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.)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

T-shirt #287 - Daredevil Red Logo

T-shirt #287- Daredevil Red Logo

Good day, mates. Welcome to another all comic book megaplex with reviews, insights, and WAY TOO MUCH cover art.

Brace yourself. You know how I do crazy long posts on holidays? Well, guess what yesterday was?

I wrote about Daredevil for the first time in T-shirt #267. Since I only own two Daredevil shirts, at present, then this is it for my Daredevil content for the year at least as a shirt feature.

I have always loved the Daredevil character and have found the Daredevil comic books to be (almost always) compelling. Because of how he overcomes his blindness with his special powers makes Daredevil a very interesting character.  Of all the powers in Marvel Comics, at least among its Franchise heroes, I like the powers of Daredevil best. If given a choice, I would choose the powers of Daredevil over Spider-Man, the Invisible Woman, The Hulk, Captain America, Thor, and/or Wolverine. Though I do not like the trade off, and I would hate to lose my sight, Daredevil's radar and enhanced senses are very cool and useful powers. Though it would be difficult to argue for choosing to be Daredevil over characters like the Silver Surfer and the Captain MarVell with their power cosmic; Vision, with his intangibility and diamond hardness; or Doctor Strange with his surgeon sexiness and sorcery supreme. But that's just my opinion.

I have imagined stretching out my radar senses to scan the world around me, opening my enhanced senses to every sound, smell, taste in my radius, sorting through massive amounts of information to zero in on just the right thing. Daredevil's powers are just damn cool. There's no dispute. (If you wanna dispute it, hit me with a comment).

I love the Internet because I knew that searching "Why I love Daredevil" would produce results achieving a greater level of detail and possibly more articulate responses than my brief comments above.

The first comes from WhatCulture.com, a site too rich with ads, like many, but  with a good article on the greatness of old hornhead. Though the fifteen items are thought-provoking, I disagree with the rankings. Author Cameron Carpenter starts with Daredevil's handicap, which in my mind is the NUMBER ONE reason he's so awesome and arguably THE BEST Marvel Franchise hero.


Though I would put this reason as #1, as I stated, let me quote this guy as his reasoning here is sound on Daredevil's handicap.

"We’ll kill off the obvious, first. When the conception of the character rattled through Stan Lee’s mind in the sixties, the “Walt Disney” of Marvel had a major fear, thinking that audiences would find Matthew Murdock’s handicap offensive.

“Strangely enough, I was afraid that there might be a negative reaction to a blind superhero, primarily among blind people. I felt they would feel, you know, ‘What’s this guy trying to do? We can’t do things like that! Is this some sort of a parody?’ And I was nervous about it. And then I was amazed to find that we got more fan mail in the beginning from charities for the blind. They said ‘The people that we’re involved with are so grateful that there is a blind superhero and that they love that idea!’ And, oh man, what a relief that was for me.” – Stan Lee

"Murdock’s handicap isn’t just interesting in design, either, because it provides a plethora of story-telling options for whomever is penning the issue. It’s something Frank Miller realized to a “t,” that because this is a well-versed man who hasn’t seen the world in ages, he has to describe everything to himself to make constant sense of it. And he’s able to do it so poetically, which is a perfect outlet for a writer who is seeking a character and an outlet for beautiful language. Just in handicap, Murdock gives both the writer something new to talk about and the reader something new to read, but in a way that never comes off hammy or pulpy because of the nature of the character and story. It’s utilizing every aspect of the character instead of writing a dime-a-dozen plot and throwing a guy in spandex in the middle."

The rest of this guy's reasons are all right, but he's definitely stretching it to get 15, such as #14 - He Has a Full Time Job. But it's worth a read, even though it's one of those one reason per page, click next and see lots more ads sort of deals. His rankings are completely... subjective, which is the point of this kind of thing after all, right? I do agree with #4 - He Has the Best Love Interests, though, again, I might make this one #2 or #3. His first reason is He Loses. Though this is a key element of why he is great, and his stories are great, I would have made this one #15 and made his handicap #1. This guy separates Karen Page, one of the key love interests, as #2, which I guess is all right, but I may have separated Elektra instead or left all the women in a catch-all item.

Next, there's THE NERD CAVE and Nick's WHY I LOVE DAREDEVIL. This writer does a good job of explaining his connection to Daredevil and why he is such a great hero in a brief essay.

And lastly, THE WOLFMAN COMETH and his WHY I LOVE DAREDEVIL post. This guy's wacky and yet loving tirade about Daredevil seems to have some affection for Ben Affleck's portrayal in the film version. Wolfman's article on Daredevil is as much about Wolfman as about Daredevil, but it is an interesting read.

