Greetings from the Odinson,
A Look at Comics History: Part 9 of 10 – Spider-Man and Daredevil
The Odinson has written down the names of ten different odd couples on Post-its, threw them in my winged helmet, and each week I will pull one at random and discuss the Comic Book History of these characters.
This week, Your Friendly Neighborhood Web-Slinger and the Man without Fear.
Bitten by a radioactive spider, teenager Peter Parker was given the proportionate strength and speed of an arachnid and now as Spider-Man lives by the creed that with great power there must also come great responsibility. Blinded by mysterious chemicals as a child, Matt Murdock’s other senses were heightened to super human levels. Trained by the mysterious Stick in the art of Ninjutsu, Murdock now fights crime by day as a lawyer, and by night as Daredevil the masked defender of Hell’s Kitchen.
Fast Spidey Friends – In Daredevil #1, Matt Murdock’s very first appearance, his milestone debut is compared to that of the Amazing Spider-Man on the cover. Even though Spidey makes no appearance with in the comic, this shows that these two heroes have been connected since the very beginning. In Daredevil #54, DD fakes Matt Murdock’s death leaving his friends, including Spider-Man, thinking Murdock’s connection with his super hero identity was all in their heads. If you’d like to know what an average day in the life of these two crime fighters is like in the Big City, check out Marvel Knights: Spider-Man/Daredevil.
Amazing Team-Ups – Over the years, the amazing wall-crawler and ole Horn Head have formed one of the most enduring unofficial dynamic duos in Comics History. In Daredevil #77, an emotionally distraught Spidey (Peter is still reeling from the Death of Gwen Stacy) teams up with Daredevil to take on the unparalleled might of the Savage Sub-Mariner! In the 70s, when Matt relocated to California for a time with Black Widow, in Daredevil #103, he and Natasha team up with a visiting Peter Parker to take down the two-fisted Ramrod. They would team up again a few years later in Spectacular Spider-Man #26-28 to track down their old foe, the Masked Marauder.
Marvel Team-Up Annual #4 sees Spidey and DD teaming up with fellow street level heroes Moon Knight, Power Man and Iron Fist to topple the sinister Purple Man. Then, Marvel Team-Up #123 sees our battered heroes trying to stop a super assassin from silencing a police informant. In Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22, DD and Spidey, alongside neophyte hero Speedball, get swept up in the events of Evolutionary War.
Daredevil #270 sees Spidey and DD teaming up to take on the spawn of the devil himself – Blackheart! In Daredevil #305-306, Matt and Peter track down a serial killer that takes her victims’ organs! And in Amazing Spider-Man #438, Spidey and Daredevil are baffled in a caper that involves a device that can warp the perception of reality.
Spectacular Stand Offs – Their meetings are not always cordial. These two have left each other black and blue on more than one occasion. The very first time these intrepid heroes meet in Amazing Spider-Man #16, they are forced to battle as Spidey has been hypnotized by the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime. In Daredevil #16-17, they are tricked into fighting each other by the Masked Marauder. In Daredevil Annual #5, an Atlantis Attacks tie-in, the villainous Tyranuus takes control of the wall-crawler and pits our two heroes against each other again! Luckily, in all these occasions, it doesn’t take long for them to realize their mistake and team-up.
During the Shadowland campaign, when Daredevil had become a vessel for the demonic Beast, Spider-Man is among the team of heroes, heroes that all have a connection with Matt, who step up to bring their lost friend back to the light. And during the recent Through Hell storyline, when Daredevil becomes a fugitive from the law, Spider-Man shows up with a warning proving that friends or not, there are still lines that cannot be crossed.
Hey, whose Villain is This? – Spider-Man has one of the greatest Rogues Galleries in all of comicdom and sometimes these sinister foes make their way to Hell’s Kitchen. Murdock has encountered the shocking might of Electro. He has traded blows with Spidey’s old sparring partner, Ox. He has felt the sting of Scorpion. He has been hunted by Kraven and caught in the crushing grip of Doctor Octopus. Plus, Daredevil has been baffled by the illusions and machinations of Mysterio.
