A BILL EVERETT Birthday Salute: In Defense of DAREDEVIL’s Yellow Costume

That outfit may even be cooler than — gasp! — DD’s red threads.

Bill Everett’s one of those artists who wasn’t exactly a comics titan but whose precise contributions have an enduring legacy of their own.

Everett, who was born May 18, 1917 — that’s an even 100 years ago — created the Sub-Mariner and co-created Daredevil with Stan Lee. But it’s the latter who’s on my mind. See, Everett’s Daredevil is intriguing not for who he became but for who he was at the beginning.

Kirby pencils and Everett inks

Everett’s Daredevil wasn’t the scarlet-clad rooftop acrobat that’s become a Marvel mainstay in comics and TV. Instead, his Daredevil wore red, brown/black — and bright yellow. (It’s not 100 percent clear who came up with the look, either. It seems to be Everett but Jack Kirby had input. You should check out Kirby expert Mark Evanier’s blog for an excellent account of how that first issue came together.)

Dig it.

In any event, that original “yellow suit” is to this day derided variously as silly, ugly or completely out of line with a guy calling himself a “devil.” Or all three.

Wally Wood played artistic tailor and gave Hell’s Kitchen’s great defender his signature style in Issue #7. Now, no knock on what’s a classic costume, but I actually really dig the first one — perhaps even more than the second.

Wood

I mean sure it’s kinda hokey and it’s not something that you’d think an urban avenger would wear while wielding a billy club. But it looks cool. And that’s half the battle when you’re a superhero, right?

Maybe I’m a sucker for costumes that are predominantly yellow. After all, I do think Kid Flash is one of the great designs of all time. (He’s on our list of 13 Greatest Superhero Designs, which you can check out here).

Sometimes you can’t even analyze why you dig something. Either something’s aesthetically pleasing to you or it’s not. And on this, Bill Everett’s birthday, I gotta say that when it comes to the original Silver Age Daredevil, I don’t know if that costume’s art — but I know what I like.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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3 Comments

  1. The yellow costume has fascinated me since I first discovered Marvel Comics, including Daredevil, in the summer of 1967 when I was eight years old. I quickly built a nice DD collection but my oldest book was #7 so I only had reprints of some of the yellow costume issues. My childhood collection was lost but in the last several years I have rebuilt it and, with the recent purchase of #1, I am now the happy owner of a run of issues 1-60.

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  2. A lot changed with the character with that costume change. Met preference is still the yellow.

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  3. The yellow has its own charm. I like yellow too and I really love Hourman’s costume

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