Interview With Carmine Di Giandomenico
(September 2007)

The co-writer/artist of Daredevil: Battlin' Jack talks about the limited series and his collaboration with Zeb Wells.

Kuljit Mithra: With DD: Battlin' Jack #3 now out, I was wondering what prompted you to make the pitch to Marvel for this story, and what do you think cemented the deal to make the mini-series?

Carmine Di Giandomenico: I've always dreamt of writing and/or drawing something about Battlin' Jack and I've always wondered who Daredevil's father really was as a man. We know him only by Matt's account, that is to say by a limited point of view. But what if the writer introduces him to us as he really was? Maybe he could tell us something that even Matt could have ignored about his father.
This was my first idea and I submitted it to [Joe] Quesada for an evaluation. He must have considered it worth publishing, so here I am at work with Zeb [Wells] and Warren [Simons]! It is a great emotion for me, but also a great responsibility, as I am the first Italian artist who retouches, co-writes and draws about Daredevil's origins!

Most of all thanks to Joe Quesada who trusted in this project at first!

Mithra: Can you go into how this collaboration has been for you, and what exactly has been the process. Was there a plot, then it was scripted out, then artwork done, and then revisions, that kind of thing? Had you worked together before?

Di Giandomenico: This experience helped me a lot to learn how it is writing comics in the U.S. First I wrote my whole story, made the storytelling and the dialogues, then submitted it to Zeb and Warren, who revised and corrected it. This was my first time with Zeb. It was very important for me to discuss each detail of the plot with him and Warren, but in this way, at the end of the day, I think we achieved a good work!

Mithra: With the differing continuity in Man Without Fear and the original version (and Daredevil: Yellow) pertaining to Matt's age, I was wondering what both of your thoughts are on those stories and why you've gone with the original? Or was there no "decision" really made here?

Di Giandomenico: When I originally thought of this project, I organized all the events in such a way that they couldn't interfere with the origins of the characters. It's undeniable that Miller left us a great cultural heritage! But after a while, together with Warren and Zeb, we decided that it was more important to give the characters the opportunity of moving freely in the story, instead of making them stay too close to the origins.

Mithra: Jack Murdock has always, at least to me, been the tortured man who tried to do the best he could for his son, etc. Before you worked on this story, what did you think of the character, and what do you hope this series will show about him that we may not have known? Did Jack have a messiah complex? I only ask because of the choice of depicting Jack on the ropes and then Christ on the cross in the latest issue.

Di Giandomenico: To me Jack has always been a contradictory man, very human indeed, and this is the main heritage he left to his son. They both hide their real feelings and live two separates lives with two different personalities. No, Jack doesn't have the messiah complex, but only a deep sense of sacrifice which is typical of almost every father towards his son. He only wants to keep him off the violence he is involved in, he just wants his son to live a normal life.

Mithra: Did Jack really do the right thing by not throwing the fight? Do you think he was selfish doing this? Or was it some misguided way of showing his son he wasn't all that bad a person?

Di Giandomenico: This is the same question I made to myself when I started to think about this project. Maybe the answer is in the issues, even though I don't think it's so easy to judge Jack's actions and say if he did the right thing or not.

Mithra: With this story, you've shown that Maggie became a nun after giving birth to Matt. Would it have been too controversial (to you, or Marvel) to have had her already a nun when she had her relationship with Jack?

Di Giandomenico: We never took this possibility into consideration: first, it would have been too hard for the readers to accept it, then it would have changed Jack's personality for ever.

Mithra: Do you think Maggie was selfish by giving up on Jack and Matt? Did she do the right thing?

Di Giandomenico: I don't think she was selfish, she was only afraid of this situation because of her cultural background and of her deep and frustrating sense of pity, that doesn't let her accept maternity. After all, she never completely forgets about her son. She'll be there when he needs her. But she's not self-confident enough to support him despite the world.

Mithra: I wanted to get your thoughts on Jack's physical abuse of Matt... before Man Without Fear, it really hadn't been portrayed that Jack hit Matt... what were your thoughts on including this? Any concerns?

Di Giandomenico: This scene was included and reinforced by Zeb. Maybe he could answer you better than me. Anyway, if you want to tell Daredevil's origins, you can't leave out that event. Together we wanted to convey Jack and Matt's psychological responses to that fact, more than the fact itself.

Mithra: You've included some characters that we are all familiar with (including a young Turk and Stick in the background), but what's really been the revelation is Josie's history with Jack. What was really great about issue #3 was how she acts and looks when Jack rebuffs her... it showed so much about both characters. Your thoughts about her and what you've brought to the DD world here?

Di Giandomenico: At first I thought about Josie just as a good friend for Jack, someone that could help him in difficult moments. But Zeb felt she could be something more for him, so he made this relationship go deeper, and I think he achieved a very poetical and fresh picture of them.

Mithra: Do you think Josie has always known Matt was DD, and do you hope some future DD writer will use this new info? Or even if she didn't, it would certainly make a visit from DD to Josie's Bar be very different now that his identity is semi-public.

Di Giandomenico: This is a good idea for a new mini-series, you know? Isn't it, Zeb?

Mithra: Since Jack's death paved the way for Matt to become DD (and you'll probably get into this in issue #4), and Matt has issues of his own... is Matt in a cycle of violence like his father was? Is his death going to be the only way out of it?

Di Giandomenico: I don't think so. Jack's death is not a prelude to Daredevil's death. Jack wants to show his son the importance of being completely free. Throwing the fight would mean being ashamed of what he really is. His final teaching is 'never give up, even though you are scared.' This value will be inherited by Matt, but Daredevil is something different: he was born from Revenge. I don't think Matt will ever be as brave as his father.

Mithra: In issue #3, you show that the Fixer's men pay Jack another visit to basically force Jack to throw the fight, but it essentially makes Jack's decision to rebel guaranteed. However, you show a masked person helping Jack out... will Jack find out that it was Matt and knowing that info help reinforce his decision to not throw the fight?

Di Giandomenico: We'll see.

Mithra: And finally, what's next in terms of comics work for both of you? A sequel in the works for DD: Battlin' Jack perhaps?

Di Giandomenico: I.d like to, as I worked very well with Zeb, and it would be an honor for me if we have such an opportunity in future!

Mithra: Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

Di Giandomenico: Thank you! Bye.

(c) Kuljit Mithra 2007
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear

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