In April 1964, legendary Marvel Comics creators Stan Lee and Bill Everett introduced readers to a truly unique Marvel character, blind Lawyer Matt Murdock, who used his other enhanced super senses and his combat skills to fight crime as the costumed super hero known as Daredevil. Over the years the character’s unique abilities, everyman qualities and determination to get back up again after every literal and metaphorical knockdown has inspired some highly acclaimed and memorable runs from creators like writer/artist Frank Miller, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev, and the current creative team of writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Samnee.
In March of this year, Waid and Samnee will kick off a new era for the Man Without Fear by launching an all-new volume of “Daredevil,” and in April Waid will team with artist Javier Rodriguez for the main story in “Daredevil” #1.50, a special issue that celebrates the character’s 50th anniversary. CBR News spoke with Waid and editor Ellie Pyle about the book’s main story, which looks at Daredevil’s life in the future, and the backup stories from past DD creators.
CBR News: Mark, you were a fan of Daredevil before you started your run on this book, and I imagine your fondness for the character has only grown. And Ellie, I know you were the assistant editor on the volume of “Daredevil” that’s about to come to a close and will be the primary editor of the new one that begins in March. How does it feel for both of you to get a chance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of “Daredevil?” What has the character of Matt Murdock come to mean to you?
Mark Waid: I have a pretty long-range perspective on this; as someone who’s been reading “Daredevil” regularly since 1973 (!) and has gone back to read everything before that, I’ve been witness to some terrific creative periods on this series — as well as the occasional off-years where editorial hasn’t quite known what to do with him to make him Not Spider-Man. Luckily, it’s been decades since that’s been a problem, and I continue to be grateful and honored to be part of such a long line of writers who’ve done their best to bring life to Matt Murdock and his supporting cast.
Ellie Pyle: Daredevil is my favorite Marvel character and it was really just blind luck (sorry!) that I started at Marvel just in time to be the assistant editor on the first issue of Mark’s run, so I’m pretty much speechless with delight to get to continue to be a part of the next volume. Matt Murdock has a gorgeous complexity to him that is a direct result of having been handled by such talented and diverse creative teams through the last 50 years. And a lot of that goes back to the core concept: whether facing street thugs or assassins, losing lovers, having his life stripped away bit by bit, having a nervous breakdown, going to jail, getting possessed, or just saying “OK, all that happened but I survived and I am going to live my life and enjoy it,” Matt remains fearless. There is just something so human about watching him trying different ways to cope and keep moving. Sometimes in comics it feels like we need to reset in order to keep telling stories but Daredevil is a character whose story really does build upon the strength of everything that came before.
A 50th anniversary is a pretty significant milestone to celebrate. What kind of book do you feel “Daredevil” #1.50 had to be? From the solicits it appears that you’ll actually be looking to Matt’s future rather than back on his career, is that correct?
Waid: Exactly. It was outgoing editor Steve Wacker’s suggestion to forego an obvious retrospective and instead flash-forward to Matt Murdock’s 50th birthday.
Can you any teases about the kind of man Matt will be in the future we see in the main story? What kind of mental shape is he in?
Waid: He’s still sharp. He’s still active. But the world around him has changed drastically in the 15-or-so years since the here-and-now, and Matt feels a huge responsibility for some of that, and for good reason. In the intervening years, there’s been a major cultural change to society that Daredevil accidentally helped bring about — and while on the face of it it seems progressive, not everyone has benefits.
In terms of plot and themes what is the main story in “Daredevil” #1.50 about?
Waid: The theme is about responsibility (which, really, is kind of true of all Marvel comics, isn’t it?), but we can’t give away too much of the plot without spoiling the event. I can say this, though: we will be planting plenty of clues as to what Matt Murdock’s 2014 holds in store.
What can you tell us about the overall tone of the future world presented in the main story of “Daredevil” #1.50? How does it compare to other possible DD future stories like “Daredevil: End of Days?”
Waid: “End of Days” was a terrific story, but it wasn’t told from Matt’s point of view. This one is. And to me, that makes all the difference. Matt, at age 50, really has to face up to the hard questions “What have I done with my life?” and “Is it enough?” Was being a costumed crime fighter, in retrospect, the best use of his abilities? Did he live up to his potential? Would his father have been proud of him?
Can you hint at any of the friends or foes Matt will interact with in the main story in “Daredevil” #1.50?
Waid: Oh, we’ll see plenty of familiar faces, but I think you’ll be most surprised by who the main adversary is.
Artist Javier Rodriguez will bring those characters and all the action in the main story to life. What do you feel he brings to the story as an artist?
Waid: He’s phenomenal. He’s a stupifyingly great storyteller, and he has a feel for these characters that can’t be overstated. The story’s set in the future — but Javier will make it feel as real and as authentic as the world outside your window right now.
Pyle: As regular readers saw most recently in “Daredevil” #34, Javier brings an incredible amount of life and detail to every page he draws. His storytelling is impeccable (we have been completely spoiled by some of the best storytellers in the business on this series!) but my favorite thing about Javier’s pages is how much acting he fits into not just his characters’ faces but everything they do.
Ellie, I understand Mark and Javier’s story isn’t the only story in “Daredevil” #1.50. What can you tell us about the other stories in this special issue? Which creators are working on them?
Pyle: Have you missed Matt’s twin brother Mike Murdock? Karl Kesel sure has and will be giving you a look at the bolder, brasher Murdock brother’s Last Will and Testament. Plus, I’m certain Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev have at least one more story to tell.
Finally, as you mentioned, “Daredevil” #1.50 isn’t just a special milestone issue that looks at the future, it’s also packed with hints and clues about what the “Daredevil” creative team has planned for 2014. What can you tell us about this? Are these clues for further down the road? Or will they offer up hints about the stories that immediately follow “Daredevil” #1.50?
Waid: There are specific call-outs for sharp-eyed readers as to what the near future of Daredevil holds, yes — and while I’d be lying if I said I had the next 15 years’ worth of stories already planned out in my head, I do know some of the milestones we’re heading for in the near future (and so will you once you read #1.50!).
“Daredevil” #1.50 goes on sale April 9, 2014.
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