Among the heroes of the Marvel Universe, one man's courage has earned him the reputation as "The Man Without Fear." That hero is better known as Daredevil, and starting this Wednesday, with the release of "Daredevil: Battling Jack Murdock" #1," (of a four issue mini-series), readers will discover the inspiration for Matt Murdock's renowned bravery in the life of his father. CBR News spoke with Carmine Di Giandomenico, the co-writer (along with Zeb Wells) and artist of "Battling Jack."
It Was Di Giandomenico who came to Marvel with the idea of doing a mini-series about the life of Daredevil's father. "Luckily it was approved!" Di Giandomenico told CBR News. "I was a little afraid of managing the origins of such an important character, but Zeb Wells is helping me a lot with the script, we're working very hard! I have to thank all the Marvel crew, first of all Joe Quesada and Alex Alonso, who believed in my idea. Then Warren Simons, the editor, who is doing a great job with it."
Di Giandomenico's love for Daredevil is what spawned "Battling Jack." "I was curious to know the inner reasons why [Matt Murdock] decided to become a hero," Di Giandomenico explained. "I thought it could depend on his father's heroism. Jack was the man who gave life to Daredevil with his final decision and that's what I wanted to tell in this miniseries: the example of a father who was always very human, for better or for worse."
To tell the all too human story of Daredevil's father, Di Giandomenico is assuming the roles of artist and co-writer. "I'm first of all an artist, but this is not the first time I've worked as a writer too," Di Giandomenico said. "Here in Italy I worked on a graphic novel called 'Oudeis' for the publisher Saldapress. Also, I'm working with an Italian writer, Alessandro Bilotta, on three series, "La Dottrina" for the publisher Magic Press, 'Romano' for Glenat and 'La Lande des Aviateurs' for Humanoids.
"When I thought about 'Battling Jack' I knew I wasn't an experienced writer, so I decided to study the continuity of this character in detail, I couldn't absolutely change the main events of his life. That's why they assigned me a co-writer for the script!"
Di Giandomenico and co-writer Wells's script is set in the mainstream Marvel Universe, and while Jack Murdock is obviously not a superhero, the story is nevertheless a tale of immense strength and fortitude. "It's not the story of a 'super' hero, of course, but Jack was a hero in some way, wasn't he?" DiGiadomencio said. "He raised his son on his own, and I wanted to tell about his courage and his fear as well."
In addition to becoming better acquainted with Jack Murdock and experiencing his hopes and fears, readers of "Battling Jack" will also get to know more about other characters in the Daredevil mythos. "In this story Matt Murdock is a young guy who will help his father become a better man," Di Giandomenico explained. "We'll also see some of the most familiar characters, and one in particular, who has always been kept aside and has appeared only twice in Daredevil's lifetime."
The events of "Battling Jack" take place just prior to one of the most significant moments in Jack Murdock's life. "The story begins just before Maggie leaves her child with Jack," Di Giandomenico stated. "His evolution starts from this point. It is a story that focuses on feelings more than on magnificent scenes. I tried to study the eyes' expressions, sometimes exaggerating them, so that the reader can sympathize with the protagonists' adventures."
Di Giandomenico was happy to have Zeb Wells co-write Jack Murdock's exploits with him. "Zeb is a great professional writer and his help was essential in producing the good results of this project," Di Giandomenico said. "He adjusted some parts of my story in order to make it closer to the American narration. I'm honored to collaborate with him, I admire his work and I'm sure he's the best man to work with. I also have to thank Warren [Simmons] because he made us meet!"
At its core, "Battling Jack" is a story about man struggling to be the best that he can and Di Giandomenico wanted to make sure that came across in both his scripts and in his artwork for the series. "My intention is to convey Jack's humanity, his strengths and weaknesses, his everyday fight to support his son and protect him until the end," he stated. To bring to life Jack Murdock's fight to support and protect his son, Di Giandomenico employed his usual artistic techniques but with one slight change. "I'm giving my best in this project, but I didn't change my technique, I'm just trying to focus my attention on the narration more than on style."
The most enjoyable aspects of "Battling Jack" for Di Giandomenico, both as a writer and an artist, were the chances to flesh out the previously unexplored areas of the title character's life. "It's when we spend time talking about the slightest details of the story, trying to tell something new of the characters without touching the continuity of the series," Di Giandomencio said. "In these moments, I feel the pleasure of discussion and I always discover that every one of us can make a positive contribution to the project. It's a precious enrichment for me."
And while "Daredevil: Battling Jack" has been an enriching experience for Di Giandomenico, adding onto the history of the Man Without Fear has also made the writer-artist himself a little fearful. "I fear to be compared to such masterpieces such as 'The Man Without Fear' and "Daredevil Yellow,'" Di Giandomenico said. "Not to mention the great Stan Lee and Bill Everett, who are the creators of Daredevil. Before starting each page, I take a breath and try to relax! Of course readers will compare 'Battling Jack' with those works. I only hope to be able to convey them my emotions, in a small way."
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