- Rompin' around town in a costume may not be the safest job of all -- but it has its good points -- at least, I don't have to squander my hard-earned shekels on cab fare! -- or worry about getting caught in traffic jams!
- -- Daredevil
Appearing in "Stilt-Man Strikes Again"
- Alec Guinness (Mentioned)
- Konstantin Stanislavski (Mentioned)
- Cary Grant (Mentioned)
- James Cagney (Mentioned)
- Perry Mason (Mentioned)
Races and Species:
- New York City New York State
- Microverse (Only in flashback)
- Masked Marauder's Helicopter
Synopsis for "Stilt-Man Strikes Again"
The story begins with Daredevil practicing acrobatics. He has taken the afternoon off in order to wander the city. He then realizes that he needs to return to the Nelson and Murdock Law Office, in case Foggy Nelson or Karen Page need him. He makes his way through New York City, while musing about how his secret identity helps him to avoid traffic jams. A passerby fails to recognize him, but figures that the man in the suit is yet another superhero. Another passersby comments that New York City is full of them.
Daredevil returns to his office by swinging through an open window. He fears what would happen if he ever forgot to open this window. He decides to switch from the role of Daredevil to that of Michael "Mike" Murdock, a "madcap" role that he is beginning to really enjoy. While changing his clothes, hairstyle, and glasses, Daredevil jokes about feeling like a "one-man repertory theatre". He is acting as three different characters in his daily life: "conservative" Matt Murdock, dazzling Daredevil, and carefree Mike Murdock. He figures that he could eventually open his own school of method acting, feeling that he is superior to Konstantin Stanislavski.
Fully changed into Mike Murdock, Daredevil comments that he feels himself changing while in the role. He feels very confident. He wonders whether he should quit his superhero career and get an acting job. Perhaps Hollywood is looking for another Cary Grant. Daredevil suddenly realizes that Foggy and Karen are about to leave the office, without seeing him. He does not want his transformation to be wasted without an audience, so he starts singing in Mike's voice to attract their attention.
Both Foggy and Karen are convinced that Mike is the real Daredevil, and the singing gives them the opportunity to discuss their views on the subject. Karen thinks that Daredevil is "fabulous", while Foggy considers him an "idiot", and a "loud-mouthed swell-headed showoff". The door opens and Karen is pleased to see Mike. Foggy can not hide his hostility to the man, though Mike claims that Foggy's words could never hurt him.
Mike Murdock flirts with Karen and compliments her beauty, while mocking the scowling Foggy. He threatens Foggy jokingly, while making an impression of James Cagney. Foggy fails to get the joke and considers Mike to be insane, but Karen does get the joke and names the actor Mike is imitating. Mike is impressed with her, and claims that her only flaw is that she can not use Daredevil's Billy Club. Foggy comments that Mike/Daredevil is a "fearless, full-time nut". Karen accuses Mike that he is never serious. He light-heartedly proposes marriage to her and she mockingly turns him down. The two are enjoying themselves, but Foggy is getting frustrated with their wacky attitude. Foggy grabs Karen and drags her away. He reminds her that they should prepare for the next day's case, the arraignment of the Leap-Frog.
Mike Murdock pretends that he has just heard of the arraignment and requests his own seat at the court. He wants to watch the "legal eagles" in action. He also reminds them that he was the one who bested the Leap-Frog and got them the case in the first place. Karen supports his request, though Foggy finds the request outlandish. Foggy drags Karen out of the office.
In the corridor outside the office, Foggy, Karen, and Mike meet Mr. Frank Farnum, the building manager. He is effectively their landlord. He wanted to see them for some reason. Farnum claims that he has learned that their office is going to represent the Leap-Frog at court. He reminds them that they work in a respectable building. He is not happy that his tenants are seemingly involved with despicable criminals. He asks them why do they have to defend cut-throats and knaves.
Foggy admits that he prefers corporation law to defending criminals. But he has a few words for Farnum. In the United States, every man is presumed innocent until proven guilty. Anyone who comes to trial is entitled to the best defense available. And the legal team of Nelson and Murdock provide the best defense. He then steps away from Farnum in order to exit the building. Farnum silently stares at Foggy's back. Mike congratulates Foggy for his words, but he informs him that Farnum is unlikely to renew their lease. Mike then informs Foggy that they will next meet at the court.
The story skips ahead to the following morning, at the court. Mike Murdock attends the arraignment, while Matthew Murdock is mysteriously absent. Murdock muses that he has started to really feel like two separate people. He fears that he might end up in a "funny farm" (insane asylum). The crowds at the court are surprised that Foggy Nelson is handling the case instead of Matthew Murdock, and speculate on the reasons of Matthew's absence. One person speculates that Foggy is tired of Matthew always holding the spotlight, and now wants his share of publicity. Inside the court room, Mike Murdock pretends to be bored. Karen speaks to him, and reports that his brother Matthew was supposed to handle the case, but then asked Foggy to replace him. She does not know why. Murdock thinks to himself that he decided to attend the court as Mike, so Matthew had to go missing.
