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Comic Book Legends Revealed #500 (Part 2)

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Welcome to the five hundredth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous four hundred and ninety-nine. This week, in honor of the five hundredth edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed, you’ll get a TRIPLE-sized column this week, in three parts (today, tomorrow and Sunday). The special theme this week is comic book anniversaries, as each part will spotlight a different superhero celebrating an anniversary this year. Yesterday was Wolverine, today is Daredevil and tomorrow is Batman. Today, learn how censors squelched Frank Miller’s original first issue on Daredevil! Plus, did Jack Kirby really secretly draw the first issue of Daredevil? Finally, was an issue of Born Again released without the Comics Code?

Let’s begin!

NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).

COMIC LEGEND: Frank Miller’s first issue of Daredevil was pushed up an issue due to the Comics Code.

STATUS: True

Besides being one of the more awesome cover typos, Daredevil #168 is also one of the most famous opening issues of a creator run in comics history (right up there with there with Thor #337).

Daredevil_168

However, amazingly enough, this dramatic change to Daredevil’s comic book existence, delivered by then brand-new writer (and already penciler) Frank Miller, was actually PUSHED UP an issue!

What happened was that the story that was scheduled to run in that issue was censored by the Comics Code. Miller’s final story with the previous writer on the book, Roger McKenzie, was going to be a two-parter in #167-168 dealing with drugs in schools.

If that sounds familiar, it should, as the story would eventually see print (in slightly altered form) over a year later in Daredevil #183-184, by which point Miller was a superstar and Marvel made sure to get the story out there.

dd183

dd184

The original story, though, was considered too hot for the Comics Code to handle, so they squelched it. Marvel did a fill-in story for #167…

dd167

And Miller’s solo career started an issue earlier.

Here’s the original cover to Daredevil #167…

dd167originalcover

And here, courtesy of the great Tom Brevoort, is an original page from #167 that didn’t make the cut when the story was altered for #183-184…

dd167page

This won’t be the last time we’ll discuss the Comics Code in connection to Daredevil today!

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Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: What teenage son of a movie director got the chance to write “the stupidest song ever” for one of his father’s movies, only to see the song to go on to make the teen millions?
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Did Jack Kirby secretly lay out Daredevil #1?

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28 Comments

Picked up a Christmas tree, had breakfast, had hot chocolate and then came home to this. Terrific Saturday!

Nice to see that the CCA got overlooked and by-passed by MARVEL with one of the regular titles, not the direct market titles.

Marvel could stand to be a bit bolder, at this point in time, since the direct market had been increasing in sales volume, relative to the newsstand market. I think they had also done enough bypassing to see that there were few consequences and the code seal didn’t really mean anything anymore. I’m surprise it took as long as it did for them to completely drop code approval.

I am sure we all asked ourselves the same question when fist read Born Again: Did the Comic Code guys notice that junkie pornstar in page 1?

I’m surprised too about the Code taking too long to disappear…When was that? Late 90’s?

That’s the same Kirby Daredevil figure on the cover and splash page of DAREDEVIL #1. They used it twice.

And Sol Brodsky along with Steve Ditko did the inking and finishing and backgrounds that got DAREDEVIL #1 finally to the printer.

Yeah, the Comic Code was ended up being a joke near the end of it’s life run with odd rules and nonsensical regulations. Like, Jaime F. said, the first issue of Born Again heavily implied porn star Karen Page shooting heroin and having illicit sex with stranger, but the CCA didn’t bat an eye.

Alexandre Juliao

December 6, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Congrats on #500 Brian! That original page from Deredevil #167 was was completely cut when the story was pubished with modifications, or it was just altered?
Because I remember reading that page when that story was reprinted here in Brazil in a issue of “Superaventuras Marvel”.

This might sound stupid, but what’s the typo on Daredevil 168?

The understanding I had since the 1990s here in Brazil was that it was the scene with Karen and a heroin syringe that broke the deal with the CCA.

I am positive that I saw that stated as fact by someone else.

not surprised marvel was starting to by pass the comic code. for they did it with a spider man story too. though would think the comic code would have rejected the issue of born again due more to karen being on drugs and doing porn then daredevil fighting. plus also interested to learn frank miller start on daredevil took a while then normal.

Kian Ross – I believe it’s that Elektra is mispelled

Kian: the typo is the spelling of Elektra’s name.

@Kian The typo was the ‘C’ in Elektra’s name.

There was a reference to the “Angel Dust” story in a subsequent issue, before the two-parter finally ran in altered form. I don’t recall the issue number, but it was the one that opened with Matt Murdock as a guest on the Tom Synde show.

I can’t believe I didn’t notice that yesterday’s column was #500!!!! (Well, the first part of #500, that is.)

CONGRATS, BRIAN!!!! An amazing achievement.

What is the source on Ditko inking Daredevil #1? Just recognition of his style?

Makes sense though. I’ve never loved Everett’s stuff anywhere except in DD #1, but I’m a big fan of Ditko. Is it confirmed that Ditko was only brought in to save time? Because I wonder now if it wasn’t intentional, to play up the similarities to Spider-Man (which, given the splash, clearly was something Stan had in mind).

