Attorney Matt Murdock, the title character of Marvel Comics' ongoing "Daredevil" series, is also known as the Man Without Fear. He routinely tackles challenges in both his professional and costumed careers that would intimidate even the bravest men. Often times these challenges leave him scarred physically and emotionally, but he always finds a way to manage the pain he suffers and continue moving forward.
When writer Mark Waid began the latest volume of "Daredevil" he had his protagonist adopt a new more positive outlook in the way he deals with past traumas. It hasn't been easy though. A number of foes have stepped forward to try and crush Matt Murdock's body and spirit, some of whom have been dispatched by a mysterious enemy waiting in the shadows to weaken and destroy Daredevil. In upcoming issues this enigmatic assailant will finally come for ol' hornhead and their attack is coming at the worst possible time. That's because Matt Murdock is trying to help his best friend Foggy Nelson overcome his own enormously intimidating challenge: beating cancer. Comic Book Resources spoke with Waid for some insight about how Daredevil will handle these personal and costumed crises and his upcoming plans for the acclaimed series.
CBR News: Mark, going into Daredevil #24 Matt is facing a personal crisis in Foggy's cancer and a costumed one in the form of a foe that has been targeting him since the early days of your run on this book. How has that affected him? What's his mindset going into this next issue?
Mark Waid: His resolve to put the past behind him, live in the present, and try to be happy every day is really put to the test. It's easy for him to decide to not be depressed and not acknowledge the demons inside him when things are going well, but when everything starts to blow up at once like this, he starts to get pushed back towards that black abyss of despair that he's been claiming he walked away from since issue #1.
Sounds like Matt's in danger of getting angry and frustrated. And we've seen over the years that when things go bad in his life he doesn't really deal well with the anger and frustration that causes him.
Exactly, and all these circumstances are so far beyond his control. There's not a super hero cure for cancer.
Foggy's cancer means Matt is in danger of losing one of his closest and longest relationships. Ultimately, what do you feel Foggy means to Matt?
Foggy is the closest thing Matt has to family. They're closer than most brothers are. So it's really affecting Matt in ways that he doesn't even consciously acknowledge at this point, but he will be forced to recognize later. Since he put his life back together and made an effort to start enjoying it, the loss of Foggy is something he's never really considered. Now he's grown aware that this could be the Jenga piece the loss of which could topple his entire Jenga tower of sanity.
Let's move to the challenge that looms large in Matt's costumed life as Daredevil; the mysterious enemy that's targeting him. From the clues you've dropped so far it seems like this is a person who's wealthy and perhaps politically connected. Is that correct?
I would say that's fair. I'm not so sure about their political connections, but there certainly is money behind these attacks. They also involve a knowledge of Daredevil that is above and beyond what your average person in the Marvel Universe might know about Matt Murdock.
Are you able to reveal if this is an already established character or a new creation?
It would be a horrible cheat if it were a brand new character that nobody has ever heard of before. So yes, we can definitely say that it's someone who is part of the cast of Daredevil characters.
You'll deal more with this mysterious foe and Foggy's cancer in these next few issues that have been solicited. So let's talk about them. Are issues #24-27 part of an arc in a traditional sense of the word? Or are they more just interconnected stories?
They are part of an arc, but we haven't labelled those issues "The Fall of Matt Murdock" parts 1-6 or anything dramatic like that. I like the surprise that comes with not being sure when arcs begin or end. That way anything can happen at any time.
The problem with labeling something part four of six is that you know this is not the big finale. You know that nothing really climatic is going to happen until that sixth part. So I'm a big fan going all the way back to "The Return of Barry Allen" in my "Flash" run of trying not to label things as story arcs if you can help it.
It looks like "Daredevil" #26 is a double-sized issue and it's only one dollar more! Is that correct?
Yeah that comes to us courtesy of the American Cancer Society who worked with us on the research behind Foggy's condition and his treatment. So we're going to do a special back-up story in that issue that deals very specifically with Foggy's situation. It focuses on Foggy, but it also addresses the role of Marvel super heroes in a world where there are terminal diseases that can't be cured by punching them away.
So while the story with Foggy is unfolding will we get answers or clues to the identity of the mysterious person who has been targeting Matt since the debut issue of this new volume of "Daredevil?"
Absolutely. You should be able to make an educated guess as to who this person is by the end of issue #25, and if you haven't picked up on it by the middle of issue #26 you're not a Daredevil fan.
Matt and Foggy will have their hands full battling cancer and this mysterious new foe, but will they have time for professional matters? Will these next few issues involve their legal careers or cases?
It will, but only in a sense of reminding Matt of how much pressure he's under. Because now that he's the sole provider for the law firm that's a big responsibility for him on top of being Daredevil and looking after Foggy.
We've talked about story, let's move into art. You've been working with artist Chris Samnee longer than any other artist during your run on the title. What's your sense of the collaboration? What do you feel he originally brought to the book? And what do you feel he brings now that he has several issues under his belt?
Right off the bat he brought a sense of storytelling that was impeccable. The way he breaks down a story, the way he chooses his shots, and the way he makes the characters expressive means that you could almost read that book without any dialogue at all, which is quite the sacrifice for me to say.
He also has some clever ideas on how to stage things like what we can do in fight scenes and some of the quieter scenes to jazz them up visually. For instance, 60 percent of issue #25 is one long fight scene. I gave Chris the beats we needed to hit emotionally during that fight, and the basic structure of where we needed to start and where we needed to end. He then went nuts with it. He did the breakdowns and story telling and I did the final dialogue off of that.
It was very much in the traditional Marvel style and it was a different experience for us. It was really refreshing and it was clear to me that he could more than handle the task.
Let's talk about another member of the "Daredevil" art team that you've been collaborating with for awhile, colorist Javier Rodriguez. What do you feel he adds to the book?
Javi is great at everything, but he's especially terrific at bringing life and emotion to the quieter scenes. The things he does with color remind you that just because two people aren't throwing kicks to the head at each other in a panel doesn't mean it's not interesting to look at.
Then the fourth member of our team, Joe Caramagna our letterer, is a very patient man given that I sometimes cram a lot of copy onto a page. I think he has as much to do with the look of the book as anybody. The subtle things he does with lettering are beautiful and you'd only really catch them if you were an experienced professional looking at what he's doing. They're really clever and I treasure him.
Now that we know your current plans for "Daredevil" and what's on the horizon, let's start to conclude by talking about what's coming up further down the line. Your third year on the book is about to begin. Can you offer up any hints or teases about the stories you have planned? Or can you talk about what this third year will be about in terms of an overarching plot or themes?
I'm hesitant to do so for fear of giving away what's coming up in the next few issues. I can reveal a few things though. We will be meeting one of the bullies who used to beat Matt up as a kid and is in fact the guy who gave him the name Daredevil when he was a boy. This character will come back into the book looking for Matt's help.
Plus there's still a giant raft of villains that I'm aching to put back into the book. Sandman would be one. I think a Daredevil-Sandman fight would be amazing. I also think a Daredevil-Absorbing Man fight would be great. These are plans for the future, but let's see where Matt lands at the end of this story first.
Finally, we know you're a pretty busy guy with your work both in print and digital comics. Any recommendations you can offer to readers who might be interested in your current comics work outside of "Daredevil," for instance your digital series "Insufferable?"
Yes, we're actually gearing up to relaunch the next arc of "Insufferable"in the first week of April. We're going to make a lot more noise about that in the coming weeks. Thrillbent.com will unleash several new strips every week in April. So stay tuned for further details.
"Daredevil" #25 goes on sale April 17.