Here’s a look at the first twenty Daredevil stories from the 1960s. These days Daredevil is mostly known for the dark and brooding element that the legendary writer and artist Frank Miller brought to the character, along with that whole Ninja element of DD’s background.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #1 (April 1964)
Title: The Origin of Daredevil
Villain: The Fixer
Synopsis: At Fogwell’s Gym, a red and yellow costumed figure calling himself Daredevil barges in on the thugs and underlings of the Fixer (Roscoe Sweeney), the criminal behind the fixing of boxing matches at various levels. The hoods don’t want to tell Daredevil where the Fixer is and a huge fight breaks out. Our hero defeats the thugs with his agility, his red billy-club and – as we will learn shortly – his radar senses.
Daredevil has a flashback to his origin: he is really Matt Murdock whose father Battling Jack Murdock was a struggling boxer. To earn enough money to raise his son and send him to college, Battling Jack learned to play the game and throw fights when ordered to by the Fixer. Jack forbade his son to ever fight, which made Matt the object of ridicule by his peers so the younger Murdock trained himself in the martial arts (later retconned to being trained by Ninjas).
One day in his teens Matt heroically shoved a blind man from in front of a crashing toxic waste truck, saving his life but letting himself get hit by that vehicle. The nuclear waste and toxic chemicals in the truck blinded Matt Murdock but also gave him radar senses that more than compensated for the loss of his vision.
NOTE: In a tongue-in-cheek way, the creators of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles always implied that some of the toxic materials from that same truck poured into the sewer, mutating four turtles and a rat. Though they weren’t part of the Marvel Comics universe that Ninja Turtles joke went further still with the way that the evil group the Foot, fought by the TMNT, was an obvious take on the Hand, an evil group opposed by Daredevil.
At any rate, Matt, though blinded, worked hard to finish law school and become a lawyer, in practice with his friend Franklin “Foggy” Nelson and their beautiful blonde secretary Karen Page. His father, meanwhile, was allowed a winning streak and, feeling his pride returning, refused to throw his next fight, defying the Fixer’s orders. Battling Jack won but was then killed by the Fixer’s goons.
That ends the flashback. Daredevil, with the Fixer’s men defeated, confronts the Fixer himself and pursues him into the subway. The villain becomes so overcome with fear and the strain of the chase that he dies of a heart attack, thus giving our hero a form of revenge.
Switching back to his Matt Murdock identity, with his billy club now disguised as a blind man’s walking stick, our main character shows up at his and Foggy’s law firm, where Karen Page clearly wants to mother him. (Which is pretty ironic, considering that decades down the road Karen – who by then knows Matt is really Daredevil – becomes a junkie who sells out our hero’s secret identity to organized crime in exchange for some drugs.)
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #2 (June 1964)
Title: The Menace of Electro
Comment: Marvel Comics was always about crossovers among their various characters and their supporting players, so Daredevil fights Spider-Man’s recurring foe Electro in this story.
Synopsis: Daredevil shuts down a stolen car ring that Electro is running, but the villain himself remains at large. At the law offices of Nelson & Murdock, the Fantastic Four member the Thing hires Matt Murdock to represent the group in their negotiations with the owners of the Baxter Building, where they rent their headquarters. The Fantastic Four fly to Washington D.C. for their latest public honor but program their HQ’s defense systems to let Matt into the building.
As fate would have it, when Murdock is at the Baxter Building, Electro decides to strike, planning to steal some of Reed Richards’ inventions while the group is in Washington. Matt becomes Daredevil and in a running fight that ends in a theater, he defeats Electro and turns him over to the police.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #3 (August 1964)
Title: The Owl, Overlord of Crime
Villain: The Owl
Synopsis: Leland Owlsley, a crooked businessman so slick that very few know he is really the crime boss called the Owl, hires Nelson & Murdock to represent him in court on a tax evasion charge. Foggy wants to turn down the sleazeball, but Matt, for reasons relevant to his alter ego Daredevil, wants to represent Owlsley so he can investigate for himself and see how crooked the businessman really is.
Murdock and the high-handed Owlsley begin a clash of personalities when the Owl blows off a court date. Irked, the villain decides to frame Matt for his crimes. (I know that makes no sense, since Murdock was JUST hired by him, but it’s a comic book.) The Owl, using his flying/gliding ability and his physical bulk in the same way that Spider-Man’s future foe the Kingpin would, beats down two muscular thugs named Horgon and Simms, convincing them to work for him.
With those two at his side, the Owl plans to break into Nelson & Murdock’s offices that night to plant evidence incriminating Matt. In his Daredevil costume, Murdock is still in the area and attacks the trio who are breaking into his law offices. During the battle, the villains grab Karen Page – who it turns out was working late – and use her as a hostage in order to escape.
