I saw the
Daredevil movie and I enjoyed it. I'll leave the reviews for others
and concentrate on my usual broken record: the comic book source
to mention Daredevil without mentioning Frank Miller. Some people
think Miller "made" Daredevil, however, most readers don't
realize that Frank started as a penciller working with a writer and
he eventually took over both jobs.
Yes, he created Elektra. And while he did not create Bullseye, he
certainly defined him. Under Miller, DD became the (now
often-overused) grim and gritty hero of Hell's Kitchen. I truly
enjoyed those issues as well as Frank's return to the character in
the "Born Again" story arc and the "Man Without
few years ago, moviemaker and comics fan, Kevin Smith, gave readers
his take on old Hornhead with a story arc called "Guardian
Devil." I like this story as well and recommend it highly. But
Daredevil is much more than just the work of these two high-profile
creators. Daredevil has been published since 1964 and many talented
creators get ignored or over-shadowed when the more than 400 issues
get summed up solely with the work of Miller and Smith.
Here's a list of some DD stories that may not get as much press, but
still deserve a look. These are all from Daredevil Volume One.
Beginning at the beginning always makes sense, Essential Daredevil
Vol. 1 contains reprints of issues 1 to 25 in affordable black and
white. There have also been two Daredevil Marvel Masterworks
hardcovers which reprint issues 1 to 20 in color, but are much more
Early in his crime-fighting career (#25), DD's secret identity had
been revealed to his friends. Thinking quickly, Matt Murdock
immediately creates another identity for himself; that of his TWIN
brother, Mike Murdock, who wears loud Hawaiian shirts and has
messed-up hair. Even though Matt and Mike can't be seen together, it
fools his friends. Then, Matt has to fake his "twin's"
death. And you thought soap operas did this stuff better!
a personal note, some of my earliest DD comics were #135 to 137
featuring the Jester (think DC's Joker) who convinces New York City
that Daredevil has gone bad and the world is going insane. I bought
this when I was eight years old, which is probably why it still
seems so cool today.
Leaping over the aforementioned Miller eras, we come to issues 297
to 300 which have been collected as the "Fall of the
Kingpin." Kingpin returns (naturally) and Murdock is forced to
"die" in the "Fall From Grace" (#319 to 325) arc
that gives DD a new costume and a new secret identity. I wasn't fond
of either, but that story is resolved in issues 340 to 350 titled
"Inferno" which redefines him (again) and returns his
costume and Murdock identity. Also worth mentioning is a run by
writer Karl Kesel, who came on issue 353 and added humor back into
the title. DD was a bit more of a wisecracking swashbuckler and I
loved it. Towards the end of Volume One (#365), writer Joe Kelly
produced the "Trial of Mister Fear" and really fleshed out
Matt's supporting cast.
This entire trip down Back Issue Memory Lane means nothing unless
you seek out some comics. At the very least, visit manwithoutfear.com
which was the website I used to nail those issue numbers. That site
concentrates on the Daredevil comic and its storied history. It has
cover images and summaries and an impressive list of DD creators.
To summarize, I liked the movie. I like the comics better. I like
and respect guys like Frank Miller and Kevin Smith, but also wish
more attention would be given to the other hundreds of great
Daredevil stories out there. Look for 'em.