Daredevil (Marvel Comics)
Promotional art for Daredevil vol. 2, #65 (Sept. 2004), by Greg Land.
|First appearance||Daredevil #1 (April 1964)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Alter ego||Matthew Michael "Matt" Murdock|
Nelson & Murdock
|The first issue of Daredevil (April 1964) features the hero in his original costume. Splash-page art by Jack Kirby (penciler) and Bill Everett (inker).|
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||(vol. 1)
April 1964 – October 1998
November 1998 – August 2009
(vol. 1 cont.)
October 2009 – February 2011
September 2011 – April 2014
May 2014 – November 2015
|Number of issues||(vol. 1): 381 (#1–380 plus #−1) and 10 Annuals
(vol. 2): 119
(vol. 1 cont.): 13
(vol. 3): 37 (#1–36 plus #10.1) and 1 Annual
(vol. 4): 21 (#1–18 plus #1.50, #0.1 and 15.1)
Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Steve Gerber, Marv Wolfman, Roger McKenzie, Frank Miller, Ann Nocenti
Kevin Smith, David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker
(vol. 1 cont.)
Bill Everett, Joe Orlando, Wally Wood, John Romita, Sr., Gene Colan, Bob Brown, Frank Miller, Klaus Janson, David Mazzucchelli, Lee Weeks
Joe Quesada, Alex Maleev, Michael Lark
(vol. 1 cont.)
Roberto De la Torre, Marco Checchetto
Vince Colletta, Syd Shores, Klaus Janson
Jimmy Palmiotti, Danny Miki, Stefano Gaudiano
Brian Haberlin, Matt Hollingsworth
Daredevil is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Daredevil was created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with an unspecified amount of input from Jack Kirby. The character first appeared in Daredevil #1 (April 1964).
Daredevil's origin story relates that while living in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, Matt Murdock is blinded by a radioactive substance that falls from an oncoming vehicle. While he no longer can see, the radioactive exposure heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human ability and gives him a type of sonar which acts as his vision. His father, a boxer named Jack Murdock, supports him as he grows up, though Jack is later killed by gangsters after refusing to throw a fight. After donning a yellow and dark red costume (later all dark red), Matt seeks out revenge against his father's killers as the superhero Daredevil, fighting against his many enemies, including Bullseye and the Kingpin. He also becomes a lawyer. Daredevil's nickname is "the Man Without Fear".
While Daredevil had been home to the work of comic-book artists such as Everett, Kirby, Wally Wood, John Romita, Sr., and Gene Colan, among others, Frank Miller's influential tenure on the title in the early 1980s did as much to cement the character as a popular and influential part of the Marvel Universe. Daredevil has since appeared in various forms of media including several animated series, video games and merchandise, and the 2003 feature-length film Daredevil, where he was portrayed by Ben Affleck. Charlie Cox plays Daredevil in Marvel's Daredevil live-action television series on Netflix that premiered on April 10, 2015.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Powers and abilities
- 3 Other versions
- 4 Reception
- 5 Supporting characters
- 6 In other media
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The character debuted in Marvel Comics' Daredevil #1 (cover date April 1964), created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist and co-plotter Bill Everett, with character design input from Jack Kirby, who devised Daredevil's billy club. When Everett turned in his first-issue pencils extremely late, Marvel production manager Sol Brodsky and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko inked a large variety of different backgrounds, a "lot of backgrounds and secondary figures on the fly and cobbled the cover and the splash page together from Kirby's original concept drawing".
Writer and comics historian Mark Evanier has concluded (but cannot confirm) that Kirby designed the basic image of Daredevil's costume, though Everett modified it. The character's original costume design was a combination of black, yellow, and red, reminiscent of acrobat tights. Wally Wood, known for his 1950s EC Comics stories, penciled and inked issues #5–10, introducing Daredevil's modern red costume in issue #7.
Issue #12 began a brief run by Jack Kirby (layouts) and John Romita, Sr. The issue marked Romita's return to superhero penciling after a decade of working exclusively as a romance-comic artist for DC. Romita had felt he no longer wanted to pencil, in favor of being solely an inker. He recalled in 1999,
I had inked an Avengers job for Stan, and I told him I just wanted to ink. I felt like I was burned out as a penciller after eight years of romance work. I didn't want to pencil any more; in fact, I couldn't work at home any more – I couldn't discipline myself to do it. He said, 'Okay,' but the first chance he had he shows me this Daredevil story somebody had started and he didn't like it, and he wanted somebody else to do it.
Romita later elaborated:
Stan showed me Dick Ayers' splash page for a Daredevil. He asked me, "What would you do with this page?" I showed him on a tracing paper what I would do, and then he asked me to do a drawing of Daredevil the way I would do it. I did a big drawing of Daredevil ... just a big, tracing-paper drawing of Daredevil swinging. And Stan loved it.
