Many thanks to train, Pete, Greg, Clayton Blind Love, Jim B., Keith, rgj, CAS, Farwell3d, Jake, Mike Without Fear, Allison, awlrite4now, SeanWLuck, bry and alfiemoon!
Some suggestions for you:
Essentially if you have heard good things about the Bendis/Maleev run, or the Brubaker/Lark run, you are in luck, because all of these issues have been collected. In fact, only #20-25 of Volume 2 has not been collected in Volume 2! Please visit the TRADE PAPERBACKS section and the HARDCOVERS section for more info!
If you are here because you've heard good things about Andy Diggle's run, it starts with issue 501, and you should pick up Dark Reign: The List - Daredevil #1.
If you are here because you've heard good things about Mark Waid's run, you can start with VOLUME 3, which are available in single issues and collections.
As always, if you've got questions, please send me an e-mail!
Some suggestions for
From Clayton Blind Love:
The NEW fan (I am assuming that the movie sparked an interest):
If you are coming into this because of the movie, then I would suggest that you begin with Visionaries: Frank Miller Vol.2. (#168-182) Why not start where the movie mainly came out of? From here, I would then suggest moving on to Vol.3 (#183-191) of that series and right to Born Again. After that? Well, why not check out Guardian Devil? (Don't touch Guardian Devil until you have read Born Again! You need to see the progress of Karen Page.)
The RETURNING fan (I assume that either the movie or the current series, maybe both, has sparked an interest):
Welcome back! Surely, you know that Daredevil has been relaunched now. What? No? Okay, pick up Guardian Devil and start reading all the trades of the Vol.2 Daredevil series available. Read my favorite of the current series, Parts of a Hole! Then dive into the brilliant trade called Wake Up. Did you know that this is Bendis' first Marvel work? Yes, Ultimate Spider-Man was printed first, but this Daredevil tale was in the drawer complete first. Now have a blast reading these Bendis trades!
You know about Daredevil's origin right? Of course you do! Well, there is a fairly recent tale called Daredevil: Yellow that you must check out. (But don't read this until you have at least read Guardian Devil. Again, this concerns Karen Page and your better understanding of where Matt/Daredevil is coming from in Yellow)
*My only concern to this point is that one should read Born Again before Guardian Devil, and Guardian Devil before Yellow. (For better enjoyment and understanding purposes)
The REGULAR reader:
Now you must own either the Essential Daredevil or the Marvel Masterworks (Vol.1 & 2). By now you have either been reading Daredevil for a very long time or you love this character so much that it is time to taste the Stan Lee stuff! You must love comics and this character, in particular, that you are ready to swallow "60's dialogue." No way would I suggest this to a new reader. An appreciation of comics and this character are in order first.
#53 - Some might shoot me for this, but I love this way better than the original one. Gene Colan pencils an origin re-told story! A great alternative than spending the big bucks to get issue 1. It is not a couple of pages of origin story, no sir! It is all here!
#146 - The classic Bullseye/Daredevil fight in the TV station. (Milla recently mentioned this one in #48-vol.2!) You better have this by now.
There are lots more of course, but I would say that #53 thru to 71 or so are key gems that are often over looked!
Here's my list of the essentials, in the order they should be read. The list is intended for the new DD fan, but if you're a more experienced reader who's missed some things, definitely check it out, too.
DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR - trade paperback by Frank Miller and John
DAREDEVIL 63 - first series
DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 1 - trade paperback
DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 2 - trade paperback
DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 3 - trade paperback
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN - trade paperback
DAREDEVIL 219 - first series
DAREDEVIL: LOVE AND WAR - graphic novel
ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN - graphic novel
DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN - trade paperback
Why these books are on this list:
DAREDEVIL: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR by Miller and Romita, Jr. is the definitive origin of Daredevil. I absolutely swear by it. While Daredevil's origin has been retold a number of times, this retelling shows what shaped Matt Murdock into the vigilante he is now, in a way that stands apart from any other. It also has appearances by major characters that appear later in the mythos. And this story is by Frank Miller, the man who's written the best DD stories ever, and John Romita, Jr. is one of the best DD artists. The trade paperback hasn't been reprinted recently, but you can probably get a copy after some digging. You can try Amazon, where I got a copy, and I saw some at my local Barnes and Noble once. In addition, check out this invaluable resource: http://www.the-master-list.com/ EVERY comics retailer is listed here.
