[SPECIAL NOTE: Longtime readers of this blog may have noticed a sidebar concerning ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. A newspaper yesterday published a story about an ALS sufferer; I’d be personally grateful if you’d read it. The guy in the article is one of my oldest friends; we’ve known each other since elementary school. We just happened to wind up married to sisters, so he’s also my brother-in-law. This blog talks a lot about bravery and heroism, about stories and characters which show a lot of heart. When it comes to bravery and heart, one need look no further than Dave, who shows more far grace in the face of a life-threatening illness than most people do when confronted with a traffic jam or a long line at the supermarket cash register. It’s an honor for me to be able to call Dave both a friend and a brother, and I’d be grateful if you’d be kind enough to spend a few minutes reading his story. Thanks! — Steve]

With the eleventh issue of Silver Streak Comics the battle between Daredevil and The Claw became a whole new ball game. For openers, writer/artist Jack Cole moved on to other projects; this would be the first chapter of the series to not feature Cole as either the writer or artistic talent. Unbeknownst to anyone at the time, this would also be the last chapter of the epic struggle between the two comic titans.

Cole left the series because he quit working for Lev Gleason; Cole did a short stint with MLJ (later Archie Comics) before landing at Quality Comics by year’s end, the publishing house where he would dream up his greatest creation, Plastic Man. Cole’s replacement for “Daredevil Battles The Claw” was Don Rico, who we’ve met in this blog before: Rico was the creator of The Sorceress of Zoom.

Rico pulled out all the stops for this tale, throwing a skull-headed mountain fortress, mythological monsters, flaming meteors, and apocalyptic disasters into the mix. Tonia gets a new look, more contemporary than her appearance in Part One (which edges her toward the “red hot dish” appearance she assumed later when Charles Biro began drawing the series). Modern readers unfamiliar with Golden Age comics and presuming them to be innocent “kiddie” fare might be a bit surprised to see Lucifer’s cameo appearance, but the Prince of Darkness was a frequent guest star in 1940’s comics – in fact, you can easily find more than one ongoing series in which an agent of Satan was the primary character.

Don Rico did an okay job with this chapter, but committed a major error: Daredevil doesn’t have any super-powers, much less super speed (Rico apparently confused him with the comic’s title character, Silver Streak). But it’s a fun, imaginative read which ends with some unanswered “cliffhanger” questions. Will Lucifer banish The Claw to the far Asian interior? Or will Daredevil die, giving The Claw the victory?

The answer to both questions was “no”, but readers never discovered those answers via a sixth chapter of this tale — no more installments were produced. The next issue of Silver Streak saw Daredevil battling against racketeers as though his five-part fight against his evil nemesis had never happened, and The Claw never again graced the pages of Silver Streak Comics. But Daredevil became a huge comic star as a result of his multiple issue struggle against The Claw and he was given his own title in the summer of 1941. The Claw was a regular in Daredevil Comics as a back-up feature throughout the war years, and that legendary villain picked up a new nemesis — he battled a new costumed hero named The Ghost in an ongoing series of tales for nearly two years from late 1941 to late 1943.

So let’s now bring Bonus Battle October to an exciting close with the fifth part of “Daredevil Battles The Claw” from Silver Streak Comics #11:

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Silver Streak Comics #11, June 1941

Have fun! — Steve

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

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