The History of 'Daredevil' #1s
Celebrate this week's new Matt Murdock series by reflecting on previous Man Without Fear runs!
Matt Murdock was in pretty rough shape at the end of his last ongoing series, but you can’t keep the Man Without Fear down for long!
This week, writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto launch a new DAREDEVIL ongoing series. And we’re hyped to see the next chapter in Matt’s life!
To celebrate this week's release of DAREDEVIL, Marvel.com is looking back at the five DAREDEVIL #1 issues that have preceded it...
Fifty-five years ago, Stan Lee and Bill Everett unleashed DAREDEVIL #1, which neatly set up Matt Murdock’s backstory. As a young boy, Matt was blinded in an accident that also gave him enhanced radar senses. Matt’s father, Battlin’ Jack Murdock, was also murdered when he refused to take a dive in a big fight. As Daredevil, Matt finally avenged his father years later.
It’s such a perfect origin that it’s been largely unchanged in the five decades since it was told. Even the cover for DAREDEVIL #1 was brilliantly set up to introduce Matt and his supporting cast, Foggy Nelson and Karen Page, while reminding readers of Marvel’s other hit series. It’s a classic in every way.
You may have noticed that Daredevil’s iconic red costume wasn’t his original outfit. Wally Wood didn’t introduce it until his first issue on the title, DAREDEVIL #7. And from there, one of the all-time great Super Hero costumes went largely unmodified for decades.
After 380 issues, the original run of DAREDEVIL came to an end. At the time, the series was struggling and it needed an injection of new blood. Marvel hired Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti to take some of Marvel’s underutilized heroes and give them a fresh start in the MARVEL KNIGHTS line. Quesada and Palmiotti took over as DAREDEVIL’s new art team, while recruiting filmmaker Kevin Smith to write the opening arc, GUARDIAN DEVIL.
DAREDEVIL #1 was a smash hit that reestablished Matt’s heroic alter ego while throwing him into a mystery that made him question his faith and his sanity. The storyline also featured a stunning showdown with Bullseye that left a permanent impact on Matt and his world. Smith’s time on the title was short, but it led to unforgettable runs by Brian Michael Bendis and Ed Brubaker. More importantly, DAREDEVIL #1 reminded everyone why he was one of Marvel’s best-ever creations.
The MARVEL KNIGHTS era was spectacular, but in 2011, it was time for a change. Mark Waid and artist Paolo Rivera’s DAREDEVIL #1 recaptured a lot of the fun and swashbuckling spirit that had been lost after years of misery. Their opening issue featured a stunning depiction of Daredevil’s powers and perceptions, as well as some devilish smiles on Matt’s face as he stole a kiss from a bride while saving her from the Spot.
Waid has been one of the most respected traditional writers for decades, but his take on DAREDEVIL was innovative and retro at the same time. Yet even this era wasn’t free of heartache and pain; that’s just par for the course in Matt’s life.
Waid wasn’t quite done with Daredevil, so he became the first and only writer to relaunch DD twice! This time, Waid joined forces with artist Chris Samnee for some truly thrilling Daredevil stories. It was a brand-new set up too, as Matt’s identity was hopelessly exposed, so he embraced being outed as a hero. Matt moved back to San Francisco with his new love, Kirsten McDuffie, and he even openly consulted with the police in-and-out of costume. These were good times, even when darkness crept back into Matt’s life.
The most recent relaunch paired Charles Soule and artist Ron Garney for a back-to-basics approach to Daredevil. Under their guidance, Daredevil’s identity was once again hidden and he was back in New York. The biggest changes were that Matt now worked in the DA’s office as a prosecutor, and he took on a sidekick by the name of Blindspot. Matt’s feud with Wilson Fisk also reignited on a grander scale, which briefly left Matt as the acting mayor of New York. Matt also had an unfortunate encounter with a truck at the end of Soule’s run, which bookended his origin story.
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