Marvel Comics is coming out swinging for Comic-Con International at San Diego 2012 with a number of teasers for new projects including a Marvel NOW! Point One image of Nick Fury, Jr, the possibility of more information on "Minimum Carnage" and Spider-Man's upcoming "War". Today, the publisher arranged for a special press conference call to reveal "Daredevil: End of Days" done by the legendary creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and David Mack writing with Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson on art.
Sales and Communications Coordinator James Viscardi began the call by introducing Bendis, Mack, Janson and Sienkiewicz and asked for an overview of the upcoming "Daredevil" series entitled "End of Days."
"It takes place in the not-so-distant future. We get a glimpse of what the Marvel Universe could look like if everything goes to hell," said Bendis. "Very specifically, how the world of Daredevil has changed … including Daredevil's very public murder," which takes place at the very beginning of the series.
Bendis also said the creative team had been working on the book "for many years." "Everyone who works on this book is working on several major comic book situations for Marvel and for other companies. So we decided to go this route," he said. "What we would like to see is this 'Daredevil' all-star team, but to do that, you have to sit back and wait for everyone to [come together]."
"We wanted to make this the culmination of a lot of our passion for the character," said Janson. "What I think is interesting about the story is that not only do we have the talent working on the book, but we see everyone who's been associated working with Daredevil through the years. … I think the script is among the top scripts I've ever read. It's just amazingly well done. I think Brian and David are just amazing."
"The script and the work that everybody's doing -- Klaus is taking everybody to school," said Sienkiewicz. "His excitement, enthusiasm and just upping his game again and again and again to this quantum level is contagious. It jazzes me up and when pages come in, we send them around and the Twittersphere kind of goes nuts. It's really exciting to be involved in this."
Bendis described the artistic talent as a "Valentine" to Daredevil in that the art is just a cut above other comics. "We should say something about it artistically and we have the people to do that."
"There are visual surprises as well as story surprises," said Janson. "The idea of keeping the reader engaged in the story with these unexpected moments both visually and storywise is a real plus for the project."
Sienkiewicz mentioned the team gets to "play with all the toys in the playbox" and said "the idea of actually going back and doing a mean-streets-Scorsese version of Daredevil with all the characters we know, love and loathe ups the excitement level as a fan."
"This story is the real end story of Daredevil," said Janson. "I’m taking this as the last Daredevil story. I'm approaching that way and I'm putting everything I can into it."
Bendis agreed with this being the last "Daredevil" story and that he and Mack had agreed on the concept since the inception. "Our book is dark and violent and shocking to those who are used to our runs on Daredevil," said Bendis. "For those who are used to 'Daredevil' right now, I think it's going to be doubly shocking." Bendis also brought attention to Mark Waid and Chris Samnee's current series, saying Waid's series was a lighter tone.
"Even though it exists in the ambiguous near future, it almost has this old style New York grit to it," said Mack. "It feels like anything can happen, like the '70s films."
Bendis also recalled his time in New York recently, saying he saw a Smurf and an Elmo trying to fight over something in Times Square, citing it as an example of how quickly New York could deteriorate to the setting of "End of Days."
"If you want to see Elektra violent soccer mom, this is the book," said Bendis.
"I think everyone's used to seeing her with the sais," said Sienkiewicz.
"See what she can do with a soccer ball!" laughed Janson.
David Mack spoke a bit about the possible connection and parallels between "End of Days" and "Batman: Dark Knight Returns." "Just by sheer force of will because it's just it's own thing, it makes its own continuity," said Mack.
"It's not going to look like 'Mad Max' or 'Book of Eli.' You're still going to be able to buy coffee," said Bendis.
"This is the quintessential Daredevil story," said Sienkiewicz. "The way the future is being portrayed -- it's entirely of a piece. The city is its own character as well and everything about it has the Daredevil stamp all through it. It's very much its own thing and of its own world."
"The worst things we could do as writers is have them go back to their work with Frank," said Bendis. "But to try to copy it would be disastrous at best."
Sienkiewicz also noted his excitement at receiving Janson's pages, and said the series would "bear repeat readings by people," saying that's exactly what was happening to him. "There's a lot of future world/present-day world -- and little bits of tweaks and tips of the hat and fun and poigniant. There's a lot there."
