Comics
Published April 22, 2020

Legendary Artist Klaus Janson Discusses His Work with Frank Miller on 'Daredevil'

Discover one of the greatest comic book runs of all time—now on sale in the Marvel Digital Comics Shop!

Between 1979 and 1983, two of the comic book industry’s greatest legends, writer/artist Frank Miller and artist Klaus Janson, joined forces on DAREDEVIL, redefining the character and creating one of the most acclaimed comic book runs of all time.

Daredevil

Now is your chance to witness this landmark run for yourself with the DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER & KLAUS JANSON SaleDAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER AND KLAUS JANSON VOL. 1, 2, and 3, containing the entirety of the pair’s collaboration with Matt Murdock, are on sale now through April 23 at 11:00PM ET on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop!

Frank Miller and Klaus Janson’s transformative work on the title elevated Daredevil into the recognizable Marvel icon he is today, introduced the deadly assassin Elektra, and established criminal mastermind Kingpin and mad marksman Bullseye as Daredevil’s greatest foes. The creators' bold storytelling choices and dark depiction of Hell’s Kitchen made their take on the Man Without Fear one of the most influential runs in mighty Marvel memory.

To celebrate this collaboration, we sat down with Klaus Janson to talk about makes this landmark team-up a must-read for every comic book fan.

On how Frank Miller shifted things for the book...

Before Frank came on, there were so many different pencillers assigned to the book because DAREDEVIL was bimonthly at that point and really on life support in a lot of ways. There were a lot of rotating pencillers and…my job was to keep the book looking consistent. And when Frank came on, nobody really expected him to stay on for as long as he did because the pencillers usually would do two issues or three issues and then hop off, but when Frank came on there was definitely a shift in terms of the level of commitment.

I think people started to really care about the book. I know certainly Frank and I did and then it really ramped up when Frank started to write the series. There were no creative differences, we really thought in very identical and similar approaches to storytelling. It was a lot of fun. It was really a terrific working relationship.

Daredevil

On looking back at what is now thought of as a classic...

We met at a really interesting time in our lives. He was incredibly hungry and ambitious and so was I. I think we both remain that way even to this day. We really wanted to do something that pushed the envelope as much as we could with the material that we had and with the opportunities that we had, so I think to some degree that is communicated to the reader today. We were able to push the envelope and do things that hadn't been seen. I was able to do a lot of coloring techniques and use black and white in ways. In some ways, it was a boiling point for a lot of ideas that Frank and I had and they just happened to coincide at that moment, at that time.

We were bursting at the seams to try stuff. and one of the advantages to working on DAREDEVIL at that point was that the book was about to be cancelled so no one really had any investment from editorial or from management to say, “Oh you cant do this.” There were no real restrictions on us so we were allowed to sort of have access to all of the things that we wanted to do. 

There was a cohesiveness to DAREDEVIL that you could sense I think. There was a common vision, a cohesive vision... By the third year, it was just Frank and I. There was no other colorist, there was no other inker, penciller, writer. It was Frank and I and the letterer, Joe Rosen. Turning out monthly books with only two people is hard, it's not an everyday occurrence.

Daredevil

On creating DAREDEVIL’s version of Hell’s Kitchen...

I moved to New York sometime in the early '70s and never left. I always wanted to live in New York. I think that part of the fun of looking at those old DAREDEVIL issues is that it was dirty and gritty and impolite and all of that was very much true at that time. You probably wouldn't have chosen to live there [Hell’s Kitchen] during the '70s or the '80s.

[Miller] is influenced by architecture, he's influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright. He's influenced by design and thats something that we share. So in terms of our compatibility, we have several common interests, certainly creating mood and architecture in the city is a great part of that. The architecture and the environment has to be accurate and credible, that’s something that we both try to do.

On the iconic action sequences throughout the run...

I think, to some degree, Frank was very influenced by Japanese movies at that time, the samurai kind of cinema and a little bit of manga. Frank's ability to be kinetic is not just limited to the fight scenes. I think it stems from his overall concern that the art informs the story and communicates that to the reader and is also entertaining. The camera is often pulled back when you see Frank’s fight scenes so he's very clear about where everybody is and what they're doing. It's a sign of a good storyteller.

Daredevil

On his favorite character to ink and draw...

I really enjoyed Kingpin. Frank was able to draw him in a very bulky, oversized way.

On what readers visiting his run for the first time can expect...

I think that DAREDEVIL works on a couple different levels. One is just the sheer enjoyment of seeing unused characters like Ben Urich and the Punisher or the creation of Elektra. To watch the unfolding of this storyline I think is a real pleasure. And number two I think that anyone who is interested in storytelling or art can learn a lot from the run that Frank and I did. I would tell new readers to read it twice. Read it once for the story and then twice to look at how we did it, and don’t be afraid to look into the corners of the panels and then into the corners of the story. There's a lot going on. Frank and I put a lot in there. You discover new things all the time.

Don’t miss your chance to add this comic book masterpiece to your digital collection today using the DAREDEVIL BY FRANK MILLER & KLAUS JANSON Sale on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, and be on the lookout for more great digital sales in the coming weeks!

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