The Leap-Frog attends his trial, while wearing a civilian suit. The district attorney presents, as evidence against him, the shoes of the Leap-Frog's Suit and explains how they work. The Leap-Frog claims never to have seen the shoes before, and never to have worn the suit. He claims to have a severe fear of heights. Mike loudly asks why the district attorney does not measure whether the defendant's feet are the same size as the shoes. He gets into an argument with another spectator, and Karen warns him that the bailiff will evict him from the courtroom.
The Leap-Frog next claims that these shoes are too small for his feet, and could never fit him. The district attorney challenges him to wear the shoes, which is exactly what the criminal wanted. As the Leap-Frog wears the shoes, Mike shouts for someone to stop him. The shoes fit the man, and he admits being the Leap-Frog. But then uses the shoes to leap away and attempts to escape. The Leap-Frog breaks through a window and discovers he has made a fatal mistake. His shoes have to be tightly fastened on his feet to work properly, but the district attorney had somehow removed the fasteners. The super-villain is falling from a great height, while one of the shoes falls away.
The Leap-Frog lands on the street and is in pain. His single shoe broke his fall and saved his life, but one of his legs is now broken. He hears someone calling him a fool for failing to wait for his rescue, and discovers someone towering above his body. He looks up and discovers that his would-be savior is the Stilt-Man, who the Leap-Frog considered to be deceased. The Stilt-Man explains that he had read about the Leap-Frog's capture and had decided to help the man escape. Stilt-Man was looking for a partner and thought the Leap-Frog could join him in a new career of crime. They could have been an unbeatable team, if the Leap-Frog had not ruined the plan by bungling everything like an an amateur.
Inside the court, Mike Murdock smilingly tells Karen that its his time to play the hero. In his haste to leave the court room, Mike almost collides with another man. They get into an argument and threaten each other, but Mike runs away. He has had considerable trouble capturing the Leap-Frog, and worries that the villain will get away. He quickly changes to wearing the Daredevil's Suit. He muses that this was Foggy Nelson's big chance to handle a defense case, and he does not want Leap-Frog to ruin it. Swinging out of the building, Daredevil overhears crowds speaking about the Leap-Frog being injured. He initially thinks his presence is not needed, but then discovers that Stilt-Man is on the scene and decides to confront him.
On the street, the Leap-Frog is immobile and possibly unconscious. The Stilt-Man tries to lift him, in order to escape with him and get some medical help for him. The Stilt-Man is convinced that the Leap-Frog's injuries are treatable. The Stilt-Man sees Daredevil approaching and switches his attention to his old foe. He apologizes to the Leap-Frog for leaving him behind, but he has an urgent matter to attend to.
Daredevil attempts to attack Stilt-Man, but Stilt-Man easily shifts his height to evade the attack. The two start to fight. Stilt-Man seizes control of Daredevil's cable and starts swinging Daredevil around. He informs Daredevil that the Stilt-Man's Suit has been modified since their previous encounter, and now has twice its previous strength. He throws Daredevil against a building. Daredevil struggles to hold on to a ledge, to avoid falling to his death. Stilt-Man draws an energy weapon and seems to fire at him. He was actually aiming at the wall next to Daredevil, and uses the shot in an attempt to intimidate Daredevil.
As the wall seems to be on fire, Daredevil uses his cable to escape and to launch a counter-attack. He kicks the Stilt-Man, but this seemingly has no effect. The Stilt-Man claims that his protective armor is too strong for Daredevil. Daredevil answers with a more powerful kick. The kick causes the Stilt-Man's head to collide with a nearby building. The story is then interrupted by a flashback, which explains how Stilt-Man managed to return from the Microverse.
In the flashback, Stilt-Man has been hit by a shrink ray. He shrinks away in front of Daredevil, while his voice gets weaker. Then he disappears completely, leaving empty space behind. He spend the subsequent period in a state of "timeless limbo". Eventually the effects of the shrinking ray wore off and Stilt-Man regained his normal size. He reappeared in the spot where he had vanished, realizing that he had been away for many months. Stilt-Man considered this a "harrowing experience", but he was healthy and still had control of his stilts. He decided to design a stronger armored suit for himself, before returning to a life of crime.
The scene shifts to a night scene, outside the Nelson and Murdock Law Office. The Masked Marauder uses an armored truck and a hydraulic lift to enter the office, through an open window. His past encounters with Daredevil have convinced the villain that his enemy is somehow connected to Neslon and Murdock. He searches the office for clues concerning the hero's true identity. He is certain that Daredevil is neither Foggy Nelson, nor Matthew Murdock. One man is soft and flabby, the other one is blind. But they must be aware who Daredevil is. An hour later, the Masked Marauder has found nothing. He tells his gang to depart with the truck. He takes off his mask and reveals his true identity, that of Frank Farnum. Farnum is determined to keep spying on Nelson and Murdock until he finds the truth about Daredevil.
