In the previous installment of Bonus Battle October the story (reprinted from Silver Streak Comics #9) ended with a cliffhanger: The Claw and his minions, working from their base hidden in a volcanic crater, managed to conquer the United States and capture Daredevil. Consequently, the fourth part of “Daredevil Battles The Claw” in Silver Streak Comics #10 picks up right where the previous issue left off.

This fourth installment is again credited to Jack Cole, but you’ll notice that the art changed considerably from Part One to Part Two, and that Parts Two through Four appear to have been drawn by the same hand. Looking at some of Jack Cole’s other work, it’s actually Part One which doesn’t seem to match. Regarding my assertion in Part Three’s post that Jack Cole probably wasn’t the artist, I stand corrected.

It’s interesting to note that The Claw employed an army of criminals to construct his new capital city, especially in light of U.S. history of the period. As you may be aware, the Roosevelt administration created tens of thousands of federally funded jobs during the Great Depression, organized into agencies like the Civilian Conservation Corps (known as the CCC, which employed older boys and young men for natural and historical conservation projects) and the Works Progress Administration (the WPA, which employed adults for civic works like dams, bridges, and infrastructure improvements). Is it possible that Cole was parodying the WPA in this (admittedly minor) detail of this two-part story?

You might wish to go back and re-read Part Three to get a running start into today’s tale; as you do so, pay particular attention to The Claw’s facial expressions in Parts Three and Four. The majority of comic book artists today would do well to study this technique, as most of them (with a few exceptions, like the gloriously talented Amanda Conner) can’t draw facial expression to save their souls; today’s comic book characters display a grand total of two facial expressions, namely “angry” and “blank”. The Claw’s “reaction shots” are a clinic on how the art of facial expression can be used to advance the action and plot of a graphic adventure story.

Also note that with Parts Three and Four the battle between Daredevil and The Claw becomes highly personalized. Daredevil had been fighting against the arch-fiend simply because it was the right thing to do. But with Part Three, Bart now has another motive: to avenge the murder of his brother at the hands of The Claw.

With pages scans courtesy of The Digital Comic Museum, here’s the fourth installment of “Daredevil Battles The Claw”, first published in the May 1941 issue of Silver Streak Comics!

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Daredevil vs The Claw -- Silver Streak Comics #10, May 1941

Have fun! — Steve

Copyright 2012, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

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