"What did it mean to you personally and professionally to work on Daredevil?"
I hope you all enjoy reading these answers as much as I did putting this together!
If you are a DD creator who'd like to contribute, please feel free to e-mail me and I'll update the interview with your response. Of course, I could not get in touch with all DD creators, but I am very happy with the responses I received. I want to thank each and every creator who took the time to respond. I truly appreciate it. Here's to many more years of Daredevil!
There are a few creators who have promised a response, but have been busy with deadlines etc. I will update the interview once I receive their contributions.
-- Kuljit Mithra, September 29, 2004, with additions in 2005
Bill SienkiewiczArtist, DAREDEVIL: LOVE AND WAR
Daredevil was one of my all-time favorite characters. I devoured the Gene Colan/Tom Palmer issues, which captured the speed and vertigious high that a man without fear (or a teen with loads of it) would consider his lifeblood. Or his monthly vicarious fix of it, at any rate. So as a comics pro years later, when the opportunity to do my take on DD was offered , I leapt at the chance. The result, the graphic novel Daredevil: Love and War,(with Frank Miller) is one of the things I've done of which I'm most proud. At the time, my artwork was undergoing a one of many intermittent stylistic shifts, each change was borne out of frustration and the need to explore. In this particular incarnation, I found the artwork moving away from a realistic linear approach to anatomy, etc., into more painted and collaged abstraction (shape, color, pattern ,design, and movement.) I was chomping at the bit to see what those elements, those choices, could bring to a story. The decision was tantamount to abandoning my aspirations to Michaelangelo for delusions of Tex Avery. Or vice versa. For reasons that still defy explanation, I continued to get work. What not many readers are aware of, is that Love and War was originally slated to be a story arc in the actual run of the monthly DD comic. Had it been so, I'm not sure what the result would have been or how it would have played out in the visual continuity of the series. There were even concerns it might not see the light of day at all.
Denny O'NeilEditor, Writer, DAREDEVIL
Daredevil was the first "real superhero" I ever wrote and when I did the character--in a fill-in issue plotted by an overworked Stan Lee--I felt I was in the comics big time. He was the kind of good guy I liked, and still like: human-scaled, heroic in spite of flaws. Later, Daredevil was a pure joy to edit, mostly because of the extraordinarily talented people who contributed to the title. (Nothing like brilliant writers and artists to make an editor look good.) I sometimes miss those days and I'm grateful that they were part of my professional life.
D.G. ChichesterWriter, DAREDEVIL
Really, it was a blind man that helped me see the way. Hallelujah. Professionally, capturing the Daredevil writing mantle was clearly a milestone for my career in comics. Probably "the" milestone, all things considered. Within the Marvel walls, I had in effect "made my bones" by the fact of now working on a "real" comic (i.e., a Marvel Universe A-to-B-list hero) -- and not some a) "sad second string character," b) "irrelevant licensed title," or (heaven help us all!) c) "esoteric Epic whatever-it-is-they-do-over-there!" ;-) While I don't agree with those snarky descriptions, I do recognize that working on a "name" character opened doors. And more than simply name value, Daredevil had depth. So while being able to introduce myself as "the writer on Daredevil" did lead to more paying gigs, *being* the writer on Daredevil allowed me the chance to tell stories I probably wouldn't have been able to with a more "one note" character. The rich diversity that hornhead had shown himself capable of via past creative teams inspired me to take the title on a more ambitious ride. And because I had the good fortune to work with some tremendously talented artists -- Scott McDaniel, Ron Garney, Lee Weeks -- those stories ended up "clicking" more often than not. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I can now see where I should have spent more time on clarity than ambition -- but in the moment, the "white heat" of collaborating on stories like "Fall of the Kingpin" and "Fall from Grace" and "34 Hours" fueled my confidence as a writer. And that gave me the belief in my own talents -- or at least the misguided intestinal fortitude -- to seek out new projects and new challenges, both inside and outside comics. Without fear, you might say...
J.M. DeMatteisWriter, DAREDEVIL
My most memorable experience regarding Daredevil didn't come while I was writing the comic book; it came in l997 when I had the pleasure of working on the Daredevil movie, back when Chris Columbus was producing and Carlo Carlei was attached to direct.