At the Owl’s criminal headquarters called the Aerie, Daredevil frees Karen, and defeats the Owl, who manages to escape. Karen Page, in typical comic book fashion, reflects on how Daredevil and Matt Murdock seem similar but fails to put two and two together.
NOTE: For years, the Owl was Daredevil’s archenemy until Marvel decided to make Spider-Man’s recurring foe the Kingpin his arch-nemesis instead. In his next appearance, the Owl seeks revenge against the judge hearing his tax evasion case from this issue.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Vol 1 #16 (September 1964)
Title: Duel With Daredevil
Villains: The Ringmaster and His Circus of Crime
Synopsis: Out on his usual rounds, Spider-Man sees a blind man, who turns out to be Matt Murdock, getting attacked by criminals. He swings down and defeats the crooks, then swings off after making sure the blind man is okay. Matt Murdock reflects to himself how impressed he was with Spider-Man, especially since his radar senses revealed to him that the crimefighter is only a teenager.
At the Nelson & Murdock offices, Foggy and Karen invite Matt to go to the circus with them that night and he accepts. We cut to the circus in question and see that it is really the villainous Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime, last seen fighting the Hulk in his own comic book. The Ringmaster uses false posters claiming Spider-Man will perform with the circus that night to increase the audience.
That night, Matt, Karen and Foggy are at the circus. Spider-Man shows up, out of curiosity since the posters claimed he was a performer. The Ringmaster launches his usual plan. Using the hypnotic swirls on his Ringmaster’s hat, he enthralls the audience AND Spider-Man, then sends the rest of the circus members into the crowd to rob all their money and valuables.
As a blind man, Matt is not affected by the Ringmaster’s hypnotic rays. He switches to Daredevil and attacks the circus-themed supervillains until the Ringmaster sics the enthralled Spider-Man on him. Daredevil’s radar senses tell him that Spidey’s slow heart-beat and such mean he is hypnotized and can’t help himself.
After tangling with Spider-Man for awhile, Daredevil steals the Ringmaster’s hat and uses it to free Spider-Man from hypnotic control. They team up to bring down the dozens of circus criminals and at one point Daredevil slips away to become Matt Murdock again and enjoys watching Spider-Man mop up the crooks.
Spider-Man goes on to use the Ringmaster’s hat like Daredevil did and frees the massive audience from hypnosis. Matt Murdock gives his business card to the Ringmaster as the police take him and his gang away.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #4 (October 1964)
Title: Killgrave, The Purple Man
Villain: The Purple Man
Synopsis: Zebediah Killgrave, a Soviet Spy, was conducting espionage at a chemical plant one night when, interrupted by guards, he wound up soaked in experimental chemicals which turned his skin purple. It turned out those chemicals also gave him the ability to control human beings, and he successfully made the guards let him go free.
As the Purple Man he began robbing banks, with tellers, customers and bank guards all cooperating with his quick capers thanks to his control over people. After one of those jobs he was arrested by the police. Deciding he wanted some new fun by going all the way to a trial, then making the jury acquit him, the Purple Man let himself be taken in.
Appearing before a judge, Killgrave insisted he did not need an attorney but the judge appointed Matt Murdock to be his Public Defender anyway. When Matt went to talk to his new client, taking Karen Page along with him, Killgrave decided to show off for the beautiful blonde. He ordered the authorities to let him go and ordered Karen to come along with him.
Matt Murdock, whose blindness or whose radar senses made him immune to Killgrave’s control, pretended to be as enthralled as everyone around him, so that after Killgrave and Karen were gone he could go after them as Daredevil. The villain ordered several innocent bystanders to attack our hero, thus preventing DD from apprehending him.
The Purple Man next enthralled several bodybuilders at a gym as his army of thugs and, with Karen still at his side, proceeded to take over the Ritz Plaza Hotel. This bizarre hostage situation/ fortress of thralls attracted citywide attention.
Daredevil showed up, evaded the Purple Man’s enthralled underlings and defeated him, using a hood to prevent Killgrave from using his powers on the police who showed up to arrest him. Back at their law offices, Matt and Karen struggle to hide their emerging feelings for each other.
NOTE: Marvel Comics later switched to just calling this villain Killgrave, gradually letting the silly Purple Man name fall by the wayside. For the most part. Decades later, Killgrave would use Jessica Jones as a sex slave.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #5 (December 1964)
Title: The Mysterious Matador
Villain: The Matador
Synopsis: Manuel Eloganto, a bullfighter so renowned for his cruelty to the bulls he fought that even the crowds in Mexico began booing him, got gored at one point. After recovering he donned a mask and his matador outfit and took to robbing the wealthy, using his agility, his red cape and his sword.
