Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Number 2050: Zounds! The Claw!

Credit goes to Jack Cole for creating the Claw, the 25-foot “Yellow Peril” monster from Silver Streak Comics, and then Daredevil Comics. When Cole created a character he did not go half way. The Claw was a monster in size, and in every other way, also.

This story, from Daredevil Comics #10 (1942), features the Claw’s nemesis, the Ghost. The Ghost is pilot Brad Hendricks, who flies a fancy plane with a big skull emblem on the front. Like the Ghost’s mask, the skull is stylized with long piano-key teeth. I guess if he couldn’t scare his enemies, he could take 'em when they were laughing at his mask. Regardless, while the Claw went on for years yet to come, the Ghost disappeared, apparently forever, after Daredevil Comics #20.

I don’t think I am spoiling anything by telling you the story ends with the Claw tied up, a prisoner on a ship. It promises to be continued in the next issue, but the story in the next issue has the Claw in a different place wreaking havoc. There is often no explanation for the way they did things in those early days of the comics, except maybe some editor didn’t care, or screwed up. I showed the story from Daredevil #11 just over 10 years ago. You can go to the link below.

Art (presumably) by Bob Wood, who created the Ghost.

From Pappy’s early days. Just click on the thumbnail.


Brian Barnes said...

Yes, you can chain him up, or, I don't know, say, shot him with every gun and torpedo you have? This is kind of war, you know!

One thing about this cracks me up -- those ships are in the middle of the ocean; while the Claw is a giant, he's certainly not touching the bottom of the ocean (which is in most parts at least 10K feet down.) I like to imagine the Claw is actually treading water the whole time!

BillyWitchDoctor said...

The Claw always amuses me. He's a cross between Fu Manchu and a villainous kaiju straight out of Ultraman, simultaneously nightmarishly terrifying and comically goofy. Whether he's mixing it up with The Ghost or Daredevil or some one-and-done civilian, he always grabs center stage.

He's second only to Fletcher Hanks' works on my list of favorite Golden Age gonzo Gorgonzola, and I'd love to see a similar published history of his misadventures.

Pappy said...

Brian, good observation about the Claw in the middle of the ocean, standing up. Here's a thought...what if the guys who wrote and drew these comics didn't know that the ocean was deep? Maybe all they saw of the ocean, from their vantage point of Coney Island, is that the ocean was shallow enough to go swimming. one could be that ignorant, could they?

Pappy said...

BillyWitchDoctor, I have been thinking about features like you mention, by Fletcher Hanks (and Basil Wolverton), and characters like the Claw, and where could they have been published but in comic books? Comic strips, even strips like Flash Gordon, could be kind of staid in presentation. But comic books had no rules whatsoever. Superheroes, monsters, wild science fiction...the wilder the better.