Mark Waid talks Daredevil at Baltimore Comic Con

Hello all! The first day of the convention was phenomenal, and I will have to return to much of it in a later post. What I wanted to get out of the way right away, though, are some quotes from the “Marvel-ous” panel, featuring Mark Waid, and artists Mark Bagley and Ed McGuinness. Waid got the opportunity talk quite a bit about Daredevil, which means that I have some great quotes from him below. Of course, all panelists talked a lot about other really interesting stuff, but since this is a Daredevil-centric blog (in case anyone had missed that), I have only included the things he said that specifically covered Daredevil.

On the topic of how Waid approached Daredevil when he first came on to the title

“First off, you go back to first principles. You look at the first story, you look at the first run of books, you go back through the history of any of those characters and you look at the stuff that was not always just the first stuff, but certainly the prime stuff. It doesn’t mean that you’re trying to recreate what the 1960s had, it doesn’t mean that you’re trying to do a karaoke version of what Stan and Jack, or Stan and Bill Everett or any of those guys did. It means that you strip all the barnacles away and just get back to first principles, and what made this character work. And I honestly think that my job, when I sit down to write Hulk, or Daredevil… At the core, my job is to remember what I love about these characters, on a personal level, and communicate that, as best I can, to you.”

“Hulk is harder to get a handle on, Daredevil was easy because of Marty Pasko. Marty has never written Daredevil comics, but Marty, who was a writer in the 1970s and 80s, who I just worship, Marty is an amazing writer. Marty wrote a Daredevil short story that appeared in… there was one that was called the Marvel Superheroes, there were four short stories in there, and there was a Daredevil story that was written by ‘Kyle Christopher’ which was Marty writing under a pseudonym. The story starts with what it’s like to be Matt Murdock waking up in the morning. Like, what do you hear, what do you smell, what do you sense? The rain, and the smell of coffee… I’m not doing it justice, but it really put you in the head of… trying to see the world through those senses, and that’s what I remember mostly about that story, and that’s what I wanted to bring to our run. I’m not kidding you when (I say) that wherever I am, wherever I go, most every time I see something new or something I haven’t seen before or heard before, I’m always thinking to myself: How would Matt Murdock process this? What would his take on it be? What would it seem like to him? And that, to me, is the fun of it.”

On whether he did research into what it’s like to be a blind person…

“I did. As a matter of fact, I talked with a blind institute that Steve Wacker, the editor, set me up through. I also met at a convention, about six months in, a woman that teaches the blind. She was the wife of a retailer who just happened to be there, and we had a good long conversation about what that was like. And the thing that was impressed upon me most was – I knew this, but it was nice to have it underscored that I was in the right direction – is don’t treat it like a disability that is a constant block for you. It’s just… it’s a thing. It’s a disability, but you persevere. You don’t let it rule your life.”

…and into how the legal system works

“That’s what you have Marc Guggenheim for. That’s what you have comics writer Marc Guggenheim slash lawyer Marc Guggenheim for. He’s on speed dial. I take the same approach that Stan and Gerry Conway and a lot of other guys who’ve written Daredevil in the past have taken, that is that you want to try to be very, very faithful to the law, but not to the point where it stifles your story. And you kind of have to give it some leeway. Especially nowadays, nobody wants twelve pages of Matt Murdock in a courtroom, because comics don’t do that well, television does it better and for free. That’s why I took the tack I took of the way Matt’s practice works now. He doesn’t represent you directly in court. He will, however, advise you if you want to take on your own case, but no other lawyer will take it for some reason, or you can’t afford a decent attorney. Matt will represent you and teach you how to represent yourself.”

On Matt’s relationship with Foggy, the latter’s illness and whether there was any intention behind separating the two

“It was actually to explore them together even more, because yes, he’s not around the offices anymore, but he still gets as much screen time. And, when I was asked if this was something I’d be interested in exploring in Daredevil – doing something with Foggy and cancer wasn’t my idea, but I wasn’t averse to it – the only condition I asked for was that I don’t want to kill him in three issues, I don’t want this to be some instant fatal disease. I want to instead explore the relationship between two guys who both have chronic conditions. Matt has his depression issues, and Foggy has his cancer, and now there are these two guys who need each other’s help in ways they didn’t before. To me, that has brought them together as characters.”

And with that, it’s time for me to get ready for the Harvey Awards! (I typed this post with rollers in my hair…) I will try to live tweet from the awards ceremony, which starts at 8.45 ET, and I will see you back here again very soon!

If you’re curious about the Marty Pasko story (Blind Justice), please see my review of it from a couple of years ago.

Comments

  1. Robert says

    Certainly not every issue, or even every other issue, but every so often, I’d love “12 pages of Matt Murdock in a courtroom”. I really like what Mr. Waid has done with Matt and Foggy and how they practice law. It really works in the context of the story and recent era of Daredevil, but I have to say its a bit disheartening to hear him sorta dismiss such a huge part of what makes Matt Murdock an interesting character. There have been some amazing DD stories over the years that have taken place mainly in a courtroom.

  2. Daniel says

    Mark Waid is the rare exception to the rule that comics geeks can’t write good comics. Instead of writing bad fan fiction like most major superhero nerds would, Waid uses his love of the Characters and the superhero genre to really get inside the heads of these fictional people, and get to know them inside and out. Waid is a life long superhero lover and he lets it shine by taking the time to really understand the characters, what makes them tick and what they would do in any given situation. This allows Waid to go beyond just creating talking heads and really say something about the human condition through the specific personalities of these characters. This attention to detail, and the desire to put the time into research and thought into character development, is what sets Waid and a few others apart. You really get the feeling that Waid loves these characters that he’s playing with, and is using his knowledge to tell specific stories that show off the strengths of the books he’s writing. Just the sheer creativeness of the ideas that he has been coming up with for these books,and how they both fit in perfectly with the established cannon of the characters, while at the same time pushing into new territory, is testament to the attention to detail and thought that went into it. Hulks deal with SHIELD, the continued relationship between Matt and Foggy, The Blind tech and limitations shown in DD, as well as how Matt continues to “practice” law are all examples of this.

    In short, thank you Mark Waid and Chris Samnee and others for taking what you do seriously and putting time and effort into your work and producing high quality comics!

  3. Daniel says

    Congrats to the Daredevil: Born Again Artist Edition, and all those involved in putting it together, for winning the Harvey Award!

  4. Bee Clayton says

    This is why Waid is one of my favorite writers. It’s not about shock value, it’s not about having the best selling title that month, it’s about stripping the character down to the core and using that core to build good stories upon. Waid has been doing that his entire career and his love for these characters shows on every page. I’m glad that he (and the rest of the creative team) are receiving praise and accolades for this DD run, some well-deserved recognition for one of the best and hardest-working writers in the industry.

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