When Romita left to take over The Amazing Spider-Man, Lee gave Daredevil to what would be the character's first signature artist, Gene Colan, who began with issue #20 (Sept. 1966). Though #20 identifies Colan as a fill-in penciller, Romita's work load prevented him from returning to the title, and Colan ended up penciling all but three issues through #100 (June 1973), plus the 1967 annual, followed by ten issues sprinkled from 1974–1979. He would return again for an eight-issue run in 1997.
Lee never gave Colan a full script for an issue of Daredevil; instead, he would tell him the plot, and Colan would tape record the conversation to refer to while drawing the issue, leaving Lee to add the script in afterwards. Though Colan is consistently credited as penciler only, Lee would typically give him the freedom to fill in details of the plot as he saw fit. Lee explained "If I would tell Gene who the villain was and what the problem was, how the problem should be resolved and where it would take place, Gene could fill in all the details. Which made it very interesting for me to write because when I got the artwork back and had to put in the copy, I was seeing things that I'd not expected." The 31-issue Lee/Colan run on the series included Daredevil #47, in which Murdock defends a blind Vietnam veteran against a frameup; Lee has cited it as the story he is most proud of out of his entire career. With issue #51, Lee turned the writing chores over to Roy Thomas (who succeeded him on a number of Marvel's titles), but would remain on board as editor for another 40 issues.
The first issue covered both the character's origins and his desire for justice on the man who had killed his father, boxer "Battling Jack" Murdock, who raised young Matthew Murdock in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. Jack instills in Matt the importance of education and nonviolence with the aim of seeing his son become a better man than himself. In the course of saving a blind man from the path of an oncoming truck, Matt is blinded by a radioactive substance that falls from the vehicle. The radioactive exposure heightens his remaining senses beyond normal human thresholds, enabling him to detect the shape and location of objects around him. In order to support his son, Jack Murdock returns to boxing under the Fixer, a known gangster, and the only man willing to contract the aging boxer. When he refuses to throw a fight because his son is in the audience, he is killed by one of the Fixer's men. Adorned in a yellow and black costume made from his father's boxing robes and using his superhuman abilities, Matt confronts the killers as the superhero Daredevil, unintentionally causing the Fixer to have a fatal heart attack.
Daredevil would embark on a series of adventures involving such villains as the Owl, Stilt-Man, the Gladiator, and the Enforcers. In issue #16 (May 1966), he meets Spider-Man, a character who would later be one of his greatest hero friends. A letter from Spider-Man unintentionally exposed Daredevil's secret identity, compelling him to adopt a third identity as his twin brother Mike Murdock, whose carefree, wisecracking personality much more closely resembled that of the Daredevil guise than the stern, studious, and emotionally withdrawn Matt Murdock did. The "Mike Murdock" scheme was used to highlight the character's quasi-multiple personality disorder (he at one point wonders whether Matt or Mike/Daredevil "is the real me"), but it proved confusing to readers and was dropped in issues #41–42, with Daredevil faking Mike Murdock's death and claiming he had trained a replacement Daredevil. Murdock reveals his secret identity to his girlfriend Karen Page in issue #57, although she leaves the series after the revelation proves too much for her. This was the first of several long-term breakups between Murdock and Page, who would prove the most enduring of his love interests.
18-year-old Gerry Conway took over as writer with issue #72, and turned the series in a pulp science fiction direction: a lengthy story arc centered on a robot from thousands of years in the future trying to change his timeline, and even long-standing arch-villain the Owl was outfitted with futuristic weaponry and vehicles. He also moved Daredevil to San Francisco beginning with Daredevil #81, and simultaneously brought on the Black Widow as co-star. Conway explained,
I’d just spent some time in San Francisco a month or two before, and I’d fallen in love with the city as a location. I thought the idea of Daredevil, who spent so much time leaping and diving from rooftop to rooftop, doing this in such a hilly city could make for spectacular visuals. I’ll admit the idea of a blind hero jumping around the rooftops that gave Jimmy Stewart vertigo appealed to me as well. Also, it would allow him to be the costumed hero for an entire city, which would allow him to flourish without having to defer to more superpowered heroes like Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.
Concerning the Black Widow, he said, "I was a fan of Natasha [Romanoff, the Black Widow], and thought she and Daredevil would have interesting chemistry." She served as Daredevil's co-star and love interest from #81–124 (Nov. 1971–Aug. 1975), of which #93-108 were cover titled Daredevil and the Black Widow. The series had been suffering from slowly declining popularity, and in November 1971 Marvel announced that Daredevil and Iron Man would be combined into a single series, but the addition of the Black Widow revitalized interest in the comic. Due to the Comics Code Authority's restrictions on the depiction of cohabitation, the stories made explicit that though Daredevil and the Black Widow were living in the same apartment, they were sleeping on separate floors, and that Natasha's guardian Ivan Petrovich was always close at hand.
Steve Gerber came on board with issue #97, initially scripting over Conway's plots, but Gene Colan's long stint as Daredevil's penciler had come to an end. Gerber recollected, "Gene and I did a few issues together, but Gene was basically trying to move on at that point. He'd just started the Dracula book, and he'd been doing Daredevil for God knows how many years. I think he wanted to do something else." Jann Wenner, the co-founder and publisher of the Rolling Stone music magazine appeared in Daredevil #100 (June 1973) by Gerber and Colan. After six issues with fill-in pencilers, including several with Don Heck, Bob Brown took over as penciller.