DAREDEVIL 63 isn't as necessary as the others. I just wanted an issue featuring Karen Page that's somewhat memorable and preceded Born Again, in which she figures heavily. While Born Again eventually gives you all you need to know about Karen, I thought it would still be nice to see such an important character at least once before reading Born Again. A number of pre-Miller Karen Page issues would fit the bill just as well as Daredevil 63. You can find lots of the early DD/Karen Page stories reprinted in the Marvel Masterworks line and Essential Daredevil trade paperback, or just pick up DD 63 in less-than-mint condition like I did. I don.t have much of a liking for those early Stan Lee issues, though. Stan Lee.s great on other titles, such as Spider-Man and Fantastic Four, but DD is handled far better in other hands.
While Miller's writing is the focus of this list, including DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 1 is still very necessary, even if he's only credited as a penciler, or penciler/co-plotter at most. Miller and inker Klaus Janson grew as an art-team-supreme in these issues and Daredevil fights an array of opponents. Plus, the storyline with the Hulk and Ben Urich's investigation of DD's identity sets up DD's relationship with Ben Urich for stories to come. And Miller's collaboration with writer Roger McKenzie was clearly an early influence on Miller's own writing.
DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 2: If there's one book that's the core of Miller and Janson.s run and everything great about Daredevil, this book is it. It features Elektra's first appearance, her struggle with the Hand, her confrontation with DD, a close look at the homicidal nature of Bullseye, DD's moral ambivalence, the Kingpin's operatic grab for power.and DD 181. Miller began his comics writing in spectacular fashion.
DAREDEVIL VISIONARIES: FRANK MILLER VOLUME 3 caps off Miller and Janson's collaboration on the title, which is enough reason in itself to get it. Other reasons to buy it: seeing just how much Elektra means to DD, how Kingpin defines his and DD's relationship, and DD paying Bullseye a visit.an unremittingly edgy story and one of the most insightful DD tales.
ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN is the only book on the list that isn't placed chronologically, but its placement on the list is the best place to read it from an overall storytelling point. Can't really explain why without giving away too many details - just going to have to trust me on this. Also, there's been some difference of opinion as to where the story fits in continuity. For reasons best discussed between those who have read it, I consider it a prequel to the Elektra stories in Miller and Janson's run. Just don't expect Daredevil to appear in it. Matt Murdock may only have a two-panel-or-so flashback appearance, but to truly understand Matt and Elektra's relationship, you need to understand Elektra first. Elektra: Assassin helps towards that end. Additionally, Elektra: Assassin has a distinct visual and narrative sophistication and is a strong part of the next evolutionary stage in Miller's writing. Art by Bill Sienkiewicz. The miniseries has been reprinted a number of times, but the most recent reprint is the hardcover, Daredevil / Elektra: Love and War. It collects both Elektra: Assassin and the first DD graphic novel, Love and War.
DAREDEVIL 219 is a stand-alone story. Even though it has nothing to do with Born Again, a certain aspect of how Matt Murdock is portrayed is something of a precursor to Born Again. Written by Miller, drawn by John Buscema.
DAREDEVIL: LOVE AND WAR gives a revealing portrayal of Daredevil's greatest enemy, the Kingpin. This is Miller and Sienkiewicz's first collaboration. The original graphic novel printings don't have "Love and War" on the cover, just "Daredevil" as the title. How descriptive is that? "Love and War" is inside the book. Getting one of those printings is very hard, but Amazon helped me out some time ago. As stated above, it was recently reprinted in Daredevil / Elektra: Love and War.
ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN: This is Elektra by Miller, one last time. Fully compelling and primal, it's absolutely vital for DD and Elektra fans, particularly those who have read the previous stories. Miller had drawn as well as written the book, and Lynn Varley brilliantly colored it. You can order it from Bud Plant's site. The link to the listing is http://www.budplant.com/prod.itml/icOid/10585 For different reasons, Elektra Lives Again is every bit as important as Born Again. Speaking of which...
No Must-Read-DDs list would be complete without DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN. Daredevil has long opposed the Kingpin, and now pays dearly for it. As with a number of books on this list, *every* comics collection should have this book. But to fully appreciate Born Again, you need to read the stories on this list before it. Born Again is the last listing here for the best of reasons. Not only does it chronologically take place after everything else, it.s a rare pinnacle of talent, story and art. And there has been no finer creative team than writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzuchelli. Reprinted many times, the coloring shows up the best in the recent Marvel Legends edition.
As a longtime comics reader of various series, these are the books that I re-read the most. Daredevil interests me like no other character, and these stories are the reason why. If you haven't read them, please do yourself a favor - and enjoy.
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