PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |


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

Mithra: And here we are, the final issue...

DAREDEVIL 325 cover

McDaniel: I honestly can't recall if it was Dan or Pat who came up with this beautifully simple and stark idea - an impaled sai (Elektra's weapon of choice) reflecting the ever-vigil DD. Sometimes less is more, and this cover makes a simple but dramatic statement.

Chichester: Boy, we must have felt pretty good about ourselves by that point.

Way simpler and more in tune with the times to slam a sai-spinning comin'-atcha shot of Elektra as the ninja-bitch-avenger. With a slam-bang headline in the Merry Marvel style. Something like, "...and they shall call her -- ELEKTRA!" Then again, if I'd pushed for that, maybe I'd still be working in comics today! ;-)

I love the heck out of that cover. From the moment I saw it. A perfect bookend to the Empire State free fall. Maybe this is what landed on the sidewalk below. Stark. Intriguing. The awesome.

DAREDEVIL 325 pg. 35

McDaniel: The intense graphics lend energy to this already powerful scene - the homecoming of Elektra's dark side. I remember being totally impressed with Dan's execution of the story - this final chapter was an incredibly rewarding payoff. And this moment for Elektra was a very sorrowful one.

The page is easy to read visually. The only thing I would reconsider is the color hold on the Erynys "spirit" as it seeks to come home. I think a color hold on an object tends to push that object into the distant background, as if all of a sudden atmospheric haze has begun to obscure the object's clarity and sharpness. And that's the opposite effect for this precise moment - the fleeing spirit is in the immediate foreground, and should have better captured the visual focal point.

Chichester: More of this please.

I must have suggested something right to bring out this sequence from Scott's pencil. Just a really strong combination of moments. And I managed to not muck it up. Instead, I somehow struck a much more satisfying, crisper balance of writerly pretension (splashes of red and searing furies) and telling the tale ("I can feel it back inside, malignant and twisting and tearing!")

Even the way Garrett and the Snakeroot get their due comes in fast transmissions, unique to who they are. Their lines cut to and communicates their essential characters and intent. Wow. I finally managed to use the power for good again!

I'm wondering now if this and other moments in this issue work "better" because I was free of the guest stars. And clear of all that, able just to focus on the story and the characters that actually mattered the most to the core.

(I agree with Scott. The tint-print doesn't really do this moment justice. Oh well -- we tried!)

DAREDEVIL 325 pg. 44

McDaniel: This is a beautifully tender scene, subtly and deftly written by Dan. It was fun trying to capture this kind, loving relationship using the high contrast style. The pacing is fixed like a heartbeat by the constant sized panels, allowing the reader to instead dwell on the verbal play happening between these two characters.

This scene was special for me also because I had become a Christian just a few years before working on Daredevil, and it was an honor to contribute to DD's Christian heritage. Too many heroes are interested only in vengeance and justice, where DD is a character that could just as vigorously seek redemption (must be our Savior's influence on him!).

Note the simple camera placements. With the action axis set between the two characters, Maggie is always on the left, and Matt is always on the right. The constant camera movements capture the action/reaction of the interchange, adding a little motion, like a gentle dance, to an otherwise physically static exchange.

Chichester: Your dislike for Matt's identity switch, Kuljit, have given me some pause and new perspective on that storytelling choice. But whether or not I'd change that up, I'm pleased it gave me the chance to write this page. A return to the past before stepping to the future.

Like the other page you pulled for this issue, I seem to have been able to balance my skills and ambition to a lot nicer effect. Scott turned my plot points into just what they needed to be. (Without my ever knowing that this was *it.*) He delivers with a great sequence of beats. By keeping the framing the same, he lets us focus on the characters and their relationship.

I had to write *something* so I could voucher for the scripting. But you can scan those faces and personalities and know what's happening. Look at their body language and expressions and how much he shifts and reveals from panel to panel. Relief, conflict. Uncertainty, trust. Faith, hope. Sharing -- and humanity.

That last, especially, was one of the things I most liked about the character. And it's great to be reminded of it again here.