At a costume party attended by a monied crowd, the Matador struck again. Matt Murdock was on hand and turned into Daredevil. The crowd of people in the enclosed room confused Daredevil’s radar senses so much that the Matador was able to defeat him and escape.
Our hero makes a point of tracking down the villain later with much fewer people around and wins against him this time around. The Matador is arrested and taken away.
NOTE: The Matador would return to plague Daredevil in the future and would even serve in the Emissaries of Evil. In the 1970s this villain was murdered by Daredevil’s recurring foe the Man-Bull.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #6 (February 1965)
Title: The Fellowship of Fear
Villains: Mister Fear, the Eel and the Ox
Synopsis: Daredevil thwarts a bank robbery being carried out by his new foe Mister Fear (Zoltan Drago) plus the Human Torch’s foe the Eel and Spider-Man’s foe the Ox. The trio – calling themselves the Fellowship of Fear, escape when Mister Fear shoots Daredevil with one of his gun’s fear pellets, a chemical which reduces people to fearful, helpless wrecks.
It turns out Drago created his fear chemicals and pellets by accident when he was trying to invent a chemical means of animating the wax creations at the wax museum he runs. The media runs with the story on how Daredevil, the supposed “man without fear,” was reduced to a trembling coward by Mister Fear.
Meanwhile that villain consults with the Ox and the Eel at his wax museum headquarters. He plans to trap Daredevil by making a display about Daredevil and his various foes his next big attraction. On the day that the display launches, Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson are in attendance. Matt’s radar senses tell him that a seeming wax statue of the Ox is the real thing, apparently as part of a trap for our hero.
Returning later as Daredevil, our main character fights Mister Fear, Ox and Eel again. Foggy is still at the museum and gets seriously injured during the battle, forcing the hero to abandon the fight to get Foggy medical attention. At the hospital, DD switches back to Matt Murdock and calls Karen Page to have her meet him there.
The Fellowship of Fear show up and try to finish off Foggy, hoping that Daredevil will again show up to protect the guy. Matt slips into his costume and drives off the trio while agilely dodging Mister Fear’s fear pellets this time. The villains retreat to the wax museum, where Daredevil surprises them, beats them and turns them all over to the cops.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #7 (April 1965)
Title: In Combat With … Sub-Mariner
Comment: Daredevil’s FIRST appearance in his all-red costume.
Synopsis: In Atlantis, Warlord Krang, a scheming political enemy of Sub-Mariner (Prince Namor), tries shaming him over his recent abandonment of his attempts to make the surface world suffer because of its pollution of the seas. He even implies that “some” might think the ruler of Atlantis has grown afraid.
Sub-Mariner still maintains that war with the surface world might result in too many lost lives on both sides of the conflict. He DOES let Krang’s remarks get to him, unfortunately, and goes to New York City intent on suing the surface world for its damage to the oceans. He selects Nelson & Murdock, the foremost attorneys in superhero law.
Foggy, Matt and Karen try to convince Namor there is no one representative of “the surface world” so he has no chance of finding a court to hear the case. Awkward wording on the part of the lawyers (we have to get to the action SOMEHOW) makes the Sub-Mariner think that if he gets arrested he can make his court case all about his grievances.
Sub-Mariner rampages through New York City. This time, instead of the Fantastic Four or Avengers or X-Men who fight him it’s Daredevil. Practically laughing at the hero’s attempts to stop him, given how much more powerful he is than Daredevil, the battle only ends when Namor thinks he’s caused enough damage to get his day in court, so he surrenders to the authorities.
He insists that Nelson & Murdock represent him, but they confer with him and explain that there will be charges against him from countries all over the world over his past actions against the surface world. As they try to make it clear to him that the case may take years and they won’t be allowed to represent him in all of the proceedings, Lady Dorma arrives from Atlantis.
Lady Dorma is Namor’s love interest and is also desired by Warlord Krang. Dorma tells Sub-Mariner that in his absence, Krang launched a coup. Namor wants to go immediately and put down the coup attempt but Matt and Foggy talk him out of it. He gives them 24 hours to resolve his legal issues.
Obviously, 24 hours is way too short to get ANYTHING accomplished legally, and the Sub-Mariner breaks free from custody and does battle with the army throughout New York City. Matt becomes Daredevil and goes up against Namor again. Once again, DD proves unable to inflict any real damage on Sub-Mariner but as he fades into unconsciousness when Namor bests him, he pleads with him not to injure the soldiers or citizens between him and the Atlantic Ocean.
Sub-Mariner, with his usual sense of honor, acknowledges his beaten foe’s bravery and respects his wish. He flies back to the ocean in a circuitous route that lets him avoid further contact with the army or innocent bystanders. Namor reflects that he has fought the Fantastic Four, Avengers and X-Men but none of them were braver than Daredevil, whom he calls “the weakest of them all.” (Talk about a back-handed compliment!)
