365 T-shirts - the reasoning

This blog should be sub-titled: a journal of my life in geek.

I get my geek on with things about which I am geeky: comic books, Baseball, Ultimate, science fiction, my favorite bands, books I have read and loved, and Jungian psychology to name some of the most frequently traversed subjects.

I began this project simply as a way to count my T-shirts. I own a lot of T-shirts. But how many do I have? Do I have 365? We shall find out.

When I started this blog, I thought about how each T-shirt means something to me. I bought it for a reason, after all. I set myself the task to post an entry about a new T-shirt every day as a way to simply write something every day, a warm up for writing fiction, which is my passion. Writing is like exercise. Warm ups are good for exercise. But after completing a month of blogging about T-shirts, I have learned that this blog serves as a journal; it documents my life in geek, sort of a tour of my interests in pop culture. The blog serves as a tool for self-inventory, for assessment and analysis of self and the origins of self, for stepping through the process of individuation in catalogues, lists, and ranks.

The blog also made me aware that I have some serious gaps in my T-shirt ownership, and I am in the process of collecting some new T-shirts for several of the great popular culture icons that I truly love. Stay tuned.

I was also a bit surprised that people checked out my blog and continue to check it, read it, and even comment on it. I am very appreciative of this readership. Please feel free to share your thoughts in my comments section. I will respond.

Also, please note that I have moved the original introductory text to the side bar. And now, I present to you the most recent entry of 365 T-shirts: a journal of my life in geek. Thank you for reading.
(Second Update - 1310.24. First Update - 1306.05 Originally Posted - 1304.25.)

Friday, December 13, 2013

T-shirt #267 - DareDevil - Black long-sleeved shirt

T-shirt #267 - DareDevil - Black long-sleeved shirt

The Daredevil comic book pictured above is not the first Daredevil comic I ever owned, but it is my favorite. It is the cover for Daredevil #55 - "Cry Coward" with art by the inestimable Gene Colan. It was published in 1969.

The first Daredevil comic I bought as a young boy was Daredevil #47 - "Brother Take My Hand", pictured below. I like the cover, but it does not have the impact of #55. Published in the year before, 1968, it addresses more progressive social issues. Though as a young boy the cover of #55 caught my imagination more then the cover of #47, the latter was the much better comic book and an emblematic of Stan Lee's new direction for Marvel, using comic books to address social issues and to be enlightening.

I just downloaded a few dozen Daredevil comic books covers. I am not going to present all of them as I have a second Daredevil shirt to feature. Also, with the next Daredevil shirt, I want to share a more complete review of the current Daredevil comic book. In the picture to the right, you see me reading the most recent issues. Since the new Marvel re-launch, Daredevil written by Mark Waid and with art by Chris Samee has been one of Marvel's best publications. Currently with thirty-three issues released, it is not an insurmountable task to obtain the entire run of the comic in trade paperbacks or even in individual issues.

These early Daredevil comic book covers were drawn by the inestimable Gene Colan, to whom I have dedicated a category all his own as he is one of my favorite all time artists as discussed in the four entries thus far (#222, #254, #260, and this one #267). Gene Colan's realistic, moody, and dramatic art defined the Marvel Comics look of the late 1960s and 1970s. I have an extensive love letter to write for him in relation to his work on one of my favorite comic books of all time: The Tomb of Dracula. But that is yet to come. For now I want to share on the subject of Daredevil #47. In the span of eight issues, between #47 and #55, which I featured above, the price of comics changed from 12 cents to 15 cents. This was no great hardship, though my allowance in 1968-69 was based on the cost of TWO COMICS - a quarter covered the cost of two twelve cent comics plus tax. The issues also feature a switch from the writing of Stan Lee in #47 to the writing of Roy Thomas in issue #55.

Pierre Comtois has written these wonderful books dedicated to Marvel by decades (one for the 1960s and one for the 1970s). Published by TwoMorrows Publishing, Marvel Comics in the 1960s has an entry on Daredevil #47, which I would like to present in its entirety. Enjoy.

Although characters with three dimensional personalities, Kirby-style dynamic action, and continuity among its titles were all elements that made up Marvel's rise to success in the Silver Age, none seemed to go right at the heart of it as its social conscience. Almost nascent in the early formative years, it first became manifest during the years of consolidation (expressed most obviously in Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandoes.)
But it was only with the arrival of the grandiose years that Stan Lee seemed to embark on a deliberate campaign to use his comics to enlighten readers on the important issues of the day. Sometimes the commentary was subtle, such as when the Watcher let drop the fact that there was a God ("There is only one who deserves that name [all powerful]! And his only weapon is... LOVE!") or the frequent appearance of African-Americans in crowd scenes. Later, minority characters began to be introduced as major characters in various strips, such as Black Panther in the Fantastic Four and Robbie Robertson in the Spider-Man strip.

