dmstarz's Daredevil #8 - The Stiltman Cometh! review

dmstarz's favourite marvel comic cover no182

Time for a golden oldie featuring one of Daredevil's first foes, Stilt-man. Classic artist Wally Wood, I believe produced this image and I love the sense of perspective on the cover. The long metal legs reaching up into the sky with the small body atop and Daredevil falling, falling. Today, Stilt-man seems a bit inane but back then, this cover was obviously so well regarded that Daredevil 48, drawn by DD regular, Gene Colan, basically copied the concept for an equally stunning cover. But Wally got there first and made it work.

I have ranked this cover no 182 as part of a long term project I am producing on my own blog 'marvel-ous' on blogspot.com re: my favourite marvel comic book covers. Please visit http://dmstarz.blogspot.com and check out the other covers that have made my top 250.

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Posted by dmstarz

And here's my review of the issue itself:

This issue opens with a damsel in distress - a yellow suited woman about to be run over by a runaway, driverless car.  The woman is presented in what is probably the limits of acceptable sexiness for the mid 60s  - she's very pretty in a knee length skirt - and it's funny to contrast this with what would go for a sexy woman in today's comic books.  Hilariously Matt rescues her by hurling her onto a shop awning which he knows is usually there at this time of day.  Good job the owner wasn't sick then huh?  The whole radar sense thing doesn't seem to be completely down yet.  And all this despite the fact that he then uses his radar to 'drive' the speeding car through the streets of in a very early evocation of the plotline of the movie, Speed.

Debuting this issue is the fantastically preposterous Stiltman.  It's interesting how a lot of big foes (Purple Man, the Owl, Mr Fear) have been introduced very early in DD's run.  This story is quite effective in setting up a little bit of a mystery as to who Stiltman actually is, though I wasn't entirely sure of the plausability of the story.  (spoiler)  Day, who is the Stiltman, is left by Matt at his offices whilst Daredevil chases the prime suspect, a scientist called Kaxton.  DD then encounters Stiltman, has a brief battle and then returns to Nelson & Murdock, to find Day, asleep in the office.  I suppose Stan Lee is hinting that Day is tired after his battle, but it's a huge contrivance to have Day dash out of the office after Murdock has left and put those huge hollow metal legs on.

We also find out more about Matt's billy club in this issue, finding out that it contains a miniature tape recorder and cables.  I'm not sure how long the tape recorder remained an ongoing concern for Matt but it's nice to see the establishment of the cables for Matt to swing around the city.  He also uses a concealed microphone to listen into what is going on in the city, once again something that is quickly done away with as it becomes established that his acute hearing is something pretty special.  There are also radio antennae in Matt's mask, another contrivance soon done away with.

Another first in this issue is a cutaway of Matt's 'apartment', which doesn't appear to me to be the brownstone home I associate with the character.  Still this helps establish that Matt has both a gym and a laboratory underneath his living areas.

More quaint 60s worldview on display in this issue.  Karen wants Matt to get eye surgery.  Matt's torn - he wants to see Karen but is concerned that he will lose his powers.  He bemoans the fact that he could never ask Karen "to marry a sighless man", an insight into the 'second class' citizenship of disabled people, accepting by the disabled person.  Nice to see at the end Karen reveal incidentally her true feelings for Matt.  Upset that Matt won't have the eye operation, she complains that he won't take the chance to fall in love.  Hmmm.  Whatever could she mean?

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