Although it's a Daredevil story, the plot will be from Ben Urich's point of view on his final story for the Daily Bugle and may feature some other characters from the Marvel U. "One of the panels that made me most excited was Klaus and Bill's panel of old Nick Fury," said Bendis.
Janson added that readers would also get to see The Punisher. "We get to see a lot of the old characters in the Daredevil canon. We get to see what they're doing, what they're up to and what kind of shape they're in."
Bullseye and the original Kingpin also feature as villains in the first issue. Mack also added readers might see "every lady friend of Daredevil you could think of."
The artists spoke a bit about the influence of other "Daredevil" creators on their take for "End of Days." Mack mentioned Daredevil as a character has invited a number of different interpretations. "At the time, they were pretty avant garde compared to the other comics," he said. "There's something interesting about Daredevil that leaves room for a lot of interpretation and experimentation."
Janson recalled a moment when he, Alex Maleev and Joe Quesada were all in the same room and he realized "each one of us was really territorial about the character and each of us referred to the character as 'my character.' … Daredevil does allow that feeling to emerge from people who work on the book for some reason."
Bendis also spoke a bit to what makes "End of Days" unique as compared to other End-of-the-world Marvel stories. "Because of the way Daredevil lived and Daredevil had in his life questions he could never answer, itches he could never scratch," Bendis said. "Some characters can get to a place where they're okay with themselves, but with Daredevil there's always this sense that he'll never be able to get over what happened to his mother and his father and he'll never be able to save enough people to scratch that it. To put him on the road where he was on a battle wills with characters who are legitimately forces of nature, that would force him to become a force of nature if he was to ever have a chance of winning. To know that about Daredevil and skip ten years is to me just very interesting to write about. Also, we're not getting it from Daredevil's perspective, we're getting it from someone else's perspective. … All these things made the story worth telling for us."
The writer further mentioned the central question was "how do you get to this place?"
"Ben discovers what Daredevil has been doing and what Daredevil is like," said Janson. "I just love that structure. It's full of surprises and moments and beats in the story. It's a project worth doing."
"That's super flattering," responded Bendis. "Me and David sit and say, 'These are the best guys that do this. Let's please not waste their time.'"
"Klaus and Bill take their work so seriously," said Mack. "It's all these people who have done large chunks of their lives on Daredevil and they're bringing their A-game." Mack also said that he and Bendis got emails from Sienkiewicz and Janson suggesting alternative perspectives, which was incredibly flattering for the writers.
Bendis said "End of Days" won't be a whodunit. "You see who did it. You see who did it and how they did it."
"It's filmed, it's on the news, it's all over the place," said Mack.
Bendis said a confluence of events during the murder creates a situation where Phil Urich is the only person who can uncover the mystery of the event.
Janson described the book as a "psychological autopsy" on Matt's life.
Mack mentioned there would be a study of the digital versus print debate in news. Bendis said the story would also explore what the usefulness and relevancy of a reporter of Ben Urich's caliber would be in this ten-years-later future. "Hint: Not much."
In terms of evolution of the story, Bendis said he had a pretty good sense of where the Marvel Universe was going and the only question was how different "Daredevil" would be as a monthly comic. He said he like how "shocking" "End of Days" is comparatively. "We didn't have much that would have altered our story in any shape or form. No one who's in the book has died because of an event."
Bendis also spoke quickly about his comments about Ben Urich's value in the upcoming series. "It's not his futility, it's what his value is to the world," said Bendis. "That to me, I don't think it's the most shocking statement that the value of true journalism has eroded even in the time we started working on this book to the point that it seems to have no value. Everyone wants this quick hit and run stuff. … Even in the form of entertainment media, I crave for more and better."
Mack recalled his experience working with Bendis on "Daredevil: Wake Up." "One thing I love is that the Daredevil project that Brian and I did together, there's stuff in that that is kind of touched on in this story. It almost feels like this is a book-end to this 'Wake Up' story," said Mack.
With that, the call wrapped. "Daredevil: End of Days" #1 hits stores in October.