As part of the promotion for the upcoming third season of the Netflix Daredevil TV series, Marvel officially revealed that Bullseye will be one of the main villains of the new season, played by actor Wilson Bethel.
While the season will be taking a number of its cues from the classic Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli storyline, “Born Again,” one of the interesting aspects of introducing Bullseye to the series is that there are so many notable storylines featuring Daredevil and Bullseye over the years that it is practically impossible to guess which stories, precisely, will actually be featured on the series. However, it likely helps to at least revisit the key moments of their epic rivalry to see which stories are most likely to be referenced.
Like another classic villain, the Joker, little is known of Bullseye’s origins because he has offered up so many conflicting versions of his past that it is unclear how many of these stories are actually true, if any of them. One of the more notable origins involved Bullseye being a famous baseball player who threw eight and two-thirds no-hit innings in his first Major League Baseball game before he got bored and wanted to leave the game. When the opposing team’s next batter mocked him, he then threw a pitch at his head, killing him, stating only “Bullseye” as it nailed him.
Bullseye made his debut in late 1975’s Daredevil #131 (by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown and Klaus Janson). An earlier assassin named “Bulls-Eye” debuted a few years earlier in an issue of Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. (even seemingly succeeding in assassinating Nick Fury), but it is does not appear as though Wolfman was intending for this new character to be a revamped version of that villain.
Bullseye had a great gimmick. Besides the whole “able to turn any object into a deadly weapon” angle, he would extort people to pay him $100,000 or he would kill them. He had to make a demonstration of his skills at first to get the others to pay…
He similarly arranged a fight to the death with Daredevil at a circus to show the whole world how dangerous he was. After Daredevil escaped that initial deathtrap, the hero also foiled Bullseye’s next murder attempt…
Bullseye became a recurring villain for the Man Without Fear, but besides his awesome costume and equally awesome gimmick, it was not like there was a deep connection between the hero and the villain.
That changed in Daredevil #161 (by Roger McKenzie, Frank Miller and Klaus Janson), when we learned that Bullseye had become obsessed with his defeats to Daredevil and he even kidnapped and mentally tortured Black Widow to try to get back at Daredevil. When Daredevil once again defeated him, Bullseye’s mind just snapped…
In the second issue of Frank Miller’s run as the writer and penciler on Daredevil (with Klaus Janson as his inker, before Janson transitioned to penciling and inking the book over Miller’s layouts once the title went monthly), he revealed that Bullseye was so obsessed with Daredevil that he saw strangers on the street as ol’ Hornhead and he would kill them, thinking he was killing Daredevil…
It turned out that he was suffering from a brain tumor. Daredevil had to prove his selflessness by helping his deadly enemy seek the medical help he needed when he easily could have just let a subway train kill Bullseye after a fight (or just let the tumor kill him). Miller had great plans for the villain in his run.
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