#18 (Little Person Sidebar)

Issue 18
“There Shall Come A Gladiator” (July, 1966)
Released: May 3, 1966
Written by Stan Lee and Denny O’Neil
Drawn by John Romita
Inked by Frank Giacoia
Lettered by Sam Rosen
Cover drawn by John Romita

A new villain!

A guest writer!

An embarrassing amount of supporting character fat-shaming!

Do we really have to discuss issue 18?

Episode 18 is available on Buzzsprout here: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/2021691.rss

You can find us on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/42GINDXqBqGKIT49FZCyz9?si=EdeD4WaIQZ6RoK0RNzPWcA&utm_source=copy-link

Check behind the cut to see our individual grades and artwork from the issue!

We’re almost in total agreement that this issue is the absolute bottom of an empty barrel of creativity. Aaron and Kyle both give it an F. Rodney’s a hold-out, but not by much, landing, ultimately on a D. Our overall average is a D-.

The issue opens with a really great full-page of beautiful art by John Romita. Unfortunately, the artwork depicts Foggy embarking on the absolute dumbest story we’ve seen in this comic so far. That statement really says something, too. None of us have gotten over The Plunderer story yet.
Foggy has gone to a costume shop to purchase a tailored Daredevil costume that he can hide in a desk drawer at work. He’s hoping that Karen will stumble upon it and it will aid him in perpetuating this nonsense that he can convince her that he is Daredevil. The proprietor of the costume shop is an odd, odd man. Kyle thinks he looks like Lex Luthor.
Kyle isn’t wrong.
Aaron thinks he looks a bit like Rodney. Aaron isn’t wrong either.
Unlike Rodney, who is only psychotic when it comes to his irrational hatred of Dan Brown, the costume shop proprietor turns out to be completely unhinged. He hates superheroes. He is also given a completely illogical soliloquy about how costumed heroes are no better than he is once they take their costumes off!
Rodney also gets a little psychotic when the writers allow Daredevil to use his abilities to see through walls. It is believable that he could hear them talking, but he wouldn’t be able to “see” them.
Part of the proprietor’s completely ludicrous theory about superheroes and their costumes is the complete delusion that beating a costumed superhero in battle will prove his point. With this theory in mind, he convinces Foggy to proceed with a plan even dumber than Foggy’s original plan: don’t just hide the costume, but wear it and fight a “supervillain”. Except that beating a guy that you know isn’t actually a superhero doesn’t prove his point at all!
The proprietor promises to arrange an actor dressed as a supervillain for Foggy to fight while dressed as Daredevil. Only he doesn’t tell Foggy that he’s the actor. He also doesn’t tell Foggy that he’s an actual bona fide supervillain. Behold our first look at Gladiator!
Naturally, because it’s always funny to make fun of fat people, Stan and John get a lot of comic mileage out of various drawings of chubby Foggy Nelson trying to fit into the skin-tight Daredevil costume. Watch out for Rodney, too, because this sequence is the second time in this issue that Daredevil has used his radar sense to “see” through a solid wall.
The “stages” battle is supposed to take place at the pier. There’s no explanation as to 1) why Foggy takes Karen to the pier on their date 2) why Karen agrees to go the pier on their date or 3) why Karen agrees to go on a date with Foggy in the first place. We’re really only showing this page because it highlights Kyle’s biggest complaint about the art in this particular issue: the inking is off and, for several pages, it appears that our characters are in water.
Hee hee hee! Look at the fat guy run! Holy shit! Look at the fat guy get clobbered and almost killed by Gladiator in one blow!
After Foggy is knocked unconscious, the real Daredevil takes on Gladiator. Except Gladiator is just as dumb as Foggy and Karen and doesn’t realize that the dude he just beat the stuffing out of isn’t the same guy he’s fighting now. Every single character in this issue is dumb as a box of shit.
This is a really cool panel. Not enough to give it more than a D- overall average, but it’s still a good-looking piece of comic book art.
Daredevil soundly defeats Gladiator and then disappears just as the police are arriving. Let’s not worry about Foggy being unconscious over yonder in a Daredevil suit. Let’s not worry about Karen Page. Let’s just get the heck out of here because Foggy made us look bad.
Speaking of Foggy, he comes out of his coma and manages to convince himself that he actually did beat Gladiator, after all. The police are actually convinced that Foggy is the real Daredevil! They don’t show any more concern for him, though, than Daredevil did.
Karen ends the issue back at the law office. She ran there to find Matt. Instead, she finds Mr. Dunn, the building manager. He is requesting a meeting with Foggy. Remember that later, folks! Remember the name Mr. Dunn.

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