Tony Isabella succeeded Gerber as writer, but editor Len Wein disapproved of his take on the series and sent him off after only five issues, planning to write it himself. Instead, he ended up handing both writing and editing jobs to his friend Marv Wolfman with issue #124, which introduced inker Klaus Janson to the title. It also wrote the Black Widow out of the series and returned Daredevil to Hell's Kitchen; the post-Conway writers had all felt that Daredevil worked better as a solo hero, and had been working to gradually remove the Widow from the series. Wolfman promptly introduced the lively but emotionally fragile Heather Glenn to replace the Black Widow as Daredevil's love interest. Wolfman's 20-issue run included the introduction of one of Daredevil's most popular villains, Bullseye, and a story arc in which the Jester uses computer-generated images to hoodwink the mass media. He was dissatisfied with his work and quit, later explaining, "I felt DD needed something more than I was giving him. I was never very happy with my DD—I never found the thing that made him mine the way Frank Miller did a year or two later. So I was trying to find things to do that interested me and therefore, I hoped, the readers. Ultimately, I couldn't find anything that made DD unique to me and asked off the title." His departure coincided with Brown's death from leukemia.
With issue #144, Jim Shooter became the writer and was joined by a series of short-term pencilers, including Gil Kane, who had been penciling most of Daredevil's covers since #80 but had never before worked on the comic's interior. Shooter and artist Carmine Infantino introduced Paladin in issue #150 (Jan. 1978). The series's once solid sales began dropping during this period, and was downgraded to bi-monthly status with issue #147. Shooter still had difficulty keeping up with the schedule, and the writing chores were shortly turned over to Roger McKenzie.
McKenzie's work on Daredevil reflected his background in horror comics, and the stories and even the character himself took on a much darker tone: Daredevil battled a personification of death, one of his archenemies was bifurcated by a tombstone, and a re-envisioning of Daredevil's origin showed him using stalker tactics to drive the Fixer to his fatal heart attack. McKenzie created chain-smoking Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, who deduces Daredevil's secret identity over the course of issues #153–163, and had Daredevil using the criminal underworld of Hell's Kitchen as an information network, adding several small-time crooks to the supporting cast.
In a story arc overlapping Wolfman, Shooter, and McKenzie's runs on the series, Daredevil reveals his identity to Glenn and becomes partially responsible for the suicide of her father; their relationship would persist, but would prove increasingly harmful to both of them. Though the Black Widow returned for a dozen issues (#155–166) and attempted to rekindle her romance with Daredevil, he ultimately rejects her in favor of Glenn.
Sales had been declining since the end of the Wolfman/Brown run, and by the time Miller became Daredevil's penciler, the series was in danger of cancellation. Moreover, Miller disliked Roger McKenzie's scripts, and Jim Shooter (who had since become Marvel's editor-in-chief) had to talk him out of quitting. Seeking to appease Miller, and impressed by a short backup feature he had written, new editor Denny O'Neil fired McKenzie so that Miller could write the series. The last issue of McKenzie's run plugs a two-part story which was pulled from publication, as its mature content encountered resistance from the Comics Code Authority, though part one eventually saw print in Daredevil #183, by which time Code standards had relaxed.
Miller continued the title in a similar vein to McKenzie. Resuming the drastic metamorphosis the previous writer had begun, Miller took the step of essentially ignoring all of Daredevil's continuity prior to his run on the series; on the occasions where older villains and supporting cast were used, their characterizations and history with Daredevil were reworked or overwritten. Most prominently, dedicated and loving father Jack Murdock was reimagined as a drunkard who physically abused his son Matt, entirely revising Daredevil's reasons for becoming a lawyer. Spider-Man villain Kingpin was introduced as Daredevil's new nemesis, displacing most of his large rogues gallery. Daredevil himself was gradually developed into an antihero. In issue #181 (April 1982), he attempts to murder one of his arch-enemies by throwing him off a tall building; when the villain survives as a quadriplegic, he breaks into his hospital room and tries to scare him to death by playing a two-man variation on Russian roulette with a secretly unloaded gun. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that "Almost immediately, [Miller] began to attract attention with his terse tales of urban crime." Miller's revamping of the title was controversial among fans, but it clicked with new readers, and sales began soaring, the comic returning to monthly status just three issues after Miller came on as writer.
Miller introduced ninjas into the Daredevil canon, bringing a martial arts aspect to Daredevil's fighting skills, and introducing previously unseen characters who had played a major part in his youth: Stick, leader of the ninja clan the Chaste, who had been Murdock's sensei after he was blinded; a rival clan called the Hand; and Elektra, an ex-girlfriend turned lethal ninja assassin. This was a drastic change for a character once called "the sightless swashbuckler". Elektra was killed fighting Bullseye in issue #181 (April 1982), an issue which saw brisk sales.
