Wednesday 13 July 2011

Keeping an ear to the ground for the news of the world.

Daredevil. The world celebrates as Mike Murdock makes his first appearance
Argh! No! Go away!
As I roam that strange little square behind the Angel Street Argos store, people say to me, "Steve, as your only confidant is a glove puppet called Crikey and you spend all your time going on about ancient comics that no one cares about, does that mean you're completely out of touch with reality?"

And I say, "No. As a matter of fact, thanks to my network of informants and contacts, I'm fully aware of what's going on in the outside world. For instance I know that right now this nation's up in arms about the latest scandal to hit it. A scandal involving a character so obnoxious, so nightmarish you could barely make him up."

But we should never forget there was another man of that name. One also surrounded by a web of lies, obfuscation and deceit, one similarly unlikely to be paying any taxes any time soon.

Daredevil, Mike Murdoch switches off a radio
Go away!
Mike Murdock.

In my opinion, Mike Murdock is the single worst character ever created by Marvel Comics. In the interests of integrity I should point out that the likes of Jubilation Lee aren't included in this thesis, as anything after the Bronze Age barely exists as far as this finger-on-the-modern-pulse blog's concerned.

For anyone not in the know, in the 1960s Stan Lee decided to expand Daredevil's massive supporting cast of two characters by introducing a new one - Mike Murdock. Murdock was a brash, loud-mouthed cretin who made Mary Jane Watson look like a woman in need of  Prozac.

Daredevil, Mike Murdock, Stanislavsky
He also didn't exist; being as he was, the strip's star Matt Murdock pretending to be his own brother so the other two cast members would think that Mike and not Matt was Daredevil.

For what seemed an eternity, Mike Murdock mugged, boasted and showboated his way through tale after tale until, in a happy twist of fate, he was blown up. Along the way, he even considered marrying Matt's secretary Karen Page - even though he didn't exist. Still, despite his demise, the Mike Murdock nightmares haunt me and Crikey to this very day.

This of course is only my opinion and I am aware that, like glove puppets, other opinions exist. Therefore this blog, determined as ever to unmask the truth, is asking you who you think is the worst character ever to have been created by Marvel Comics.


pete doree said...

Mike's up there absolutely, but the one that drove me crazy at the time was The Torpedo. Remember him? He was a Daredevil villain for a while, then got a couple of Marvel Premiere's to his name, then was back as a guest hero with DD, and all throughout this, Marveldom assembled were going: " Stop shoving this guy at us! We don't like him! Don't give him his own series, we hate him! " Well, I was anyway.
Oh, and most unwelcome character has to be Jack Of Hearts. The White Tiger took over from the Sons Of The Tiger in Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu, and was a much better character, but then Jack Of Hearts breezed in and took the strip over for himself! AND no artist liked drawing that costume. Talk about the party guest who won't leave, jeez.

Steve W. said...

I don't remember the Torpedo at all, although the name sort of rings a bell. I remember Jack of Hearts. I seem to recall him taking on the Hulk at one point, possibly during Sal Buscema's run on the strip. Like you, I don't remember him being very gripping.

Pat said...

As I wrote when I covered Mike's short life awhile ago, I definitely enjoyed the stories featuring him when I first read them as a young teen. The idea of throwing off my normal identity and being a wise-cracking, confident and breezy character was very appealing. Yes, the stories are wince-worthy today (and don't make sense), but that's true of a whole lot of the Silver Age.

As for worst character, how about Don Blake? Completely unfleshed-out; the only person we see him regularly interact with in the first 7 years or so of Thor was Jane Foster, and even she disappeared after #136.

Steve W. said...

I can think of no argument in favour of Don Blake as a character but, for some reason, still have a lot of affection for him, mostly because I'll always associate him with Thor's first ever appearance, which has always been my favourite origin of any Marvel hero. Having said that, he did subsequently prove to be completely and totally pointless.

Simon B said...

I have to admit I've got a perverse affection for characters like The Torpedo, Jack Of Hearts, Paladin, 3D Man and all those other second rate heroes that Marvel tried to foist on us back in the day. No matter how dull and undeveloped they were, they couldn't compete with the arse-clenching pointlessness of someone like Deadpool...

Boston Bill said...

Oh, Matt wasn't so bad.

Woodgod - now HE was bad!

Steve W. said...

Was I the only one who could never stand Deathlok?

Anonymous said...

Oh I loved DEATHLOK Astonishing Tales ISSUE 25 is still one of my favourite comics. Mike Murdoch I agree ws not great but worst character has to be the Legion of Superheroes "Arm Fall off Boy" who could detach his arm and use them as a weapon - (DC had some real stinkers Crazy Quilt, Calendar King, Kite man etc),have to say I though Torpedo was ok as well WoodGod, yep he stunk as well I always thought Dazzler was a strange concept, McScotty

Steve W. said...

Was there really a character in the LSH who could detach his arms and hit people with them? I know there was a version of Captain Marvel at one point who could make his arms and legs fall off, for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Yep strange as it seems there was a character called "Arm fall off Boy" he never made it into the Legion proper (just a silly story from memory in the mid/late 80s) he was later re introduced as Splitter for a short time and appeared in a really nicely drawn (John McCrea??) issue of the Legion of Superheroes (the cartoon version of the comic. McScoty