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Spider-Man Classics
by yo go re

Daredevil has long been one of my favorite characters. Spider-Man was the big public recognition guy, the X-Men were the moneymakers, but DD was just an upper-B-level star. He was the Bruce Campbell of the Marvel Universe.

I had a few of his comics, mostly in crossovers, but when I read Frank Miller's Man Without Fear limited series, everything changed. Daredevil was suddenly the coolest of the crew. Miller's story, with John Romita Jr.'s art, made Daredevil seem like a real guy. They brought his tragic tale to life, and made him my favorite superhero.

Matt Murdock, known to most as the blind attorney sworn to uphold justice has a secret! The chemical accident that robbed him of his sight as a child also gave him a strange gift. While he could no longer see, his remaining senses of smell, taste, touch, and hearing were heightened to a level that using them together gives him a kind of human sonar. Young Matt later met a blind martial arts master known as Stick, who taught him how to use his augmented senses and trained him as a fighter. Avenging the death of his father the prizefighter "Battling Jack" Murdock, who once lead an honest life but was gunned down by the mob for not throwing a fight. Murdock uses these skills together to fight crime under the guise of the Daredevil the man without fear.

When Kevin Smith took over the book with Joe Quesada for the "Marvel Knights" line, I was elated. A great story, with great art, about my favorite character? What could be better? DD was suddenly a hot character, outselling Spidey and the X-Men, both of whom were mired in rather lackluster stories at the time. These increased sales led to Daredevil getting the action figure treatment for the second series of Marvel's nascent Spider-Man Classics line.

Daredevil is articulated just as well as the Spider-Man figures from that line: he's got two neck joints, shoulders, double elbows, glovetops, wrists, fingers, torso, waist, hips, thighs, double knees, boot tops, ankles and toes. He comes with his nunchuck-style billy club that fits into the holster attached to his hip.

A lot of people slag ToyBiz for reusing molds to create more figures, but allow me to say "SFW?" DD's mostly got the same body as Series 1's black-suited Spider-Man, with only new head, hands and feet. And? It saves money, it gets figures on the shelves faster and, most importantly, it works. Daredevil looks great. He really is a 3D representation of Quesada's artwork. All it needs is some forehead shadows.

Like all the Spider-Man Classics (and the Marvel Legends it birthed), Daredevil comes with a detailed base. His is a small ledge and stained glass window, which really suits him. The stonework is all sculpted well, and the windows are stickers. There's a wall-mounting bracket, and a clear plastic wand allows him to "leap" off the sill safely.

Daredevil comes with a reproduction of Daredevil #241, a rather mediocre Todd McFarlane-drawn Christmas issue. There are many better issues they could have included, but it does present a pretty straightforward intro to Matt and his powers.

ToyBiz also created a variant figure for this series, and gave birth to a new bit of toy collecting slang at the same time. When Daredevil first appeared, he wore not the familiar red costume, but a red and yellow monstrosity. Since no one but hardcore fans would want that costume, they randomly packed a repainted yellow Daredevil into cases. Which is what started the problem.

Yellow Daredevil was packed in one out of every 42 cases. Scalpers snapped him up immediately because he was so rare. Fans couldn't find him, which made him more sought after. Eventually it reached the point where people who had never read a Daredevil story were willing to give their left nut for a YDD. Thus, an artificially inflated desire for an otherwise unpopular figure created by shortpacking is now known as "YDD Syndrome." Way to go, guys.

-- 02/13/03

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