Also, in these years, Lee inaugurated his monthly "Soapbox" column on the Bullpen Bulletins page that appeared in each of the company's comics. In the beginning the column was used to answer questions from the readers or to inform then about behind the scenes happenings at Marvel. But soon, the pace of current events began to impress themselves on Lee (as they had a habit of doing to everyone who lived through the 1960s; but then again, maybe he was finding out that readers he met on his college lecture tours were interested in other things besides comics) and little by little he began to address them in his Soapbox. Beginning modestly with a few paragraphs about such general topics as toleration, understanding, and love, Lee eventually expanded his remarks to cover more weighty subjects. Told in the quasi-hip, breezy voice he developed over the years, Lee lectured readers on the evils of racism, the problems of war and peace, pollution, drugs, and even religion. More then ever, Lee's entreaty for the community of comic book readers to come together in their mutual love of the medium and to consider the letters pages of Marvel Comics as neutral ground for reasoned discussion of sensitive topics appealed to readers. And when Lee began to practice what he preached by using the subjects he talked about in the Soapbox as themes for his stories, he inspired such loyalty (even a kind of cult of Stan Lee!) and pride among his readers that in some cases it would take decades to break.

Convincing himself of the power of comics to influence young people, Lee would eventually challenge the Comics Code Authority itself in order to do stories warning of the dangers of addictive drugs. Although never in danger of being rejected by the Code Authority, the story of Willie Lincoln in Daredevil #47 (Dec. 1968) is one of the most powerful examples of Lee's desire to introduce relevant topics into his comics. The story of "Brother Take my Hand!" begins in Vietnam as Daredevil performs for the troops. In the audience is Willie Lincoln, a black soldier recently blinded when he risked his life to save his squad from a VC grenade. Later, speaking to him privately, Daredevil discovers that although Willie is due to be discharged, he has little hope of living a normal life on the outside. "There lots of people without sight who lead useful, productive lives. All it takes is guts!" Daredevil tells him, aware of the irony that he himself is blind! Back home, Willie is unable to rejoin the police department as a detective due to his being tainted by the mob, and so hires Matt Murdock to help clear his name. 

In one of the strip's rare instances where readers get to see Murdock in the courtroom, Willie cleared of all charges. But to ex-soldier, it's a pyrrhic victory: "...Without my sight, where can I go? What can I do?"

"There are lots of things a blind man can do," Murdock assures him. "That's easy enough for you to say!" And then Willie gets the shock of his life as he learns for the first time that Matt is blind, too. "You? But you are one of the top lawyers in the country!" Then, alone in his apartment, Willie reflects: "...a short time ago I thought I'd hit bottom! But then I found me a friend and cleared my name! Now, even without my eyes, I'm looking forward to tomorrow, for the first time! I feel like I'm part of the human race again!" and "...when you get down to where it's at maybe that's what brotherhood is all about!"

It was a beautiful, well-paced, thoughtful story that even had its quota of action told in the style that Lee made completely his own--that is, enlightening, even uplifting, without sounding preachy. And the amazing thing about it was despite the easy opportunities to have made the story about race, Lee again (as he did with the Panther in Fantastic Four #52) ignored it to concentrate on the problems of the handicapped instead. Easily one of the most well rounded, memorable characters Lee (and Colan of course!) ever created, Willie Lincoln, war hero, police detective, and human being was one of the little known and unsung triumphs that definitely made those years what Lee used to call the Marvel Age of Comics!





The Walking Dead once again tops the stack, but it was a close call this week with all of the top six comics being eagerly anticipated. I am especially excited for Dynamite's new Doc Savage book, owing to my love for the character and the old pulp novels. Long list this week, and many comics to write about but that will happen in future entries. Read Lazarus last night before bed. AWESOME.

COMICS FOR 1312.11

The Walking Dead #118
Inhumanity: The Mighty Avengers #004
Cataclysm: Ultimate Spider-Man #002
Batman #26
Lazarus #5
The Man of Bronze: Doc Savage #1 (From Dynamite Comics)
Alex + Ada #2
Batgirl #26
Captain America #014
Wolverine #012
Inhumanity: Uncanny X-Men #015
Inhumanity: Avengers AI #007
Justice League #25
Justice League of America #10
Nova #011
Nightwing #26
Uber #8
Superman/Wonder Woman #3
Suicide Squad  #26
Shaolin Cowboy #3
Inhumanity: The Awakening #001
World's Finest: Power Girl and Huntress #18
Cataclysm: the Ultimates #002


Astro City #7
Amazing Spider-Man #s 700.2 & 700.3
Thunderbolts #019
Satellite Sam #5

Richard Stark Parker's Slayground - adapted and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
Iron Man (Many Iron Men) T-shirt (so I am going to get more content on Iron Man after all)


Before I sign off, some great Daredevil covers. More to come in the next installment. Here's eight more since I already featured five that brings today's count to THIRTEEN like the day. Magic.

Awesome Gil Kane art

Frank Miller

John Romita Jr.


- chris tower - 1312.13 - first published 19:57
second and final publication - 8:53