DAREDEVIL #37 February 1968
Gene Colan/Frank Giacoia original artists
Way back when, during the formative stages of the emerging Marvel Age of Comics, Dr. Doom pulled a surreptitious mind-switch with the FF's leader, Reed Richards, in FANTASTIC FOUR #10. Several years later, suddenly bereft of their astounding abilities and once again facing the absolute ruler of Latveria, the not-so-fantastic foursome desperately turned to Daredevil in their most dire hour, a tale dramatically told in both FF 39 and 40. And then, finally, three years later, DAREDEVIL 37, 38, and FANTASTIC FOUR 73 completed this trilogy of sorts...
Seeking his revenge, as always, on Richards and crew, Doom decides to use their erstwhile crime-fighting companion to precipitate his latest scheme. Hauling the ol' cranium switcheroo plan out of mothballs, the good DD suddenly becomes the bad DD, and need I add, vice versa! And folks, THAT'S when the fun begins!

This rare, late sixties crossover was covered in far greater detail in the essay accompanying my version of the FANTASTIC FOUR #73 cover, but suffice it to say, while DD gets his proper consciousness back by the end of his 38th issue, the FF aren't notified in time, setting in motion the world's wackiest mix-up in the pages of FF#73! Fret not, friends--all ends well enough, despite the fact that, in a larger sense, it signals the very real end of the original, freewheeling era of casual guest appearances in the Marvel Universe. But, like I said, that's been covered in the earlier piece...

On the face of things, Dr.Doom versus Daredevil would seem a very unlikely match-up, but perhaps the pair's disproportionate power levels was what ultimately made this such a compelling tale. Perhaps it was the superb Gene Colan art. Or maybe, just maybe, putting the red-clad adventurer up against the emerald-hued dictator made readers subconsciously dream of Christmas, always a happy thing, hmm?...

Whatever. It's a tip-top cover, one of my all-time favorites of the entire DAREDEVIL run. And, on a personal note, I feel the need to mention that this was the very first cover illustration that I--and not dear Lynn--colored on the computer! (Our previous entry, STRANGE TALES #123, was actually the second) A bit time consuming, yes, but fun. Now, while I can't guarantee color exclusively here in the future, there'll probably be somewhat more of it than before. As Reed Richards used to say, "I swear it."

(...or was that REALLY Dr. Doom?...)