The Owl

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Daredevil vol. 1 #20 © 1966 Marvel Comics. COVER ART BY JOHN ROMITA, SR. AND FRANK GIACOIA.

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.
References in classic literature ?
But I admire the owl for the reason that she is positively foolish.
The Grasshopper refused to desist, and chirped louder and louder the more the Owl entreated.
The wisdom of this plan was soon evident, for the Phanfasm with the owl's head turned and led the way up the mountain.
"I am sorry," said the Owl, "to have to contradict the Crow, my famous friend and colleague.
They have reached the Owl Creek bridge, put it in order and built a stockade on the north bank.
And now the sun went quite down; the gloomy night came; the owl flew into a bush; and a moment after the old fairy came forth pale and meagre, with staring eyes, and a nose and chin that almost met one another.
Far through unfrequented woods on the confines of towns, where once only the hunter penetrated by day, in the darkest night dart these bright saloons without the knowledge of their inhabitants; this moment stopping at some brilliant station-house in town or city, where a social crowd is gathered, the next in the Dismal Swamp, scaring the owl and fox.
So now he got the place of "Universal Bellringer," and wrote yearly a short treatise "On the Owl"; but everybody was just as wise as before.
And the owl, Too-Too, who was good at arithmetic, figured it out that there was only money enough left to last another week-- if they each had one meal a day and no more.
`I passed by his garden, and marked, with one eye, How the Owl and the Panther were sharing a pie--'
Other sound than the owl's voice there was none, save the failing of a fountain into its stone basin; for, it was one of those dark nights that hold their breath by the hour together, and then heave a long low sigh, and hold their breath again.
"Listen to the owl!" Katerina Ivanovna whispered at once, her good- humour almost restored, "she meant to say he kept his hands in his pockets, but she said he put his hands in people's pockets.