Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications)
Daredevil, from the cover of Daredevil Comics #5 (Nov. 1941).
Art by Charles Biro.
|Publisher||Lev Gleason Publications
|First appearance||Silver Streak #6 (Sept. 1940)|
|Created by||Jack Binder
Revamped by Jack Cole
|Alter ego||Bart Hill|
|Team affiliations||Little Wise Guys
(AC Comics) Sentinels of Justice
|Notable aliases||Reddevil, Doubledare, Death-Defying 'Devil|
Skilled acrobat, boxer and martial artist
Expert boomerang marksman
Daredevil is a fictional character, an American comic book superhero that starred in popular comics from Lev Gleason Publications during the 1930s–1940s period historians and fans call the Golden Age of comic books. The character is a separate and unrelated entity from Marvel Comics' Daredevil. Although the original Daredevil ceased to appear in original stories by the end of the decade, the character nonetheless had an enduring impact on generations of comics creators influenced by the gritty, anything-goes storytelling of its most prominent writer-artist, Charles Biro.
Lev Gleason Publications
This original Daredevil was created by Jack Binder for an eight-page backup feature in Lev Gleason Publications' Silver Streak #6 (Sept. 1940). Editor Jack Cole, who would create the classic Plastic Man a year later, revamped the character in the next issue and pitted him against Silver Streak's lead character, the villainous Claw, for a five-issue battle that made Daredevil a star. The final installment was written by Don Rico, who would write the character through Silver Streak #17 (Dec. 1941).
By this time, publisher Lev Gleason had already launched Daredevil's own comic with Daredevil Battles Hitler #1 (July 1941), in which Daredevil and other Silver Streak heroes fought Der Fuehrer. As with Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941), in which Hitler also gets an ignominious sock in the jaw, the comic anticipated U.S. involvement in World War II. It was written and partially drawn by Charles Biro, who continued on the book when its title changed to Daredevil Comics with issue #2, and who in his 16-year run would make the character one of the most acclaimed of the Golden Age. Biro rewrote Daredevil's origin in issue #18 (August 1943), now depicting Daredevil's real identity, Bart Hill, as having been raised by aborigines in the Australian Outback.
Biro introduced popular supporting characters the Little Wise Guys in Daredevil #13 (Oct. 1942). A "kid gang" similar to DC Comics' Newsboy Legion and many others, the group consisted of Curly, Jocko, Peewee, Scarecrow, and Meatball – the last of whom, with remarkable daring, was killed two issues later. By the late 1940s, with superheroes going out of fashion, the Little Wise Guys took center stage, edging out Daredevil altogether with issue #70 (Jan. 1950). The series lasted through #134 (Sept. 1956).
Daredevil is now in the public domain, and as a result many publishers have used him to varying degrees.
In the late 1980s, AC Comics revived Daredevil as part of that publisher's superhero universe. Renamed Reddevil, he appeared as a guest character in Femforce #45 and #50 before starring in the one-shot title Reddevil #1 (1991).
Daredevil was one of the many Golden Age heroes who showed up in Roy Thomas' Alter Ego mini-series. He is renamed as Doubledare.
Daredevil also appeared in issue #141 of Larsen's Savage Dragon comic series. That issue served to resurrect a slew of public domain Golden Age characters. Savage Dragon #148 debuted Daredevil as a regular supporting cast member in the series. That issue also brought back the Little Wise Guys. Daredevil becomes deeply involved in the problems of Dragon's ravaged Chicago; he becomes severely injured battling a murderous version of Dragon.
A variation on Daredevil appeared in the comic-book series Project Superpowers, by writer Jim Krueger and artist Alex Ross. In this series, he is billed as The Death-Defying 'Devil. In 2008, Dynamite Entertainment spun off a solo miniseries for the character, written by Joe Casey with art by Edgar Salazar. In this series, someone from 'Devil's past – wearing a green version of 'Devil's costume and calling himself "Dragon" – believes that the returned hero is an impostor, and is determined to expose him. The Dragon turns out to be Curly, who reveals that the actual 'Devil died in 1987. Within the main series itself, the 'Devil is eventually revealed to be Bart Hill's costume, which had in fact always been sentient and was placed in the urn along with a single boomerang as part of a pact between Hill and the Fighting Yank. The costume does not explicitly reveal its nature to its allies, but eventually discards its pretense of being human by handing the Black Terror the dentures it had been using to create the illusion of a mouth. It possesses additional powers, such as the ability to grow new spikelike branches and the knowledge of an ancient language needed to banish the Claw, and is implied to have its own, sinister agenda.
Wild Cat Books
Daredevil also appears in Legends of the Golden Age (ISBN 0982087292), an anthology featuring prose tales of Daredevil and the Black Terror. Barry Reese contributed one of the stories in this anthology, which was released in January 2009 by Wild Cat Books.
Fictional character biography
As a child, Bart Hill had been rendered mute by the shock of seeing his father murdered and himself being branded with a hot iron. Orphaned, he grew up to become a boomerang marksman, in homage to the boomerang-shaped scar left on his chest. Like Batman, introduced a year earlier, he took up a costume to wage vigilante vengeance.
Upon his partial revamping in the issue following his debut, only Hill's identity, spiked belt, and the boomerang remained; the mute angle was dropped without explanation, and his original symmetrically-divided bodysuit of pale yellow and dark blue was redesigned to a dark red and blue.
In homage to the Golden Age Daredevil, Marvel Comics' Daredevil would wear a similar costume in the alternate-reality Mutant X series in Mutant X Annual 2001. In addition, the 2000 Marvels Comics: Daredevil special had a group based on the Little Wise Guys. A similar, earlier homage came in DC Comics' Kingdom Come series, when Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt – a character whose regular costume was inspired by Daredevil's, according to creator Pete Morisi – wore a new costume very similar to that of the Golden Age Daredevil.
- As spelled on the AC Comics site; it sometimes erroneously appears as "RedDevil".
- Reddevil at the Comic Book DB
- "Femforce #45". Femforce Index. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- "Femforce #50". Femforce Index. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Rozakis, Bob (July 28, 2003). "The Greatest Name in Comics". Silver Bullet Comics. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- "Savage Dragon" #162 (July 2010)
- Brady, Matt (July 18, 2007). "Ross and Krueger on Superpowers". Newsarama. Retrieved 2008-03-06.
- Death-Defying 'Devil at the Comic Book DB
- "Dynamite Announce's 'Death Defying 'Devil' Series (press release)". Comic Book Resources. September 24, 2008.
- Death-Defying 'Devil #4
- "Peter Moirisi interview". Comic Book Artist (12): 84–85. March 2001.
- Daredevil at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- Daredevil at International Catalogue of Superheroes
- CGComics vol. 4, #5 (May 2005): "The Original Daredevil Comics", by Michelle Nolan
- Cronin, Brian. Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #124. Comic Book Resources. October 11, 2007.
- Daredevil at Golden Age Comics UK (non-commercial downloads, public domain issues)
- AC Comics
- Metahuman Press
- The Grand Comics Database
- Daredevil Comics the complete series available for free download at The Digital Comics Museum