I think that Daredevil is one of my favorite characters from Marvel. I've always been a fan of characters that live tragic lives and never find a happy ending, and Daredevil is that character in Marvel. You might argue that Spider-Man is just as tragic, but I mean, Daredevil lives in the grit and dirt of New York and it seems like he never gets any rest from the evil that he antagonizes.
So, what's Daredevil's story? How did Matt Murdock become the Devil of Hell's Kitchen? When he was a boy, an accident caused radioactive waste to spill into Matt's eyes, blinding him for the rest of his life. However, even the the radioactive waste took his eyesight, it enhanced his other four senses to superhuman levels, allowing him to "see" the world better than most people.
After the murder of his father, Matt Murdock trained to become a crime fighter and a defender of justice, growing up to become an attorney and the masked vigilante known as Daredevil. With the help of his friend and law partner, Foggy Nelson, and their secretary, Karen Page, Matt Murdock defended the law and the people of Hell's Kitchen. And at night, he would don a yellow and red costume (later an all red costume, at the suggestion of Karen Page) and fight crime with his bare hands.
Originally when Daredevil made his debut in the 1960's, he was kind of like a cheap version of Spider-Man. He wore a bright red costume, performed acrobatic feats to get around New York City, and fought a variety of gimmicky super villains like the Stilt-Man, the Owl, and Gladiator.
It was comic book writer, Frank Miller, who made Daredevil the gritty and tragic figure that many fans know him today. One of the things that Miller did in the Daredevil comic books was pit Matt Murdock against the Kingpin of crime, Wilson Fisk.
The Kingpin originally appeared in the comic books as a Spider-Man villain, though because of Frank Miller, he is more associated with Daredevil. Kingpin and Daredevil constantly clash as almost polar opposites. One representing vigilante justice and the other organized crime.
Frank Miller also added a ninja-element to Daredevil, putting Matt Murdock in the middle of an ancient war between two ninja clans, the nefarious and sinister Hand, and the mysterious and silent Chaste. It was because of Frank Miller that Daredevil's world became more about ninja and gangsters, but at the same time, more serious and real.
Matt Murdock is often portrayed as a real person dealing with these crazy and stressful battles against super villains and mob bosses. Those close the Matt Murdock are constantly threatened and hurt in these stories. There are very little happy endings, and even when there is, Matt always has to pay some kind of costs to win the day. Sometimes that means pushing away his friends and lovers, and other times it means allying himself with his most hated foes.
Besides comic books and graphic novels, Matt Murdock has been portrayed in the 2003 film, Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck as Matt Murdock. As much as I like how faithful the movie was to the look of the comic book, I have to admit that it did not do the character justice. However, the Netflix Daredevil series, starring Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock, definitely got the character right and even respected the look and feel of the comic books.
Again, Daredevil is one of my favorite Marvel characters and some of my favorite comic books are Daredevil titles. Hopefully, I painted a pretty intriguing image of the character for all you new fans and you definitely check him out when you get the chance.
FIRST APPEARANCE: Daredevil #1 (1964)
Stories To Read
- Daredevil: The Man Without Fear
- Daredevil: Yellow
- Daredevil: Born Again