The current run on Daredevil, scripted by writer Mark Waid, with a bevy of insanely talented artists on call, has been one of our favorite comics since issue one, if not our favorite. Gorgeous to look at, hilarious and exciting to read, the team has been breaking new ground every issue on a character that is decades old.
So it was with some excitement that we jumped on to the latest of Marvel’s Next Big Thing conference calls with Waid, as well as artists Chris Samnee, Paolo Rivera, special guest Mike Allred, and Daredevil Editor Steve Wacker. Unfortunately... Allred may have gotten the time wrong, or wasn’t quite told about the call, because he, er, wasn’t on the call.
Pushing ahead regardless, things kicked off talking about how critically acclaimed the book was. “I’ve been in comics since The Yellow Kid,” joked Waid, “And I have never in my entire career had such critical acclaim. Not Kingdom Come, not Fantastic Four. I’ve never had this level of critical acclaim, where everyone is on board with what we’re doing... And it’s what keeps me coming back to the keyboard every day.”
Rivera also chimed in saying he was floored about how great the response was to the book, particularly at conventions. “I get a lot more requests to draw Daredevil now,” said Rivera. “I’ve gotten very good at drawing circles.”
Rivera also added how great it is working with Waid, that he can suggest ideas and Waid just puts them into the script. Waid chimed in saying, “It’s a collaborative medium. There’s no point in collaborating with somebody who isn’t excited about what they’re doing.”
Asked about favorite moments, Rivera told a story about classic Daredevil artist David Mazzucchelli sending him a personal note congratulating the artist on getting the book on the New York Times bestseller list.
“My favorite part is also Mazzucchelli related,” said Wacker. “It was finding out he wouldn’t do a cover for us.”
After laughter subsided, Waid chimed in that sitting down with letterer Joe Caramagna and chatting about Daredevil was a highlight, as well as fan response to the audio version of Daredevil as a close second.
Moving on to upcoming issues, Waid plugged that there will be less Matt and Foggy, and more Daredevil, more action, and more Chris Samnee. “The scripts that come in, I’ve barely had to do anything... They’re so good,” added Samnee.
Wacker added that he was stunned with Samnee took on the book, as he was so in demand, and he, “thinks like a writer.”
“Daredevil was one of the first comics I read as a kid,” continued Samnee. “He has a great backstory, but... He’s just a cool looking character! The silhouette of him works. He’s just one giant color, jumping from building to building.”
Then it as time for questions, so we kicked it off, asking more about the collaborative process, specifically if Waid tailored his scripts differently for each of his artists.
“I don’t really, but one of the reasons that Daredevil becomes an especially collaborative book because we’re defining a visual language for Daredevil...” said Waid, “The language for Daredevil is not something you see in any other book. Paolo did a great job defining how things look through his eyes, and Chris had to take that one step further. We had to figure out how the world looks through Matt’s eyes... I can’t say more, but you play with his powers, and play with his senses. It’s one thing for me to say it looks radar sensey, but it’s more fun to call these guys up and figure it out with them. Both these guys bring thoughts and ideas and thoughts that had not occurred to me.”
“Paolo did such a great job on that radar sense,” added Samnee. “There’s been rings since the sixties... There’s been a couple of different ways to draw the radar sense, but Paolo has just reinvented it. I don’t think anyone is going to try a different way to do it now. You look at it, and say, that’s the way it should have always been.”
Rivera them chimed in, adding that he may not have been the first artist to come up with this visual take on Daredevil’s radar sense. “I came across a Gene Colan issue where he had done the same thing for different reasons...” said Rivera. “He was unstuck in time, or a few second in the past from where he should have been. So the buildings were this wireframe... I was preceded by, oh, say, forty years.”
Talking more about the visual range of the book, Waid said, “When I think of a scene, I think, where’s the most interesting place it can happen?” He added that it doesn’t just have to be Matt’s office, or a rooftop, or an alleyway, but try to think of someplace that will add more visually.
Talking about the crime organizations that have been plaguing DD for the past few issues, Waid noted that Agence Byzantine was originally supposed to be The Zodiac, but was changed at the last second... So since the issue and costumes were already drawn, Waid and Wacker quickly came up with a new name, and new crime organization for the Marvel Universe.
Talking about Daredevil’s interaction with the Marvel Universe, Waid said, “As a reader, I always loved when Spider-Man would fight a Fantastic Four villain, or when Iron Man would fight someone from the Hulk. The trick for finding Daredevil villains are finding ones that are a threat to him in a way they won’t be a threat to anyone else. That’s why Klaw was such a great choice. I also want him to travel more.”
Moving on, on the possible return of Black Cat to the series, Waid said that it won’t happen any time soon, but it will happen. “An old flame comes back in issue #18, and more we cannot say.”
We then asked what was coming up with the book, and Waid remained coy, but would say that, “You know how Foggy has been the one guy standing looking at Matt saying he may not be right, and everybody else has been giving him a pass... Foggy’s suspicions may turn out to be real. The spectre that Matt is maybe crazier than he appears drives the second year of this book.”
Then, Allred jumped on the call, and they briefly chatted about how he had written that he was a fan of Daredevil and it got published in the letter’s column... But that it was actually a letter he had just written to Wacker. After figuring out what happened, Wacker and Allred touched base, and made the issue happen. “This is a dream come true, I’ve been a fan of Daredevil since I was hanging on monkey bars,” said Allred.
Allred added that the timing worked out perfectly, as he had time for this, one other one-shot for Marvel, before his top secret series for Marvel starts.
Moving on to talk about Waid's experiments with digital, the writer said he felt Daredevil's powers were, "tailor made," for digital, and it was just a matter of time.
"Let me point out something about Stilt-Man that is overlooked... On the face of it, a very goofy costume. On the other hand, i
...And here's some fab art to tide you over, including pencils (and inks) from Daredevil #15, and covers for #15-#18:
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