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The World of Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Mark Waid joins us once more to discuss his writing influences, the heart of Matt Murdock and what happens next

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By Ben Morse

On July 20, the original Man Without Fear reclaims his title when Matt Murdock returns to Hell’s Kitchen in DAREDEVIL #1. Launching the Guardian Devil into the next phase of his life in the Marvel Universe will be a creative team without peer, led by writer Mark Waid along with artists Marcos Martin and Paolo Rivera.

As all our senses tingle with anticipation, we’ll be spending this week counting down with the people bringing DAREDEVIL to the printed page and discussing a variety of topics pertaining to his world at length.

By Marcos Martin

This week we’ve explored the World of Daredevil, examining his alter ego, his friends, his foes, and even the artists who bring him to life. Now it’s time to get to the main event: the Man Without Fear himself.

Once more, Mark Waid joins us to get down to business on one of Marvel’s most enduring heroes.

Marvel.com: Beyond his powers or his being blind, what makes Daredevil unique among the Marvel heroes? What is Daredevil’s role in the Marvel Universe?

Mark Waid: Even more so than Spider-Man, Daredevil is the Marvel Universe's ultimate urban avenger. Nobody protects the streets quite as vigilantly as Matt Murdock does. As far as his role in the Marvel Universe goes, he's also trusted by his peers—or, at least, he used to be. He's working hard to regain that trust after the events of Shadowland, but there are some bright spots ahead.
Marvel.com: Daredevil has been a wisecracking swashbuckler and a grim vigilante—which do you think is closer to the real Matt Murdock and which is more of a mask?

By Marcos Martin

Mark Waid: At core—at the very heart of the man—there's a robust swashbuckling hero, but you have to carve away a lot of angst to find him. In the first few years of the series, particularly, Matt clearly enjoyed being Daredevil. In fact, that was one of the things that always drew me to the character: that while other Marvel heroes might whine and mope and reflect, Matt Murdock was a man who faced his problem head-on, almost as if he was looking for any excuse to put that red suit on and swing through the concrete canyons of Manhattan. In more recent years, though, given the trials and tribulations he's endured, Matt's built up a thick layer of grimness to him, and that's hard-earned and just as real as the swashbuckler within. Honest short answer? I think both sides are critical facets to Matt's identity.

Marvel.com: What are your favorite Daredevil stories? Which creators and stories most influence you and your work on this title?

By Marcos Martin

Mark Waid: Obviously, my favorites include anything Frank Miller wrote. That's the obvious go-to.  Beyond that, Alan Brennert wrote a one-shot right after Frank's first run that was terrific. Ann Nocenti did some mind-blowing stuff with Typhoid Mary. [Brian] Bendis was really hitting his stride around issue #50 of his run, and [Ed] Brubaker's story with Matt in prison was nail-biting stuff. And then, on a more personal basis, I really liked Steve Gerber's run in the early 1970’s, full of introspection and character. But the keystone for me in my overall understanding of who Matt Murdock is and how he experiences the world comes from a short prose story written by Marty Pasko—under the pen name "Kyle Christopher"—in the late 1970’s for the Marvel Novel series of paperbacks. If you've not read it, I implore you to seek it out at conventions or used bookstores.

Marvel.com: What made you want to write DAREDEVIL?

By Marcos Martin

Mark Waid: A few things. One, he's always been—along with Captain America—my favorite Marvel hero. Two, I love his powers and can get lost for hours thinking about them and imagining what his life would be like—Does Matt Murdock need air purifiers running 24/7 in his office? What does a good cigar taste like to him? Does the smell of microwave popcorn make him retch? Three, anyone who'd pass up a chance to work with Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin, two of the best storytelling artists of their generation, is certifiable. Four, I love working with editor Steve Wacker, tied with Tom Brevoort for best editor in comics. And five, I like the unexpected change-up to it; Brevoort was the first to mention that, given my resume, I'm about the last guy you'd predict would take this book over, and that appealed to me as a challenge.

Marvel.com: After what Daredevil went through and put his allies through during Shadowland, how difficult will his road to redemption be? How much of your early work will be about redemption?

By Marcos Martin

Mark Waid: A lot of it. But not in the whiny "gonna go apologize to everyone" way. Wow, wouldn't those be dull comics? Pages and pages of Daredevil asking for forgiveness. Blurgh. Here's the thing: before Matt can really, sincerely ask anyone to forgive his past sins, he has to forgive himself first. And it looks as if he has. But keep reading.

Marvel.com: What other larger themes will you be exploring in Daredevil?

Mark Waid: The rule of law versus the catharsis of vigilante justice. The frustration we all feel at fighting the system. What cements a friendship through its darkest hours. And most of all, how the true measure of a man is in how he owns his life past and present.

Marvel.com: How key are New York City and Hell’s Kitchen to Daredevil?

Mark Waid: New York, very key. Hell's Kitchen is now Black Panther's domain, and DD's—puzzlingly—fine with that. Again, keep reading.

DAREDEVIL #1 cover by Paolo Rivera

Marvel.com: Will Daredevil’s newly announced membership in the Avengers play a role in your stories?

Mark Waid: Wait, he's in the Avengers now? Kidding. They tell me these things. Bendis and I haven't mapped anything specific out, but I'm as eager to play off his Daredevil developments as he is to play off mine.

Marvel.com: If you had to describe the mission statement for your Daredevil in a few sentences, what would you say?

Mark Waid: I'd say the mission statement is to entertain with the kinds of stories that can't be or aren't being told in any other Marvel book at the moment—stories of love and loss that are very personal and totally character-driven—all without losing sight or dishonoring the long history of the Man Without Fear. And, with luck, to do what Frank Miller did 30 years ago: bring a fresh new voice to the series that's respectful but not in any way imitative of what's gone before. I'm just thrilled that Marvel's giving me that chance. If we can make you like Matt Murdock even half as much as we do, we'll have done our job.

Thank you for entering the World of Daredevil with us and be sure to pick up DAREDEVIL #1 on July 20!

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