NOTE: Namor eventually defeated Warlord Krang, but in the future Lady Dorma got killed, giving Sub-Mariner his own personal Gwen Stacy.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #8 (June 1965)
Title: The Stilt-Man Cometh
Synopsis: Daredevil saves a woman from an out-of-control car, then when his radar senses detect a bomb in the vehicle he gets the car to where it can blow up without harming anyone. Nearby Stilt-Man, a criminal wearing high-tech armor including telescoping stilts which let him rise hundreds of yards into the air, robs a payroll helicopter. He has too much of a head start for our hero to catch up with him and Stilt-Man gets away.
The next day at the office, Karen Page tells Matt Murdock about Doctor Van Eyck, a world-famous physician who might be able to operate on Matt and restore his sight. Murdock fears losing the enhanced radar senses which allow him to fight crime as Daredevil, but before the conversation can go further, Nelson brings in Matt’s next client.
That client is Wilbur Day, an inventor for Kaxton Industries. Day invented advanced hydraulic “lifts” (really stilts, of course) but his boss Carl Kaxton cheated him out of the patent for them. Matt represents him in the lawsuit against Kaxton and as the proceedings roll along, our hero’s radar senses tell him one of the men is lying but he can’t tell if it’s Day or Kaxton because they are too close together.
While the suit continues, Daredevil clashes with Stilt-Man two more times but loses to him each time. Eventually we learn that Wilbur Day, not Kaxton, is really Stilt-Man, when the villain tries stealing another of Kaxton Industries’ inventions – a shrinking ray. As Daredevil clashes with Stilt-Man again, the ray goes off, shrinking the villain down to microscopic size.
NOTE: Shrinking like that temporarily stranded Stilt-Man in the Microverse, which Marvel has now renamed the Quantum Realm. Though months passed in the real world, it seemed to the villain like he had only been gone a few seconds when he returned from there.
Back at Nelson & Murdock, Matt tells Karen Page that he has decided against trying the surgery from Dr Van Eyck, prompting Karen to angrily call him a coward and leave in a huff. Weird lady, Matt.
NOTE: Stilt-Man would return again and again to fight Daredevil.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #9 (August 1965)
Title: That He May See
Villain: The Duke of Lichtenbad
Synopsis: After a night when Daredevil defeats crooks in New York Harbor and gets shot in the arm, he reconsiders having the surgery to restore his sight. At Nelson & Murdock the next day, Foggy and Karen introduce Matt to Foggy’s old college friend, Klaus Kruger, now the Duke of Lichtenbad, where Doctor Van Eyck lives.
The Duke assures Murdock of the success that Van Eyck has had restoring sight to the blind and so Matt flies with Kruger back to the Duchy of Lichtenbad a few days later. In the days ahead, as Van Eyck examines Matt and prepares to perform surgery, Murdock realizes that Kruger is a vile dictator who ruthlessly suppresses dissent in Lichtenbad.
At night, Daredevil covertly helps the rebels fighting against the Duke while spending his days as Matt Murdock at Kruger’s castle. At last the day arrives for the surgery, which quickly gets interrupted when the Duke’s minions show up to arrest the doctor for subversive remarks.
Matt becomes Daredevil and fights the Duke at the castle where Van Eyck is being interrogated. The rebels start to besiege the castle, so the Duke decides to unleash cobalt weaponry which will wipe out the rebels but leave the Duchy uninhabitable. Van Eyck gives his life stopping the Duke, who also dies in a fall from the castle walls.
Matt explains to Foggy and Karen what happened and how the dead Van Eyck is now a national hero in the newly liberated Duchy, but leaves out any reference to Daredevil’s involvement in order to safeguard his secret identity. Foggy, who became jealous of Karen’s obvious interest in Matt while he was away, claims Matt was probably too scared to go through with the surgery anyway.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #10 (October 1965)
Title: While The City Sleeps
Villains: The Organizer and the Ani-Men
Synopsis: We learn that Franklin “Foggy” Nelson is a member of the Reform Party, along with Bernard Harris, father of Foggy’s old high school sweetheart Deborah Harris. Thanks to Deborah’s romantic manipulation of Nelson, he is running for District Attorney on the Reform Party ticket, like her father is running for Mayor.
Abner Jonas, the mastermind behind the Reform Party, is really a supervillain called the Organizer. He is a very crooked businessman and wants political power through his party’s candidates. To help make the incumbent office-holders in New York City look bad, the Organizer has paid for high-tech costumes which grant superpowers to some of his underlings. Those underlings are running a crime-wave in the city as the Ani-Men – Cat-Man, Frog-Man, Ape-Man and Bird-Man.
