published by Marvel Comics
first appeared in Daredevil #8
Wilbur Day was a scientist who worked for Kaxton
Industries, a technology firm. The owner Carl Kaxton
invented a hydraulic ram which had a number of industrial
applications and was seen to be of potential value. Day
felt that he was not being properly compensated and stole
the designs for the hydraulic ram and quit his position
Day took the hydraulic ram design and incorporated into
an armored suit so that the wearer could extend the legs
of the suit. Day planned to use the suit to break into
the upper floors of buildings and rob them, which he
did for a while under the name Stiltman.
Stiltman had a successful string of robberies under
his belt until he clashed with Daredevil and was
brought to justice. Subsequently, Stiltman fought
Daredevil and other heroes including Spider-Man,
Black Goliath, and She-Hulk. Often times, Stiltman
employed high-tech weapons, like particle beams and
such, but he was defeated on most occasions. The reason
for his frequent defeats was due to the fact that he
is conceptually one of the lamest villains to ever
make repeated appearances in comics.
The idea of growing to giant-size as a super-power
is not a bad one, though problematic. A number of
successful heroes have had this ability over the years
including Giant-man, Goliath, Atlas from the
Thunderbolts, Colossal Boy from the Legion, and
even Apache Chief from the Superfriends. But it is
not just the great height that makes for a frightening
visage. Without the subsequent increase in mass, the
character is just really, really tall and there is
not menace attributable to great height, just ask
Michael Crichton. Hence, the whole concept of
a villain that has really long legs is hardly menacing.
Then there is the name: Stiltman. Not really a
name that would strike fear in the hearts of your foes.
Why not something like Steeplejack or Alto, the
Living Skyscraper? Sure they are campy, but at least
your immediate reaction isn't to think of those guys
who walk around in parades.
And finally, the power itself is problematic. If you had
great inventive ability, why would you choose to create
an armored suit that allowed you to rob the upper floors
of buildings? Imagine trying to break into the 37th floor
of a high rise. Okay, you break the window, but now what?
You either have to retract a leg to step inside or you are
limited to what you can reach from the window. Not exactly,
a huge haul unless you are really into window blinds and
curtains. There is also the thorny problem of protection.
Admittedly, Stiltman's outfit is armored, but one has
to imagine that he has to have additional armor on his
crotch and ass since they are the part of him to most likely
get shot should a bullet reach him. Not exactly something
that you want to tell the other supervillains.