Jimmy PalmiottiInker, DAREDEVIL
For me, it was an exciting time to be working in comics and when Joe and I created Marvel Knights, the first character we asked for was Daredevil. At that time, the book was being cancelled and we thought we could bring the numbers and interest back up to where it should be. The run with Kevin Smith and Joe was a lot of fun and having been a fan since the book began, I took special pleasure in interpreting all the characters in this modern version and then seeing what we did make it to film. Probably the most fun was doing the Wizard 1/2 featuring Daredevil. I got to work on the cover and ink John Romita, as well as pencil a piece that was inked by my favorite, Kevin Nowlan. All around, working on the title was a great experience.
Alex MaleevPenciller, inker, colorist, DAREDEVIL
I'm honored to work on the title with such great talent and history as much as I am honored being part of the team that brings the book to stands currently. To all who have contribute to the character and to all who work with me and help me, I'd like to use the anniversary as an opportunity and gratefully say: "Thank you!"
Klaus JansonPenciller, inker, colorist, DAREDEVIL
It meant everything to me.
Marv WolfmanWriter, DAREDEVIL
My pleasure in working on Daredevil came from my creations, Bullseye and Torpedo, among others, as well as doing the very intricate Jester storyline that, 10-15 years before Photoshop and the wide spread use of computers, predicted a computer technology that only recently has started to emerge. I also loved working with Bob Brown.
Lee WeeksPenciller, DAREDEVIL
Getting the Daredevil assignment was an important moment in my career. During my first five years in comics, I had floundered (in my estimation) and grown tired of the very thing that I had always loved doing more than anything -- drawing ... and telling stories with those drawings. In fact, I was depressed. I hadn't just grown tired of it -- I was despising it. It wasn't the assignments, necessarily, or certainly not the people I worked with, because I worked with some of the finest. But, other than the first assignment I'd ever drawn (a short story for an anthology book published by Eclipse Comics that I drew in '85, written by a good buddy), every subsequent job was something that came my way and not something I had aspired to do. I wasn't choosing my path, but it was being chosen for me. Today, as a Christian, I relish my path being chosen ... by my Lord. But back then it felt more like being tossed about on the stormy seas -- without any purpose or direction.
Ariel OlivettiPenciller, DAREDEVIL
I felt very comfortable working on Daredevil since he is one of my favorites! Unfortunately at the time that I worked on DD, I was working on other projects at the same time and the artistic result was not as good as I hoped. But the inks of Pier Brito helped so that everything came out well.
John Romita, Jr.Penciller, DAREDEVIL, DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR
Other than the fact that, in my humble opinion, DD is the most enjoyable character to draw,I also have a fondness in my heart for DD because the cover to #12 was the image that "dragged" me into the comics industry, so to speak!
Steve GerberWriter, DAREDEVIL
Daredevil was an interesting turning point in my career. As I recall, I had been working at Marvel about a year when I got the assignment. Prior to that, I had done some superhero work -- a few issues of Iron Man, a brief run on Sub-Mariner, assorted fill-in issues -- none of it very notable. My initial work on Daredevil wasn't much to get excited about either. The art was so-so. (Gene Colan had departed the book as regular artist.) The stories and characterizations were, to be honest, very shallow, and far too derivative of other writers' work on the series. As I admitted in one DD letter column, I was trying to write Stan Lee's Daredevil, or Roy Thomas's, or Gerry Conway's. I didn't have much of a clue as to what might constitute a Steve Gerber Daredevil.
Joe QuesadaPenciller, editor, DAREDEVIL
I guess I could say it's a dream project to be working on Daredevil but that wouldn't be doing it justice. Working on DD, for me, has been almost therapeutic in nature and completely life altering. Matt Murdock and his life are so Shakespearean, that you to work out a lot of your own personal demons as you create stories for Matt and his world. But more importantly, I will eternally be indebted to Matt and DD, he is the character that has changed my life and I guess by virtue of that changed Marvel. If it wasn't for DD flagshipping Marvel Knights with Kevin Smith, MK wouldn't be the success that it turned out to be. It's "the little imprint that could!" From there DD helped get me this very cool job I now have as EiC. So, although Spidey and X-Men are the big players here at Marvel, it took a little guy dressed in red to change the direction of the company and my life completely.
