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Silver Age September – Daredevil versus…Namor!?!

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today we take a look at the classic first confrontation between Daredevil and Namor in Daredevil #7 by Stan Lee and Wally Wood!!!

Enjoy!

This is the “battle against unbelievable odds” that all future “battle against unbelievable odds” have been measured against ever since it first came out (Ditko’s “struggle against unbelievable odds” from Amazing #33 still counts as a separate thing – here I’m talking strictly battles between two characters).

First off, what a splash page to open up!! Wood at his best…

Then, the clever idea behind the issue – Namor SUING the surface world!!

Naturally, things don’t go according to plan, and Daredevil decides he needs to get involved. And here’s the REALLY interesting thing about this issue. Despite being an amazing issue, it also is the FIRST appearance of Daredevil’s NEW costume!!! How cool of a coincidence is that?!!?

Anyhow, the rest of the issue is spent with Daredevil fighting a two-front battle. On the one hand, he is trying to convince the army and the authorities to let HIM bring Namor in (to cut down on property damage and injuries to innocents) and on the other hand, he is trying to get Namor to RESPECT the law of the surface world, and if he can’t do that, he will have to do his best to bring in the powerhouse who is a WHOLE lot more powerful than Daredevil…

Isn’t that brilliant stuff?

And Lee, of course, manages to throw in some soap opera stuff at the very end, just for kicks.

But boy, this is really one of the most powerful issues Marvel had up until this point in the Silver Age, and it is amazing to see that it does not involve either of the two most famous Silver Age Marvel artists, Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko. That’s how amazing Wally Wood was – he was right up there with two of the greatest artists in comics history.

20 Comments

This is one of my all-time favourite Daredevil issues. I remember coming across it in an Australian “Federal Comics” reprint where it was printed in glorious black and white. That was way back in the 70’s and it still holds up well from when I first saw it. Daredevil was fearless and tenacious and Namor was so powerful and regal. Wally Wood is absolutely amazing – I can’t think of any artist today who can touch that art.

I remember Miller doing a sort of homage to this issue with Daredevil’s fight against the Hulk, which was also a powerful story.

Page 19 is a visibly and visually potent single page of comics. The initial nod to The Man Without Fear as a throwaway quip as Daredevil tumbles freely through space, and by the time it’s revisited at the bottom of the page, he’s sliding limply down a yellow surface to his sure and utter victory, motion lines practically shouting his absolute physical defeat.

What a great opening splash page. The image of those guys riding sharks in the background is just awesome, I loved the silver age.

Y’know, I can’t deny this is great art and all, powerful stuff, but…it just doesn’t look like the Wood stuff I’ve seen. There’s something about this work that’s enough different from his EC and Mad stuff that it just doesn’t look like Wood. Of course, that was a 10+ year difference…

Would this have been around the time of Wood’s Witzend stuff? Perhaps this issue financed that…

OK, if Namor’s people have been under the sea “since time immemorial”, how is the surface world their “rightful place”? C’mon Namor, you can’t sue because your logic is faulty!

I hope Matt and Foggy hired Luke Cage to go after Namor to get the money to pay for the door and wall that Namor destroyed…

And that b&w panel kicks ass.

Travis, this is Wood’s 60’s style. Very similar to his work at Tower. He realized he could get the pages out faster and make more money if he simplified, and quit filling the panels with tons of details.

Brian, you’ve been picking the cream of the Silver Age! Awesome stuff!

Are you going to post a link to archives of this column? Or have you already done so and I’m too blind to see it?

I found your link to the archives. (I had been looking for red text.)

Ah, I see. I figured he must have simplified it somehow.

I don’t even think that it’s the “filling the panels with tons of details” part, though. I think it looks like it’s a streamlined, “lighter” inking style. I’m thinking of the Spirit stuff he did, in particular. Lesser line weights, maybe.

That’s right, I just picked up a copy of his MARS Patrol Total War volume 1 from Dark Horse (free, even, from a local college back to school event with a book giveaway. got a bunch of other comics stuff too). I assume that’s the same style, but I haven’t really looked through it yet.

Subby tends to come off like a royal ass, …but he persuades somehow. Those final panels where DD refuses to give up are classic. Stan’s “never give up” credo defined these stories. Vintage Marvel at its very finest.

Namor = Original Asshole, ’nuff said!

One of the best DD stories ever, no question.

Just read this in Essential format. Looked great there, but it looks even better in the color here. That first splash is spectacular.

I know Frank Miller’s stuff is the “definitive” take on DD, but I can’t help but feel that the old Stan Lee stories were waaaay more fun to read. (Waid’s current stuff is showing alot of promise as well.)

I read a reprint of this (either in an annual or one of the Marvel Treasury Editions) when I was a kid and it blew me away. Great portrayals of both characters. I esp. like the handling of Namor, who manages to come off as both an arrogant prick and a noble ruler at the same time without it seeming like a contradiction.

Namor is the worst kind of house guest, smashing open doors, emphatically breaking furniture, and then gracefully leaving through the wall.

Great stuff! That opening splash is awesome in the most traditional sense of the word.

Outstanding call

I remember Miller doing a sort of homage to this issue with Daredevil’s fight against the Hulk, which was also a powerful story.

Miller drew it, but it was written by Roger Mackenzie. Although since it was probably written Marvel style rather than full script, Miller probably did write it to a large degree, but the overall concept of the story at least was MacKenzie.

I know Frank Miller’s stuff is the “definitive” take on DD, but I can’t help but feel that the old Stan Lee stories were waaaay more fun to read. (Waid’s current stuff is showing alot of promise as well.)

Oh for sure. I first tried DD with Frank Miller and read many post-Miller runs that were influenced by Miller, but I must say, after recently discovering a lot of old 1960s Daredevil and currently reading many of his 1970s books, I surprisingly find myself enjoying them more, even though conventional wisdom says he was supposed to just be a cut-rate Spider-Man.

I find it encouraging that Waid seems to be the first guy in a while since Karl Kesel to at least acknowledge that there is a lot more valid history to draw from in characterizing DD than the Miller years.

Brian, you’ve been picking the cream of the Silver Age! Awesome stuff!

That’s the plan. ;)

Are you going to post a link to archives of this column? Or have you already done so and I’m too blind to see it?

I actually haven’t done a proper archive yet. I typically wait until there’s about five or so entries before creating an archive.

You’ve been picking great stuff Brian, but I’m really pumped to see what Weisinger era Superman and John Broome Silver Age stuff you come up with. The Jerry Siegel Superman and the Edmond Hamilton Legion entries you had I was particularly impressed with. In Silver Age Marvel finding gems is not so hard, but the gems you found in Silver Age DC have been particularly enlightening to me.

Thanks so much… Actually the first comic book I ever personally purchased is indeed DareDevil #7. And to this day is one of my favorite issues ever. I had been looking at comic books since before I could read, and just followed along with the pictures. But the art by Wally Wood showcasing my personal favorite character “The Sub-Mariner” and my second, “DareDevil” probably more then any other comic book, Made me fall in love with t the medium. Those early 1960 Marvel comics were simply beautiful to look at. The colors of the inks on the covers have never been the same since. And all of their titles rocked. Not one, not 5 but all. True genus. Thanks again for the covers. I”l sleep good tonight.

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