Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and thirty-third installment where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Here is part one of this week's legends.
Marvel originally just planned on publishing the original Golden Age Daredevil.
The first legend this week was about how Marvel just decided to essentially pick up Magazine Enterprises Ghost Rider character and adapt the character as their own character, as the trademark to the character was abandoned once Magazine Enterprises went out of business in the mid-1950s and so Marvel figured that the odds were that Vin Sullivan, founder of Magazine Enterprises, wouldn't sue over the usage.
In general, Martin Goodman was well-known for his ability to pick up abandoned intellectual property rights when he thought Marvel could use them. Ghost Rider was one example, but another example was Daredevil.
Daredevil was a superhero character created by Jack Binder and Jack Cole for Lev Gleason's comic book company for a one-shot where he battled Hitler...
It was a huge sales success, so the character got his own series by writer/artist Charles Biro...
Eventually, a group of young sidekicks known as the Little Wise Guys were added to the series...
Over time, they took over the book from Daredevil and when the series was finally canceled in the mid-1950s, they were actually the outright leads of the book...
Eight years after the book ended in 1956, Marvel launched their own Daredevil in 1964...
While Marvel used the Daredevil name, their Daredevil was much different (based on a concept by Bill Everett and developed by Everett and Stan Lee, with Jack Kirby likely designing the costume and then Steve Ditko helped finish the first issue when Everett fell way behind schedule). However, that was not their original plan!
Originally, they were going to just go the Ghost Rider route with Daredevil, as well!
In his 2008 pamphlet, Avenging Mind, Steve Ditko revealed that Marvel approached him about simply adapting Biro's Daredevil to Marvel! He explained:
Lev Gleason's publications' copyrights, had become public property. Goodman or his lawyers, became aware of this. Marvel acquired [or usurped] Daredevil who had been drawn by Charles Biro. Stan wanted me to do [launch] the Marvel Daredevil. I could actually use Biro's Daredevil costume [if i wanted, or create something new. But,] I didn't want to do it [Marvel’s Daredevil book].
Fascinating. Ditko has generally been on the level when it comes to comic book history that he was involved in, so I tend to believe him.
Obviously, Marvel's Daredevil worked out a whole lot better (especially once Wallace Wood changed the costume), but it would have been interesting to see a Ditko take on the character, as well.
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Check back soon for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!