Mark Steven JohnsonWriter, director, DAREDEVIL MOVIE
I've been reading Daredevil comics ever since I was old enough to read, so I leapt at the chance to bring Hornhead to life. I felt very protective of this character and I wanted to ensure that he would be treated with the respect he deserves. There were many battles in that regard -- some of which I won and some of which I lost. The scenes I am most proud of are the ones which came directly off the pages of the comics themselves. Unlike Spider-man or X-Men, Daredevil was unknown to the general public. That the movie grossed $180 million is a tribute to the power of that character. I remain very fond of the film, despite its flaws.
Jim ShooterWriter, DAREDEVIL
Daredevil was a favorite of mine as a reader back in the sixties when it first came out. I especially loved the issues Wally Wood worked on. I believe Joe Orlando drew one issue that Vince Colletta inked, also one of my favorites. The issue in which Daredevil fought Sub-Mariner, which used, essentially, the old Red-Baron-salutes-the-valiant-foe plot, was perhaps the one I loved most. That plot may be old, but it was utterly revolutionary in comics at the time -- the hero lost! There were many such startling, unheard of, revolutionary things introduced in those early Daredevils and Marvel Comics in general in those days that are staples now, and taken for granted.
Harry CandelarioInker, DAREDEVIL
Daredevil was like no other comic I ever worked on before or after.
When I worked on Spider-Man, I was worried about getting the webbing
right. When I worked on any of the X-Men books, I was to involved with
all the costumes and characters and machinery and deadlines to really,
REALLY enjoy it.
But when I worked on Daredevil, the book just set a tone, a mood that
you could feel. I don't know how to describe it, I guess it's like
watching a really good movie and then dreaming about it. You feel like
you're part of that universe. That definitely had an impact on my
creativity. It made me want to do more and I did every chance I got.
Daredevil was like no other comic I ever worked on before or after. When I worked on Spider-Man, I was worried about getting the webbing right. When I worked on any of the X-Men books, I was to involved with all the costumes and characters and machinery and deadlines to really, REALLY enjoy it.
But when I worked on Daredevil, the book just set a tone, a mood that you could feel. I don't know how to describe it, I guess it's like watching a really good movie and then dreaming about it. You feel like you're part of that universe. That definitely had an impact on my creativity. It made me want to do more and I did every chance I got.
Mike OemingInker, DAREDEVIL
When I first got to work on DD during Fall From Grace, it was a real honor- it was my first big gig and it was Daredevil. I've loved the characters since I first started reading in the 80's and can't wait to work on the book again at some point.
Jeph LoebWriter, DAREDEVIL: YELLOW
It was a pleasure on all fronts. It was the first time Tim [Sale] and I had worked at Marvel Knights under the care of Joe and Nanci Quesada. It was the first work from Tim where the entire book was done in ink wash which provided spectacular artwork. In terms of the character, it was the first time I had written him, but was particularly drawn to the relationship he had with his father. At the time, not much had been done with Battlin' Jack Murdock and Daredevil: Yellow was meant to celebrate his contribution to the legend. I also have a smile when Daredevil in the Yellow Costume is now referred to as "Daredevil: Yellow" on all merchandise, a name that had never been used prior to DDY. Lastly, the yellow costume had always been something of a joke -- Why does Daredevil wear such an ugly yellow costume? Because he's blind! And I think Tim and I did our best to give that early period in DD's life some real meaning.
Tim SalePenciler, Inker, DAREDEVIL: YELLOW
Daredevil was one of three comics I collected growing up, the other two being Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. I know that primarily it was the combination of soap opera and the artwork that got me, and with DD it was the era of Gene Colan, Mike Murdock, and the Foggy-Karen-Matt triangle. I just loved the loose and jaunty way that Colan drew. There is an issue, I think #32, where Mr. Hyde and the Cobra lure DD to an abandoned lighthouse and there is a long fight sequence in the dark, and DD takes advantage that way of being able to "see" in the dark, and triumph. It was that power, the blind man seeing, that connected with me also, it just seemed so out there and cool. When I had the opportunity to put my own spin on DD, I knew I had the perfect partner in Jeph Loeb to bring all those elements into play, the romance, the unique powers and everything.