Jonas’ candidates Nelson (for DA) and Harris (for Mayor) have been making a lot of capital over the failure of the current administration to catch the Ani-Men. At a campaign event on Abner Jonas’ yacht, Matt slips away from Foggy and Deborah to become Daredevil and stops Frog-Man from blowing up the ship, but the villain gets away.
The next night Daredevil clashes with Bird-Man when he tries to rob a safe. Bird-Man gets away. The following night, at a campaign event at Bernard Harris’ penthouse, all the Ani-Men strike. While Matt becomes Daredevil, then defeats and captures Cat-Man, the others kidnap Deborah Harris and flee with her.
Daredevil pursues them, but is defeated by Ape-Man, so he contents himself with just following the abductors without them realizing it. He traces them to the masked Organizer’s hideout, where, eavesdropping, he learns that Deborah is really in cahoots with the Organizer. He wants the Reform Party candidates to win, and had the yacht attacked and Deborah kidnapped to make Nelson and Bernard Harris more sympathetic to the public.
While Daredevil overhears Deborah and the Organizer discuss how they will blackmail Foggy Nelson when he becomes the District Attorney, Bird-Man is preparing to swoop down on our hero from above.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #11 (December 1965)
Title: A Time To Unmask
Villains: The Organizer and the Ani-Men
Synopsis: Daredevil’s radar senses warn him about Bird-Man’s attack in time to let him survive, but the villain succeeds in driving him away. Our hero has surreptitiously remained in the area, however, and now that the Organizer has given Deborah her new instructions, he has Ape-Man, Bird-Man and Frog-Man tie her up so she can be found and it will look like she was really abducted.
After the villains leave, Daredevil goes in and frees Deborah, pretending that he did not overhear that she was a co-conspirator of the Organizer. Deborah must inform the Organizer that Daredevil found her before she was supposed to be found, and Daredevil secretly follows her.
At police headquarters, Cat-Man, defeated by Daredevil last issue, tells the cops what little he knows about the Organizer. Deborah Harris leads Daredevil to the secret lair of the Organizer and the remaining Ani-Men. Our main character eavesdrops on the Organizer telling Deborah he wants her to help him murder the incumbent Mayor so her father can win the office. Deborah refuses.
Daredevil surreptitiously defeats Frog-Man, then attacks the Organizer, Ape-Man and Bird-Man. The trio defeat him and leave to carry out their planned attack on a Reform Party rally to get them even more public sympathy. Daredevil catches up with them there, defeats Ape-Man and Bird-Man, and, while fighting with the Organizer, unmasks him as Abner Jonas, the Reform Party’s money man.
Epilogue: Deborah Harris testifies against Jonas in exchange for a lessening of her sentence. Foggy Nelson is the only Reform Party candidate to win, so he will be the new District Attorney. Matt Murdock feels he needs to sort out his feelings about Karen Page, so with Nelson moving on to his new office and Karen going along as his secretary, Nelson & Murdock is shut down. Matt plans to travel the world for awhile to ponder his direction in life.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #12 (January 1966)
Title: Sightless in a Savage Land
Villain: The Plunderer
NOTE: Daredevil is now monthly instead of bi-monthly.
Synopsis: Matt Murdock is on a cruise ship as part of his travels. The cruise ship is attacked by the combined ship/ submarine of the high-tech British pirate called the Plunderer. He and his men force their way aboard the ship to rob all the well-to-do passengers. Matt slips away to become Daredevil and takes on the Plunderer and his armed men.
Meanwhile, in the hidden Antarctic jungle called the Savage Land, in which dinosaurs and other things from Earth’s distant past still live, Ka-Zar, the blonde Tarzanesque adventurer in that land, is still at large with his saber-tooth tiger Zabu. (I covered all details on Ka-Zar and the Savage Land in my look at early X-Men stories HERE.)
One of the prehistoric tribes of Swamp-Men launches an attack on Ka-Zar and Zabu on Skull Island. Back with Daredevil, he is kicking the butts of the Plunderer’s men so the villain threatens to shoot or force overboard crew members and passengers unless Daredevil surrenders. Our hero is taken aboard the Plunderer’s combined ship/ submarine and it submerges.
Daredevil is held prisoner all the way to Antarctica, where the Plunderer directs the sub through underwater caves in the ice and reaches the Savage Land, a place he is familiar with. And not just any place in the Savage Land, but Skull Island. Ka-Zar and Zabu attack the Plunderer, his men and Daredevil, not realizing our hero is there against his will.
