Gladiator (Melvin Potter)

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Gladiator (Melvin Potter) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Potter was initially depicted as a supervillain and one of the first enemies of the superhero Daredevil. In civilian life, he is a costume designer at the Spotlight Costume Shop in New York City. He eventually reforms and became one of the staunchest supporters of Daredevil.

The Gladiator by Alex Maleev
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceDaredevil #18 (July 1966)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
John Romita Sr. (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoMelvin Potter
Team affiliationsEmissaries of Evil
AbilitiesAccomplished clothing designer
Superb martial artist
Peak physical condition
Wears thick metal armor
Possesses arsenal of edged weapons

Potter was portrayed by Matt Gerald in the Marvel Netflix TV series Daredevil , which is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Publication historyEdit

Gladiator first appeared in Daredevil #18 (July 1966), and was created by Stan Lee and John Romita Sr.

Fictional character biographyEdit

Melvin Potter was a costume designer who had the deluded belief that he was far better than any superhero. In order to prove his point, he designed a suit of battle armor for himself, complete with deadly wrist blades, and became known as the Gladiator. He battled Daredevil in his first criminal outing, and then met the Masked Marauder, another enemy of Daredevil's.[1] Gladiator later appeared in Europe, where he fought Daredevil again, and was then invited to join the Maggia.[2] He joined Electro's Emissaries of Evil to attack Daredevil again.[3] Later, Gladiator aided Whitney Frost in a raid of Stark Enterprises, where he first fought Iron Man.[4]

Gladiator later battled Daredevil again.[5] Some time later, he fought Daredevil aboard an airplane in flight.[6] He later allied with the Death-Stalker,[7] and later still allied with the Beetle.[8] While under control of the Purple Man, he attacked Daredevil.[9] Gladiator had one last battle against Daredevil before deciding to reform. He began undergoing therapy from Betsy Beatty,[10] whom he later married.

Now reformed, the Gladiator later allied with Daredevil and Elektra against the Hand.[11] Donning his Gladiator costume again, Potter met Spider-Man.[12]

Potter was pressured into producing a Daredevil costume for a madman in the employ of the crime lord known as the Kingpin, but Murdock comes to tell him to play along.[13] Potter later donned his Gladiator costume again to discourage a youth from a life of crime.[14]

He was later forced into working for the Kingpin's elderly predecessor Alexander Bont, who claimed that Potter had a four-year-old daughter that he had never met and that she would die if Potter did not help. Gladiator brought Murdock to Bont, who attempted to kill Murdock and assume his old mantle but instead died of a drug-induced heart attack. The Gladiator was defeated by the new White Tiger, and went back to prison.[15]

Gladiator is accused of murdering two fellow inmates and Matt Murdock's law firm is defending him. Murdock's super-senses indicate that he is telling the truth when he claims he is innocent. However, at the end of the issue, taunted by another inmate, Gladiator snaps his handcuffs and brutally assaults the inmate and a corrections officer, only to surrender to another officer and claim once again that he didn't do it. Later, after being broken out of an armored car, Melvin beats a confused Daredevil and moves to the sewers, heading for his Gladiator costume.[16] Gladiator then goes on a rampage in Chinatown killing innocent people and then attacking Matt and Milla in a restaurant. After being knocked out, Matt reawakens in a police car to hear a voice that Gladiator will murder his wife. Matt finds the Gladiator and Milla, rescues Milla, and defeats the Gladiator. Melvin realizes what he has done and attempts suicide, but is saved by Daredevil. Potter is taken back to prison, and is heavily sedated after repeatedly banging his head against the wall. It is revealed that Mr. Fear had secretly administered chemicals to Potter that caused him to go irreversibly insane with rage.[17]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Gladiator has no superhuman abilities. However, he is a superb martial arts fighter and is very physically powerful. He wore a thick metal armor with a helmet and metallic gauntlets, and was armed with an arsenal of edged weapons and whirling, jagged circular sawblades made of titanium, one mounted on each gauntlet. Small rotors in the gauntlets cause the blades to rotate at high speeds, and the whirling blades could also be detached to serve as short-range missile weapons.[citation needed]

In civilian life, Potter is an accomplished clothing designer, proficient in drafting, design and sewing.[18]

Other versionsEdit

In the alternate time of the 2005 "House of M" storyline, Gladiator appears as an assassin of the Kingpin.[19]

The Ultimate Marvel universe version of Gladiator is an enemy of Spider-Man, and a crazed madman obsessed with "the emperor".[20]

In other mediaEdit


  • Melvin Potter is a recurring character in the live-action series Daredevil, portrayed by Matt Gerald.[21][22][23] Melvin was an inventor, forced by Wilson Fisk to make him protective suits. No one was supposed to be in Melvin's shop, unless Fisk brought them. If Melvin betrayed him, Fisk would go after his friend, Betsy. Seeking the maker of Fisk's suits, Matthew Murdock had Turk Barrett point him to Melvin's shop, where the silent Potter attacked Murdock, and briefly had the advantage due to an open wound Murdock was suffering from, but Murdock rallied and overpowered him. Potter then told him about Betsy, and the vigilante responded that he might be able to stop Fisk from hurting anyone else, including Betsy, with Melvin's help. Melvin agreed to make him a new suit and the vigilante asked him to make a symbol. Melvin started working on a body armor that could offered protection without giving away speed and agility, also adding small Devil horns to the mask. When Murdock returned for the hastily constructed product, Melvin asked him to protect Betsy. Murdock responded that he would keep his promise, and then Melvin gave him the suit and a pair of batons.


  • Melvin Potter appears in the Daredevil novel Predator's Smile, written by Christopher Golden.


  1. ^ Daredevil #18
  2. ^ Daredevil #22-23. Marvel Comics (New York).
  3. ^ Daredevil Annual #1
  4. ^ Iron Man #7-8. Marvel Comics (New York).
  5. ^ Daredevil #63
  6. ^ Daredevil #85. Marvel Comics (New York).
  7. ^ Daredevil #113-114. Marvel Comics (New York).
  8. ^ Daredevil #140. Marvel Comics (New York).
  9. ^ Daredevil #154. Marvel Comics (New York).
  10. ^ Daredevil #166. Marvel Comics (New York).
  11. ^ Daredevil #173-175
  12. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man #77. Marvel Comics (New York).
  13. ^ "Born Again" storyline, Daredevil #230-231. Marvel Comics (New York).
  14. ^ Marvel Comics Presents #98. Marvel Comics (New York).
  15. ^ Daredevil vol. 2 #67-70. Marvel Comics (New York).
  16. ^ Daredevil vol. 2 #95. Marvel Comics (New York).
  17. ^ Daredevil vol. 2 #96-99. Marvel Comics (New York).
  18. ^ Daredevil vol. 1 #18. Marvel Comics (New York).
  19. ^ House of M: Avengers #3. Marvel Comics (New York).
  20. ^ Bendis, Brian Michael (w), Bagley, Mark (p). Ultimate Spider-Man #60. Marvel Comics (New York).
  21. ^ White, Brett (March 11, 2015). "Netflix's 'Daredevil' Announces Casting for Turk, Gladiator & More". Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  22. ^ Abraham, Phil (director); Douglas Petrie and Marco Ramirez (writer) (March 18, 2016). "Dogs to a Gunfight". Marvel's Daredevil. Season 2. Episode 2. Netflix.
  23. ^ Fraser, Toa (director); Sarah Streicher (writer) (October 19, 2018). "Aftermath". Marvel's Daredevil. Season 3. Episode 7. Netflix.

External linksEdit