12 January 2006

So You Aren't Reading "Daredevil" Because...?

It's hard to believe anyone could eclipse the Frank Miller/Klaus Janson run on "Daredevil"--whom I regard as nothing less than Marvel's finest superhero creation--in the 1980s, but the team of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev have, for me, created the definitive take on Marvel Knights' long-running blind vigilante, who save for a much-jeered (but really not that bad) Ben Affleck film, never burst out into the mainstream the way his web-headed and mutated bretheren did. So I was thrilled to discover this very nice appreciative piece on on Salon, just as the duo is set to conclude "The Murdock Papers" arc and leave the title within a few months (they've been at it since 2001) for "Spider-Woman", of all things. Bendis was never interested in the expected superhero shenanigans--which Kevin Smith and Joe Quesada were never able to expand upon in their much ballyhooed, but ultimately disappointing takes--instead, he explored Murdock's condition as a messy, tragic psycho-noir far closer to the tone of "Taxi Driver" than anything that had been attempted in the series before. And Maleev's grimy, distressed art resembled frame grabs from the greatest Park Chan Wook film never made. Next month, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark begin their run on the series and have some mighty shoes to fill (hey guys, as a long-time reader, I implore you: don't skimp on the ninjas...!).