“Daredevil” fans were sent into a mild-to-severe panic last week following word that the current volume of the Eisner/Harvey/you name it-winning series would be ending in February 2014 with issue #36. Since its debut in 2011, the Mark Waid-written “Daredevil” has consistently been one of Marvel Comics‘ most acclaimed series, with the writer joined on the book by noted artists including Paolo Rivera and Chris Samnee (both Eisner winners themselves for their work on the book).
Yet while “Daredevil” as fans know it may be ending — for now — Waid’s time on the character is not, with the new Infinite Comics series “Daredevil: Road Warrior” launching in February, and picking up where issue #36 is set to leave off. Waid wrote Marvel’s very first Infinite Comic, a Nova story released in April 2012 as part of “AvX,” and has long been a proponent of creating comics specifically formatted for digital devices — something he and colleagues do regularly on Thrillbent, a venture founded by Waid and John Rogers.
For “Road Warrior,” Waid is joined by his frequent collaborator Peter Krause, with whom he’s worked on “Irredeemable” at BOOM! Studios and “Insufferable” at Thrillbent. While Krause is well-versed in the digital-first format, it’s the first Marvel work of his 20-plus year professional comics career. CBR News spoke with Waid and Krause for more on “Road Warrior.”
CBR News: Mark, Peter, you’ve been working together for a few years now, but — even though you’re very early into the process — does it feel different to be working on a Marvel book?
Waid: The end goal is San Francisco, and there will be at least one of his supporting cast with him, although I can’t say yet without spoiling anything. Originally all we talked about was a road trip, and it became our shorthand for it. As lovely of a comic as that would be, I question the dramatic imperative of, “This week, Matt sees a cornfield.” I don’t know if that’s enough to draw you back.
So we started building a “North by Northwest” angle to it — a little bit of “North by Northwest,” a little bit of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” a little bit of Matt and Daredevil having to get across country, just thinking it’s going to be a road trip, and then very quickly turning it into something with real espionage and danger and peril to it, while still desperately trying to get to San Francisco to beat the clock.
Daredevil’s options are somewhat limited. He can’t rent a car for god’s sakes, and he’s miserable on planes. Pete, if you feel like drawing Daredevil on the back of a horse, then this is your lucky day!
Krause: You’ve already given that to Chris to do! He had to draw Daredevil on a horse.â€¨â€¨Waid: That’s true. We’ll figure out something else. There are many, many ways of getting yourself across the United States, and we will mine them all.
So the story’s more Hitchockian and less stopping for gas and looking at roadside attractions.
Waid: “The world’s largest ball of twine!” There’s only so much sightseeing you can do when you’re Matt Murdock.
By nature of the story, there’s also the chance to depict parts of the country that you don’t usually see in a Marvel Comic — is that an important part of “Road Warrior?”
Waid: Absolutely. One of the things I wanted to sit down and really talk with Pete about in the next week or so is, “let’s make the map.” Let’s figure out the interesting places that Pete is jonesing to draw that you don’t normally get to draw in a Marvel comic. It also doesn’t have to be a particularly linear trip, either. It doesn’t have to be a complete straight line. In fact he’s going to walk across America! No, I’m kidding. No one wants to see that.
So much always comes back to me to how Matt perceives the world around him. I’m intrigued by the idea of Matt in the desert, with nothing on the horizon in any direction. To him, it is the equivalent of what utter silence would be to you and me. If there’s nothing for your radar sense to ping off of, that’s got to be somewhat distracting.
So Pete, for your first Marvel story, it seems like a very unique one, not just in format but also in content.
Krause: Right. I guess I won’t have to bone up on my New York reference.
Waid: You won’t have to know what armor Iron Man is wearing this week.
Krause: Mark’s stuff always has these challenges in it, which are great. After all these years, when I look at a script, I still get a little voice in the back of my head saying, “How are you going to draw this?” But you do figure out a way to do it, and Mark has some unique twists that always keep me on my toes, and I really appreciate that. You need those challenges to keep sharpening your skills. It’s a lot different than drawing “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which I did very early in my career, when it’s the same sets, and the same people, and a lot of talking. Obviously it’s diametrically opposed to that. I’m looking forward to it.
Many great artists have worked on “Daredevil” over the decades — Pete, are there any takes over the years that are particularly influencing your approach? Or is it more about developing your own unique approach to Daredevil?
Krause: I don’t know if anything’s completely original in this world. I grew up on the Gene Colan Daredevil. I certainly wouldn’t say that I draw like Mr. Colan., but it’s always going to have a tender spot in my heart.
On the other hand, I am really paying attention to what Chris has been doing on the book. I’m sure there will be some influence as a result of that. I’m looking at it right now in my studio — I have that Artist Edition of David Mazzucchelli, the “Born Again” storyline that he did with Frank Miller. That thing is just incredible. I have spent hours looking at that book. If I can take a little something from all the great artists that have worked on the character, that’s not a bad thing.
The Marvel Infinite Comics “Daredevil: Road Warrior” by Waid and Krause launches in February, 2014.
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