A group of villains published by Marvel Comics
were first published in Daredevil #168
The Hand are a ninja clan bent on gaining power.
Lead by their mystical leader known only as the Beast,
the Hand employ both martial arts skills and dark magic
to meet their goal of domination. Part of the Hand's use
of mystical forces makes the body of one of their members
turn to dust upon death so that they can not be examined.
The Hand has for years been opposed by a group of warriors,
whose only goal is to thwart the plans of the Hand. The
leader of this group was an elderly blind man who was
called Stick after his preferred weapon, a staff.
Stick and the warriors that he trained sought to keep
the Hand from gaining any ground in their battle for
power. Occasionally, Stick took on outside students
who could learn from his knowledge. Two of these students
became key in helping Stick and his warriors oppose the
Hand: Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios.
Elektra Natchios began her training as a warrior with
Stick, but he eventually turned her away after he
determined that she was too full of anger and hate to
learn. Elektra took up with the Hand at this point
hoping to prove her worth to Stick. She was corrupted
by the Hand's training and was tricked into killing one
of her old teachers during a training exercise. She
fled the Hand, but used her abilities to become a top
Years later, the Hand sought to destroy the opposition
of Stick and his students once and for all. The Hand
attacked Stick and the his students along with Daredevil
and his former partner the Black Widow. The battle
was going badly for the heroes until Stick and one
of his students absorbed the life forces of all of the
Hand warriors present, causing themselves to explode.
The Hand has been used by others over the years and
come into conflict with other heroes like Wolverine,
the Punisher, and Captain America. They have also
clashed again with Daredevil while the hero attempted
to save the life of a child that is believed to be
Stick in his reincarnated form.
The idea of the Hand
was used a few years later as the template for a group of ninja led by the archvillain of
the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
. This thinly veiled knock-off group was given the name the Foot
. So much for originality.
I have been given a bit of grief from my fellow comics readers about my portrayal of the Foot as "thinly veiled knock-off." Many have been quick to defend TMNT and their characters as a tribute to Frank Miller's Daredevil run rather than a derivative comic using Miller's work as a template. I will acknowledge that it may have been intended to be so but unfortunately the result was, in my opinion, poorly written and poorly drawn, making it a poor hommage.
But to each his own.