Dark Horse continues its trend of reprinting golden and silver age comics in collectable editions with this compendium from Gleason. These 282 pages are filled with pulp comic after pulp comic, moving from superhero to boy genius to sleuth to a clear Tarzan knock-off; this collection is fully representative of the 1940s multi-story fad.
Silver Streak Archives Featuring the Original Daredevil Volume 1
By Jack Cole, Jack Binder, Bob Wood, Dick Briefer, Ralph Johns, Kane Miller
Dark Horse Comics
The title character is presumed to be Silver Streak, a precursor to the Flash, but in reality there is no main character, but several reoccurring characters and the Silver Streak doesn’t show up much as the series goes on. Instead, he is replaced in focus by the Daredevil and his battles with Yellow Claw.
In early versions of Daredevil, he is mute relying on thought bubbles that were so rarely used that the comic took a portion of the first page panel to explain that he wasn’t speaking aloud, but these “thought balloons” were used “to show you what goes on in his mind.” He also starts out yellow and blue/black then changes to red and blue/black with the ability to speak, keeping on the boomerang and his spiked belt as unchangeable parts of Daredevils character.
If you’ve never heard of Dickie Dean the Boy Inventor, Bill Wayne the Texas Terror, Zongar the Miracle Man, Presto Martin, the Pirate Prince, Dan Dearborn Freedom’s Son or even the Silver Streak you wouldn’t be alone as none of these pulp characters persisted past the initial 23 issue run of Silver Streak Comics. While Dark Horse is to be applauded for preserving golden age comics and these stories do possess historical value, they just aren’t very entertaining.
The characters display the chauvinistic, racist memes of their time, the 1940s. (Look no further than “Yellow Claw” a slanted-eyed monster wearing obviously Oriental clothing). The plots are overly simplistic pulp with hastily drawn figures aren’t engaging and it’s manifest why these characters died out and others persevered.
While this book does feature the “original Daredevil” – there are no other characters in comics prior to this one named thus – it is clearly not the same Marvel/ Stan Lee Daredevil that most of us will recognize, even though the title is clearly implying that connection.
The most interesting part of this collection is the forward by Michael T. Gilbert where he delves deeply into the history of this anthology and the characters within. His detailed and informative forward firmly places the comic in its historical context and allows readers to enjoy it – as much as modern readers may – in context.
Overall, this collection has value as a historical novelty and not much more. See other anthologies, like Eerie Presents Hunter, for better content that is also historically important.
Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he cartoons and writes on Christianity, Zombies, and anything else he wants to.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.