By Marc Strom
Ever wonder what would happen if Raymond Chandler wrote Daredevil?
Well wonder no longer, because early next year Marvel Noir will debut with three limited-series creating all-new stories re-imagining our heroes in the roaring 30's.
According to Executive Editor Axel Alonso, who will also shepherd DAREDEVIL NOIR, the idea for the various series developed rather naturally.
"The Noir line came together in one of our editorial meetings," Alonso explains. "We had a couple of promising pitches that re-imagined Marvel characters against a Noir backdrop so we figured why stop there? If you imagine an icon like Spider-Man or the X-Men or Daredevil as a product of the 30's, the story possibilities are endless."
Of the three series—X-MEN NOIR, SPIDER-MAN NOIR and DAREDEVIL NOIR—the Man Without Fear has always strayed closer to the realm of the hard-boiled than the others.
"No doubt, DAREDEVIL has always tipped its hat to the noir tradition and its aesthetic," the editor acknowledges. "With this series, writer Alexander Irvine and artist Tomm Coker push it even further."
"The core question it asks is, how would things have been different if Matt Murdock were to have become Daredevil in the crucible of the 'roaring '30s?'" Alonso goes on. "What road would he have traveled if, say, the option of becoming a lawyer had been taken off the table? Would he have adhered to the same personal code? Indeed, given the type of hoods who ran rampant in Hell's Kitchen during that time, would he have been able to?"
Besides ol'Hornhead, Alonso promises that fans can also expect to see noir-ified versions of "Foggy Nelson, Wilson Fisk, the Owl and Bullseye."
As to how different characters were chosen for re-interpretation in X-MEN NOIR, Assistant Editor Nate Cosby offers up a more humorous explanation.
"All of the characters will be playing themselves," Cosby reveals. "It was actually kind of frustrating when we started casting for the series. 'Cyclops,' I said, 'Would you be interested in playing Captain America?' And he scoffed—SCOFFFED!—at me and said, 'That's not who I am.' I mean, yeah, he had a point. But he didn't have to be so self-serious about it."
The assistant editor remains equally tight-lipped on the story of the mutants' first noir-tinted tale.
"Nobody's told me yet," Cosby jokes. "Lots of people don't really know how my editing process works: I get into the office around 2...maybe 3:30 on Tuesdays—I only come into the office once a week—make sure none of the comic book covers say 'Batman' on them, then I go home. I don't really read the insides of the books. But I hear X-MEN NOIR is pretty good."
On a more serious note, Cosby says he would love to return to this world in the future.
"Other than 'Mini Marvels,' X-MEN NOIR has been my favorite thing to be a part of at Marvel."