With #185, inker Janson began doing the pencils over Miller's layouts, and after #191 Miller left the series entirely. O'Neil switched from editor to writer. O'Neil was not enthusiastic about the switch, later saying "I took the gig mostly because there didn't seem to be (m)any other viable candidates for it." He continued McKenzie and Miller's noir take on the series, but backed away from the antihero depiction of the character by having him not only spare Bullseye's life, but express guilt over his two previous attempts to kill him. Janson left shortly after Miller, replaced initially by penciler William Johnson and inker Danny Bulanadi, who were both supplanted by David Mazzucchelli. Miller returned as the title's regular writer, co-writing #226 with O'Neil. Miller and Mazzucchelli crafted the acclaimed "Daredevil: Born Again" storyline in #227–233. In the story Karen Page, who had not been seen since Marv Wolfman's run a decade before, returns as a heroin-addicted porn star, and sells Daredevil's secret identity for drug money. The Kingpin acquires the information and in an act of revenge, orchestrates a frameup which costs Murdock his attorney's license. Miller ended the arc on a positive note, with Murdock reuniting with both Karen Page and Maggie, the mother he thought dead, now a nun. Miller intended to produce an additional two-part story with artist Walt Simonson but the story was never completed and remains unpublished.
Three fill-in issues followed before Steve Englehart (under the pseudonym "John Harkness") took the post of writer, only to lose it after one issue due to a plot conflict with one of the fill-ins. Ann Nocenti was brought on as a fill-in writer but became the series's longest-running regular writer, with a four-and-a-quarter-year run from #238–291 (Jan. 1987 – April 1991). The shuffle of short-term artists continued for her first year, until John Romita, Jr. joined as penciller from #250–282 (Jan. 1988 – Jul. 1990) alongside inker Al Williamson, who stayed on through #300.
The team returned Murdock to law by co-founding with Page a nonprofit drug and legal clinic, while Nocenti crafted stories confronting feminism, drug abuse, nuclear proliferation, and animal rights-inspired terrorism. She introduced the antagonist Typhoid Mary, and in issues #262–265 used the Inferno event as a backdrop for the collapse of Daredevil's life: the clinic is destroyed, Page goes missing after learning of his affair with Mary Walker, and Walker reveals herself as the alter ego of Typhoid Mary. Murdock subsequently becomes a drifter in upstate New York, an especially controversial move in Nocenti's run, as it marked the first time the character had been taken outside of an urban environment. She ended her run with a positive turn in Murdock's fortunes: he returns to Hell's Kitchen, regains his sense of self, reconciles with Foggy Nelson, and resolves to seek out Karen Page.
New writer D. G. Chichester and penciler Lee Weeks continued from where Nocenti left off, with Murdock resuming his friendship with Foggy Nelson, struggling to re-win the heart of Karen Page, appealing the revocation of his attorney's license, and bonding more deeply than ever with Hell's Kitchen. Chichester's focus on Daredevil's relationship with New York City went so far as to have two issues devoted entirely to Daredevil defending New Yorkers from ordinary criminals and even simple accidents. The critically acclaimed "Last Rites" arc from #297–300 saw Daredevil regaining his attorney's license and finally bringing the Kingpin to justice.
Frank Miller returned to the character and his origins with the 1993 five-issue Daredevil: The Man Without Fear miniseries. With artist John Romita, Jr., Miller expanded his retcon of the life and death of Murdock's father, "Battling Jack" Murdock, and Murdock's first encounters with the Kingpin and Foggy Nelson. The role of Stick in the genesis of Daredevil was expanded, as was Murdock's doomed love affair with Elektra.
The creative team of Chichester and penciler Scott McDaniel changed the status quo with their "Fall From Grace" storyline in issues #319–325 (Aug. 1993 – Feb. 1994). Elektra, who was resurrected in #190 but had not been seen since, finally returned. An injured Daredevil creates a more protective costume from biomimetic materials: red and gray with white armor on the shoulders and knee pads. Revamped billy clubs could attach to form nunchucks or a bo staff. His secret identity becomes public knowledge, leading to him faking his own death and assuming the new identity of "Jack Batlin". This new identity and costume lasts for several story arcs, while Murdock finds a way to convince the world that he is not, in fact, secretly Daredevil (courtesy of a double). A short stint by J. M. DeMatteis returned Daredevil to his traditional red costume and Matt Murdock identity.
Under writers Karl Kesel and later Joe Kelly, the title gained a lighter tone, with Daredevil returning to the lighthearted, wisecracking hero depicted by earlier writers. Matt and Foggy (who now knows of Matt's dual identities) join a law firm run by Foggy's mother, Rosalind Sharpe. Gene Colan returned to the series during this time, but though initially enthusiastic about drawing Daredevil again, he quit after seven issues, complaining that Kesel and Kelly's scripts were too "retro".
