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An Iconic Namor/Daredevil Fight Was Nearly the Start of a New Namor Series

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In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, discover how the iconic Wallace Wood Daredevil/Namor fight was nearly the start of a Wood Namor run


Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the eight hundred and seventy-second installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false. As usual, there will be three posts, one for each of the three legends. The next FEW installments will be all Namor-centric, in honor of the historic Marvel character making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut. Click here for the first legend in this installment.

NOTE: If my Twitter page hits 5,000 followers, I’ll do a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed that week. Great deal, right? So go follow my Twitter page, Brian_Cronin!

COMIC LEGEND:

Wallace Wood nearly followed his iconic Daredevil/Namor fight with a Namor feature in Tales to Astonish.

STATUS:

True

As I noted recently in another Comic Book Legends Revealed, as Marvel was beginning to ever so slightly expand its superhero content in 1963/1964, the company needed more artists, and they now had enough cachet to get some of the top artists of the 1950s. When Bill Everett was unable to keep up with the deadlines on the newly-launched Daredevil series, Stan Lee first turned to veteran EC Comics artist, Joe Orlando. Orlando was surprised and disappointed to learn how much essentially extra work he had to do on the project. He didn’t like the extra plotting that he had to do (that he would not get paid extra for), but he REALLY didn’t like all of the edits Stan Lee would make him do on the series (as Orlando was obviously not a traditional “Marvel style” artist, so Lee had a lot of thoughts in how to MAKE him look more like the style Lee liked on the books). Tom Brevoort once noted, “Orlando once told me that he wound up having to pencil 7 or 8 pages for every 5 that were accepted, as Lee would come up with different actions he’d want the characters to take after pages were drawn.”

So Orlando recommended that Marvel ask his fellow EC alum, Wallace Wood. Wood took over the book with Daredevil #5, and he was excellent from the start. He would soon, though, set the highwater mark of his run that was up there with the very best Marvel Silver Age stories PERIOD.

RELATED: The Story of Namor the Sub-Mariner’s Double Debut


WHAT HAPPENED IN THE FIGHT OF DAREDEVIL AND NAMOR?

Daredevil #7 (by Wood and Stan Lee) had a really clever plot. Namor was convinced by the conniving Attuma to try to reason with humanity. Namor comes to New York City with the intent of suing the United States over their treatment of Atlantis, with Matt Murdock serving as his lawyer. Obviously, Namor is also arrested by the government for his various crimes against the United States. Things look like they are going reasonably well until Namor finds out that Attuma has basically done a coup while Namor was busy on dry land. Namor’s like, “Okay, we’ll pick this up later, after I quell this coup.” And the military are like, “Nope, you’re going to jail.” Namor, of course, was not fazed by the jail and decides to break out, while the army wants to fight him. Daredevil (as an aside, this was also THE VERY FIRST APPEARANCE OF DAREDEVIL’S RED COSTUME! Isn’t that nuts? Mixed into the middle of this already iconic comic book, Wood also introduced one of the greatest costume redesigns in superhero history, as it is one of the few examples where the secondary costume is THE costume for a character, especially a character this notable. Obviously, Iron Man is another notable example) knows that this will lead to the deaths of many soldiers, so he pleads with the Army to let him take on Namor, instead…

Wood then draws an amazing fight, with Daredevil doing all sorts of tricks to try to fight the much more powerful Namor…

Namor thinks things are finally over, but Daredevil picks himself up…

And Daredevil then tries one last shot at slowing Namor down, but injures himself so much that even as he tries to get up to fight some more, he can’t.

This leads to one of the coolest moments of the Silver Age, Namor’s awesome respectful note about Daredevil…

Namor was so impressed that he agreed to just fly away and avoid the army entirely. Daredevil saved a bunch of lives and property damage by putting himself on the line.

Great stuff, right? Well, it was almost CONTINUED!

RELATED: Superman: Carlos Pacheco’s Hidden Lana Lang Secret

WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WITH WOOD AND NAMOR?

You see, in a lot of ways, this story was sort of a backdoor pilot (when you use a story in one place to setup a spinoff. I do a whole feature on TV backdoor pilots). You can almost see it right from the first page, where Wood did an amazing job designing Namor’s kingdom…

daredevil-7-1-1

You see, Namor was set to spinoff into his own regular feature in Tales to Astonish, replacing Giant-Man and the Wasp, and Wood was going to draw it.

However, Wood, too, was tiring of the experience working with Stan Lee. He didn’t have the page edits problem that Orlando had, as Wood was able to draw in the “Marvel style” easily enough (although Lee still made occasional corrections, even on this classic story). His bigger issue was that he wasn’t being paid extra to plot the comics. As you can see here, Wood came up with a VERY elaborate, and very outstanding comic book story, all on his own, and Lee came in, added the dialogue and got credit for writing the whole thing (as you can see on the splash page). Not just the credit, but also the paycheck. So Wood insisted on getting paid as a writer, too. Lee gave it a shot, but he clearly wasn’t too thrilled with the idea, and it fell apart right away (I’ll cover that whole mess in a future CBLR), and so Wood left Marvel, and obviously, that meant that he backed out on doing the Namor feature in Tales to Astonish. Instead, Marvel imported another outside artist, Gene Colan, to launch the feature (Colan would go on to become a Marvel mainstay for decades).

CHECK OUT A MOVIE LEGENDS REVEALED!

In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – DIscover the strange origins of the Alan Smithee pseudonym!

PART THREE SOON!

Check back soon for part 3 of this installment’s legends!

Feel free to send suggestions for future comic legends to me at either [email protected] or [email protected]

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