Before posting my review of Daredevil #108, which is one of those great issues that gives us fans every reason to stick with this book, I thought I’d take a look at why some people don’t read Daredevil or never really liked the character. I used to work in research, so I naturally decided to take the scientific approach by doing an actual survey. A little nuts, perhaps, but I was genuinly curious.
I posted a question on the message boards on both Newsarama and Comic Book Resources about one month ago, and lots of responses came in, most of which were well-written and on-topic. Of course, some of the fans chimed in as well, as did yours truly. Links to both of these threads are at the bottom of this post, in case you want to read what everyone had to say. Here, I’ll present the results in a way that is easier to interpret by looking at the specific reasons people gave and summarizing them in a chart, as seen below.
The answers fell into three broad, and partially overlapping, categories. The first group of non-readers don’t read the book because it’s just not their kind of book. This is not a problem at all, and quite natural. Answers in this category ranged from “I prefer team books” to “I don’t like street level characters.” There is no way you are going to make Daredevil readers out of these guys, nor should you try. There’s a reason comic book publishers offer a vast range of books that differ in style.
The second type of response was the one that cited some aspect of the character that might be considered non-negotiable. One person answered that he didn’t like that Daredevil was blind, though I suppose that could have been a troll. Well, tough luck kid! Unless something major happens to the character’s status quo, you’re not going to see that one change. Another person suggested that Daredevil should start killing people and be more like the Punisher. This is probably equally non-negotiable since the number of fans that would be lost that way is pretty big. Not being like Frank Castle is a core part of the character, and nothing would be gained by working overtime to appeal to the people who would like to see more Punisher in Daredevil. Substantial changes to Daredevil’s powers probably also fit in this category (one person wanted telekinetic powers, to take one example).
The third category of responses was the most interesting since it brought up some concerns that can actually be addressed, should writers and editors choose to do so, and which are sometimes shared by fans as well. It should be noted that I specifically asked people to give their opinions on the character and the book generally. What I was after was not ten reasons why Bendis was better than Brubaker or why the title died after Miller left, but something a little more “character universal” than that. Quite a few respondents gave “too dark” or “too depressing” as the main reason they didn’t care for the book. Others felt that the character’s powers were insufficiently explored. A few people gave some version of “you can’t even tell he’s blind” (a point I agree with, to an extent – though much less so under Brubaker – and which I tried to address in a previous post). Other answers in this category were the expected “he has a lame rogues gallery” and similar complaints. See the graph below for a better picture of what people said.
- The original question, if you want to know how I phrased it, can be found HERE.
- The number of unique users who posted in the threads at Newsarama (LINK) and CBR (LINK) was 67. Out of these, 50 can be considered respondents since they answered the question. The rest were just fans or people who offered other types of comments. Of course, I excluded myself from this count despite not being able to stay out of either thread.
- NOTE: Each reason given by a respondent is counted once, which is why the number or responses (total = 73) in the graph below is greater than the number of respondents. This also means that the percentage adds up to more than 100.
- Most of the responses in the “Other” category were of the “I just don’t like him, can’t put my finger on why” type. Specific reasons that were only given by a single person are also in this category (some were mentioned above, such as “I want DD to kill people” and “I want him to have telekinetic powers”), along with answers that were too vague for me to interpret. For this reason, I suggest people take a look in these threads to see for themselves. Other than that, the breakdown of the responses below gives a pretty good idea of what people’s opinions were. Click on the chart to see it magnified to its orginal size.
I will take a closer look at these results in a follow-up post over the weekend and offer some of my own thoughts on this. Until then, I’d love to get some comments from you guys! Also, thanks to all the people who answered my questions. Both threads were very well-behaved, and everyone was very respectful and gave good responses. 🙂