Saturday, December 20, 2014

MY FAVORITE COMICS - Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson

There were two comic book series that pretty much all the comic book reading kids of my age talked about in absolute awe whenever a new issue came along. Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's DAREDEVIL run is one of them (the other I'll talk about next time).

What can I say that hasn't already been said about this, one of the most cheered and revered runs by any creative team on an american mainstream comic book? Looking back, what Miller and Janson managed to do each month was nothing short of amazing. Not only did they manage to inject life and interest into one of marvel comics minor characters, they also crafted a comic book that reverberated with entertainment, some humor and lots of action and suspense every single month. That alone would've been a major achievement working on the grinding system of a corporate comic book back in the early 1980's. But they went beyond that. Month after month, Daredevil was THE book everybody talked about. I clearly remember how one of my kid comic book reading friends had an older brother studying cinema in college who was completely nuts about this comic book!

I remember so many cool and interesting aspects about this run. Frank Miller's storytelling was unlike anything I'd ever seen in comics and his depiction of action sequences was second to none. The villains... Kirigi and Bullseye were the scariest characters I'd ever read in comics. The whole New York sewers underground society was disturbing, to say the least. The tragic love/hate story of Elektra, her shocking death and its aftermath left me breathless. Later on, when Klaus Janson took on the full art chores I loved the look of the book even more. I could spend paragraphs remembering more bits, pieces and memorable issues... Still, what do I remember most fondly? Well, suprisingly (or perhaps not), it's the little human touches: Ben Urich with his bad habit of smoking and his unglamourised wife; Josie's Bar and the recurrent routine of its glass being broken during the fights; the small-time thieves Turk and Leech; Foggy Nelson and Matt Murdock... those were the lights that brought the whole thing to a human scale, making it possible for this whole superhero dark fantasy to be relatable and believable - a lesson so often forgotten in superhero comics.

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