The Owl(pop culture)
Called an “ominous overlord of crime,” the Owl first appeared in the early days of Marvel's Daredevil comic (vol. 1 #3, 1964), in a story written by Stan Lee and penciled by Joe Orlando. He is introduced simply as a ruthless Wall Street financial wizard—whose name was later established as Leland Owlsley—who is a “merciless man … a man with no friends … no loved ones … nothing to connect him with the human race save the fact of his birth!” Although he successfully hides his sketchy business activities by masquerading as a legitimate professional and philanthropist, Owlsley is forced to seek legal counsel when one of his accountants meets a suspicious death. He randomly picks blind attorney Matt Murdock's name from the phone book. Despite believing his client to be a criminal, Murdock is determined to provide a defense. But when Owlsley jumps bail, the lawyer—in his secret identity of Daredevil—refuses to let him get away. Over the years, the Owl has transformed progressively into an owl-like creature. The Owl took a serum that gave him the superhuman ability to glide through the air, as if he were an actual bird of prey. (The serum eventually induced a debilitating disease that paralyzed his legs, requiring him to walk using an exoskeleton during his recovery.) Later, the Owl was revealed to have mutations that gave him other owl-like attributes. He has hollow bones, like a bird's, and his fingernails are inchlong, razor-sharp talons. He has extra vertebrae in his neck, enabling to turn his head nearly 180 degrees, and can even rotate his eyes independently of each other, as a real owl can. In addition to his physical oddities, the Owl is an extraordinary engineer who prides himself in building gigantic flying machines in the shape of owls. He also boasts reclusive city hideouts referred to as his “Aeries.” In addition to Daredevil, the Owl has battled the Black Widow, Spider-Man, Tigra, Shanna the She-Devil, the Black Cat, and Alpha Flight. He butted heads with two fellow villains, the Kingpin and Dr. Octopus, both of whom have tried to do him in on various occasions. Still, the Owl generally operates solo, and has a habit of disappearing and suddenly reappearing in Daredevil's life.
The Supervillain Book: The Evil Side of Comics and Hollywood © 2006 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.