Kevin Smith, the writer and director of Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy and the upcoming Dogma, talks about his writing stint on DD and what we can look forward to in future issues. Many thanks to Joe Quesada for his help.
Kuljit Mithra: When Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti asked you to be the writer for Daredevil, did you at any time NOT want to do it?
Kevin Smith: Oh yes - there was a time I tried to back out, for fear that I wasn't going to do it justice. The boys talked me back into using their patented brand of good cop/bad cop.
Mithra: What is it about Daredevil that made you excited to write it? Is there anything about the character that you think could use some fixing?
Smith: DD's just an all-around great character that's never gotten the glory he deserves. How great a creation is he - blind lawyer with heightened senses who battles for justice on both sides of the law.
Mithra: Prior to your issues, Scott Lobdell wrote a story about DD regaining his sight. You made it known that this was essentially the same as the story you were going to write and you gave up the job as writer of DD. What was the main plotline of your story at that time?
Smith: The story was going to be a variation on this one, in a way: a supernatural character was going to offer DD his sight back, but it came with a high pricetag. I'm glad Lobdell did his story first, because I'm far more satisfied with the story we're doing.
Mithra: How did the Event guys convince you to come back?
Smith: See [the first question].
Mithra: Why did you choose to focus a story on religion (as it relates to the DD title)?
Smith: Religion, and more importantly, faith, are just fave-rave topics of mine.
Mithra: What are your thoughts on religion and how it relates to today's world? I am sure you're also using these ideas in your movie Dogma too.
Smith: That's way too involved a discussion to get into here.
Mithra: From what I've read, you're a big fan of Frank Miller's issues of DD. What was it about his issues that defined the character for you?
Smith: Miller just made that character real for me. He was one of the original 'flawed' superheroes - more mortal than immortal; more like most of us; more believable. That and Miller can write like a motherfucker.
Mithra: Did you research any other runs, like Denny O'Neil, Ann Nocenti, D.G. Chichester, Karl Kesel, Joe Kelly or any older material like Stan Lee and Roy Thomas? And favourites other than Miller?
Smith: I had a passing familiarity with some of the other runs - enough to drop continuity references. But no - I didn't go back and re-read anyone's run before I started (though I did re-read 'Born Again' two months before I outlined the series).
Mithra: What has been the biggest challenge writing Daredevil? Some people who have visited my site have commented about your 'overuse' of dialogue. Any comments on that?
Smith: Challenge-wise, DD's not a hard character to pin down. But I do agree with some of the criticism - when I look at issues one and two, they do tend to be a bit wordier than they had to be. I think as I keep writing, the issues (and more specifically, the balance of the dialogue) gets better. I'm a big fan of issues four and five right now, and can't wait for folks to read them.
Mithra: Has there been anything so far that you've written that was overruled by Marvel and not printed? Was there any kind of negative reaction to the idea of Karen having AIDS?
Smith: Nothing really all that major. At one point, the use of 'whore' was nixed, and a scene of violence that pops up in issue 4 had to be tempered a bit.
But I never heard any objections to the Karen/AIDS thing. You might want to ask Joe [Quesada], though - he deals with the Marvel higher-ups, and I deal with him.
Mithra: Currently it looks like you will be writing 7 issues of DD. Any plans on coming back after David Mack's run?
Smith: I'm staying on through issue 8 now, so we can wrap up all our loose ends. Plans are for me to come back after David's run, and do a four parter, in time for DD's 35th anniversary.
Mithra: Has it been tough juggling the comic writing and your film making? Have you got your DD issues already outlined and plotted?
Smith: There've definitely been times when things came into conflict, but we've managed to scrape by relatively unscathed.
I was able to outline the run upto issue five before I started. The other issues were just gleams in my eye at that point. Truthfully, the storyline kind of wrote itself after awhile.
Mithra: What are your thoughts on some of DD's supporting cast? Foggy, Karen, Black Widow, Razor Sharpe, Elektra, Kingpin?
Smith: I dig most of them. I was never a big Sharpe fan, though. And Elektra was Miller's baby, so when he killed her, the character ended for me.
Mithra: Have you thought about doing a Daredevil movie? What kind of movie would it be? How about casting?
Smith: No comment.
Mithra: Do you think other film makers should consider writing comics? Does being a film maker help you envision how you want scenes to play out on a comic page? Do you produce a 'storyboard' for Joe Quesada, or do you let him handle that aspect of the comic?
Smith: Sure - a lot of folks in my line of word (the day job) could do a bang-up job with the comics, if they'd give it a shot.
Joe's got all the creative freedom I can give him. I offer a brief description of what's going on in a scene (or on a page), and he runs wild. He's far more qualified to handle the visual storytelling aspect of the book than I am.
Mithra: When can we expect Dogma to be released in theatres?
Smith: 'Dogma' should be out fall of '99.
Mithra: And finally, was it you who visited my message board and left a message or was it an imposter? :)
Smith: Yes - it was me. Great site you've got there. It's actually been helpful at times, with continuity stuff. And reading the reviews has aided along the way, believe it or not. You can learn a lot from a solid criticism (not the inane stuff like 'Smith sucks,' with no explanation as to why, but the well-thought out reviews).
(c) Kuljit Mithra 1998
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
Jose Guns Alves
Black and White
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