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Daredevil: Fall From Grace -- A Retrospective
(April 2009)

Mithra: Moving along, here are some Daredevil 322 images...

DAREDEVIL 322 cover

Chichester: A big "Eh." Held up against the other goods we've reviewed so far, this one's not doing much for me. What we've seen up to now captured a moment, or set up intrigue. Here, while we get big menace from the face -- the multi-mini DD's really diminish the character. That's sometimes used to effect in a cover. Here... too much abstract, not enough impact.

McDaniel: Andy Warhol does Daredevil! I think the impact of this cover is pretty tame. The color holds of DD represent Siege's machine-view of the world and our hero (like Siege is scanning DD with different wavelength filters), but it's too abstract and disconnected from the story to have any real meaning.

DAREDEVIL 322 pg. 20

Chichester: That panel on the left tripped me up. I shouldn't have extended the dialogue so it required a balloon down the bottom. That throws off the reader's clean read into the next sequence of panels. But if you can make it past that roadblock, I'm relatively pleased with this scene. It gets into Matt's arrogance, which is an interesting character trait/flaw that I should have explored more of when I had the chance.

And it's a neat tribute to the fact that Foggy's actually pretty with it in the brains department. He really couldn't be Matt's legal partner otherwise, could he? But he's had to play second fiddle on so many levels. For all Foggy's inherent good qualities, Matt's braggadocio and daring qualities have to grate now and again. I think that mix comes across here in their exchange, without having to come right out and say it.

"Don't forget your cane." I was never arrogant about my writing. But there were some "good moments." I remember sitting back after that one came to me and letting myself feel a little... Murdock. Just a little.

McDaniel: The page design is too abstract for this tense story moment. At this early point in my career, I held two competing interests as top priority: (1A) to create innovative illustrations and page designs, and (1B) to tell the story. I felt pretty strongly about (1A) because I determined that actual rendering was my weakest asset. I pushed the reading convention pretty hard here - left to right, top to bottom. Had I worked more closely with Dan on balloon placements, a lot of the stumbling could have been avoided. Ultimately, though, the unusual layout draws the reader away from the heat of the story moment, and that's very bad.

Over the years, I've learned to (1) visually tell the story clearly, then a distant (2) create innovative illustrations and page designs. If page compositions confuse the reader, they are pulled out of the story - the ultimate failing of a visual storyteller!

DAREDEVIL 322 pgs. 24-25

Chichester: Wow. I rarely look back on my stuff. So this game you've set in motion, Kuljit, is one of pretty fresh (re)discovery. I'd completely forgotten that spread. So... just kick-ass, Mr. McDaniel. DD's quip really pales against the cool of the visual. It really didn't even need that. At least I had the uncommon sense not to kludge it up with some long-winded, multi-caption dissertation on the history of ninja!

McDaniel: OH yeah - this is why a boy wants to grow up and draw comics! Bone jarring mayhem - I love it! I asked that the image be left in black and white as a consequence of the cyborg Siege's concussive blasts. I thought it would be really, really cool. Now, it just seems odd because there was no noticeable difference in the extreme graphic quality of the art from the colored to the non-colored pages. Thanks to Ralph, Pat and Dan for the courage to experiment and let a knucklehead (me!) learn something.

In principle, the high contrast style works so much better in black and white. The whole point is to utilize the viewer's brain to fill in the missing contours and separate forms. Coloring those layered, graphic forms takes that task away from the viewer, leaving a far less rewarding experience. On the other hand, I'm sure Max Scheele was having fits trying to make my high contrast and wonky stuff look good!

Mithra: Dan, something you just said in the comments... where you mentioned that you would have liked to have explored Matt's arrogance. I'm not sure if any of you have followed Daredevil since you left the book, but there has been a storyline by Brian Michael Bendis where Matt is outed in the press, much like Fall From Grace. This time, however, he keeps denying it to the media and many people can't believe his "arrogance" about not fessing up. I'm guessing in your case, the costume change plans pretty much wouldn't allow you to explore this angle... what do you think of this idea, rather than faking his death like was done in FFG?

Chichester: My read on Matt -- which is worth nada these days, natch! -- is that I don't think Matt would just deny. (Although I'm sure it's played brilliantly by Bendis and Co. -- I've heard plenty of praise for those stories.) I think the cocksure quality that fuels his ability to be a daredevil and "the" Daredevil does necessitate throwing it back in someone's face, pure and simple. So there's some certainly some Hell's Kitchen arrogance there. But I also feel Matt as a lawyer, and Daredevil as a bit of a... devil -- they're wily creatures. There's tricks in the courtroom. There's gamesmanship on the streets. (As in playing Hydra against Willie Fisk.) And I believe that's an important part of who he is and how he operates.

That's where I wanted to go with Sara's "breaking story" and Matt rigging his living space to reinforce the "blind guy can't do the stuff DD does" cover. (Of course, that was probably lost/rushed with a lot of the other good/bad idea cornucopia that went into FFG.) To my mind at the time, Matt's covering his tracks -- the living blind stuff, and the "there is no Matt Murdock anymore" of his death -- was as much about protecting his friends. That classic superhero conundrum. If all you do is deny -- that NYC swagger of "Yeah, you think so? What are you gonna do about it?" -- the story and possibility is still out there. (Again, no slight to the current DD narrative ideas, just my inclinations.)


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