Matt HollingsworthColorist, DAREDEVIL, DAREDEVIL: YELLOW
The gig on DD meant a lot to me for a variety of reasons. I grew up on the Miller run on DD and was a huge fan of his initial run as well as stuff he did with Mazzucchelli and Sienkiewicz. Great stuff. So, naturally, when the offer came in to work on the book with Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, I jumped at it. Alex and I worked together and I loved working over him, and it was being written by a great writer who was bringing back the flavor of why I originally liked the character. It was a good match and I found myself on a team with a great sense of shared vision. We saw the book the same way. I loved my run on the book and find it to be one of the those books I can show non-comics fan friends with a huge amount of pride. Thanks go out to Joe Quesada, Stuart Moore, Nanci Quesada, Kelly Lamy, Jenny Lee, Axel Alonso, and most of all to Brian and Alex for all the great work and great stories.
Gregory WrightColorist, writer, DAREDEVIL
When I was an editor on staff at Marvel, Daredevil was generally thought of as THE book to work on. Very few writers got a shot writing it because they had the shadow of Frank Miller's run all over the place. Daredevil attracted the cream of the comics field due to its gritty urban setting and its very conflicted hero. So to get a chance to work on that title as a writer and colorist was a huge ego boost and confidence builder. The work I did on Daredevil also helped to land me some higher quality jobs with top notch creators. For me, Daredevil was the one character who was the most fully developed. He wasn't a goody-goody, he wasn't an anti-hero, and he wasn't perfect. In his world, actions always had consequences. And as a writer, the title meant more possibilities and challenge. As a reader, Daredevil was always a good read because you never knew what might happen. Daredevil's the sort of superhero you might actually want to be.
Ron WagnerPenciller, DAREDEVIL
"What did working on DD mean to me professionally and personally?" I enjoyed working on a comic that many of my heroes had worked on, Frank Miller, David Mazzucchelli, Gene Colan, etc. That is a great feeling. Of course I never feel like I'm giving any of those gentlemen a run for their money. Professionally I had the pleasure of working with Bill Reinhold and I always enjoy that. I think he and I did some really nice stuff. What a great, fun character to draw.
Bill ReinholdInker, DAREDEVIL, Artist, DAREDEVIL: PREDATOR'S SMILE
There are a couple of reasons why I got a thrill out of working on Daredevil. One, is that Daredevil was the series that started me collecting Marvel comics. In 1968 at a shop that had a rack of new comics, they happened to have DD #40 and DD #41. Got the bug and never stopped. Second, a couple of artists drew Daredevil that had a big influences on me, Gene Colan and Frank Miller. Nuff said!
Ann NocentiWriter, DAREDEVIL
It's quite easy to get attached to and even develop affection for the fictional characters one writes. And who knows, some day they may discover a physics principle that confirms a shadowy reality to creations of the imagination. So, I must admit I adored Daredevil during the 5 years I wrote the title. Daredevil is such a mass of contradictions, no matter which way you turn, a good story presents itself. The legal justice-loving vigilante. The lapsed Catholic with the devil's mask. The compassionate man with a taste for dark women. The fearless daredevil terrified only of what makes his own mind tick. How could you not have fun with a guy like that? Of course, just as much fun for me was the chance to create Shotgun, Bushwacker, scores of others, but most especially, Typhoid Mary. So, Daredevil meant a great deal to me, personally and professionally. I worked with so many talented artists, John Romita Jr. most importantly, and a terrific editor, Ralph Macchio. As for Daredevil, I looked at that guy in red from every angle, and I still don't understand him. That's the mark of a great comic book character. One of the very best, I think.
Joe KellyWriter, DAREDEVIL
DD was my first job on a well known character in a regular book, so that in and of itself was special. The themes that have defined DD since his inception are so powerful and so human that you can't help but enjoy working with the character. As a bonus, I basically got to put my father in the flashback story we did about Matt in college-- a little autobiography when you're working doesn't hurt!
Gene ColanPenciller, DAREDEVIL
Getting Daredevil was a very special thing. It was an opportunity to work on a steady character. One I could continue to develop. Up til then, I was all over the map. All of his powers were a big challenge to me to see how I could portray them in a realistic way. I was thrilled to get the opportunity and held onto it for quite a few years. I always liked Daredevil best of all. Good story content and I enjoyed what I did. At some point, I got the thought of how to illustrate his blindness so the reader could understand what it was like to be Daredevil. I thought I should show images in his mind as to what was in front of him with a minimum of detail. But when it was necessary to see things more clearly for his own safety, he intuitively knew how to see things sharper. Artistically, it was a great challenge.