In 1998, Daredevil's numbering was rebooted, with the title "canceled" with issue #380 and revived a month later as part of the Marvel Knights imprint. Joe Quesada drew the new series, written by filmmaker Kevin Smith. Its first story arc, "Guardian Devil", depicts Daredevil struggling to protect a child whom he is told could either be the Messiah or the Anti-Christ. Murdock experiences a crisis of faith exacerbated by the discovery that Karen Page has AIDS (later revealed to be a hoax) and her subsequent death at Bullseye's hands.
David Mack brought independent-comics colleague Brian Michael Bendis to Marvel to co-write the following arc, "Wake Up" in vol. 2 #16–19 (May 2001 – August 2001), which follows reporter Ben Urich as he investigates the aftereffects of a fight between Daredevil and the new Leap-Frog. Following Mack and Bendis were Back to the Future screenwriter Bob Gale and artists Phil Winslade and David Ross for the story "Playing to the Camera". Mack continued to contribute covers, while Brain Michael Bendis wrote further stories such as Daredevil: Ninja.
The 2001 Daredevil: Yellow miniseries presented another take on Daredevil's origins using letters written to Karen Page after her death. The series depicts the early rivalry between Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson for Karen Page's affection, and incorporates many events depicted in the earliest issues of "Daredevil" Vol. 1. The supervillains the Owl and the Purple Man appear as antagonists. In this story, Daredevil credits Page with coining the phrase "The Man without Fear", and she suggests to Daredevil he wear all maroon instead of dark red and yellow.
Issue #26 (Dec. 2001) brought back Brian Michael Bendis, working this time with artist Alex Maleev. IGN called Bendis's four-year-run "one of the greatest creative tenures in Marvel history" and commented that it rivaled Frank Miller's work. Developments in this run included the introduction of romantic interest and future wife Milla Donovan, the outing once again of Murdock's secret identity, the reemergence of the Kingpin, and Daredevil's surrender to the FBI.
The impact of his exposure as Daredevil continued to be used as a plot point by both Bendis and writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark, who became the new creative team with Daredevil vol. 2, #82 (Feb. 2006), no longer under the Marvel Knights imprint.
The series returned to its original numbering with issue #500 (Oct. 2009), which followed vol. 2, #119 (Aug. 2009). New writer Andy Diggle revised the status quo, with Daredevil assuming leadership of the ninja army the Hand. Daredevil later appeared in the one-shot Dark Reign: The List – Daredevil.
Following this came the crossover story arc "Shadowland", in which Daredevil is possessed by a demon. Murdock then leaves New York, leaving his territory in the hands of the Black Panther in the briefly retitled series' Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513. Murdock finds himself renewed in the miniseries Daredevil: Reborn #1–4 (March–July 2011).
In July 2011, Daredevil relaunched with vol. 3, #1 (Sept. 2011), with writer Mark Waid and penciler Paolo Rivera. Waid said he was interested in "tweaking the adventure-to-depression ratio a bit and letting Matt win again", as well as emphasizing the character's powers and perception of the physical world. In the premiere issue, Murdock finds he can no longer serve as a trial lawyer due to past allegations of his being Daredevil causing a case he represents in court to turn into a media circus. Two issues later, Nelson and Murdock have developed a new business strategy of serving as consulting counselors, by teaching clients how to represent themselves in court. Daredevil joins the New Avengers in a story written by former Daredevil series writer Brian Michael Bendis. Daredevil appeared as a regular character in the 2010–2013 New Avengers series in issues #16-34 (Nov. 2011 - Jan. 2013). At one point, Foggy begins to question Matt's sanity, ultimately leading to a fallout between the two. They reconcile once the truth is discovered. Daredevil vol. 3 ended at issue #36 in February 2014, in which Matt is forced to publicly reveal his Daredevil identity, resulting in his being disbarred by New York and prompting him to again relocate to San Francisco.
Waid and Chris Samnee followed this up with Infinite Comics' Daredevil: Road Warrior weekly digital miniseries, which focused on an adventure during Matt's trip to San Francisco. It was reprinted as issue 0.1 in Daredevil volume 4, which launched under Waid and Samnee with a new issue #1 (March 2014) as part of the All-New Marvel NOW! storyline centered on Matt's new life in San Francisco.
Daredevil volume 4 officially ended with issue #18 in September 2015. A new volume will begin as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel branding, written by Charles Soule with art by Ron Garney with the first two issues being released in December 2015. In this series, Matt returns to New York, where he now works as an Assistant District Attorney. He will have a redesigned costume and a new apprentice in Samuel Chung, an illegal immigrant who has been living in New York's Chinatown since he was a child. Following the restructuring of Marvel continuity in the Secret Wars storyline, Matt Murdock being outed as Daredevil and his disbarment have been retconned from the character's history.
Powers and abilities
Although the character is blind, his remaining four senses function with superhuman accuracy and sensitivity, giving him abilities far beyond the limits of a sighted person. Few characters know that the hero cannot see. Daredevil developed a radar sense, which is similar to echolocation.
