Steven Grant has written many titles, including the Punisher, Wetworks, and Enemy. In the 80's he wrote issue #203 of Daredevil. If you want to find out more about him and his career, check out his webpage at http://www.premier1.net/~sdgrant.
Kuljit Mithra: In late '83/early '84, you wrote issue #203 of Daredevil, with Geof Isherwood as the artist. What had been your opinion of Daredevil before you wrote it?
Steven Grant: I always liked Daredevil, I started reading the book with #4. He's a good, basic superhero with low level powers that are fun to play with.
Mithra: Why do you think Daredevil hasn't really been able to become a 'major' title for Marvel?
While Frank Miller was doing the book, both times, it was a major title. But Frank didn't treat it as a superhero book per se. Early on, the character was clearly intended as a Spider-Man knockoff -- fast action, wisecracks and a personal soap opera -- but handicapping a character, making him blind in DD's case, tends to undermine an audience's ability to identify with the character (sorry to say, but it's true), and little was ever done to overcome that. What Frank did was brought a whole new angle and modern sensibility to the book, he really thought through and played up the radar senses, and for the first time, the character didn't come across foremost as an imitation Spider-Man. DAREDEVIL became a major book not solely by dint of Frank's name, but because he was suddenly an interesting character. As superheroes go, DD is a very low-powered superhero, so character is everything. Unfortunately, most people seem to either want to revert to the old Spider-Man knockoff or attempt a bad imitation of what Frank did, apparently without understanding what he did.
Mithra: How did your fill-in issue come about? Was this one of your first assignments for Marvel?
Grant: No, I'd been writing for Marvel for several years by that point. I was in the offices one day and Denny O'Neil, the editor, asked me to do a DD fill-in. That's the whole story.
Mithra: What kind of approach did you take for your issue? You interweaved Matt's childhood and the lawyer aspect of the comic very well.
Grant: Did I? I honestly don't remember the story all that well. I remember the villain, the Trump, but the personal elements of the story escape me. I was asked to do a basic superhero story -- two fight scenes, a chase and a weird villain -- so that's what I tried to do.
Mithra: Overall, did issue #203 turn out the way you wanted?
Grant: Yes and no. I hated the Trump's costume, and I probably could have made the character a stronger character. I liked some of the twists, as in having the Trump set off a blinding flare right in DD's face with no results, then firing a gun in panic and missing DD by a mile, but since the gun went off right next to DD's head Daredevil collapses from the shock because his hearing is so sensitive. That's a bit that was completely obvious to me, and points up some interesting things about Daredevil's powers, but I don't recall anyone doing anything like that before. On a fill-in, that's about all the innovation you're allowed. I would have preferred to focus more strongly on Matt Murdock, but that sort of thing was the province of the regular writer; it's a luxury one doesn't usually have with fill-ins. So it was a bit more of a stock story than I would have liked. But, overall, I'm cool with it.
Mithra: What kind of story do you think the title works best with?
Grant: Daredevil is a low-powered, urban character, so an urban-based, crime story-tinged milieu works best for him. You can always break the rules. But because you don't have the luxury of BIG fights, like you would with Thor or Iron Man or the Hulk or even Spider-Man, it requires a very strong focus on character to hook the reader. But because DD isn't locked into The Big Fight, there's a lot of ground a writer could break with the character, it strikes me as a strip very open and sympathetic to experimentation.
Mithra: As you probably know, Event Comics has been hired to produce Daredevil, along with another character you are familiar with, the Punisher. What do you think of the deal?
Grant: It's fine with me. I'm sure Joe and Jimmy will do good jobs with them.
Mithra: How would you 'revamp' Daredevil?
Grant: Revamping is probably the wrong thing to do with DD. I'd keep him in the same costume, leave him as Matt Murdock, I wouldn't change much of anything. They should strip it down to the essential elements -- purify it, you could say -- and put all their energy into focusing on those elements. There's plenty of pure story material there. Everyone has played with the trappings of DD ad nauseum, but very few have approached the core.
Mithra: What do you think Event should do with the Punisher?
Grant: That's kind of a loaded question. I'd like to pass on that one. I'm curious to see what Event does.
Mithra: What's next for you? I saw on your web page that you are focusing on getting a movie script completed.
Grant: I've sold a couple of movie and TV scripts, but nothing has ever been produced. That's common in Hollywood, much more is bought than is produced. Right now I'm writing WETWORKS for Image (where my own version of DD, named Loner, is running around for a couple issues), a GEN-13 BOOTLEG issue for Image, and CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN for DC. I'm helping out Grant Morrison and Mark Millar on VAMPIRELLA. I've just started a crime comic for Fantagraphics/Eros called CHARLOTTE SOMETIMES. I've got a series called CIRCLE OF LIGHT on tap at DC, and Mike Zeck and I are producing an Adam Strange 10 pager for DC for this summer. A screenwriter friend and I are just completing a deal for a horror comic and movie based on the property. So I'm keeping busy...
(c) Kuljit Mithra 1998
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
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Black and White
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