Checking in with the Daredevil cast

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.

Some of the office staff, as seen in Daredevil #24 by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee

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.

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

13 comments

  1. Christine, this post reminds me that one particular reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper has gone MIA as well.

  2. @Steve I was re-reading some older issues and wondered about that particular reporter as well.

  3. I would definitely like to see a bit more of a supporting cast … and I’d love to see more Austin. I kept waiting for Waid to establish just how Austin fits into the Matt-is-Daredevil continuum, and how, if at all, he tries to “cover” for Matt’s superheroic activities. I could just picture him telling somebody, “Listen, pal, you can’t be a superhero if you’re blind–and I would know!” We’ll just have to see, I guess.

    And maybe if Matt has a few relationships that aren’t with Foggy, Spider-Man, and/or the girlfriend of the moment, those big relationships won’t be so toxic all the time …

  4. I never really thought about the supporting cast, aside from being bummed out that Dakota disappeared after Waid & Company took over. I really want to see what happens with Foggy. If he dies, it would give Waid sort of a clean slate to reinvent the Daredevil supporting cast. This could be interesting, as Waid is doing a great job with Daredevil…

  5. I think it would interesting to see the effect of Matt’s ‘supposed’ superhero identity on the hiring process for the firm. Are these interns looking to work here because of the reputation of Nelson & Murdock or because they want to see if Murdock is actually DD?

    Maybe have a paralegal actively seeking out the whole truth of Matt as DD would be great.

    Also think a law firm does need a private investigator on retainer. If not Dakota, then someone else, mayhaps a brand-new character.

  6. I think the reason one should pitty Mack Murdock is not the fact, that we see tragedy after tragedy happening to him the whole time: the biggest tragedy is that he has no life. For all this years it has been Foggy this, Foggy that. Perhaps, like TOM MCKENNA says, Waid should kill off Foggy.

    Excuse me for the off topic, but it was quite a deception for me to have Bullseye revealed as the mystery villain. Not only does Daredevil hat as few foes as friends, but the paralytic-Bullseye-thing has already been done (by Frank Miller), and he was cured and adamantiumed later on in Japan (about issue 200, if I recall). It seems to me that no one have come up with a really new ideas in the past 12 years or so: Bendis pulled the same identity reveal plot that Chichester had in the 90’s. He had the original idea of making Matt Murdock the “Kingpin” of Hell’s Kitchen, but was not good enough a writer as to do SOMETHING with that idea, and the year-long reign was simply not told. Brubaker gave us a gloomy run in which he put out Kingpin (for the 100th time) and repented and brought him back (for the 100th time). Murdock taking over the Hand was a parallel to Murdock becoming the Kingpin, and Diggle couldn’t do anything with it… Hm, so much spoiled opportunities of making something good…

  7. FYI: Just updated the post with a link to an old post about some nameless Nelson & Murdock secretaries.

    Regarding Foggy, I really don’t think he’s going to die, but I do see this subplot brewing for a while. I think that Foggy always has been and still remains a central character to the Daredevil book and I really would hate to see him go, especially since it would be yet another case of life taking a massive dump on Matt Murdock.

    Having said that, it would be nice to see him cultivate other relationships. In terms of romantic relationships, I actually like Kirsten, but am fine with them just flirting. If Matt gets seriously romantically involved with anyone in the near future, I really hope that the creative team would go for what Matt and Karen had in the late 90s, especially under Karl Kesel and Joe Kelly (I will never warm to Ann Nocenti’s take on Daredevil, which also included Matt and Karen, though I know her run is loved by many fans). It was fun and relaxed and made Matt seem very, well… normal. That run also included Rosalind Sharpe (who I wouldn’t be surprised to see back in some minor role, with Foggy’s illness and everything), and it was fun seeing Matt handle having a boss/partner who was such a bitch.

    While Matt is relatively tight with some superheroes (such as Spidey), I can’t exactly picture him hanging out with any of them in a way that’s not related to the superhero “profession.” No, actually, that’s not true. I can picture him having a beer with Danny Rand and Luke Cage, for some reason.

