#4 (Velvet Liberace)

Issue 4
“Kilgrave, The Unbelievable Purple Man” (October, 1964)
Released: August 4, 1964
Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Joe Orlando
Inked by Vince Colletta
Lettered by Sam Rosen
Cover drawn by Joe Orlando and Jack Kirby

The fourth issue of Daredevil is most famous for the introduction of formidable foe Kilgrave, The Purple Man. Kilgrave almost tops the list of our local Daredevil junkie Aaron’s favorite villains to ever be featured in this comic book’s history. And he isn’t saying that because Kilgrave told him to.

Discussion topics this week include:
– the stupidity of trying to save face and not pretend that you wrote something idiotic
– the evolution of an artist and plotter that was initially dead to us
– contradicting the abilities of the same character in two different comics in the same month
– the frustration over Stan Lee and company not letting Daredevil’s stick just be, you know, a stick.
– Why is Peter Parker a dick?

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Check behind the cut for the final grade of our cast and to see images of the artwork that we reference in the episode.

Once again, the crew agreed on this one more than Aaron was anticipating. Rodney was the outlier this time with a final grade of B+. Kyle gives it an A-. Aaron gives it an A overall. The final average for this issue is an A-, our highest average for an issue yet!

Issue 4 marks the first-ever appearance of Kilgrave, The Purple Man. Yes, his name is stupid. Yes, the fact that they made his skin purple instead of just dressing him in purple like Prince is also kind of stupid. His powers are formidable, though, and Aaron is serious when he says that Kilgrave is his second favorite Daredevil villain of all time.
Unfortunately for Kilgrave, when he premiered in 1964, he didn’t look nearly as cool as he did in the previous image. Instead, he looks like Liberace. A purple-skinned Liberace. He even kind of dresses like him. He also vaguely resembles that guy that played Klinger on M.A.S.H.!
This is the cover of The Amazing Spider-Man #16, which was also released this month and would have been newsstands at the same time. It’s a fun little story (The Amazing Spider-Man back then usually was) but the timing of it really muddles the proceedings in Daredevil’s own book and only serves to prove what we’ve been saying all along– Stan Lee and company have no idea what they are doing with this character!
Aaron mentions in our discussion that this might be the first time that Matt Murdock uses his abilities to read people’s heartbeats to see if they are lying, but then immediately corrects himself. That isn’t what happens here at all! What does actually happen is decidedly less cool: the heart rate spike is because he fancies Karen Page! Also, apparently, Matt Murdock can use his radar to read people’s auras? Huh?
This sequence on page 8 gets all three of us bent out of shape. Remember that stupid knapsack that they started having Daredevil wear in issue 3 so that he has a place to carry his clothes when he is in costume? Well, in this issue they admit it was a stupid idea, but instead of ignoring it and pretending that it never happened, they draw attention to it, thereby retconning two pages of wasted space with three panels of wasted space.
We’ll quote Rodney when we say: “Joe Orlando loves to draw guys in Speedos.” We find ourselves in a gym where Kilgrave is using his powers to recruit some muscle-bound meatheads to be his lackey. All of them, that is, except for Punchy, who is “too slow-witted” to be affected. This sequence serves no purpose but to muddy what Kilgrave is later capable of in regards to our hero and proves, once again, that the creators in this run are flying by the seat of their pants.
In issue #1, Daredevil bluffed The Fixer into believing that he had a tape recorder inside his billy club. In this issue, he actually does! He also has chemically-treated plastic inside it!
And it can be bent at a 90-degree angle to become a boomerang!
And it’s strong enough to hold elevator doors open before they can close! Notice as well that, by page 17, that Kilgrave is looking far more suave and debonair than he does in the beginning of the comic.
Kyle and Aaron, in particular, are pretty impressed with Joe Orlando’s artwork on this issue, but something is really off in the second panel above. Daredevil’s body is bent at a very odd angle. It looks strange!

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