Tales from the Longbox – Daredevil #208 (1984)

Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.

Daredevil #208 – “The Deadliest Night Of My Life”
July 1984
Writers: Harlan Ellison/Arthur Byron Cover
Penciler: David Mazzucchelli
Inker: Danny Bulanadi

Daredevil #208 stands as one of those comic books I’ve read far too many times. I still have the issue I bought off the shelves of the local convenience store. It’s beat-up and its spine is worn, but its all signs that it was a comic book I loved, and still love. Find out why after the jump.
 The outspoken and award-winning author, Harlan Ellison, whose work has transcended the writing medium into movies and television, stepped in to fill in for regular DD writer Dennis O’Neil. Ellison had also written a few issues of the Avengers and the Incredible Hulk in the 1970s. Arthur Byron Cover adapted Ellison’s story to fit the comic book medium.

This issue has Daredevil lured into an complex series of death-traps. What Ellison managed to do within these pages was really tap into Daredevil’s enhanced senses and add an almost additional texture to the story. As Daredevil progresses through these death-traps, they become more and more deadly and finally at the breaking point, he has to turn to his training and focus beyond the strain and the pain and find the strength needed to foil this elaborate revenge plot.

The storytelling in this issue is superb, delivering dynamic action sequences that grab you from the very beginning and don’t let you go until you’ve reached page 22. What’s also amazing about this issue is that there’s isn’t any fight sequences, but rather Daredevil vs the environment obviously built to kill him. The plot itself is thin and doesn’t have much depth, but it doesn’t have to as it succeed as a great thriller.

The art is by David Mazzucchelli and Danny Bulanadi. It’s some of Mazzucchelli’s earliest work, but the panel construction and flow seems to be the work of a veteran. Unfortunately, I felt that Bulanadi’s heavy inks tended to overpower Mazzucchelli’s art.

Jason Shayer has been trying his best not to grow up for that last 30 years and comics books are one of the best ways to keep him young at heart. He’s also known as the Marvel 1980s guy and has probably forgotten more than you’d ever want to know about that wonderfully creative era. Check out his blog at: marvel1980s.blogspot.com.

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