Thursday, August 25, 2016

Review- SILVER STREAK ARCHIVES FEATURING THE ORIGINAL DAREDEVIL VOL. 1



SILVER STREAK ARCHIVES FEATURING THE ORIGINAL DAREDEVIL VOL. 1 (Dark Horse, First Printing, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Silver Streak #6-9 (cover dates September, 1940- April, 1941)

Writers: Jack Cole, Kane Miller, Don Rico, Carl Hubbell, Otto Binder, Bob Turner, D.B. Icove, Dick Briefer, Walter Galli, and Bob Wood

Artists: Jack Binder, Dick Briefer, Jack Cole, Maurice Gutwirth, Hal Sharp, John Hampton, Mac Raboy, Harry Anderson, Carl Hubbell, Dick Dawson, Carl Formes, Walter Galli, Fred Guardineer, D.B. Icove, Richard Norman, Kane Warren, and Bob Wood



The Golden Age of collected editions has made spoiled brats of us all. I remember a time when just the idea of obscure, expensive old comic books beautifully restored and slapped between two hardbacks was enough to send me into a tizzy. Fast forward a dozen years and there are hundreds of collections of this material available for purchase. The novelty of reading said old comics has entirely worn off for me. They now have to impress me either through story or historical significance.

Silver Streak Archives Featuring The Original Daredevil Vol. 1 falls flat on the story side, but the historical significance picks up the slack. Lots of legendary creators were cutting their teeth here. Kids who read this stuff at the time can say that they knew them when. The original Daredevil was one of the best-selling superheroes of his day, which seems curious considering that he is merely a footnote today. Like many forty-somethings, I had never even heard of him until Dynamite's Project Superpowers resurrected a slew of public domain Golden Age superheroes, bringing them into the present.



Like most Golden Age comics, this is an anthology series, with a series of features in each issue that run the gamut. Also like many Golden Age comics, this is not politically correct. One must understand the societal mores of the time and look at it in a purely academic sense, or risk being offended. I keep stuff like this well out of the reach of my son, as I don't want to have conversations about racial stereotypes from 75-odd years ago. And like many Golden Age comics, it is amazing to see how folks seemed to be chomping at the bit for us to get into what would become World War II.

Silver Streak is the headliner, although he would soon be eclipsed by Daredevil. Daredevil's first appearance in issue 6 shows his costume as half yellow, half blue. This is changed to half red, half blue by the following issue. The Claw, his arch-nemesis, seems to have limitless power. It is almost Fletcher Hanks bad in terms of believability.



Jack Cole's Dickie Dean, The Boy Inventor!!! is highly entertaining. The Pirate Prince is an excellent series about “that swashbuckling, daring Robin Hood of the sea”. The Pirate Prince robs pirates and frees the slaves aboard their ships, which is something when you consider the rampant racism and lingering resentment towards blacks in an era when people who remembered slaves were still alive. There is a sense of decency and humanity as to how blacks are portrayed here, which again flies in the face of many of these old comics. It seems downright progressive, and makes me wonder if a reboot of this series would work today.

The rest of the strips are of the garden variety. You have your western knock offs, your Tarzan knock-offs, your Buck Rogers knock-offs, random G-man types, airplane/dogfight stuff, humor strips, etc. None of them are remarkable but most are readable.

Old comics are often unintentionally funny. 


This was an okay read that didn't bowl me over. Like I said, there was a time when any old comics would rock my socks off. That ship has sailed though, as I have read enough of them for me to not be impressed by something solely because of it's age. I have Volume 2 in this line and hope to read it someday.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 3 out of 5.

The OCD zone- This book is light, weighing scarcely more than a pack of cigarettes. I do not smoke, but my mother did. She used to send me to the store on my bike to buy her cigarettes, back in the olden days when kids could go to the corner store and pick up their parent's smokes and everyone thought that it was a-okay.
Linework and Color restoration: Perfectly serviceable restoration, done by scanning original comics and then recoloring them with computers and correcting line bleed, off-register printing, etc. I appreciate the fact that Dark Horse put the time, effort, and money into doing this when so many other publishers just scan 'em and slap 'em into hardcovers.
Paper stock: I love the paper that Dark Horse started using in their Archives back around 2010. It looks like old pulp comic book paper but is super thick, high quality stuff. It is matte uncoated stock and has zero sheen under any light source. Plus it has that delectable Chinese sweatshop printing press aroma. I stop reading every so often just to huff it. Oh yeah, that's the stuff...
Binding: Smyth sewn binding. While the book block has room to flex in the casing you need to use two hands to read this, as it does not lay flat.



Dustjacket and Hardback cover notes: The dustjacket has a nice shiny lamination. The hardback has that faux leather casewrap with die foil stamping for the lettering on the cover and the spine. 


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