One thing that none of these writers quite identify is that Daredevil is probably the best superhero in the genre that embodies the tragedy model set forth with Batman in 1939. Bob Kane gave Batman a tragic origin to explain why an ordinary man would be so driven to become a character like The Batman. Though DC did not continue to use this paradigm with its other heroes consistently, it is something Stan Lee used repeatedly in his 1960s relaunch of Marvel Comics and its a trope that other creators continued to use in later characters and their origins, such as the Punisher (family slaughtered by the mob) and Wolverine (lost memory of his childhood or even his real name).

Starting with Spider-Man (atoning for the guilt of not preventing his uncle's death), Stan Lee gave almost every hero in those early years a tragic origin. The Thing was trapped in a hideous body while Mister Fantastic lived with the guilt of how his hubris damaged his friend. Doctor Strange found magic and became a sorcerer after searching the world to find a way to heal nerve damage that would allow him to continue his career as a surgeon. Iron Man could only keep a piece of shrapnel from his heart by wearing his armor. The Hulk makes Bruce Banner's life a living Hell of blackouts, rage, and destruction, much like an alcoholic's existence (thinking of the movie Flight here, which I just watched). The mutants of the X-Men are hated and feared by the world and often must hide frightening elements of their mutation which bring their own handicaps, such as Cyclops' optic blasts and special glasses. Captain America is a man out of time, awakened in a modern world in which he does not feel he belongs. Silver Surfer is trapped on Earth for defying Galactus. Thor is being taught a lesson by his father Odin by sharing his existence with a handicapped mortal.

And then, there's Daredevil.

Matt Murdock is blinded as a young boy when he saves an old man from a truck in the streets of New York. A radioactive cannister burns his eyes, blinding him, but also conveys heightened senses and a special radar sense, which allow him to function better than a sighted person. Though Matt is bullied, Matt's father insists that he not fight  his tormentors but practice forgiveness and devote himself to study, pushing him toward becoming a lawyer rather than a boxer like his old man ("I coulda been a contender"). As if blinding Matt is not enough tragedy, his father is killed by the mob after he refuses to throw a fight. Matt seeks revenge as Daredevil, a costume modeled on his father's boxing outfit.

But that's still not enough tragedy for Matt Murdock, and over the years creators have heaped more tragedy on his life, cultivating rich pathos worthy of the greatest tragic heroes of classic literature, including the Kingpin's destruction of Murdock's life; Bullseye's murder of one of Matt's great loves, Elektra; the death of Karen Page; and more.

Quite arguably, there's no hero in all of comics that has suffered as Daredevil has suffered, and as pointed out by Cameron Carpenter in the article above, Daredevil doesn't always come out victorious: he loses.

In many ways, the entire run of comic books about Daredevil are worth reading, even though this consists of around 549 issues as of this blog writing.

As I explained in one of the Rules of Chris -- T-shirt #273 - U2 -- people often love best what they loved first. So it is with Daredevil. One of the blogger's shared in the previous links cited Brian Michael Bendis' run of Daredevil issues for giving him a love of the character. I am lucky enough to have discovered Daredevil during the Lee/Colan era and starting out with the one issue that Stan Lee has proclaimedthat  he is most proud of from his entire career, not just in Daredevil comics, but all comics (as I wrote about in T-shirt #267).

In T-shirt #267, I shared a short essay from Marvel Comics in the 1960s published by TwoMorrows Publishing on the excellence of an early issue of the Daredevil comic created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. This still ranks among my favorite eras in Daredevil history, though the two runs by Frank Miller and the long run by Brian Michael Bendis are also notable, though not to be outdone by the Brubaker/Lark stories or those drawn by John Romita, Jr. and written by Ann Nocenti. The Kevin Smith/Quesada run was decent, but all of these sets of issues are rivaled by the current incarnation of the comic (Volume Three), which should rank among the best of the best.


Lee never gave Colan a full script for an issue of Daredevil; instead, he would tell him the plot, and Colan would tape record the conversation to refer to while drawing the issue, leaving Lee to add the script in afterwards. Though Colan is consistently credited as penciller only, Lee would typically give him the freedom to fill in details of the plot as he saw fit. Lee explained "If I would tell Gene who the villain was and what the problem was, how the problem should be resolved and where it would take place, Gene could fill in all the details. Which made it very interesting for me to write because when I got the artwork back and had to put in the copy, I was seeing things that I'd not expected." The 31-issue Lee/Colan run on the series included Daredevil #47, in which Murdock defends a blind Vietnam veteran against a frame-up; Lee has cited it as the story he is most proud of out of his entire career. With issue #51, Lee turned the writing chores over to Roy Thomas (who succeeded him on a number of Marvel's titles), but would remain on board as editor for another 40 issues.
DAREDEVIL RESOURCES (again, originally presented in T-shirt #267).



Pages below are the divided up sets of the Comic Vine resources located at the main page above.






