Welcome to the five hundred and eighty-fourth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, how did Kevin Smith’s Daredevil run almost stop before it ever began? See the ending of the Ghostbusters II comic book that Columbia Pictures wouldn’t let be published! And did Stephen King use the Green Goblin in Maximum Overdrive without permission from Marvel?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Kevin Smith nearly passed on writing Daredevil when his story idea was used for one of the last story arcs of the first volume of Daredevil.
Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada’s run on Daredevil was a historic run in the history of Marvel (and heck, due to the importance of Marvel in the world of comics, I guess you could just say “in the history of comics” if you wanted to).
First off, just in terms of it being an acclaimed Daredevil run, it is historical.
But more importantly, as the lead book in Quesada’s “Marvel Knights” deal with Marvel (where Marvel would outsource books to Quesada’s Event Comics), its great critical and commercial success ultimately led to Marvel asking Quesada to move over and become the Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, where he had one of the most noteworthy (and longest) tenures as Editor-in-Chief.
So Daredevil being a hit was a very big deal, history-wise. And while Joe Quesada was a very popular artist at the time (and he still is), the key to the deal was Kevin Smith writing the comic. Kevin Smith is still a popular comic book writer when he does the occasional comic book, but at the time, Smith was HUGE. His name had huge selling power. Hell, a couple of years later, he made GREEN ARROW one of the very best-selling comics in the industry, based almost entirely on his star power. So getting Smith to write Daredevil was a huge coup of Quesada.
And the interesting thing is that Smith almost backed out of the project after agreeing to do it, and all because of one of the very last story arcs in the first volume of Daredevil, an arc specifically done because the series was ending and the writer figured it wouldn’t “matter”.
In the last story arc in the original Daredevil series, Scott Lobdell did a fun story where Matt Murdock has his sight temporarily returned and goes to work undercover for SHIELD but then has his memory erased (Lobdell knew it wasn’t really going to matter since the book was starting over, so he figured he’d try something very different – D.G. Chichester returned to tell an unrelated story for the very last issue of the first volume)…
Well, wouldn’t you know it, Kevin Smith’s idea for his Daredevil run was to have Daredevil’s sight returned to him! And when that idea was taken off the board, he was just going to skip the series all together!
Kuljit Mithra: When Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti asked you to be the writer for Daredevil, did you at any time NOT want to do it?
Kevin Smith: Oh yes – there was a time I tried to back out, for fear that I wasn’t going to do it justice. The boys talked me back into using their patented brand of good cop/bad cop.
Mithra: What is it about Daredevil that made you excited to write it? Is there anything about the character that you think could use some fixing?
Smith: DD’s just an all-around great character that’s never gotten the glory he deserves. How great a creation is he – blind lawyer with heightened senses who battles for justice on both sides of the law.
Mithra: Prior to your issues, Scott Lobdell wrote a story about DD regaining his sight. You made it known that this was essentially the same as the story you were going to write and you gave up the job as writer of DD. What was the main plotline of your story at that time?
Smith: The story was going to be a variation on this one, in a way: a supernatural character was going to offer DD his sight back, but it came with a high pricetag. I’m glad Lobdell did his story first, because I’m far more satisfied with the story we’re doing.
Mithra: How did the Event guys convince you to come back?
Smith: See [the first question].
Can you imagine how different things would have been if Smith had not been the writer? I suspect that David Mack might have been the back-up choice. Even if the story was just as good, Smith’s celebrity was just SUCH a huge selling point at the time that it seems hard to believe that any other “normal” comic book writer would have had quite the impact that Smith had. And it might have been lost due to what was, in effect, a fill-in story arc!
Thanks to Kevin Smith and Kuljit Mithra for the great information!
Check out some entertainment and sports legends from Legends Revealed:
Did Captain & Tennille Re-Record Their Entire First Album in Spanish?
On the next page, how did Columbia Pictures change the ending of the comic book adaptation of GHostbusters 2?
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