The Angry Internet

December 6, 2014 at 9:21 pm

@John Trumbull: The issue you’re thinking of is #169, the “Bullseye sees Daredevil everywhere” story.

On the Code seal issue, note that Marvel’s direct editions actually did carry the seal until they ditched the “MARVEL COMICS GROUP” banner with the November 1983 issues. It evidently reappeared on direct editions beginning with the April ’87 issues, though it took a month or two longer for some titles and it never happened with at least one (the Epic-branded-but-Code-approved GROO THE WANDERER, which was somewhat unusual in that it the primary brand emblem was Marvel with a smaller Epic logo below it, instead of the other way around).

No matter how harsh Daredevil’s run-ins with the CCA were, that’s nothing compared to what Miller’s run had it in France. Subject for another post, perhaps ?

Thank YOU Brian Cronin for spotlighting Matthew Michael Murdock, Daredevil : The Man Without Fear! for your 500th serie of examinations of comic book legends.

The character DESERVES to be the 500th since this is his 50th anniversary (1964-2014).

I only read my original Miller Daredevils with white gloves in a moisture resistant room these days

Wow, this is the first I’ve ever heard in forty-plus years that Daredevil was actually planned to appear in September 1963. So was the delay in Daredevil 1 the actual catalyst for the creation of the Avengers? Marvel was still in their eight books a month distribution deal with DC’s distributor and I know Gunsmoke Western 77 (July, 63) was a casualty for one of the September books to run, being either X-Men or Avengers. Really blows my mind that it could have been Daredevil 1. Aside from Everett’s job at an ad agency which caused the delay, didn’t he also have a drinking problem?

Good stuff, Brian!

Special thanks to Tom Brevoort for the DD page.

By the 80’s Marvel was far more stricter on the content of their comics then the CCA was. There wasn’t anything particularly more violent or more bloody in that non CCA approved issue of DD then in any other Marvel superhero comic at that time. People tend to confuse NON BLOOD AND GORE ACTION with ON PANEL BLOOD AND GORE ACTION.

where’s part 1? the page says it’s not found!

A curious fact: when it was first printed in Brazil, that issue of “Born Again” was censored by the publisher, the Editora Abril, in order to avoid more strict censorship from the government, then still valid for arts and spectacles (though thankfully not for news coverage). When Karen Page tries to kill herself with a heroin overdose, the Brazilian adaptation team switched the syringe with a straight razor. The original object is hinted, however, in the awkward way she holds the “blade”, as they merely changed the object and not her hand’s position, making it look like she’s “injecting” the razor.

(I hope they did this porposefully, as did many artists fighting censorship. Please make it not be a mistake. Don’t break my dreams!)

From what I’ve read, and I’m sure it’s been covered here somewhere before, upon the success of both the FF & Spider-Man, Martin Goodman instructed Lee to come up with knock-offs of each of them — resulting in X-Men and Daredevil, which is why Stan went all out with, “hey, if you like Spidey, you’ll love DD!” Of course, DD was a bit more like Batman than Spidey, but Stan managed to make both the X-Men and DD unique enough so that they weren’t particularly obvious knockoffs. Odd that although they weren’t nearly as popular as either the FF or Spidey during the Silver Age or the early Bronze Age, they became mega-stars in the late Bronze Age. Also, although Kirby & Everett were both born in 1917 and started their careers in comics at about the same time, and both had a unique flair to their most notable early work, Kirby’s art came to define Marvel in the Silver Age while Everett’s art in that first issue of DD has, IMO, a distinct Golden Age look, although much better than most G.A. superhero art. As it was, to my knowledge the first sustained run Everett had in the S.A. was taking over Dr. Strange after Ditko quit, and in that case neither Lee’s writing nor Everett’s art could match the high quality of Ditko’s work. Everett also apparently did a purposely poor job on the first appearane of the Defenders, inking Ross Andru’s art, deciding in a snit to ink every scratchy line Andru drew. Still, Everett did some good work as penciller or inker on various Hulk and Sub-Mariner tales prior to that permanent deadline doom taking him.

does this mean the storyline #183-184 with the punisher was publsihed in basically the same form as it was written before MIller started to write? Or did they completely redo the story`?
Because later on we see the Punisher in prison with Bullseye, and it feels as though they’r setting up the DD/Punisher faceoff?

does this mean the storyline #183-184 with the punisher was publsihed in basically the same form as it was written before MIller started to write? Or did they completely redo the story`?
Because later on we see the Punisher in prison with Bullseye, and it feels as though they’r setting up the DD/Punisher faceoff?

Yes, the story was pretty much published “as is” from when it was first written. However, knowing that he was going to be able to use it after first being told he couldn’t use it, Miller was able to set it up in Daredevil #181-182 by having Punisher appearances in each of those issues. Punisher’s appearances in #181-182 aren’t really necessary to understand his story in #183-184, ya know?

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