Steve BuccellatoColorist, DAREDEVIL, DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER
Daredevil has been one of my favorite superhero characters since I first read the classic Miller/Janson issues. Working as a colorist, I've had the pleasure of working on Daredevil a couple of times, but it was really an honor to re-color those classic Daredevil issues in Marvel's recent "Visionaries" reprints. I worked closely with Klaus Janson, who originally colored the series, to keep the intent of the original coloring while cleaning it up and adding some "modern" touches. Professionally, I'm very proud of this project--personally, I had a great time working with my pal Klaus! I hope that some day I'll get a chance to work on Daredevil as a writer/artist instead of just as colorist!
Joe RubinsteinInker, DAREDEVIL
I was really pleased to be on a comic I had read for years and loved when Colan and Palmer were doing it, as well as greats like Kane, Brown, Romita, (Windsor-) Smith and others. But I was filling in for Klaus Janson (still my favorite inker in comics) doing his best work to date over Frank Miller's pencils, and I felt by comparision, I was doing a substandard job.
Kevin SmithWriter, DAREDEVIL
Roy ThomasWriter, editor, DAREDEVIL
Though I liked the book, DD was not a personal favorite or anything, so I wasn't as thrilled to get that assignment as I was when I got some others, like AVENGERS. Still, I enjoyed working on the book, at first with Barry Smith (who mostly plotted them, with some input from me) and then with Gene Colan, where I took over the basic plotting. Gene's drawing always excited me, and I guess I'm proudest of a few things like the sexual way DD asked Karen to remove his mask... sound effects like KUDDA-LIK-KUDDA-LIK for horses' hooves... Brother Brimstone and the scene in the LaBrea Tar Pits I had just visited in L.A.... and just the generally more realistic tone of DD.
Cully HamnerPenciller, DAREDEVIL
Well... I hesitate to say this, but to be completely honest, it was a bit of a disappointment. While I was extremely grateful for the work, it was sold to me as a completely different kind of job than what it turned out to be. For someone to be as big a Daredevil fan as I was (and am), and work on a storyline that didn't actually feature the character (or hell, *any* of the characters) as himself... let's just say that it wasn't an ideal situation, in my opinion. On the other hand, all the people with whom I worked on it were very cool, so there was at least that.
Steve EnglehartWriter (as John Harkness), DAREDEVIL
I had discovered him in #16 - Romita art, Spidey guest-starring, before Romita did Spidey - and as I worked my way back through collecting, I found Wood, Orlando, and Everett, so DD had a very dark and different mystique for me, compared to other Marvel heroes. That's why I started my first [and only] issue with a completely black splash page: his POV.
Ralph MacchioEditor, DAREDEVIL
I loved working as an editor on Daredevil. And it was also great working as an assistant to Denny O'Neil on the title as I was priviliged to see the growth of Frank Miller as fostered by Denny.
Brian Michael BendisWriter, DAREDEVIL
It meant everything. It's the book with the highest standard of excellence attached and it taught me what a comic could be.
Stuart MooreEditor, MARVEL KNIGHTS
DAREDEVIL is an odd one to me, because people have never thought of him as one of Marvel's big characters. But there's something about him that people love, and that's inspired some of the best talent in comics to do their best work.
Stan LeeWriter, co-creator DAREDEVIL
Daredevil was very important to me because he was the first superhero I created who had the serious physical handicap of blindness.
Jose Guns Alves
Black and White
Roberto De La Torre
Carmine Di Giandomenico
Tommy Lee Edwards
Elektra Hand Devil
Fall From Grace
Justin F. Gabrie
Devin K. Grayson
John Patrick Hayden
Alex Irvine & Tomm Coker
Mark Steven Johnson
Lauren Mary Kim
Ryan K. Lindsay
Vatche Mavlian &
Shane McCarthy &
Richard K. Morgan
Suzanne H. Smart
Stephen D. Sullivan
Lee Weeks (2)
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