Time for another quote, and this one literally had me going “Finally!” when it first appeared. I touched on it before, at the time the interview this quote is from (with Mark Waid, conducted by the Westfield Comic Blog) first surfaced, but since this is a countdown of some top moments from interviews and previews, I wanted to return to it again:
“There’s a LOT of Daredevil point-of-view action in this series, and not just the same old radar-sense effects. Heavy emphasis on sound effects, heavy plot emphasis on what Matt can and can’t detect with his enhanced senses. A focus on how in our screen-focused 21st century, how Matt’s powers are actually maybe NOT as useful as they were 15 years ago or so–not in an era where almost everyone communicates via smartphone…”
I’m sure that the extent to which Daredevil fans care that the title character is blind varies quite a bit. As do, I’m sure, people’s opinions on what this should mean in a more practical sense for the character and how this should be showcased in the Daredevil comic. I’ve made my own stance on the topic abundantly clear in the past. As longtime readers will know, I feel very strongly that Matt Murdock’s lack of sight is an integral part of his power set – it is really the backdrop against which his other heightened senses operate – as well as a perceptual deficit with obvious practical implications.
I’m sure that if personal computers had been commonplace in the 60′s, Stan Lee would have endowed Matt Murdock with the ability to decipher them. Because, as much as he obviously strived to create a character who was different, there was also the sense that this shouldn’t really matter in any way that prevented the title character from doing anything as well as – and preferably better than – the sighted people around him. On some levels, this is entirely understandable given the more obvious stigma of disability nearly fifty years ago and the possible fear of having readers feel more pity than awe for the new superhero.
However, things have changed, both socially and in terms of available technology (for people with disabilities as well as mainstream audiences). There is no reason for any Daredevil writer in the 21st century to back down from the idea that for Matt Murdock, fighting off ninjas is likely a much smaller challenge than ordering online plane tickets. It’s okay to acknowledge that. The only readers who will mind any and all mention of Daredevil’s “weaknesses” are the ones who, in my opinion, have some real growing up to do. I, for one, am glad to see Mark Waid manning up to the challenge of exploring Daredevil’s entire power set. Matt Murdock can do extraordinary things, but he can’t see. Oftentimes, this doesn’t matter. Sometimes, it does.