FROM T-shirt #267: "Since the new Marvel re-launch, Daredevil written by Mark Waid and with art by Chris Samnee has been one of Marvel's best publications. Currently with thirty-three (now thirty-four) issues released, it is not an insurmountable task to obtain the entire run of the comic in trade paperbacks or even in individual issues."

I may cheat. I have been meaning to pull out all my issues from this run of Daredevil and give an in-depth review as I did with Aquaman in T-shirt #221, but I have not taken the time yet. So if I come back to this post and update it, this is why.
The current set of issues is brilliant and arguably the very best comic being published by Marvel right now. Once again, I strongly urge comic book readers and even though with a passing interest but the desire to read some excellent superhero work to get these issues of Daredevil immediately. Do not stop to pass GO. Do not collect $200. One of the main reasons the comics are so good is that Waid has not forgotten that Daredevil is first and foremost MATTHEW MURDOCK attorney at law. This means he has a full time job besides being Daredevil, he has a business partner, he has past loves and current love interests, and he was outed as Daredevil in the press and so the world pretty much knows that Murdock is Daredevil, though he has tried many things to deflect and subvert this prevailing opinion.

He is a human being. Or as a friend of mine just summarized the Marvel universe: 'real people with real problems."

In the recent issues, Waid and Samnee (originally Marcos Martin or Paolo Manuel Rivera) tell compelling stories of interesting villains and Daredevil's novel means of defeating them, such as the Klaw and The Coyote. Also, Foggy Nelson has cancer, and this is an ongoing story of emotional turmoil, in which Matt may lose the one person who has been consistently a part of his life since his college days. The law practice is not forgotten, though Murdock has been working as a consultant for people who cannot afford legal services rather than practicing law in the court room as a trial lawyer. There was also a story line in which Matt had parts of the corpse of his father in his office, leading Foggy to think he had gone insane. But most notably, the story of Foggy's cancer and Matt's vigil at his bedside evoke new  specific to Murdock given his special abilities: he struggles with the smells of the disease, the treatments, the patient, and the hospital as an intriguing side effect of how Daredevil's powers can Matt Murdock's life as miserable as it is wonderful.

As I wrote before, I may provide updates later. Though I have WAY TOO MANY covers shared at the end of the blog today, I am sneaking in many more as I deliver content because...well, because I can.

I don't know if this works on you
like it does me but a comic with a cover like
this is just begging for me to read it.


(Waid/Samnee/Copland/Rodriguez) "Monster Mash" - In this second part of a two-parter, Matt Murdock/Daredevil has traveled to Stone Hills, Kentucky to track down an ancient book the Darkhold, intended to be used by the Sons of the Serpent in their White Supremacy schemes. As Daredevil investigates, he teams up with Satanna, The Living Mummy, the Frankenstein Monster, Jack Russell/the Werewolf by Night, and "Garth," a zombie.

Meanwhile, Foggy Nelson's battle with cancer continues, but in a cruel joke, someone faked Foggy's death, making it look as if he hanged himself. In the end of the previous issue, Daredevil was shot, and so this issue opens with a dream sequence because DD is unconscious. This is another excellent example of Waid/Samnee's (the latter has writing credits on this issue, too) character development. Matt is at the beach with Foggy, though it's not Foggy. Matt is describing how difficult it is for him to deal with Foggy's illness: "The smells of death. The din of linen bandages scraping your [Foggy's] skin. The taste of rot in the air around you. It's growing unbearable, Foggy." The Foggy who is not Foggy but the neighborhood grocer from Matt's childhood, somehow associated with Foggy by Matt's subconscious mind as he dreams, wades out into the ocean and goes under as Matt screams his name. Matt wakes up as the crew of monsters work to bandage and revive him. Excellent sequence!!

Samnee's art is cartoony yet gothic and moody, like a cross between the art of Francavilla and Pat Oliffe (who made his name with the 1990s Untold Tales of Spider-Man comic written by Kurt Busiek) sprinkled with flavorings of Scott McLeod but all uniquely excellent and original, not really derivative at all.

Fully healed with the help of some magic, Daredevil uses a clever ploy that threatens to burn the Mummy to get information about the Darkhold. Some nifty background on the book, The Darkhold, also known as "The First Book," is delivered, which connects to the current story with the Sons of the Serpent and re-positions the Darkholdbook in Marvel history (as this is not its first appearance).

Once again in an example of smart writing, we readers are reminded that Daredevil is blind and how this works to his advantage when he must navigate a treacherous cave to get to the book without a torch. Daredevil is also able to fight his way through the illusions in the cave much more easily because he does not see. In the end, he is discovered by the keeper of the book, a man named Sinclair, but Daredevil has set the man's library and thus also the Darkhold book ablaze. The monsters rush in, especially Satanna, who can't believe that Daredevil would let something so valuable burn. But in the comic's last panel, we see ancient pages tucked into DD's billy club holder as he walks away! Superb!

