I just want to say I love you guys for commenting so much. Even though I don’t always have time to reply to everything that’s posted in the comment section, I always read every single comment, and a lot of times, one of them ends up inspiring a whole new post. That’s why the comments are so great. That, and it lets me know that you guys enjoy this website, so thanks!.
Anyway, that was a long way for me to say: This post was inspired by a comment. A couple of days ago, I suggested that one thing Mark Waid said in a recent interview might suggest that Becky Blake was coming back to join the Daredevil cast. At least, I really hope it was Becky he was referring to, and my general impression is that she’s a fairly popular character that people wouldn’t mind seeing return for a few issues. However, JAY gave me even more food for thought with the following:
“I would be totally happy with either Becky or Dakota returning – it would be great to have a wider cast with developed personalities in Daredevil’s current world. It’s by far my favorite book on the stands, but it’s focused exclusively on Matt and Foggy the entirety of its run. As readers we never really spent any significant time with Kirsten and as a result she just ended up being a generic, “spunky/sarcastic” love interest who faded out without much notice. More regular characters, especially ones with history in the book, equals more story possibilities.”
I realized that JAY was really on to something. In fact, he probably pointed out one of the very few weaknesses of the current Daredevil title: The relative scarcity of meaningful supporting characters. To be fair, Matt’s relationship with Foggy has been in the spotlight, especially with the latter’s recent battle with cancer, and this is turning into a wonderful subplot with great potential for character exploration. Matt’s social life revolving around his best friend is also be no means a new phenomenon, as Daredevil has never had a huge cast of regular supporting characters.
Way back in 1964, the title started out with just Matt, Foggy and Karen, issue after issue. And, the moment Stan Lee decides to add another character it isn’t even a real person, but Matt’s imaginary twin brother. Aside from the Fantastic Four smashing in their door, Spider-Man attacking in a paranoid frenzy, and every villain in town checking in (often to seek out legal advice, or – in another weird twist – to collect rent), the law offices of Nelson & Murdock could just as well have been the locked house seen on Big Brother. As Daredevil, Matt spent a lot of time swinging through town looking for trouble, but his early civilian persona was more or less deliberately described as timid and certainly no social butterfly.
If Matt had any other friends when he left law school, he certainly has never seemed to spend any time with them, and unlike Spider-Man and other characters he’s had no family to rely on. Then again, if your “friends” from law school end up being Larry Cranston (the third Mister Fear) and Klaus Kruger (the despotic ruler of Lichtenbad), you might be better off sticking with Foggy. Karen was eventually traded in for a long run of more or less serious girlfriends, and Matt did spend a long time living with Natasha in San Francisco, but the cast of characters has never been very large at any one time. In this regard, the Brubaker/Lark run almost stands out for having a whopping two non-Foggy characters for Matt to interact with at work: Becky Blake and Dakota North.
In early interviews (such as this one, by Marvel.com, focusing specifically on the supporting cast), Mark Waid suggested some things about the supporting cast that we’ve yet to see realized on the page. In response to a question of whether there were characters that fit into Daredevil’s world, but can’t bleed in to Matt’s and vice versa, Waid had this to say:
“Uniquely for Daredevil, not really. I mean, there may be someone I’m overlooking, but by and large, everyone fits into both worlds on some level, from Foggy to Dakota North on down. But we will be introducing some new interns and assistants at the Nelson and Murdock law offices who are more “Matt”’s crew than DD’s, including maybe the most infuriating receptionist of all time.”
Since then, we have certainly met the receptionist (Alyssa), but still don’t know what’s so infuriating about her. There have also been people added to the office staff, such as blind translator Austin Cao (whom Matt met – and saved from being assassinated – in Daredevil #4-6), but we haven’t seen much of him since. And there certainly does appear to be a rather sizeable staff, though the people working at Nelson & Murdock are mostly people without names that need to be there for the law office to seem like a proper law office.
We now know that the current subplot with Foggy having cancer was suggested to Mark Waid after he came on the title, and he also seems to be the kind of writer who may plan for some kind of bigger picture, but irons out the details as he goes along (anyone who reads old solicitations of issues already in print will notice that they rarely match). So, I fully expect old plans to have gone out the window with new plans taking their place, but I would really like to see Matt’s relationship with Foggy develop alongside Matt’s interactions with other people, that have the potential to teach us other things about him and add even more flavor to the book. What do you guys think? Let me know in the comments! Who knows, it might inspire yet another post? 😉
Update: For a brief look at some forgotten secretaries, also check out this old post from 2009 about Nelson & Murdock’s recent nameless secretaries.