Not to be out done, Spidey has had his fair share of run-ins with perennial DD foes like Stilt Man, Mr. Hyde, Cobra, Gladiator, and the Owl. Back from the Edge sees them both taking on their avian foes, Vulture and Owl. Spidey helps DD take on the Ani-Men, in Marvel Team-Up #25. Plus, Daredevil and Spidey get caught up in the wake of the Black Cat when the femme fatale uses her sultry manipulations on our heroes. However, there are two shared antagonists that can be just as synonymous with Daredevil as they can be with Spider-Man – Punisher and Kingpin.
Frank Castle made his very first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #129 and has made the wall-crawler’s life very difficult for many years. However, since Frank Miller’s Child’s Play, Castle has plagued and helped Daredevil just as many times, if not more, than Spidey.
Wilson Fisk, the infamous Kingpin of Crime, made his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #50-51. However, from Amazing Spider-Man #197 to Daredevil #170-171, Wilson Fisk makes the transition from a perennial Spidey rogue to becoming Matt Murdock’s arch enemy. Once again under the watch of Frank Miller.
Just imagine the conflict of interest and moral turmoil our heroes are put through when in Marvel Knights: Daredevil/Spider-Man they are forced to actually protect Wilson Fisk!
You Aren’t the Spidey I Know – It’s hard to fool a man with super human senses, and Daredevil is no fool. So imagine his surprise over the years when he meets a Spider-Man that is not Peter Parker behind the mask. Daredevil #354 sees Matt Murdock meeting Ben Reily, Spidey’s 90s clone replacement, for the first time, and again in Spider-Man #74. He has known Spidey to be Amazing, Spectacular, and even Sensational from time to time, but in Daredevil #22, Murdock meets a Superior Spider-Man. In Superior Spider-Man Team-Up #9-10, Daredevil and Punisher begrudgingly join forces with this Superior Spider-Man, a Spider-Man that is very different from the one they know.
Web of Support – Over the years, Parker and Murdock’s masked personas have become really strong allies, even showing each other moral support when needed. In Amazing Spider-Man #219, when Peter Parker is wrongfully imprisoned, attorney Matt Murdock steps in to clear the good Parker name. During Fantastic Four #243 when Galactus threatens the world and Incredible Hulk #300 when the Green Goliath rages out of control, Spider-Man and Daredevil provide moral support to each other and realize their talents can be best spent keeping civilians safe while the Avengers and FF handle the heavy lifting. Which is probably what they should have done in Silver Surfer #128 when the Puppet Master unleashed his Norrin Radd doppelganger upon the city of New York.
Daredevil helps Spidey on the devastating Death of Jean DeWolff case. During the harrowing drama of Gang War, in Amazing Spider-Man #287, Daredevil steps in to make sure an enraged Spidey doesn’t do something he will surely regret, and he takes the lumps for his effort.
In Daredevil #8, when Matt is at a very low point emotionally, his ole pal Spidey shows up to have a poignant pep talk and set him right. In Daredevil #35, after Matt’s biggest secret has been made public, once again Spidey is on hand to show his support. Murdock returns the favor in Kraven’s First Hunt when this time it’s Spidey’s secret identity that has been compromised.
After the chaos of a tumultuous year that saw Matt endure To Know Fear, No Devils, Only God, and Through Hell, Spider-Man returns in Truth/Dare to help his horned pal bring justice back to the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
Anyone who has seen the ending of Spider-Man: Far from Home knows that our Web-Head is going to need all the support he can get in the next film, and rumor has it that a certain blind lawyer from Hell’s Kitchen may just be the one who lends a hand. Fingers crossed.
Spider-Man and Daredevil have been entwined almost since the very beginning. To try and cover every single time these two intrepid heroes have teamed up, squared off, and conversed with each other could take all day. I’ve tried to cover and high light some of the best and most important. There can be no doubt that your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man and Daredevil the Man without Fear are one of the greatest unofficial dynamic duos in Comics History.
Be sure to tune in next week as the Odinson concludes this series and picks the last pair of names from my winged helmet and explores their shared Comic Book History.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: Be sure to check out my new book – Autumn Dawn: A Glen Haven Tale. Available in Paperback, on Kindle, and Audiobook