When Frank Miller expanded most of Daredevil's abilities, he attempted to make them "extraordinary enough to be exciting, but not on par with Superman", noting Superman's distinctly unbelievable powers. When Miller joined the title in 1979, the first thing he did to the character was "revamp" his radar sense and made it less distinct and more believable; he wanted Daredevil to have the "proximity" sense that some martial artists claim to have. Due to the character's sensitive sense of touch, Daredevil can read by passing his fingers over the letters on a page though laminated pages prevent him from reading the ink. Daredevil has commonly used his superhuman hearing to serve as a polygraph for interrogation by listening for changes in a person's heartbeat. This ability can be fooled if the other person's heart is not beating at a natural rate, such as if they have an artificial pacemaker.
Just as Daredevil's other senses are stronger, they are also sensitive; his main weakness is his vulnerability to powerful sounds or odors that can be used to temporarily weaken his radar sense. This weakness is often used to immobilize Daredevil if he is bombarded by too much sound, which will cause him great pain and disorient him. Since Daredevil's means of sight is based on what his radar sense and enhanced senses are able to detect, if anybody or anything around him does not exhibit any of these factors, then Daredevil would be unable to sense it. In one instance the hallucinogenic drug that Mysterio created was designed with no taste or smell so Daredevil could not tell he was drugged until he consulted Doctor Strange who was able to discover it from the small cross that Mysterio gave to Daredevil in disguise which contained the drug and Strange magically cured him.
His senses are highly acute; he has even been shown to be capable of sensing the minor atmospheric disturbance created when Nightcrawler is about to appear moments before the mutant in question actually arrives at his destination. When Daredevil fought Psylocke during the war between the Avengers and the X-Men, he briefly gained an advantage when she tried to read his mind and found herself overwhelmed by the sensory input she received from his enhanced senses, reflecting the scale of psychological training required for Daredevil to operate as he does.
While his radar sense mostly compensates for his blindness, it has certain limitations (explored most strongly during Mark Waid's run on the title).[volume & issue needed] He can't perceive color without touch, and he can only read printed matter if the ink is raised enough for his sense of touch.[volume & issue needed] Most photographs, televisions, and computer screens are blank to him.[volume & issue needed] He has also been shown to have difficulty perceiving a person's ethnic origin (without clues other than skin color).
Though he has no superhuman physical attributes beyond an enhanced sense of balance, Daredevil is a master of martial arts. Having been trained by Stick, Daredevil is a master hand-to-hand combatant. His typical moves are unique blends of the martial arts of ninjutsu, aiki jujutsu, jujitsu, kung fu, capoeira, judo, aikido, wrestling, and stick fighting combined with American-style boxing while making full use of his gymnastics capabilities.
Daredevil's signature weapon is his specially-designed baton, which he created. Disguised as a blind man's cane in civilian garb, it is a multi-purpose weapon and tool that contains thirty feet of aircraft control cable connected to a case-hardened steel grappling hook. Internal mechanisms allow the cable to be neatly wound and unwound, while a powerful spring launches the grapnel. The handle can be straightened for use when throwing. The club can be split into two parts, one of which is a fighting baton, the other of which ends in a curved hook.
In his civilian identity, Murdock is a skilled and respected attorney with an encyclopedic knowledge of law, especially New York statutes. He is a skilled detective, tracker, and interrogation expert, as well as being an expert marksman.
Daredevil was named Empire's 37th Greatest Comic Book Character, citing him as "a compelling, layered and visually striking character". Empire praised Frank Miller's era, and referenced Brian Michael Bendis, Jeph Loeb, and Kevin Smith's tenures on the series. Wizard magazine ranked Daredevil 21st among their list of the 200 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time, and comic book readers polled through the website Comic Book Resources voted the character the third best of the Marvel Comics stable. IGN ranked Daredevil as the third best series from Marvel Comics in 2006 and in 2011 ranked Daredevil as #10 on their list of "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes".
The series has won the following awards as well:
- Daredevil #227: "Apocalypse", Best Single Issue – 1986 Kirby Awards
- Daredevil: Born Again, Best Writer/Artist (single or team), Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli – 1987 Kirby Awards
- Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, Favorite Limited Comic-Book Series – 1993 Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award
- Daredevil by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev, 2003 Eisner Awards (for works published in 2002)
- Daredevil, Best Writer, Ed Brubaker – 2007 Harvey Award
- Daredevil #7, Best Single Issue (or One-Shot) – 2012 Eisner Awards (for works published in 2011)
- Daredevil by Mark Waid, Marcos Martín, Paolo Rivera, and Joe Rivera, Best Continuing Series – 2012 Eisner Awards
- David Mazzucchelli's Daredevil Born Again: Artist’s Edition, edited by Scott Dunbier (IDW),Best Archival Collection – 2013 Eisner Awards
- Chris Samnee, Daredevil v3, Best Penciller/Inker – 2013 Eisner Awards
Throughout the core Daredevil series, many characters have had an influence in Matt Murdock's life. His father, "Battlin' Jack" Murdock instills in Matt the importance of education and nonviolence with the aim of seeing his son become a better man than himself. He always encouraged Matt to study, rather than fight like him. Jack forbade his son from undertaking any kind of physical training. It is his father's murder that prompts the super-powered character to become a superhero, fighting gangsters. He was trained by an old blind ninja master named Stick following his childhood accident.
