Salazar Talks "Death Defying 'Devil"

Things are picking up fast for the Daredevil you don't know.

The Golden Age superhero who shares a moniker with Marvel Comics' fearless blind lawyer and has been rechristened the Death Defying 'Devil as part of Alex Ross and Jim Krueger's "Project Superpowers" exploration of public domain characters earns his own miniseries next month, courtesy of Dynamite Entertainment. And while the mute man of action whose schismatic costume and boomerang arsenal make him one of the more visually memorable heroes in the line, he won't be alone in his solo title, as Dynamite has revealed new returning heroes will be joining the 'Devil with each issue, including his Golden Age crimefighting partner the speedy Silver Streak in January's issue #2, and their eventual replacement, The Ghost in issue #3.

While CBR brought you writer Joe Casey's take on the characters and the series earlier this month, this time around it's artist Edgar Salazar's turn to talk about "Death Defying 'Devil." While the Mexican artist has spent the last few years working on Dynamite's licensed titles like the video game adaptation "Mercenaries" and the Top Cow crossover "Eva/Darkness," Salazar admitted his longtime goal has been getting into the superhero game.

"Heroes were what get me into comics on the first place," Salazar told CBR. "I loved Superman, Green Lantern and, yes, Daredevil. All of that plus horror comics were my comic diet. Oh, the good days!"

Regarding his past Dynamite work, Salazar said, "'Mercenaries' was fun as it has lots of explosions, but the characters were motivated by revenge or money. And 'Eva/Darkness' was a pleasure as I enjoy dark characters (plus monsters), and even though they're great characters I don't think people usually will look up to them as they're more antiheroes."

Salazar explained that it's the more than a costume or set of powers that makes the capes-and-tights set attractive to readers, it's the content of the character's crime-fighting resolve, and the 'Devil is no exception. "There is certain glorious look of justice that a superhero must have so we always look up to them, as they have many attributes besides their powers or abilities but also there values," he said. "As for my pencil style and the layout of the book, well, I always try to explore new ways or techniques. In the first issues I try to rely more on the use of the lightbox, mostly so I can speed up the work process. And this definitely is more dynamic, has lots of action and the character, well he is a Death Defying 'Devil, so I guess that says it all. I see him more in the vigilante line, plus he's enigmatic, too, so I like to take advantage of it. That's reflected on the dark side of his outfit, so he is not that bright a character."

That iconic outfit gets quite the workout before page 1 of "Death Defying 'Devil," thanks to a string of cover artists that includes Alex Ross, John Cassaday, John Romita, Sr. and George Tuska - all of whom have begun to have an impact on Salazar's interior work. "The designs of Alex had been very inspirational," he confirmed. "I use them a lot and they definitely influence in my approach, but I am trying to keep my style on it and hopefully that works out as I am not very cartoony.

"The other covers, I didn't have the chance to see until I was already working with the character, but certainly serve as an inspiration to draw 'Devil. It's awesome. Even though I didn't know of him before 'Project Superpowers,' he certainly is one of the stronger -- visually speaking -- heroes from [the series]. And while I researched him, it was kind of hard to understand why he was off the shelves for so long. So I am more than happy to be part of his return to the comic book world."

Of course, there are challenges in bringing out the 'Devil as well - particularly the character's mute status, which makes Salazar's job more interesting to say the least. "It's been a little challenging as he not only doesn't speak but doesn't make much of an effort to communicate with the others, and we don't read captions from his thoughts as with a regular comic book hero," the artist revealed. "Right now, he is playing more of the role of enigmatic silent type character - this is a man that talks with his actions so he has to be very physical and explosive on his action movements while with his expressions I try to reflect lot of attitude.

"There is a lot of mystery with his past and his current condition. He don't communicate much with the other characters, is 'the silent type of guy.' I think of him in attitude as a little as Clint Eastwood in 'The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,' so I don't think he really cares how the other heroes or the public sees him, but he makes a stand with his actions, showing up to stop the 'evil' no matter how many times it gets back. In this case, against The Claw."

Speaking of The Claw, the fang-faced villain who often tussled with the Golden Age Daredevil remains part of the heroes' world in the pages of "Project Superpowers" and beyond. However, fans hoping for a head-to-head confrontation between hero and foe right off the bat in this new mini may have to hold their breaths a while. "I am really sorry to say that I haven't drawn him except for some hints of him in a flashback moment, and I really don't know if he will appear later (I'll cross my fingers so he will)," Salazar revealed. "Most of the action has been taking place again his agents. The flashbacks had been my favorites as I have the opportunity to show some great moments of these Golden Age heroes, plus other key moments.

"Joe [Casey] has done a great job. This script has action packed into a coherent story and is very well described, so it's really a pleasure to work from. There have been a lot of surprises for me in this series, but I guess I shall keep it by myself for now so I won't spoil it for the readers."

What will fans see in the pages of "Death Defying 'Devil" are heroes upon heroes, fitting well within the established practice of "Project Superpowers" of reintroducing as many characters as possible with each new issue. However, two of the most important support players in the new mini are characters brand new to the 'Devil's mythos: his gun-toting partner Justine, and his doppelganger villain, the Deadly Dreaded Dragon.

"We learn a lot about [Justine] through the story," Salazar said. "She is a very important character, and for moments I see her (along with Silver Streak) as the voice of the 'Devil." As for the Dragon, the artist remarked, "Even though they have a similar uniform, they have shown so far to have very different personalities - the 'Devil, no matter how much in action he is in, will always have that cool, controlled type of attitude, while the Dragon will be angry and yelling with little to no control."

Salazar pointed out Silver Streak as a particular highpoint for the series, saying the soup-to-nuts presentation of the speedster both complicates and streamlines the series from its second issue on. "I loved the design Alex did for him, so it was really fun to draw him," Salazar said. "This is the first time I drew a speedster, so I try to base my drawings on real life runners and hope I made a good representation of him. Contrary to other speedy heroes, SS not only runs fast but can also fly - the limits of his speed flying or running still are up to see. His relationship with the 'Devil goes back to WWII as they both were enemies of the Claw; they join forces in the present against The Claw agents and also help a little as a 'voice' for 'Devil."

"The Death Defying 'Devil" #1 goes on sale in December from Dynamite Entertainment.

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