Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Daredevil. Yellow and black, and red all over.

Mighty World of Marvel #20, Daredevil makes his first appearance and origin, yellow and red costume
A costume that demands to leap through paper.
As I've discovered to my own personal cost, it's all well and good having awesome super-powers but it's nothing if you don't have the right costume. Like a fool I thought that having the powers of a terrifying bird meant it'd be a good idea for me to run around town dressed as a giant chicken. "What could be better suited to strike terror into the hearts of criminals, who're a cowardly and superstitious bunch?" I reasoned.

Well, anything but a chicken, it turned out. My super-hero career was over before it had begun.

But there're heroes who got it right. Where would Captain America be without the wings on his head? He'd be in the latest Hollywood blockbuster, as it turns out, but that shouldn't blind us to the fact he knew a good costume when he saw one. The thing is, some heroes, like Cap, get it right straight away and others, like Iron Man, have to tweak things till they get it just-so.

But there's a third category. Heroes who get it right in the first place but then change their minds.

Daredevil #10, the Beast-Men, red costume
A costume that wouldn't be seen dead leaping
through paper.
All of which brings me to Daredevil. While it's true that most of Marvel's early changes to their heroes' costumes were for the better, I'm going to commit blasphemy by declaring I don't think Daredevil's was one of them. As I've said before, although the first half-decade of Daredevil doesn't really grab me these days, when I was a kid he was one of my favourite do-gooders. First introduced to me in the pages of Mighty World of Marvel #20 by a somewhat mighty Jim Starlin cover, I think the primary reason Daredevil so appealed was his costume. I don't mean the one we're all familiar with. I mean the yellow and red one he wore in his salad days.

It wasn't as slick as the version we're all used to - or as devilish - but it was more interesting, with its two-tone colour scheme and the strange buttons on his boots and gloves. The more familiar version might look more professional but it has no flair, it has no power to surprise. It wasn't just Daredevil who was leaping out of that Jim Starlin cover at you. It was his outfit. It was natural to draw him that way. One look at that first costume told you Daredevil was a showman. He had it written all over him.

So, while the world agrees that Stan Lee and his cohorts got it right in dumping Matt Murdock's original look, I'll sit in my little corner of my bedroom, in my chicken suit, dreaming of what might have been and knowing that, when it comes to Daredevil's costume, I've got it right and all those sensible people in the world have got it wrong.

Unless of course, there are those who agree with me?


cerebus660 said...

Well, anything's better than that bloody awful costume DD wore briefly in the '90s.....

Kid said...

I must confess that I, also, liked his original costume.

Steve said...

I knew I couldn't be the only one.

Kid A said...

The original costume definitely had more personality, but I don't think it's as practical for fighting crime at night which DD seems to do quite often. Didn't Marvel kind of recycle this costume for D-Man only with a Wolverine mask?

Steve said...

"Didn't Marvel kind of recycle this costume for D-Man only with a Wolverine mask?"

Oh I've no idea. Anything after 1992's a bit of a blur for me, as that's when I was driven away from reading comics by the then shocking 65p price tag.

Kid A said...

Then you would certainly have a seizure with recent price increase. D-man's been around since the mid 80s, but he is a pretty lame character.

Robert said...

I actually quite liked D-Man. Yes, his costume was a rip-off but he was quite likeable. Then they turned him into a hobo (!) and completely ruined the character.

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