Matt Murdock's closest friend is Franklin "Foggy" Nelson, his college roommate, sidekick, and law partner. Their relationship in the early years of the series was fraught with tension due to Nelson's sense of inferiority to Murdock as a lawyer and as a target for the affections of their secretary, Karen Page. They frequently argued over Murdock's preference for defending supervillains, as Nelson's enthusiasm is for corporate law. The pudgy and fallible Nelson has often been used by writers for lightheartedness and even comic relief. As a superhero, one of Daredevil's best friends is the hero Spider-Man; with his enhanced senses, Murdock was able to physically identify Spider-Man on their first meeting, and Spider-Man in turn learned his secret identity some time after. Due to the events of the "One More Day" storyline, Murdock no longer knows Spider-Man's secret identity, and since then refused to relearn it due to the potential danger involved. Iron Fist would later become one of his greatest friends, and at one point took on the role of Daredevil himself. Jessica Jones, a former superhero turned private investigator acts as a bodyguard for Matt Murdock in his civilian life. Her husband, Luke Cage, is a friend of Daredevil as well. Maya Lopez, a deaf woman and skilled martial artist, is a friend of Daredevil after he fought her and convinced her that he did not murder her father, because she was being manipulated by the Kingpin, who was responsible. Ben Urich, a reporter for the Daily Bugle discovered Daredevil's identity and eventually becomes his friend as well, though during his identity dispute Daredevil decided to end his "secret professional relationship" with Urich to avoid getting Urich mixed up in his problems and being used against him.
Daredevil has a convoluted and often tortured love life. One of Daredevil's more notable love interests is Elektra, an assassin who would later be killed. In the 2000s, Murdock marries a woman named Milla Donovan, although one of Daredevil's enemies drives her to insanity.
In his early years, Daredevil fought a number of costumed supervillains, the first of these being Electro, a prominent Spider-Man foe, in Daredevil #2. A number of recurring villains would be introduced over the years, such as the Owl, the Purple Man, Mister Fear, Stilt-Man, Gladiator, the Jester, the Man-Bull, and Death-Stalker. The supervillain duo of the Cobra and Mr. Hyde have frequently clashed with Daredevil, and Hyde has fought Daredevil alone on several occasions. The psychotic assassin Bullseye was introduced by Marv Wolfman in issue #131, and was a frequent antagonist over the next six years of the series.
Beginning with Frank Miller's run on Daredevil, his traditional rogues gallery was used less often, and The Kingpin became Daredevil's arch-enemy. Like the Purple Man, Death-Stalker, Assassin, and several others, the Kingpin has long known Daredevil's secret identity. His run as the series's central villain ended with issue #300, but he continues to menace Daredevil on occasion. Elektra made her debut as a bounty hunter, and though her time as part of Daredevil's rogues gallery was brief (spanning barely a year of the series), her romantic past with him is an important part of the mythos. In Daredevil #254, Ann Nocenti introduced Typhoid Mary, an assassin for the Kingpin with an identity disorder, who would become a prominent Daredevil foe. The Punisher, vigilante Frank Castle, is one of Daredevil's most prolific antagonists and at times a reluctant ally.
In other media
- In 1983, ABC planned a live-action Daredevil pilot. Academy Award-winning writer Stirling Silliphant completed the draft of the program, but it was not aired.
- Daredevil, portrayed by Rex Smith, appears in NBC's 1989 live action television film The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. When David Banner (Bill Bixby) gets arrested, Matt Murdock helps to prove Banner's innocence. Daredevil tells his origins to Banner, which in this version involves Murdock being inspired by a police officer to become a hero. Later, with the help of Hulk, he battles the Kingpin (John Rhys-Davies), called only Wilson Fisk here. While remaining fairly true to the source material of the Daredevil comic books, the largest change was that Daredevil's traditional costume, including his horns, was replaced with a black ninja-like outfit. Daredevil would later wear a similar black outfit in Frank Miller and John Romita Jr’s 1993′s "Daredevil: The Man Without Fear" miniseries, as well as the Marvel Studios TV series.
- On November 6, 2013, Disney and Marvel announced that a new Daredevil television series based on the character would be released on Netflix. In December 2013, Marvel confirmed that Drew Goddard would be the executive producer and showrunner for the series, and would write and direct the first episode. By May 24, 2014, Goddard had departed as showrunner, being replaced by Steven S. DeKnight. Goddard was to remain with the show as a consultant. On May 27, Charlie Cox was cast to star. Filming began in July 2014. The first season was released in April 2015. A second season is scheduled for a 2016 release.
- In 1975, Angela Bowie secured the TV rights to Daredevil and the Black Widow for a duration of one year and planned a TV series based on the two characters. Bowie had photographer Terry O'Neill take a series of pictures of herself as Black Widow and actor Ben Carruthers as Daredevil (with wardrobe by Natasha Kornilkoff) to shop the project around to producers, but the project never came to fruition.
