Something happens to me when I read a well written Daredevil story. I’m riveted, I try to read as much as possible in a particular sitting then when I’m done reading, I’m thinking about what I read, what’s going to happen next and when I might have a chance to read more. This does not happen to me with generally any other comics (with the notable exception of Fatale).
There’s a lot that makes Daredevil a compelling read and for me it boils down to the fact that Daredevil and his alter ego, Matt Murdock are both individually fascinating characters. It’s not like the non-costumed identity is just a means to the costumed one. No it’s an intriguing look into the psyche of a warped and damaged man trying to keep up appearances and this collection catalogues the moment in time where the distinctive identities for better or worse begin to blur together into one.
Good morning ladies and gentleman. Arthur here coming to you live and electrified from NYC. In honor of being in this fine city for the weekend, I figured I would take a look at one of NYC’s most dubious villains. The Kingpin! Our white and purple clad boss of crime is one of this city’s staples in the Marvel universe…and for good reason. Fanuccis! Shine a light!
I love Daredevil. Everybody has that one character who belongs to them. For a lot of people it’s Batman, but for me it’s Daredevil. I don’t know if it’s because he’s the first character I got really into as an adult upon my return to comics or maybe it’s because he’s a super hero with a film noir setting. Lucky for me he has a lot of high water marks that boil down to essential reading. After going through all of Frank Miller’s re-defining work on the character the next logical step was Brian Michael Bendis’ run from the early 2000s.
Artist and writer Francesco Francavilla is no stranger to the pulp genre having done cover art for some of the most prominent and recognizable pulp creations of all time. We’re talking Zorro, Green Hornet, The Shadow, Lone Ranger and The Spider. Not to mention he’s currently writing and drawing his own pulp flavored comic, The Black Beetle. As one of comic’s leading artist of the genre we thought it would only be appropriate to showcase some of his masterful cover art in today’s edition of the Pulp Corner.
Daredevil has a lot going against him. A terrible superhero name, lame powers and one of the worst marvel comic movies ever made. I had approximately 0% interest in him my entire life. 6 months ago that all changed for me. I kept reading about Frank Miller’s formative run on the series in the late 1970’s and early 80’s where he transformed at third tier comic book on the verge of cancellation to one of the top-selling books. They same keywords keep reoccurring in everything I read, “dark”, “gritty”, “film noir”. Film Noir? Was I reading that right? I knew Frank Miller was known for his Sin City series dwelling in the heart of Film Noir, but I had never thought about it in the context of a super hero comic book. What better character than Daredevil? He’s in the depths of Hell’s Kitchen, NYC and all things considered he’s much more human than most heroes (with the exception of say Batman) he was the perfect fit. So I decided to pick up the Trade Paper Back called Daredevil Visionaries Volume 2: Frank Miller which covered issues #168-182 and included Daredevil’s first meeting with Kingpin as well as the entire Elektra Saga.
What can I say? Reading it, I was floored. I connected with it right off the bat. Miller was able to move the main story from issue to issue and subtly weave subplot into the series. This is something I miss in the trade paperback society we live in now, the story never feels claustrophobic or self-contained. It feels like a small part of a larger whole. He does a great job revealing more about Matt Murdock’s origin as we find out about his old mentor Stick, Elektra becomes the Kingpin’s top assassin and the Ninja clan the Hand also starts showing up. The themes and culture all feel familiar in an unfamiliar way, it’s classic.
In my article discussing my experience at comic con I practically gushed about independent artist, Tom Kelly. From the response I’ve seen over the Kingpin/Daredevil print I bought from him I’ve decided to show off some more of his work.
The featured art all take a similar approach that I’m a fan of, simplicity. Most of them only use two or three colors at most. By no means are these all he has to offer but they are definitely my favorites (Batman and Storm Shadow in particular). Enjoy!
You can see more and purchase prints from Tom at his web store.