Waid & Krause Map Out Daredevil's Digital Road Trip

"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?

Peter Krause: This is the first time I've ever worked for Marvel. The little kid that's inside of me is jumping up and down, because I was definitely one of those kids that hung out at the corner drug store to buy comics when I was little. Plus, it's my favorite Marvel character, on top of that. When Mark got the job writing "Daredevil," I said, "You get to write Daredevil! Daredevil's the best!" I'm very excited about this.

When I was exchanging e-mails with [Marvel senior editor] Steve Wacker, he said, "What is your Marvel rate? I can't really remember you working for Marvel before. I replied, "Steve, I am your oldest Marvel rookie ever!"

Mark Waid: I'm not sure that's true -- I bet Paolo Rivera's dad [inker Joe Rivera] is older than you. Remember, he breezed in and won an Eisner. That augurs well for older rookies, I think.

The whole time I've been on "Daredevil," I've been trying to find some way for Pete and us to hook up together on this character. Pete is always the gentleman and always gracious, and not anybody who wants to horn in somebody else's territory.

Krause: And I love what Chris and Paolo have been doing with "Daredevil." I know Chris; Chris is someone I consider a friend and just a super-talented guy. I'm just happy to watch what's been going on. The character's been in great hands.

Waid: This past summer we started talking. Chris obviously was busy with the print end of it -- 'Is a digital comic something we might be able to work on together given Pete's and my experience on Thrillbent, and making that work?' Everybody was all for it. It didn't take any effort at all to get that off the ground.

Pete, it's surprising to hear you haven't done anything for Marvel before this. You said you were a Daredevil fan -- were you a Marvel fan in general growing up?

Krause: Now I'm going to tip how old I am, because actually the first comic that I bought and my favorite comic growing up, was "World's Finest." Of course, that's a DC book. I ended up also gravitating toward Marvel Comics.

"Daredevil" was a comic I instantly gravitated towards when I was a kid. It was the common thing of those drug stores that you couldn't always get a complete run -- newsstand distribution was kind of spotty. I would look to see if there was a new "Daredevil" comic; sometimes I'd have gaps. But it was definitely a comic I collected as a kid.

So Mark, is this definitely the end of your run on "Daredevil"?

Waid: It's the end of something. How about that? [Laughs] It's a different way of helping celebrate the 50th anniversary of the character. That's sort of the impetus here, too.

Daredevil is one of those characters that lends itself so beautifully to being able to use digital techniques. The way he perceives the world is so different from the rest of us. That to me is the exciting thing: the things that Pete and I will be able to play with in terms of seeing something through Daredevil's radar sense, and then not really understanding what he's looking at until you flip the page a couple of times, and maybe fade in to something that is more our point of view. Or just playing with the idea that Daredevil has a 360-degree range when it comes to how he perceives things with his radar sense, so you'd be able to play some interesting camera tricks. This is the kind of stuff that's harder to pull off in print -- that element of surprise that through Daredevil's eyes, you're not entirely sure what you're looking at until you turn the page.

Krause: And multiple cliffhangers.

Mark, this seems like something you wanted to do for a while -- combine the award-winning work you've been doing on "Daredevil," with the exploration of the digital medium you've been embarking on at Thrillbent.

Waid: Ever since we started doing this, and ever since Joe Quesada and I started talking about Infinite Comics two years ago, I've been saying since day one that Daredevil and Doctor Strange are the two Marvel characters that are most tailor-made for this new experience. I'm eager to jump in, and Pete's the perfect guy, because we have that working language between us about what digital can and can't do.

Not quite sure how much we can talk about the story specifically at this point since it is still early, but in terms of more broad strokes, clearly it involves something of a road trip. That sounds like there's the potential to have a lot of fun -- how are you approaching that aspect of it, and are we going to see multiple stops on his way to, I believe, San Francisco?

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.

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.

REVIEW: The Batman Who Laughs #2 is Wonderfully Focused & Intense

More in Comics