IT HAPPENED AGAIN!
First, Bill Everett's more-than-full-time job got in the way. Second, Joe Orlando very quickly got sick of editor Stan Lee's twisted habit of trying to re-write other people's stories after the art had already been turned in. Third, Wally Wood strongly objected to having Lee steal credit AND PAY for Wood's writing, and having his own writing efforts be denigrated in print on top of that. After an offer from Samm Schawartz at Tower Comics, Wood quickly followed Everett & Orlando, leaving DAREDEVIL without a writer and artist for the 3rd time in only 11 issues! You'd think this series was cursed or something...
It's pretty obvious that Wood, like Kirby, had a TON of ideas, as seen in these concept sketches.
I kinda wonder...
I note that he switched a few panels around in the finish.
This is how Wood (and some other artists) write!
Although the story in DD #12 does have Matt Murdock taking a sea voyage, the story does not feature a fight in the ship's engine rom as seen here.
While DD #13 does include a scene of Zabu, the sable-tooth tiger getting trapped in a pit, the published version does not show Ka-Zar getting him out of the pit, as seen here.
But when, in 2001, after loving both Everett's & Wood's DAREDEVIL, I finally got my first glimpse of Romita's version, I was horrified. The art was 3rd-rate, but the stories were 5th-rate, if that. His initial story, the 3-parter with Ka-Zar, that introduced his brother "Lord Parnival Plunder" and revealed the utterly convoluted "origin" of Marvel's answetr to TARZAN, was one of the WORST stories I'd ever read in all of 60's Marvel... down there with those 3 Joe Orlando issues that Stan Lee butchered.
What had happened? How did work THAT BAD come from people I knew had so much talent?
The answer came to me-- in a FLASH-- when I saw the following at Steve Thompson's "HORRAY FOR WALLY WOOD" blog...
But before he left, he does this sketch of SUB-MARINER in some "lost world", fighting dinosaurs. Wood quits the company, John Romita arrives, suddenly, DAREDEVIL finds himself in "The Savage Land". HOW can this be a COINCIDENCE? The timing is too close.
They all say Lee got Kirby to "lay out" the first 2 issues because Lee thought Romita's work "wasn't exciting enough". Could this possibly be true, or could it be Lee didn't like the STORY Romita was trying to tell?
I can NOW picture this scenario. Wood tells Lee he's gonna start the SUB-MARINER strip off with an adventure in the Savage Land, featuring Ka-Zar. (Perhaps Kirby suggested it, since Ka-Zar was his character?) Lee calls Kirby in, tells him what he needs, and mentions Wood's "Savage Land" idea. Kirby whips out 2 issues worth of layouts over a weekend. Lee gives them to Romita, who says, "Oh-- I GET it!!!" Romita then TOTALLY IGNORES everything Kirby did except for the Savage Land angle.
So what we have is a story several times removed from its original source of inspiration. (Or, "creation by committee".) And once Lee writes the dialogue, add another step away (as always). It's like THUNDERBALL-- or HALLOWEEN 6. Too many script drafts, each one worse than the one before.
And if anyone wants any further "proof" that this is exactly what happened, compare Wood's sketch against Romita's initial D.D. cover. Namor's pose is ALMOST identical to Ka-Zar's! (I didn't even notice that until last night.)
My God, that is one TERRIBLE cover!
DAREDEVIL 12 /
art by JOHN ROMITA (touch-ups by Vince Colletta) (January 1966)
Sadly, it has since occured to me that had Wood done SUB-MARINER meeting KA-ZAR, it would have worked "thematically". Namor, who had recently assumed the throne of Atlantis, KNEW what it was like to be disenfranchised from his own origins for many years. He could relate to Ka-Zar's not knowing if he had any family or not.
But sticking a BLIND MAN in a dinosaur-infested jungle just DOESN'T MAKE ANY FUCKING SENSE.
No wonder Romita's later D.D. episodes were-- if not actually "good" (I certainly don't think so), at least, nowhere near as bad.
Took me a long time to figure this one out. I ask again (and this never crossed my mind until recently)... considering Hollywood "dumbed down" Frankenstein (THE HULK) and Tarzan (KA-ZAR), is it even possible that Kirby ever meant for KA-ZAR to be so mind-numbingly mentally retarded? It's not just that he speaks like a 3-year-old-- he acts like one, too.
Sure, maybe Kirby was doing a Johnny Weismuller tribute... but more likely, judging from evidence seen with THE HULK-- Kirby meant for KA-ZAR to be intelligent, and Lee was the one who "dumbed him down".
He stayed that way until Bruce Jones came along. Jones said he made a conscious effort to "ignore" every previous KA-ZAR appearance and treat the guy he was writing as if he was a completely different character. (There were fleeting references to his having "pretended" to talk dumb all those years... but none of this was ever obvious, or even hinted at, UNTIL Jones' stories.)
Finally, here's a SUB-MARINER parody by Roy Thomas & Wally Wood, showing what might have been if Wood had been treated with more honesty and integrity by his editor.
Read about the Golden Age Daredevil at Wikipedia
Read the Wally Wood page at Wikipedia
Visit Booksteve's Horray For Wally Wood blog!
(But beware-- it goes on forever! You may never wanna leave.)
Read the Dick Ayers page at Wikipedia
See Dick Ayers' Ghost Rider covers from the early 1950's!
Read the John Romita page at Wikipedia
Artwork Copyright (C) Marvel Comics
Wally Wood sketches & Sub-Marine Man parody
from Horray For Wally Wood blog
John Romita sketch & Jack Kirby layouts from Daredevil Masterworks Vol.2
Raw scans of DAREDEVIL #12-13 from Heritage Auctions
Raw scan of DAREDEVIL #14 from WWComic.com
Restorations by Henry Kujawa