Daredevil is badly injured in his battle with Ka-Zar and Zabu while the villains all flee. Ka-Zar goes to fetch healing berries while leaving Zabu to guard the unconscious Daredevil. When Ka-Zar falls into the clutches of a man-eating plant, Zabu rushes to his side to save him. The now-alone Daredevil is approached by Maa-Gor, the last surviving ape-man.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #13 (February 1966)
Title: The Secret of Ka-Zar’s Origin
Villain: The Plunderer
NOTE: Vibranium makes its very FIRST appearance in the Marvel Comics universe. It was first discovered in the Savage Land, then later in the Black Panther’s realm of Wakanda. In these stories vibranium was an energy-absorbing metal, NOT an indestructible metal. See my note below.
Synopsis: Daredevil comes to in time to fight and drive off Maa-Gor, then again falls into the clutches of the Plunderer, who tells our hero that he is Edgar Plunder and Ka-Zar is his brother Kevin Plunder. Ka-Zar and Zabu round up the healing berries while the Plunderer makes himself and Daredevil at home in Ka-Zar’s cave.
Back in New York City, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page at the DA’s office get a phone call telling them Matt Murdock has been lost at sea after presumably falling overboard.
Meanwhile, Ka-Zar returns to his cave, where the Plunderer shows him Daredevil is okay and also shows him half of a medallion he wears. Ka-Zar digs out the other half of the medallion, which he has had in his possession for as long as he can remember. The Plunderer asks Ka-Zar for his half but the blonde jungle king savagely refuses to part with it. The villain has Ka-Zar caged by his troops, and takes Ka-Zar and Daredevil back to his submarine and heads for England.
Days later, the sub arrives at Plunder Castle. The Plunderer has the caged Ka-Zar taken to a dungeon, then drugs all his men, leaving just him and the captive Daredevil conscious upstairs. The villain explains to Daredevil that Lord Robert Plunder discovered vibranium and made that medallion out of it, giving half to each of his sons, Kevin (Ka-Zar) and himself, Edgar (The Plunderer).
Both parts of the medallion need to be presented for the estate of the late Lord Plunder to be inherited. Because this is a comic book, the Plunderer is convinced that Daredevil can convince Ka-Zar to hand over his half of the medallion, that’s why he kept him alive and conscious. He then takes Daredevil down to the dungeon to try talking the savage Ka-Zar into giving him his half of the medallion.
Daredevil and Ka-Zar fight inside the cage when the blonde refuses to cooperate. Ka-Zar, in an uncontrollable rage, breaks free of the cage and Daredevil slips out of it right behind him. The Plunderer’s treacherous butler Feepers attacks, trying to get both parts of the medallion for himself so HE can claim the Plunder inheritance.
Ka-Zar flees Feepers by running through the castle corridors, followed by Daredevil. Feepers calls in Scotland Yard and insists they save Plunder Castle from a criminal attack by Ka-Zar and Daredevil.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #14 (March 1966)
Title: If This Be Justice …
Villain: The Plunderer
Synopsis: Scotland Yard arrives and opens fire on our two heroes. Meanwhile the Plunderer kills his treacherous butler Feepers and makes it look like Ka-Zar did it. Scotland Yard men eventually drive off Daredevil, then subdue and arrest Ka-Zar. The Plunderer, in his secret identity as Edgar Plunder, gets Scotland Yard to give him the medallion half they recovered from Ka-Zar.
In the bowels of Plunder Castle, the villain places the two halves of the medallion together and inserts them into a vault lock. It turns out this was his real plan all along. The vibranium medallion was needed intact to unlock the Plunder vault. The Plunderer enters the vault, which is filled with huge reserves of the priceless metal vibranium.
In the days ahead, the villain uses the metal to make high-tech weapons for himself and his troops. Meanwhile, the uncomprehending Ka-Zar faces trial for Feepers’ murder. Daredevil becomes Matt Murdock again, contacts Foggy and Karen in the U.S. and says it was all a mistake and he’s alive and well in England. He asks them to fly to England to help him defend Ka-Zar in court and THEY DO SO!?
For starters, no American lawyer would just arbitrarily be allowed to represent a client in a British court. Plus, Foggy will really be impressing his superiors by taking a trip to England over a court case he and Karen and Matt cannot do a damn thing about. I’d have just had him tell Foggy and Karen he was alive and leave it at that.
After meeting with Matt Murdock, Nelson and Page uselessly hang out at Ka-Zar’s hearing while Matt becomes Daredevil again and stakes out Plunder Castle. He tags along when the Plunderer and his vibranium-armed troops board their submarine. Meanwhile, Ka-Zar breaks free from the guards and goes on a rampage throughout the court building while Foggy and Karen look on.
