Thursday, March 24, 2011
And now for something completely different...
Since Joe Quesada took over Marvel Comics a decade ago, Daredevil has become one of Marvel’s marquee titles. It’s been a solid, albeit unspectacular seller (excluding an association with Kevin Smith, back when his name could actually sell something), but the creative teams associated with the title have always been top flight.
Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev did one of the best runs ever on the character for five years, and certainly left more of a lasting impact on the character than most creative teams. Ed Brubaker followed with a solid run alongside Michael Lark and David Aja. Andy Diggle was met with some excitement, but his run, and particularly the Shadowland crossover, never really got off the ground and sapped a lot of the book’s momentum in the marketplace.
Most everyone I talk to has reached the point where they’d grown tired of every writers’ attempts to outdo their predecessors’ efforts to make Matt Murdock’s life as miserable as possible. Matt had gone on a quest to find himself and most of the DD fans I knew thought it was time to give him a break for a while, like Marvel did with Thor for a few years.
When Marvel announced that they’d be launching a new DD series, I rolled my eyes. But then Marvel caught me off guard with the creative team.
When the book relaunches, it will be written by Mark Waid and drawn by Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin.
THAT made me sit up and take notice.
The quality of the creative team is evident. Mark Waid has been responsible for some of the best superhero comics of the past 20 years. Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin are not only fantastic artists, but over on the Spider-Man books, they’ve been doing some of the best art Marvel has ever published. The quality of this team is not why I am so excited however.
I am excited because these guys are all drastically different from the kinds of creators that have worked on this book for the past decade. Since it went over to Marvel Knights, aside from a few brief stories, DD has been a relentlessly grim crime book with art to match. There’s nothing wrong with this, of course. It harkens back to the character’s creative high point under Frank Miller. However, it can get a bit tedious after a while. Which is what makes this so intriguing.
I never would have guessed Mark Waid would be the next writer on Daredevil in a million years. He is known for solid character based superheroics and his run on the Flash spearheaded the industry's revival of positive, fun superhero books in the 90's. Since Bendis took over the book, the book has been helmed by writers who cut their team on crime books. While Waid is capable of writing some darker stuff, his background is in superheroics and I'm pretty certain whatever approach he brings, it will be way different from the past ten years. Fortunately, Waid's strengths not only promise a breath of fresh air, but a return to the basics of the character.
Miller’s grim vigilante take on the character is certainly valid, but it didn’t come along till much later. As originally conceived, Daredevil was a swashbuckling, devil-may-care adventurer. We really haven’t seen this character since Karl Kesel and Cary Nord’s run on the book, which almost immediately predated the Marvel Knights stuff. Their run wasn’t all sunshine and roses, but it was MUCH lighter than anything most of us associate with Daredevil (Kesel cited Bugs Bunny as his inspiration for the character of Daredevil in a Wizard Interview and oddly enough it worked really well).
Given Waid's track record, I think that is the vein of story we can expect from his run, particularly since he has said in interviews about his run on the book that not only is it the most fun he's ever had writing a Marvel character, but that his run on the book "won't drive you to drink." Couple that with two of the best artists working anywhere in the comic industry and I am more excited about Daredevil than I have been in years.
I honestly think this is the perfect creative team at the perfect time for this book and I am super excited for their run.