing their plans on getting revenge on Daredevil.
Daredevil surprised them, but he is stunned by a bolt of electricity from Electro. Matt is actually playing possum, but rather than continuing their attack, Electro and the Matador flee. Daredevil is shaken up more than he realized and spends two pages trying to get home without hurting himself.
We then get a flashback of Electro recruiting the Gladiator and Stilt Man, who agree to join his band of bad guys to seek revenge on Daredevil. Eventually, the reader also sees Leap Frog join to complete the Emissaries of Evil.
The next day, Daredevil encounters the Matador again. Daredevil again gets the upper hand and the Matador is forced to escape. Later, that evening, Daredevil meets up with Stilt Man and defeats him, as well. It seems that none of the villains are able to defeat Daredevil alone. Which sets up the big finale.
Finally Leap Frog meets up with Daredevil, but he only draws Daredevil into the trap, where Electro and the Emissaries of Evil can attack Daredevil together and defeat him working in tandem. There follows ten (10) pages of great action, as Daredevil battles each of the emissaries together and eventually defeats them all. Sorry, if that’s a spoiler, but hopefully not, as generally the good guy defeats the bad guys in most comic books!
Maybe not the best of the early Marvel annuals, but is was nice to see a longer story by Lee, with some room for characterization and also room for Colan to flex his artistic chops. Personally, I think the Gladiator came off as the most dangerous of the villains, then maybe Electro. The Matador, Stilt Man and Leap Frog pretty much were just “cannon fodder” in this story.
But beside the long story, the annual also provided some bonuses, which I mentioned earlier. There was a two (2) page “Inside Daredevil” feature, explaining Daredevil’s radar sense, his heightened sense of touch and his “built-in lie detector” power. There was also a two (2) page explanation of Matt Murdock and his fake twin brother, Mike, called, simply; “An Explanation!”.
There were eight (8) full page pin-ups of Daredevil, his friends, and even some of his foes. Here is the Daredevil pin-up from the comic:
And also the pin-up featuring Foggy Nelson. Karen Page also shows up in the pin-up, but she also had one of her own:
There were six other pin-ups featuring characters like, Ka-Zar, as well as, four of Daredevil’s greatest foes and which issues they first appeared in.
Next up was a one (1) page “Blueprint for an all-purpose Billy-Club”, explaining how Daredevil’s billy-club worked and finally a three (3) page story entitled; “At The Stroke Of Midnight!” featuring Gene Colan and Stan Lee, as written by Lee and drawn by Colan, which was basically Colan delivering his Daredevil pages, then a story conference of the next Daredevil story to appear a future comic book.
All that for only 25 cents, a measly quarter! Quite the good buy back in 1967 and well worth collecting today, even though it will cost you a bit more than a quarter, now-a-days.
Hope you enjoyed this edition of RETRO REVIEW and please come back next week for a new Fabulous Find. Til then keep your eyes on the prize and I’ll be seeing you …