Back with the Plunderer, he and his men attack a missile base in the North Atlantic. Daredevil emerges from hiding and attacks the bad guys, helping the missile base’s men defeat the Plunderer’s small army. He then takes down the Plunderer himself and turns him over to the military authorities. Daredevil explains the villain’s plan as he pieced it together and Ka-Zar, technically Kevin Plunder, is cleared of Feepers’ murder. He will now be the new Lord Plunder while Edgar goes to prison. (For now.)
Matt, Karen and Foggy fly back to New York. For all I know they asked Matt why the hell he wasted their time having them come to England.
NOTE: In the Marvel Comics movies, vibranium is depicted as being indestructible like adamantium. That is another aspect of Marvel canon that was impacted by the way the movie rights to Marvel’s characters were scattered among multiple companies for several years. Remember how Quicksilver in the X-Men movies was allowed to be a mutant, yet in the Avengers movie he was a “wonder” who was granted superpowers but not born with them? That was because Fox, who owned the X-Men rights, had the rights to “mutant” characters.
Similarly, though adamantium, the fictional indestructible metal, first appeared in the Avengers as the material that Ultron’s body was made from, Fox Studios – through their X-Men rights – had the rights to use adamantium since Wolverine’s claws were famously made from that substance. That is why the Avengers movies had to change adamantium to vibranium, which in Daredevil and Black Panther stories was simply a metal capable of absorbing all forms of energy.
Because Fox Studios still had the rights to call a metal adamantium, Marvel Studios changed vibranium to being an indestructible metal, not an energy-absorbing metal. That’s why things like Ultron’s body and Captain America’s shield were said to be made from vibranium instead of adamantium. Now that all the Marvel rights are owned by Disney, maybe they will sort out this mess now.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #15 (April 1966)
Title: And Men Shall Call Him … Ox
Villain: The Ox
Synopsis: One night, while Matt Murdock entertains Karen Page and Foggy Nelson in his New York apartment, the Ox and his cellmate, mad scientist Karl Stragg, escape from the state prison. At Stragg’s secret laboratory he uses his equipment to switch his mind into the Ox’s incredibly strong body, leaving the Ox in his scrawny body. Stragg goes on a crime spree, planning at the end to put Ox back in his own body and let him take the rap for the crimes while he (Stragg) escapes with a fortune.
Daredevil comes across Stragg in the Ox’s body while he’s committing crimes and attacks him. The Ox defeats him and runs off with Karen Page his captive since she happened upon the scene. Back at his secret lab, Stragg in the Ox’s body gets tricked by the Ox in Stragg’s body. Ox in Stragg helps Karen escape after explaining what’s going on.
Stragg angrily goes in search of Karen and winds up committing even more crimes. Daredevil clashes with Stragg in the Ox’s body on a rooftop and in the battle the Ox/Stragg falls off the roof and plummets to his death. Now trapped in Stragg’s body, the Ox decides to just turn himself in and finish Stragg’s jail term.
NOTE: Years down the road, the Ox’s brother, who is just as big and brawny as he was, becomes the NEW Ox.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #16 (May 1966)
Title: Enter: Spider-Man
Villain: The Masked Marauder
Synopsis: Matt Murdock, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson are watching television and see a news report showing Spider-Man fighting a costumed villain calling himself the Masked Marauder. The villain and his men get away.
The Masked Marauder later meets with his men at their hideout. He wants Spider-Man off their backs and decides to have his men commit robberies dressed as Daredevil hoping to get Spider-Man to go after Daredevil and leave them alone. (It’s a comic book. Just go with it.)
That hare-brained scheme actually works, and when Daredevil is scouring New York City for his impersonators, he gets attacked by Spider-Man. With those two heroes keeping each other occupied the Masked Marauder and his goons steal plans for a high-tech engine called the XB-390. At one point, Daredevil manages to escape Spidey.
The next day Spider-Man is swinging around the city looking for Daredevil when his spider-sense tingles in a way similar to when he fought Daredevil the day before. The source of danger seems to be Matt Murdock’s law office, where Spidey finds Matt, Karen Page and Foggy Nelson socializing.
Spider-Man decides that neither the hot blonde nor the blind guy could be Daredevil so he barges in and roughs up Foggy Nelson, wanting to know if he’s Daredevil.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #17 (June 1966)
Title: None Are So Blind
Villain: The Masked Marauder
Synopsis: Karen Page and Matt Murdock convince Spider-Man that Foggy Nelson is not Daredevil and the wall crawler departs. Foggy idiotically plays it coy, implying that he might really be Daredevil just to impress Karen.
The next day, Daredevil visits the makers of the XB-390 engine whose plans the Masked Marauder stole. He learns that the engine itself would be useless without the formula for the special fuel needed for the engine. Daredevil leaks that fact to the media in order to tempt the Masked Marauder into trying to steal the formula, too.
