Monday, July 12, 2010

Golden Age Heroes - Daredevil

For modern comic book aficionados and those who may have seen the Ben Affleck movie, there is a Marvel Comics hero created in 1964 named Daredevil, the man without fear. Although he's blind, an accident in his youth endowed him with superhuman senses that more than make up for the loss of his vision. But that's not the guy I'm highlighting today. This particular Daredevil was created by the Golden Age publishing company Lev Gleason in 1940. As a young man Bart Hill's parents are murdered because of an invention created by his father. The boy is tortured, branded with a boomerang shaped iron on his chest and left speechless - handicapped in much the same way as the later Daredevil, and scarred by the murder of his parents like Batman. Swearing to wage a war on crime for what was done to his parents, when Bart has grown to adulthood he adopts a colorful costume (initially yellow and blue but later red and blue like the illustration) and, using a boomerang as a weapon, begins his campaign against the lawless. Later he would regain his voice (without explanation) and then there was a change in origin stories that had him growing up in the Australian outback and trained in the use of the boomerang by aborigines. He also got a group of street urchins named the Little Wiseguys who eventually took over Daredevil's comic. Daredevil started life in the pages of Silver Streak Comics and was later given his own title. A fairly successful character in the Golden Age, he lasted for ten years before disappearing from the comic pages. He was later revived by AC Comics as Red Devil - because Marvel now owned the Daredevil name - and more recently by Dynamite Comics as The Death-Defying Devil for their Project Superheroes. The action figure was made from a Superpowers Collection Red Tornado and the head from a Lex Luthor. The spiked belt (probably one of the strangest fashion accessories in the history of superhero comics) was made from sharpened pieces of plastic sprue and inserted into drilled holes in the belt.
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