    Which brings me to someone I actually forgot(!) to mention: Hank Pym! I really like what Waid has going on with these two and I think they might start to form a genuine friendship down the line, especially after realizing they have things in common. It occurs to me that Hank is almost being used to fill the role that Ben Urich used to have way back in the day, as someone Matt is friends with but also uses as a resource for things going on in his superhero life. Ben Urich always used to have easy access to the latest information on who was in and out of prison, and things like that. Hank Pym has played the role of go-to scientist but has also helped Matt out with crime research (as seen in DD #19), by accessing information Matt can’t get to by himself. Still, I will argue that they’re not really friends until they hang out in their civvies, even though Hank seems to wear his costume for everything. Maybe it’s Hank who needs to get out more? 😉

    One thing I’m really looking forward to is the story in Daredevil #28 and #29 (drawn and colored by Javíer Rodriguez) which will put Matt face to face with a childhood tormentor. It is bound to include some childhood flashbacks (actually, the preview art for DD #28 pretty much confirms this), which is always interesting, and might help shed som light on who Matt really was, socially, while growing up. There has always been heavy focus on the bullying Matt endured prior to his accident, the accident itself, and his early training with Stick, but then the story jumps ahead to Jack Murdock’s death. This means that we know virtually nothing about what Matt goes through between the accident and meeting Foggy in college (or even as late as law school, going by Waid’s take on it). One might just brush that off by assuming that nothing interesting enough to be retold in a superhero comic happened in those years, but I would argue that the teenage and young adult years are a formative time for everyone. Matt had the added complication of having to adjust to a traumatic and life-altering event which would have greatly impacted his view of his own identity and his relationships with others. This is touched on briefly in Daredevil #22 when Matt goes to apologize Foggy and explains how he’s used the knowledge of his heightened abilities to essentially protect himself from other people’s patronizing treatment and low expectations. Suffice it to say that Matt’s formative years must have been extremely complicated.

  8. Dakota North! I’d love to see her return. Their last actual meeting was one with some heavy drama and some serious hurt. I’d love to see the two come back and maybe show Matt’s remorse for what transpired between the pair. I think that it’d be fun to see the repercussions of Shadowland on his relationships with his friends and colleagues rather than just in his own head. As for Kirsten McDuffie, I loved her character and their relationship. I really wanted to see it go further. Issue #11 with that huge date was really sweet and a pleasant change of pace after such a dark and dreary Matt from volume 2. Sadly though, it seems people didn’t like her. In my opinion though, I’d still like to see it happen.

    what I really want is for a real talk between Natasha and Matt and Elektra and Matt. Both people, Matt alienated and pushed away during Volume 2. These two people have deep rooted emotions towards Matt and it’d be great to see the results after so much time (especially since Elektra and Frank are a thing….I still hate that BTW). Even more so I’d like to Fury, Cap, and Matt have a sit down. Cap and Matt talked of a kind of court thing way back when but we’ve seen nothing come of it.

    I really love how Mark Waid is tying up loose ends and I hope that more start to get tied up and Matt slowly starts to come to terms with what had happened.

  9. What about Tarantula and White Tiger?

  10. I had forgotten that: Murdock defending one of his bullies. It was already done in the 80’s…

    On a side note. Do you think we’ll have Daredevil using those “brain chemical” of his in the next issue? He should be able to do more than Ikari, according to what Pym discovered.

  11. “I had forgotten that: Murdock defending one of his bullies. It was already done in the 80′s…”

    Very true, I did a post about it a while back called Daredevil’s demons. That story was interesting in how it made Matt react to the whole thing. I still think there’s plenty of room to explore this issue further though.

    Regarding what Pym discovered about the chemicals, I don’t see how that tells us anything about Daredevil being able to do more than Ikari. Could you explain what you mean?

  12. I remember something about “murdock’s unique brain chemicals” being more important to the result of the freak accident that the accident an für sich. I mean the issue after the Latveria imprisonment. Unfortunately I don’t have the issues when I’m living now and I use to devour them so fast when they come out that they leave no more than a blurred impression in my memory.

  13. Checking in with the Daredevil cast | The Other Murdock Papers

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