DAREDEVIL 325 pg. 46

McDaniel: Boy, do I remember this page! I had initially drawn a completely different shot, with DD swinging too close to a rooftop and the WTC towers as the backgroud. It would have sufficed, but I couldn't figure out what was missing. He was too close to the rooftop - if he had fallen off his line, he would have safely landed on the roof. Where's the drama in that?? Worse, there was no connection, no echo, to what had come before. If you happen to own the trade collection of FFG, you'll see the initial version of this page. Making the figure more acrobatically dramatic and replacing the WTC with the Chrysler building did the trick. Now the final image felt heroic and resolved - DD was moving powerfully upwards, past the very same building from which we first saw him fall. Thanks to editor Ralph Macchio for allowing me a second chance to get it right - and thanks to Ralph too for his personal note which accompanied the original piece in the trade, for which I am ever grateful.

Chichester: When we started this, I said I had come to the conclusion that FFG *came* from an angry place. And I think that's still largely true.

But for a story where one main character is forced to re-absorb an evil essence... and another is forced to give up his identity to protect his friends and loved ones... it really ends in a better place. On a pretty hopeful note.

Sometimes the "Marvel style" -- plot, then art, then script -- works against you. We've seen a few instances of that along the way. Minor sins. Such as where Scott and I should have coordinated better when it got to the scripting, so the flow of balloons and captions wouldn't cover up stuff, or confuse the reader.

And of course that system could get really messy. There was a Black Widow/Punisher graphic novel I did where the plot dictated a big visual reveal of the villain's plan. And the lazy artist decided he'd rather draw a generic action pose of the main characters instead. Which meant I had to move the story along by scripting the page with word balloons of Widow and Punisher referring to and explaining things the reader would never see. (" you see what I see?" "You're right, Widow! It's a mega-evil Doomsday device!" "We have to target that red wire!" Etc. Eck-cetera.)

But that frustration factor is the outlier. What made this process fun was the surprise. How would the artist interpret the words? And where would that take the storytelling in the captions or the dialogue? My plots were pretty tight. I'm sure Scott would use a word like "dense". And that would be being kind! So I had a pretty good expectation of what I'd see. But when you *do* see it for the first time, and it's really coming to life in that breakdown of panels... it inspires words you didn't know were coming. All told, for this medium, I think it's a more collaborative process of creation.

Mithra: And a big thank you to all of you for taking the time to look back at this arc. Any final words you'd like to add about Fall From Grace?

McDaniel: Over my entire career to date, two runs stick out as my own personal "Golden Eras," runs where everyone produced their absolute best work in a spirit of synchronicity, comraderie and teamwork. The most recent was my run on Nightwing with writer Chuck Dixon, inker Karl Story, and editors Scott Peterson and Darren Vincenzo. For a long, long while, everything was just clicking. The first era, however, was this Fall From Grace run, with writer Dan Chichester, inker Hector Collazo, and editors Ralph Macchio and Pat Garrahy. This run was special, significant and poignant - it was the first time I felt I was a significant contributor to a quality work, adding to the legacy of one of my all-time favorite superheroes. This is why we do comics. To create a great story, told well, featuring characters we love. Thanks to Dan, Hector, Pat and Ralph for letting me be a part of it.

Chichester: That last caption -- "And the hero and the city belong to each other." -- wasn't there until the sequence leading up to it brought it out. And I think may be my most favorite line in my entire run on the book.

Certainly up there. Thanks, Scott and Hector, for making it happen.

LINK: Elektra: Root of Evil MP3 (courtesy of Dan Chichester)

Also from the team of Chichester/McDaniel/Collazo

  • Daredevil: Tree of Knowledge
  • Elektra: Root of Evil
  • Daredevil/Batman
  • Assassins

    (c)2009 Kuljit Mithra

    PREVIOUS | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 |


    Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
    Copyright © 2009 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Visit

    COMICS: Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Annuals | Appearances | Costumes | Hardcovers | Key Issues | Logos | Origin | Price Guide | Recommended |
    Reviews | Secret Identity | Sales Data | Titles | Trades | Untold Tales

    CREATORS: Cover Artists | Inkers | Pencillers | Writers

    MEDIA: Books | Cartoons | Computer Fun! | Movies | Music | Pictures | Sketches | Video Games | Wallpapers

    FANS: Fan Art | Fan Costumes | Fan Custom Figures | Fan Fiction | Fan Guitars | Fan Tattoos