Resides in Vienna, Austria where he constantly wrangles his weird world into shape as a comic book artist, storyboard artist, writer & performer.
I just watched some TV. Daredevil season one to be specific. This wouldn’t be mind-bending news in a normal household, but for me it was pretty cool. I work a lot (art gigs anywhere I can find them), I live very far from home (an Amerikaner in Vienna, Austria), I’m constantly trying to keep my head above water in absurd, unreasonable circumstances, and I do it all to feed an addiction: comics & comics related everything. The main flaw in this equation is it all adds up to me being, as the title says, slow on the draw when it comes to reading, seeing, witnessing, experiencing & savouring the magic cranked out by our modern-day creative shamans.
So, with this ongoing record in the great house of ComicConverse, I will be openly, shamelessly, and emphatically catching up with all of you, one missed project at a time.
First up, have any of you heard of this new Daredevil show? It’s pretty darn neat!
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Now of course I’d heard about it, got all amped up for it when I read the first rumors of it’s birth in forums & reputable corners of the internet, fantasized over who would be playing whom, and so on, but when it finally came out where was I?
Hunched over my desk doing something for somebody for some scratch to pay for dinner, I’m sure.
Weeks later, when my friend & trusted partner in creative crime asked if I had finally seen Daredevil, I told him I’ve been super busy, but I’m keeping a close eye on it, and I’ll be sure to check out the new episodes as they come. He chuckled & let me sit comfortably in my own dirty liar-pants. When he asked again a few weeks later, I said “Oh yeah, I was gonna check that out. Have I missed the season finale?” He couldn’t, in good conscience, let me go on.
“You fool! It’s one of your favorite characters ever created ever in anything! What are you doing with your life? The whole entire season’s been out & waiting for you for the last hundred thousand years!”
I wanted to retort in a really clever, scathing manner, but I knew he was right. Daredevil is one of my favourite characters ever created. I’m crazy for the Daredevil books. I don’t care which era you point to, I love it. I always have. There’s something about that character that’s naturally allowed & inspired so many writers & artists to drag a gritty pulp world into the shiny, clean universe of normal spandexed, super powered heroes. Or vice verse, however you prefer. Either way, Daredevil instigates a slightly, sometimes much, darker world where stakes & consequences are rarely as satisfactory to the heroes, the victims, the survivors, the villains, heck, everyone involved as we’re used to in most other mainstream titles. But I digress: this isn’t slow on the draw, this is simply opinionated history.
Slow on the draw is finally watching the first episode of the Netflix series only one week ago, and subsequently trying to roundhouse kick myself in the gourd for missing yet another amazing production aimed directly at my very being.
I might’ve read a little blurb somewhere or other that a few people here’n’there kinda sorta liked the series too.
Kidding. Vienna may not be the cultural seat of Europe anymore, but we still get a few updates on what’s happening now & then. And of course, there were a couple reviews online about the series.
Good grief did I miss the boat on this one. Before any of you rightfully blast me in the comments section, I’ve just finished watching episode 5 (give me a little slack- I know the error of my ways, but I still gotta get stuff done in the meantime). I’ll be watching the rest of the episodes with rapt attention post haste.
My opinion of this series so far falls pretty clearly inline with everything that’s been said already. It’s sharp. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s cool. It’s all that stuff. There are a lot of shows that can wave those flags, I’m sure. I’m not sure what they are yet, but this column isn’t called Ahead of the Bullet is it?
Here’s why I love Daredevil so far.
Like many of the Marvel movies, the series feels familiar to all of us who either grew up with those characters, OR saturated our brains with them only recently. We love these characters, know what they’ve been through, feel comfortable in their world, and take everything concerning them rather personally, regardless of how cavalier some of us respond to questioning about our comic addictions. Why? Because we kind of built all those feelings ourselves. Yeah, we had incalculable assistance from the writers & artists of those books, but in the end it’s still just a handful of thin paper with ink all over it and a couple staples. We had to bridge the gap, suspend disbelief, fill in the space between the gutters, heck, fill in the 355 degrees of space in all directions from the actual, physical comic book. We open that comic book, and we fill the hell out of all that space. We’re in that world. That’s what we, the readers, do. So, yeah, of course we take it a kind of personally when somebody else attempts to fill that space for us. Well, the fine folks at the Daredevil production have done a real bang up job. To me it feels like the world I would create every time I re-read a DD issue, especially from Brubaker/Lark and Bendis/Maleev, plus a bunch of other magicians that handled the book throughout it’s incredible past (I’m interested if they’re ever going to get into any Nocenti/Romita Jr. social commentary, super powered weirdness).
Plucking at atmospheric nostalgia is all well and good to lure me in, but to get me hooked they’ve done the other thing that many of Marvel’s moving picture adaptations have done: made it new somehow. I haven’t deconstructed the “somehow” yet, at least not in any clean, tidy way that will fit nicely in the remainder of this article, but the short of it is I like the way they do it. I like the changes they make in the adaptations. Daredevil is no different. The changes they made in the presentation, in the characters, in the history & mythology…they make sense to me when I’m watching the show, and that’s all we can ask for. It’s tight, and it feels very similar to the way it did when I first opened an issue of Daredevil, and then another & another & another, ad nauseam. I’ll get into the finer details later, seeing as this is getting a little long winded, and we’re only in the inaugural article.
The point is this: Daredevil is only one of many things that I’m very happy I caught up to the pack on.
See you in a week or so.
Rob Ayers is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @S_R_Ayers.