The scene shifts back to the battle between Daredevil and the Stilt-Man. Stilt-Man keeps firing his energy weapon and missing. Daredevil realizes that his opponent is too nervous to properly aim the weapon. Daredevil kicks the weapon out of his opponent's hand. Stilt-Man retaliates by unhooking the other end of Daredevil's cable line. Daredevil falls from a great height, but uses the cable to tie himself to the Stilt-Man. A few swings of the cable, and the legs of the Stilt-Man Suit are all tied-up. The Stilt-Man begins to loose his balance.
Daredevil uses his own weight to pull the Stilt-Man down, while truing to avoid hurting the innocent bystanders. The Stilt-Man falls head-first to the street. His body lies in an alley. Daredevil tries to keep the crowd from approaching his foe. Meanwhile, Frank Farnum transports the unconscious Stilt-Man to the trunk of his car. Farnum has decided to recruit the Stilt-Man to his cause.
As Farnum tries to escape with his car, Daredevil urges him to take off. He warns Farnum that Stilt-Man is on the loose. By mistake, Daredevil calls him "Farnum", as if they know each other. The Masked Marauder realizes that Daredevil knows his true name. He also realizes that the man behind Daredevil's mask is someone he has met before. He smiles wickedly and drives away. Meanwhile, Daredevil checks Farnum's heartbeat to ensure that he is not Stilt-Man in disguise.
As the crowd of New Yorkers congratulates Daredevil, Karen Page observes the hero from above. Karen muses that only she and Foggy know that Daredevil is Mike Murdock. Foggy claims that their knowledge is worthless. Foggy is secretly convinced that Karen has fallen for Daredevil, and he dislikes this new direction in her life. The story ends.
- Daredevil muses that his life may merit an adaptation to stage or film. He has an actor in mind for the role, Alec Guinness (1914-2000). Guinness was a British actor who had achieved much fame during the 1950s and 1960s, for leading roles in the films The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965).
- Daredevil considers himself a method actor, and compares himself to Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938). Stanislavski was a famous Russian actor and theatre director. His legacy lies in the so-called "Stanislavski's system", a systematic approach to training actors which has proved influential. Various schools of method acting are based on differing interpretations of Stanislavski's ideas.
- While wondering whether he should become a professional actor, Daredevil wonders whether Hollywood is looking for another Cary Grant (1904-1986). Grant was a British actor, who started his stage career in 1917. He migrated to the United States in 1920, looking for acting roles. He became a leading theatrical actor of the 1920s, and by 1932 Grant was offered small parts in films. He soon became a leading film actor. Grant starred in several box-office hits from the 1930s to the 1960s. An aging Grant decided to retire in 1966. He was only 62-years-old and his retirement was newsworthy.
- Based on the events of the previous issue, Foggy Nelson or Karen Page are convinced that Michael "Mike" Murdock is the real Daredevil. The identity was specifically created by Matthew Murdock to fool them.
- Daredevil makes an impression of actor James Cagney (1899-1986). Cagney was an American actor, who was known particularly for playing complex tough guys in films. He was in the height of his career in the 1930s and 1940s. He continued acting until his retirement in 1961. Cagney briefly returned to acting for one, last role in 1981.
- Foggy Nelson makes a sarcastic reference to Perry Mason. Mason is a fictional character, created in 1933 by novelist Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970). Mason is a criminal defense lawyer, who specializes in seemingly hopeless cases. The character has appeared in 82 novels by the original writer, 2 pastiche novels, 4 short stories, two television series, and 30 television films.
- The issue reveals that the Masked Marauder and Frank Farnum are the same person.
- The Leap-Frog spends most of the issue out of uniform and on trial. However his civilian identity is not mentioned at all. Later appearances have revealed that his real name is Vincent Patilio.
- With the exception of the flashback scene, Wilbur Day spends the entire issue wearing the Stilt-Man's Suit.
- The issue continues the storyline of Daredevil Vol 1 25 (February, 1967), which introduced the Leap-Frog and the subplot about his trial. The trial is interrupted in this issue by the Leap-Frog's escape attempt and the subplot is then dropped. The Leap-Frog next appears in Daredevil Annual Vol 1 1 (September, 1967).
- The Masked Marauder/Frank Farnum had previously appeared in Daredevil Vol 1 23 (December, 1966). He next appears in Daredevil Vol 1 27 (April, 1967), where he seemingly dies.
- The Stilt-Man previously appeared in Daredevil Vol 1 8 (June, 1965). His storyline continues to Daredevil Vol 1 27 (April, 1967).
- Pulse-Pounding Presentation By:
- Smilin' Stan Lee Genial Gene Colan
- Lots Of Little Lettering By Artie Simek
- references: Daredevil #25 and Daredevil #8
- The issue misspells the last name of actor Alec Guinness, calling him "Alec Guiness".
- Due to an error, the issue contains no credit for the inker. The Marvel Comics Index (1976-1982) confirms that the inking was performed by Frank Giacoia, the regular inker of the series.
- The issue includes no credit for its colourist. Most of the 1960s issues of Daredevil Vol 1 include no colouring credits. Several of them were probably coloured by Stan Goldberg, the main colourist for 1960s Marvel. His works were often uncredited.
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