#23 (Circus Peanuts)

Issue 23
“DD Goes Wild” (December, 1966)
Released: October 11, 1966
Written by Stan Lee
Drawn by Gene Colan
Inked by Frank Giacoia
Lettered by Sam Rosen
Cover drawn by Gene Colan

Masked Marauder’s plot to take over leadership of the Maggia sends Daredevil and Gladiator to Italy, where they duke it out in an old movie set fashioned after a Roman coliseum. It’s pretty breathtaking art!

There are some plot flaws here, however, that Kyle cannot contend with, and, for the first time in the history of the podcast, he manages to convince Aaron that he’s wrong!

But he also insults Jack Kirby.

New low, Kyle. New low.

Episode 23 is a discussion not to be missed! It’s available now for download on Buzzsprout here: https://feeds.buzzsprout.com/2021691.rss

Episode 23 is also available for streaming! You can find it on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/42GINDXqBqGKIT49FZCyz9?si=EdeD4WaIQZ6RoK0RNzPWcA&utm_source=copy-link

Check behind the cut to see our individual grades, Gene Colan’s exceptional artwork, and a look at a reader letter actually published in the original issue back in 1966!

Aaron was all raring to give this issue a B at the very least, but Kyle was convincing in his arguments that this is, in fact, a lackluster issue. Aaron’s grade drops to a C+, making him, ultimately in agreement with Rodney. Kyle gives the issue a D- (but will be barely tolerated by his co-hosts for a week or two as punishment for insulting Jack “King” Kirby). Overall average: perfectly right down the middle . . . C.

The discussion for this issue went for a long time, and we had to make several edits to the episode in order to keep it from being an unnecessary 52 minutes long. One of the sections that got excised concerned a letter from a reader that was published in the original issue. Aaron, personally, found the letter very moving and took the time to share it with his co-hosts because it serves to make a point that he has been trying to make to Kyle all along– despite his naysaying about the quality of the content being presented in the 1960s, these comics and the stories therein serve as more than entertainment to some. They are an inspiration. We present the letter in its entirety, as well as Marvel’s response to it below:

The first two pages of this issue are devoted to Gene Colan’s trademark full-page splashes. We are especially fond of the second page. This one highlights the unique perspective usually present in Gene’s work.
Remember the weird, makes-no-sense levitation ray that should be called a teleportation ray that we griped about last issue? It’s a major plot point in this issue as well. While Daredevil and Tri-Man are duking it out in the boxing ring, Masked Marauder uses it to teleport them back to his lab . . .
. . . where he proceeds to attempt to combine Daredevil’s powers with Dancer, Mangler, and Brain. The final panel of this sequence is especially well-done, but Kyle is correct in that plexiglass wouldn’t shatter like that. Notice that first panel as well: Karen’s nails are flesh-colored and it’s driving Kyle crazy!
This drives Aaron crazy . . . notice in that first panel that Daredevil seems to be unable to use his radar sense to see through clear plexiglass. Really? Because he’s sure been able to see through solid walls for the last several issues!
Another full-page from Gene Colan. Kyle is not as enamored of this one, but Rodney digs the sound effects. Thponk!
Here’s where our individual opinions on this plot start to diverge . . . when Masked Marauder decides to double-cross Gladiator and deliver him to The Maggia as well! He whisks Gladiator and Daredevil both to Italy!
Briefly, and then we’ll get back to the action, we wanted to point out this short sequence where Karen Page seems to have figured out what she should have figured out– what issue are we on? 23?– should have figured out 23 issues ago. At this point, though, it’s not believable that she was ever going to figure it out on her own.
Okay. Back to the action! We’ll start with this glorious panel of Daredevil swinging Gladiator around by his ankles.
The Maggia arrange for Daredevil and Gladiator to battle it out in an old, abandoned movie set modeled after a coliseum. Included in the abandoned movie set: a caged lion (which makes zero freaking sense!). During their battle, Gladiator’s bracer blades inadvertently slice open the cage, allowing the lion to escape!
One of Daredevil’s heretofore-unknown abilities is revealed here for the first time: Lion whispering!
It’s a twist ending that would make O. Henry proud! Daredevil saves Gladiator from the lion. Gladiator refuses to kill Daredevil in gratitude. The Maggia turns on Masked Marauder, since he didn’t do as promised and allow them to watch Daredevil’s defeat. They are impressed with Gladiator’s moxie and offer him a low-level position in their ranks. Aaron thinks the irony of this ending is cool. Kyle thinks it’s the lamest lame lame that ever did lame. He’s not buying it.
Also . . . just for reference . . . this is The Thing, as depicted by Jack Kirby in the very first issue of Fantastic Four . . .
. . . and this is a circus peanut.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s