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The World's Worst Villain

In Silver Streak Comics #1 (December 1939), the Claw resided in a skull-shaped castle "halfway around the globe to Tibet ... high on the pinnacle of a mountain", surrounded by natives who worship him as "the god of hate". "A monster of miraculous powers who is out to dominate the universe" and a caricature of all the Oriental madmen who dominated the pulp literature of the 1930's, able to breath flame, shoot lightning from his fingertips, and grow several immensily high at will, the Claw planned to declare war on America.

The Claw headlined Silver Streak #1 and #2, but although #2 boasted: "Next issue: the Claw invades America!" there was no Claw feature in issues #3, #4 and #5, although #5 had a Claw back cover by Jack Cole advertising his return in issue #6. The Claw did return in issue #6, but the strip was titled "The Green Claw" and it was not drawn or written by Jack Cole. The first hero to challenge the Claw was Major Carl Tarrant, a scientist/adventurer. After Tarrant came Jerry Morris, an ambassador and scientist in his own right. The Claw finally did invade America in issue #7, in the classic tale where he fought Daredevil, who like Silver Streak, Jack Cole re-invented.

"In a huge subterranean room are stored the Claw's many insidious instruments of crime, one of which is a boring machine of amazing qualities. ... Once in motion, this machine will travel fully twenty miles an hour, compressing the earth about it into solid walls! ... Two months -- under Europe -- under the Atlantic Ocean drives the machine! ... Long lines of troops rumble along the subterranean railway towards New York City --"

The Claw was large and powerful enough to tower over Manhattan, casting a shadow over seven million wide-eyed souls. "Deep down under Manhattan, the Claw's men operate a huge generator that gives off powerful electric charges which cause metals to melt when they meet the Claw's electrical charges," generated as bolts of lighning from his fingertips. Between the two forces, Manhattan was all but destroyed. Daredevil used his boomerang with noteworthy effectiveness, devastating the Claw's army and using his natural speed and agility to escape the Claw's numerous deathtraps, finally escaping to wreck the Claw's generator. Drawing his foe out into the open, Daredevil hurled his boomerang to strike at the Claw in one eye, and when the Claw reached for him inside a partially demolished building, Daredevil deftly whammed the Claw's hand with a metal girder! The Claw's wild punches toppled the building. Daredevil gave him a hotfoot with a stick of dynamite. The Claw scooped up Daredevil and attempts to hurl him into the stratosphere, but "folding his body into a v-shape, Daredevil zooms around and back at the Claw like a giant boomerang," striking him again in the eyes. The Claw made a try at swallowing him alive. Daredevil had a trick up his sleeve: "If dynamite down his windpipe fails, I'll be ground meat!" But the unexpected explosion worked, causing the Claw to cough up his enemy. The Claw lunged forward, internally wounded, but vanished in a cloud of smoke before Daredevil could move in for the kill. For the next five issues, the Claw and Daredevil engaged in a running battle.

Jack Cole's last work on the characters appeared in Silver Streak Comics #10, after which he went on to work for Quality Comics. Daredevil got his own book and the Claw became a supporting feature in it. By that time, though, Cole was no longer involved with the strip. Charles Biro continued the battle between the two in Daredevil Comics #1, (Daredevil Battles Hitler) in which the Claw teamed up with Adolph Hitler -- and Daredevil countered by teaming up with the Silver Streak Comics heroes (Silver Streak, Dickie Dean, Lance Hale, Cloud Curtis, and the Pirate Prince) to take turns giving Hitler and the Nazis trouble. The episode ended when Daredevil managed to trick the Claw into turning against Hitler. By Daredevil Comics #2, the Claw again had his own supporting feature. Drawn now by Bob Wood, he was opposed for the first two years by the Ghost, who dropped out after Daredevil Comics #20. The Ghost slammed away at his gargantuan enemy time and again, and time after time, the Claw is sent to his doom only to reappear even more menacingly soon afterwards! The Ghost discovered the arch fiends Achilles' heel: even though the monster is impervious to bullets or explosions, the piercing of a certain vein in the Claw's neck will kill him, and the Ghost does just that. Yet the Claw is soon back again, and not too long afterwards the Ghost apparently gives up the ghost and fades into obscurity, never to be heard from again. The final showdown between the Claw and Daredevil occured in Daredevil Comics #31 (July 1945) when the monstrous giant was apparently killed. Artists on the strip also included Manny Stallman and Rudy Palais. Manly Wade Wellman wrote some of the scripts near the end of the series.

It was later revealed that the Claw had been exiled into space for his crimes. Still reminiscing about his battles and Hitler, he appears in Boy Comics#89, in the "Rocky X" strip.