Interview With Vatche Mavlian and Brett Matthews
(July 2002)

The Spider-Man/Daredevil one-shot will be released in August, and I recently had the chance to talk with writer Brett Matthews and artist Vatche Mavlian about the project. Many thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

Kuljit Mithra: How did this project come about and was it a long process to get it approved?

Vatche Mavlian: I hooked up with Brett for a Star Wars Tales story. He was pretty happy with my C-3P0 and he was looking to pitch a Spider-Man/Daredevil and wanted me on the book. I was a little hesitant at first as I tend to stay away from gritty-urban, but he assured me the book wasn't going to be all dark and moody. So I sent over some character sketches and a sample page (which we never got around using in the book) and Marvel took up the project. I had met up with Stuart Moore just last year in San Diego and was delighted to be working with him on this project... looking back now, I'm pretty fortunate as he won't be with the company soon after the release of the book. It wasn't too long a wait, maybe a month or so, which is fine... you don't want to always be working and run out of steam.

Brett Matthews: The project actually came together extremely quickly. Vatche and I had just finished up the Star Wars Tales together, and it was a really good experience working with him and I fell in love with his art. The Spidey/DD idea had been knocking around in my head and I put together a little pitch for Joe Quesada with some of V's art. The project was literally greenlighted about twelve hours after I'd sent it in -- Stuart Moore (who is a fantastic editor) called and said Marvel would love to do it and so began the process.

Mithra: Without going into too much detail, what is the basis of the storyline for the comic?

Matthews: Don't want to give anything away but the story is a night in the life of New York's greatest heroes. It examines the relationship between Spider-Man and Daredevil and attempts to shed some light on what makes these two guys tick. What fascinated me about the story was that their origins are very similar -- so why are the two guys so very different and underneath it all, how are they very much the same. Also, what do they really think of one another?

Mithra: What do you think are the similarities/differences between Spidey and DD?

Mavlian: Hmmm, DD is a serious guy... perfectionist but a grinder. Spidey's a bit of a goof but he's probably the smarter of the two. It's a big paradox or something... we can all relate to both characters in some way or another. I'm not a big superhero fan but I must say their costumes are really something... DD looks like Eastwood on Halloween and Spider-Man... well he just looks like a walking freak show.

Matthews: You'll probably have to read the story for my take on this. In a nutshell, DD's a bit of a postal worker -- he pulls on the tights because he feels he HAS to; it's an obsession and an obligation for him. Spidey, contrast, is the guy who loves his job.

Mithra: Any favourite creators on DD?

Mavlian: Alex Maleev's DD is really good. I picked up a copy of his Daredevil for reference to make sure he looked just right. My favourite would probably be Wally Wood's... very simple and concise. I have to admit, I enjoyed Spider-Man more so as a kid. Brett is more of a DD fan. There's a good balance of mood and fun stuff within the book itself.

Matthews: Frank Miller for writer. Quesada's DD is probably my absolute favourite. Other notables from the drawing side: Mazzucchelli, Maleev, Colan. Wally Wood's version was pretty watershed, too.

Mithra (to Mavlian): Do you prefer inking your own work?

Mavlian: Absolutely... comic art is all about inking. If you want to do well rendered pencil drawings then comics is probably not your thing because the ink can cover all of that up. As an inker you can do all sorts of stuff in comics... why would I give all that up? But the medium has changed with technology and things just look different with better printers and computer coloring.

Mithra: Any comments on the Spidey movie, and the DD movie in development?

Mavlian: Spidey's movie was great. I thought the actors did a great job and of course Sam Raimi.

Matthews: Spider-Man was the best superhero movie ever made for my money. Like anything else, I think there were missed oppportunites but by and large, the movie had its heart in the right place and that goes a long way with me, especially when you're talking about Spider-Man. And the costume was pretty damn great.

I'm an industry guy so I've been able to read the DD script -- it's actually quite good. I don't understand Affleck as Murdock (and the costume looks a bit weird on him) but the rest of the cast makes a lot of sense to me. And c'mon -- Jennifer Garner in leather -- who's not gonna run out and see that?

Mithra: More projects for Marvel?

Mavlian: Could be. I like it when Marvel does weird stuff with purple backgounds and green alien invaders with super powers or something. The words weird, strange spring to mind when I think of Marvel... sure characters like DD and Spider-Man are more realistic as far as superheroes go but its seriously goofy stuff if that makes any sense. If I do anything, it won't be realistic... that's kinda boring.

Matthews: I think there's a strong possibility. They've been pretty great to us and really love and support the Spidey/DD finished product. Stay tuned.

Mithra: And finally, what's next in comic work?

Mavlian: I'm finishing up on a Michael Moorcock story for Next Comics... so this will be an online gig for everyone to checkout for free.

Matthews: I have the second four-issue arc of Angel for Dark Horse coming out soon. Working anywhere in Joss Whedon's world is always nothing but gratifying.

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(c) Kuljit Mithra 2002
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
http://www.manwithoutfear.com
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