(Waid/Rodriguez/Lopez) "The Devil Went Down to ... Kentucky"

Okay, so it's a three-parter. This issue tops the previous one if that's possible. Daredevil is still working to defeat the Sons of the Serpent who have infiltrated all layers of local government to control people and to control the city. Matt has asked Doctor Strange to his office to consult about the pages he took from the DarkHold. Strange explains that the name of the first serpent appears on each page, a name that can be used to persuade people, but Strange will not utter it aloud. He also warns Matt that he will have a problem with Satanna when she finds out that he took these pages "and she will find out." Matt asks Strange if the "spell of restoration" used to help him in the last issue to heal from the gun shot wound can heal Foggy's cancer, but Strange demurs that such things are beyond the reach of spells and magic.

The story then branches out in other directions, further establishing Matt Murdock's life as a lawyer, a person, a potential boyfriend, and Daredevil, which is what makes these comics so excellent. So many creators forget that the heroes are also people. The relationships and the lives these heroes lead as people are immensely important to their stories and their character development, especially for long-term, die hard readers. Sure, there should be battles and adventure and action, but there needs to be quiet moments, such as page five of this issue as Matt stands on the roof of a building reviewing recent events in his life before he tracks down his most recent love interest and fellow lawyer Kirsten McDuffie. There's no drop off from Samnee's art in the last issue to Rodriguez's here. Rodriguez's work is less moody and shadow filled. His lines are clean, and there's some very beautiful work both detailed and romantic as Matt shadows Kirsten as she runs through Central Park and, in his Matt clothes not his Daredevil clothes, foils a mugging.

Matt explains how he needs her help with a plan. DD has borrowed equipment that will allow him to speak through every electronic device to all the people in the city of New York to foil the campaign of hate being sowed by the Sons of the Serpent, and he will use the word, the name of the serpent, to make his plea for the chief villain leading the Sons, the Jester, to be delivered to him or he threatens to torch the manuscript, which they know he has because he let Kristen speak the word (because he cannot see it to read it). As Daredevil goes off to collect the Jester and battle the Sons of the Serpent in their lair, Kirsten takes the opportunity with the equipment to deliver her own message to the city of New York, a message about the hate-mongering being promulgated by the Sons of the Serpent and how New Yorkers should all rise up against it. What it also does is make her a target as the Sons triangulate on her position. Waid and Rodriguez make it seem that Kirsten has been shot, but she is saved, and then Daredevil deals his righteous fury on the shooters.

In the last panels, Kirsten gets a call: "Matt, it's your office. Something about Foggy."

Great cliff hanger!!

Oh yeah, this is my cool special edition Daredevil toy. Yes, I am a geek and a HUGE Daredevil fan.


Look, Ma!! No backlog!! Fancy that. A whole stack of comics and I am caught up on all of those titles, until I fall behind again. In the interests of keeping this entry shorter, not much else to say. Expect some of these to be reviewed in the future.

COMICS FOR 1312.31

Aquaman #26
Guardians of the Galaxy #010
Superman Unchained #5
New Avengers #013
Clone #13
Tom Strong and the Planet of Peril #6 of 6
Fables #136
Legenderry #1
Rocket Girl #3
The Flash #26
Teen Titans #26
Catwoman #26
Superman #26


The Manhattan Projects - Volume One


Some of the rest of my favorite Daredevil comic book covers. Though I have great covers from many period of Daredevil's comic history here, I shared more in  T-shirt #267.

Art by Wally Wood
Also the comic featured with the toy

Gene Colan
Classic cover tease
in a romance/horror mash of styles

Gil Kane, from the 1970s period
when the comic was
Daredevil and the Black Widow
though this one isn't

Bob Brown inked by Romita
great composition with the figures

Gil Kane interior art
but cover, too?
The next EIGHT covers are all by Frank Miller. I even skip over many issues in between Miller's original run (later issues penciled by Klaus Janson) and his return to the book for a set of issues, and I feature the cover for #230. I think I like Miller's run in his return from issues 227-233 with art by David Mazuchelli, who Miller worked with on the most excellent Batman Year One for DC Comics.

Daredevil comics were mediocre to awful until Ann Nocenti took over writing and John Romita Jr. took over art chores around issue #250 ( I shared some samples previously). The next two covers are from that period.

Others may not, but I really like Scott McDaniel's work. Next two by McDaniel.

Most of the rest have the names on the cover. I love the David Mack work and was select in my choices.

I Love this Romita, Sr.
Guest spot.
He made his name originally in romance comics.

The next two:  Marko Djurdjevic

The next six are from the recent run, volume three.


- chris tower - 1401.02 - 19:31