Staking out the locale, hoping to catch the MM if he and his men try anything, Daredevil gets attacked by Spider-Man, who also showed up to stake out the place. After a quick fight, Daredevil convinces Spider-Man that it’s really the Masked Marauder they are after.
The villain and his goons show up in a blimp and raid the plant looking for the formula. Daredevil and Spider-Man defeat them all and cause the MM’s blimp to explode, but the Masked Marauder himself escapes.
Karen Page shows up at the scene, attracted by news reports of the battle. She finds Foggy, who is there for similar reasons, but he again foolishly hints that he may be Daredevil when Karen asks him point blank. An unknown figure in the crowd overhears this and, recognizing Foggy from his campaign for District Attorney, plans to kill the man he now thinks is Daredevil.
The real Daredevil becomes Matt Murdock again and goes back to work at his office.
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #18 (July 1966)
Title: There Shall Come A Gladiator
Villain: The Gladiator
Synopsis: Though the Gladiator will become one of Daredevil’s greatest and most frequent villains, his origin is one of the dumbest imaginable. Foggy Nelson goes to a high-end costume shop run by Melvin Potter. He buys a very convincing Daredevil costume and Potter decides to play along with Foggy’s plans to impress a woman by pretending to be Daredevil.
Melvin, despite being the Cosplayer from Hell, is big and very, very muscular, and volunteers to pose as a supervillain called the Gladiator and pretend to fight Foggy as Daredevil to REALLY impress the woman. Foggy idiotically agrees and the two coordinate their plans.
Karen, foolishly thinking that Foggy is Daredevil, agrees to a dinner date with him. Foggy wears his new Daredevil costume under his regular clothing, preparing to become DD when the Gladiator attacks. The Gladiator, meanwhile, proves to be completely nuts, reflecting on his hatred of superheroes, whom he considers swaggering braggarts, and he plans to make a splash as a villain who seemingly kills Daredevil. You can’t count how many things are wrong with his and Foggy’s respective plans.
At any rate, Daredevil secretly follows Foggy and Karen on their date, partly out of concern that Foggy may get in trouble by continuing to hint to people that he’s Daredevil. At the designated time, the Gladiator attacks, in his armor and wielding the metal buzz-saws on his wrists.
Foggy becomes “Daredevil” and fights him, but soon realizes the guy is really trying to kill him. He panics, takes off his mask and runs, convincing Karen he has been faking the whole time. She runs to Matt’s law office to tell him Foggy is in danger, but once there she passes out into the arms of Matt’s office landlord, Frank Farnum, who calls an ambulance.
Meanwhile, the real Daredevil fights and defeats the Gladiator and leaves the embarrassed Foggy to try to explain to the cops what happened. At his office, Matt learns from Farnum that Karen is in the hospital. He visits her there and is told by her doctor that she is suffering from complete exhaustion.
Anyway, the moral of the story is to NEVER trust people who are obsessively into Cosplay. (I’m kidding!)
DAREDEVIL Vol 1 #19 (August 1966)
Title: Alone Against The Underworld
Villains: The Masked Marauder and the Gladiator
Synopsis: Daredevil saves a skyscraper window-washer from falling to his death, then checks in on Karen Page at the hospital. Next he visits Foggy Nelson, who is dealing with the backfiring of his stupid pretense of being Daredevil.
There are news reports saying that the new supervillain called the Gladiator exposed Foggy Nelson as DD. Foggy’s denials make him look either like he’s a buffoon for implying he was Daredevil OR that he’s denying it to preserve his “secret identity.” Either way, Matt commiserates with his idiotic friend over the way he has now become a target for all of the real Daredevil’s supervillain foes.
Elsewhere, the Masked Marauder and his army of goons launch a raid to free the Gladiator (and his costume) from police custody. At MM’s headquarters, the two headstrong supervillains start to battle each other. Meanwhile, some more of the Masked Marauder’s thugs were sent to kill Foggy Nelson, thinking he is Daredevil.
The real Daredevil searches Melvin Potter’s old costume shop looking for clues. Next, he decides to go guard Foggy, and manages to save him from the men sent to kill him. One of those men escapes and returns to the Masked Marauder’s headquarters, where he blurts out that Nelson can’t be Daredevil because the real one showed up and saved Foggy.
The Gladiator and the Masked Marauder call off their battle and decide to work together to destroy Daredevil.
NOTE: Several issues down the road, Daredevil finally defeated the Masked Marauder and exposed him as Frank Farnum, Matt’s office landlord. Meanwhile, a two-part rematch with the Owl was up next for DD.
WELL, WITH THE CIRCUS OF CRIME STORY IN SPIDER-MAN, THAT MAKES TWENTY STORIES. I’ll do the early issues of another hero in the near future.
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