The 1st Daredevil series is decidedly the last good one

by Avi Green

July 21, 2021

Stan Lee and Bill Everett's creation of the Man Without Fear in the mid-1960s is something I appreciate even more than Batman today, probably because, unlike DC's Masked Manhunter, he was never as overused, nor did Daredevil ever oversaturate the market like Batman is doing today. I'd argue this is part of the reason why, if a dark angle matters, that's why Daredevil comes off far better in this regard.

All that aside, I guess another reason why Daredevil is a Marvel comic I appreciate so much is because the 1st volume, running from 1964 to 1998, is surely the only one worth reading, along with all other related material published within this time. When Lee and company originally introduced lawyer Matt Murdock in 1964, who would've guessed over time, it'd lead to a very entertaining and perceptive superhero comic?

“Hornhead” and his cast (including Karen Page and Foggy Nelson) would have plenty of impressive adventures within the span of this volume, and the Marvel staff had an excellent idea to add Black Widow to the list of recurring characters. The mid 1970s would see the debut of one of the most notable foes in Daredevil's rogues' gallery, Bullseye. And the early 1980s would see the debut of Elektra. On which note, let's remember Frank Miller was considered a pinnacle writer as much as an artist for Hornhead around this time, and his stories are among the most memorable from this 1st volume.

And it's a terrible shame that, following the end of the first volume, things all went to pot, as DD was relaunched in a 2nd volume that was part of the Marvel Knights line being launched at the time. This volume saw Karen Page being killed off, in a storyline by filmmaker Kevin Smith that was decidedly uncalled for. What followed, by the horribly overrated Brian Bendis – a story where Matt's secret ID was revealed – was just as terrible.

It's very sad that one of Lee's best creations had to fall victim to political correctness, not to mention company wide crossovers and stunts, and like the rest of the Marvel universe, fell into ruin. And that's pretty much why I feel the 1st volume, some of which is now available in Epic Collection archives, is the only one worth reading. Because it comes from a time when there was more sanity, and recognition of merit-based writing and artwork. Until the Marvel publishing arm can come under a better ownership that's not conglomerate-based, it's best to stick with the 1st volume, which, until now, is the last one worth reading.

Copyright 2021 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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