Welcome to Bonus Battle October and Part One of the five part epic battle between (the original) Daredevil and a real master of evil, the archfiend known as The Claw!

You’ll recall that The Big Blog o’Fun recently presented the origin of The Claw. What you might not remember (because, truth be known, I almost forgot) is that we’ve seen an abridged version of Daredevil’s origin in this blog, two years ago (almost to the exact day). The great Jack Cole (also recently mentioned here more than once) created Daredevil in partnership with Jack Binder. That first version was a mute character with a grisly origin who first version appeared in Silver Streak Comics #6. By the next issue, Cole and Binder had completely revamped ol’ DD, recoloring his costume and restoring to him the power of speech. But what’s more important, they decided to pit their newest hero against their popular “house villain” The Claw.

The result was pure dynamite. “Daredevil Battles The Claw!” made its debut in the January 1941 issue of Silver Streak Comics (issue #7). It was an immediate smash with the readers. The battle stretched into an amazing five-part confrontation which lasted throughout the first half of 1941 and, perhaps not coincidentally, Silver Streak Comics went from bi-monthly to a monthly publication schedule starting with the eighth issue in March.

Daredevil himself became a reader favorite as a result of his titanic struggles against The Claw, and the month after “Daredevil Battles The Claw” ended a special one-shot comic was published. Daredevil Battles Hitler was discussed extensively in this blog many moons ago and is, as I’ve said quite often, the single greatest issue of any comic book ever published (in my opinion, of course). The readers of the time loved it, because the publishers virtually (maybe literally — it depends on who you ask) locked a team of writers and artists in a room together over the course of a long weekend to rush-produce a follow-up comic: Daredevil Comics #2 (thus turning the one-shot into a series). This blog has also frequently featured two characters from the first year of Daredevil Comics, who are among my favorite Golden Age characters: Pat Patriot and The Bronze Terror (both of whom have been extensively featured in this blog’s virtual pages).

But it all started with the story you’re about to read, Part One of “Daredevil Battles The Claw”. It’s interesting to note that Bart Hill’s (a.k.a. Daredevil’s) girlfriend Tonia Saunders is depicted by Jack Cole in a more demure manner than the way in which she’d appear (e.g. as a red-hot tamale) when Charles Biro was the artist some time later (the version of Tonia which we, and Wolf Carson, got an eyeful in “The Human Beast”). Tonia also learns right here in Part One that her boyfriend Bart is actually Daredevil. We might initially think that this “goes against convention” until we remember that this was in 1941 – there were no conventions. (In fact, that’s exactly why I find Golden Age comic books so interesting and exciting – it was a brand-new medium and these guys were just making it up as they went along). There’s nothing that says bad things must happen when your girlfriend discovers you’re a costumed hero – heck, look at Jay Garrick, the original Flash: Joan Williams discovered he was The Flash in his very first adventure. They wound up married and Jay was still going strong right up until 2011 when DC screwed up rebooted their whole universe (but we “old school” fans continue to enjoy some consolation in the various animated TV versions of DC’s comics – Jay and Joan recently celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in a great episode of the Young Justice TV series).

OK, enough preamble. Let’s check out the cover of Silver Streak Comics #7, then sit back and enjoy the fireworks as Daredevil battles The Claw for the very first time! It’s an amazing story full of swell pulpy trappings, and it’s sure to delight kids of all ages – it’s just that danged cool!

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Silver Streak Comics #7, January 1941

Page scans courtesy of the great Joes and Janes at The Digital Comic Museum. Thanks for preserving thousands of amazing Golden Age comic books for all to enjoy!

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2102, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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