- Daredevil made his first animated television appearance in his true identity Matt Murdock and only appears in his Daredevil costume in a flashback, in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode "Attack of the Arachnoid" voiced by Frank Welker.
- In the 1980s, ABC had planned a Daredevil animated television series that would have featured a guide dog named "Lightning the Super-Dog". Television writer Mark Evanier said in 2008 that he was the last in a line of writers to have written a pilot and series bible, with his including Lightning as a guide dog without superpowers.
- Daredevil appears in the 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series episodes "Framed" and "The Man Without Fear", voiced by Edward Albert. J. Jonah Jameson hires Matt Murdock to defend Peter Parker when he is framed for industrial espionage by Richard Fisk. These episodes were later incorporated into the direct-to-DVD animated film Daredevil vs Spider-Man.
- Daredevil appears in the 1990s Fantastic Four episode "And a Blind Man Shall Lead Them", voiced by Bill Smitrovich. He helps the powerless Fantastic Four get into the Baxter Building when Doctor Doom takes it over.
- In 2003, 20th Century Fox released the film Daredevil, written and directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Actor Ben Affleck starred as the title character.
- A deleted scene in the 2005 Elektra film, later included in the Director's Cut, has Ben Affleck briefly reprising the role in a dream sequence.
- In November 2013, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that if Marvel's Netflix TV shows such as Daredevil become popular, "It's quite possible that they could become feature films".
- Daredevil made his first video game appearance in a cameo in Venom/Spider-Man: Separation Anxiety released in 1995. The character had a more expansive role as an alternate playable character in Spider-Man: Web of Fire, released in 1996, voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Daredevil appears in the 2000 Spider-Man video game, again voiced by Dee Bradley Baker.
- Daredevil's largest role was as the title character in the Game Boy Advance game based on the 2003 film.
- Daredevil later starred as a playable character in the 2005 Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects video game, voiced by David Kaye.
- Matt Murdock made a cameo appearance in The Punisher, voiced by Steven Blum. He appeared as the Punisher's lawyer.
- Daredevil appeared as an unlockable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, voiced by Cam Clarke. His costumes include his Classic, Original (alternate classic yellow outfit), Armored, and Marvel Knights. He can be unlocked by collecting eight of his action figures.
- Daredevil is a playable character in Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2, voiced by Brian Bloom. In the Wii and PS2 versions, he is exclusive to the Anti-registration side and boss for the Pro-registration side.
- Matt Murdock makes a cameo appearance in Chris Redfield's ending for Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds, where he is shown acting as the prosecutor at the trial of Albert Wesker. In addition, on the Daily Bugle stage, there is an advertisement billboard for "Nelson & Murdock – Attorneys at Law". Daredevil appears in the Shadowland stage in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 in his black outfit. Additionally, a zombified version of Daredevil makes a cameo in Frank West's ending of Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3.
- Daredevil is a playable character in Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, with Brian Bloom reprising his role from Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2. His attires are his standard red outfit, his classic yellow outfit or his armored outfit.
- A Daredevil outfit is available as downloadable content for LittleBigPlanet, as part of "Marvel Costume Kit 1".
- Daredevil is a playable character in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
- Daredevil is a playable character in the MMORPG Marvel Heroes, again voiced by Brian Bloom.
- Daredevil appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Super Heroes, with Steven Blum reprising his role from The Punisher video game.
- Daredevil appears as a playable character in Marvel Contest of Champions.
- Daredevil is featured in the Marvel Legends (third series) toy line. The action figure was based on the film version Ben Affleck starred in. The Marvel Legends Showdown 1/18th scale line featured Daredevil figures in both his red uniform and a chase version in his yellow-and-black uniform.
- The "Spider-Man Classics" toy line, which was a precursor to Marvel Legends, included a Daredevil figure, clad in his traditional red costume. The action figure resembles Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada's representation of Daredevil; it is derived from Quesada's stint as an artist on Daredevil. Accessories to the figure include the two billy clubs that the character uses. Unlike the mainstream comics, the clubs are white (rather than red). An expensive variant of the character included him in his original yellow and black garb, released in the same series.
- Daredevil is the 13th figurine in the Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
- Daredevil was featured in wave one of the first series in the 3 3/4" Marvel Universe line.
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There was a Daredevil story about a blind guy that I loved [issue #47].
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Frank Miller was the guest penciler for The Spectacular Spider-Man #27, February 1979, written by Bill Mantlo. [The issue's] splash page was the first time Miller's [rendition of] Daredevil appeared in a Marvel story.
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- DeFalco "1980s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 202: The Hand was a league of ninja assassins who employed dark magic...Introduced in Daredevil #174 by writer/artist Frank Miller, this group of deadly warriors had been hired by the Kingpin of Crime to exterminate Matt Murdock."
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The gist of it is that by the time Marvel was interested in having us work on the story, Frank was off doing Dark Knight and I was off doing X-Factor. So it never happened. Too bad—it was a cool story too.
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[S]ince all the plotlines I set up went to waste I put my "John Harkness" pseudonym on it.
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