Does it say something about me that this image has stuck with me for forty years? As a kid, I had this issue, and this panel in particular I thought was one of the coolest things I had ever seen. There is an evil villain with no face, another villain with rotating saw blades on his wrists, and a huge monster emerging from the woods. It’s pretty much just fuel for a very young mind to decide to write really weird stories when he grows up.

This is from Daredevil #114 from 1974. The artist is Bob Brown and the writer is Steve Gerber. This came at a time when Marvel comics were getting weird. Horror was coming back and psychedelic imagery was everywhere. Steve Gerber was one of the more experimental writers and conjured up images of monsters and magic and far-out, veiled references to various drug experiences. And sometimes not so veiled.

Now, as a very young kid, I didn’t always get the more “adult” ideas being put across, I just thought it looked really, really, cool. Like I said I had this issue of Daredevil and I would read it over and over again. Well actually, to be honest, I would read the few pages where Man-Thing shows up over and over. There is a great bit where Gladiator (that’s the fella with the saw blades) attacks Man-Thing and gets covered in green goo. It was great.

So today I was writing a short story about ghosts and stuff and in it, I wrote a scene where a shadowy figure with no face is standing menacingly over the protagonist pointing an icy finger at him. And I realized, “Oh crap, this is totally that panel from Daredevil!” And I immediately began to admonish myself for being an unimaginative dolt who steals from forty-year-old comics.

But then I realized how much these stories have influenced me. These wonderful, weird images and crazy tales have over the years been entertaining me and giving me the notion that I could do this too. I wanted to be a writer as a kid because I read comic books. I wanted to tell strange stories. And now I do because of people like Brown and Gerber and a whole bevy of other writers and artists that have fueled my imagination over the years. So to all of them, I say a hearty thank you.

Also, that image above is still really, really cool.

Image copyright Marvel Comics 1974. All rights reserved.

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