Comics Review: The Original Daredevil Archives Volume 1: Daredevil Battles Hitler 

Publisher: Dark Horse

Review by: Prof. Jenn

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What a delightful collection this is! It’s a vasty volume of vintage comics from the ’40s starring a bizarrely spike-belted Daredevil, the not-at-all-racist (!) Bronze Terror, the suavely English London, and my new favorite superhero EVAR, Pat Patriot.

What makes this collection so very much fun is threefold: 1) the introduction, which gives us a context and complete background to the social, cultural, and economic background of the world when these comics originally came out; 2) the fantastic vintage ads and extras that they kept in (I have a particular love of the “Punch of the Month” series: “this one’s a tough one, fellas.” LOL!); and 3) the educational aspect of seeing the way in which Hitler and his evil Germans and more so the “Japs” were drawn then, in the thick of WWII.

I would in fact aver that this collection would be a good addition to an historical curriculum of WWII to junior high age and up, in the classroom. Including the introduction, this could be a gem in learning about what the world was like then, what the attitudes of various Westerners were about the war, and etc. Of course, there are stereotypes and racism throughout, but as I teach when I teach Historical Fiction, this can be a good educational aid, with the right discussion and guidance as they’re read. Comic Book Classroom, take note.

Why do I now adore Pat Patriot? Let me count the ways: she’s got an AWESOME costume (which she acquired when she was caught after being in a play)–like a well done female Captain America, she’s honored and accepted by everyone as a hero, even the men. Especially the men. Whenever a too-handsy dude tries anything with her, she basically hip-throws him across the room. And she’s feminine without being sexualized. She kicks ass. I want more of her, and NOT modernized into boobs-and-butt-and-thong, but just as she is, with her awesome ’40s wave and her knee-length skirt.

Bottom line: I absolutely recommend Daredevil Battles Hitler. Just be prepared for some, well, ’40s mores.

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