Daredevil Reading List (Part One) – Frank Miller

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Posted November 5, 2013 by Stuart Kirkham in Comic Books

There aren’t many characters that have enjoyed a long period of consistently strong creative teams; most series have their ups and downs as talent changes and new teams try to find their own voice, some more successfully than others. For the last decade The Man Without Fear’s record has been almost completely unblemished, but people first started taking notice of Matt Murdock in the 80’s, when Frank Miller went from just drawing the book to writing it as well.

In honor of the inaugural Assemble After Dark podcast from our friends Joey Esposito, Erik Norris and Benjamin Bailey (which will be on the subject of Daredevil), we’ve produced this reading list to guide you through the most well-regarding volumes in Red Batman’s long history of being awesome. In Part One we’ll look at Frank Millers contributions to the character, as well as a handful of other creators that put there stamp on the character. Almost all of these books are still available in the shops and there is a brief synopsis of each one so you can build your own collection.

Frank Miller
DD Miller

Miller’s Daredevil

Frank Millers Daredevil Volumes 1 – 3

Frank Miller originally came onto the title as the artist only, working with Roger McKenzie (whose he disliked). After the first volume Miller takes on writing duties as well, and the book becomes all the better for it. He makes some notable additions to the Daredevil Mythos, changing the dynamic between Matt Murdock and his father Jack, introducing Ninja’s into the mythology, and the creation of Elektra Nachios.

These three volumes collect all of Miller’s initial four year run on the book, and many of the elements and characters he introduced are still used in the modern comics, so if you want a complete Daredevil experience you can’t do much better than starting at this point.

Millers early work on Daredevil can be collected in three trade paperbacks (which are out of print) or an omnibus (which is just coming back into print).

DD Romita

The Man Without Fear

Daredevil: Born Again Miller & Mazzucchelli

Miller returns to Daredevil a few years later and reunites with his Batman: Year On collaborator David Mazzucchelli for this story, which was originally published in two parts. This is considered an important part of the Daredevil mythos, heavily involving Karen Page and The Kingpin of crime Wilson Fisk, while also exploring Matt Murdock’s Catholic faith and reintroducing him to his long-lost mother who is now serving as a nun.

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear Miller & Romita Jr

This five-issue mini-series tells the origin story of Daredevil through Matt Murdock’s childhood. The story expands on many of the elements Miller introduced in his initial run, such as they changes he made to Jack Murdock’s character, and fleshing out Stick’s role in Matt’s training and his early relationship with Elektra. This is still considered the definitive origin story, and has some of the best art Romita Jr has ever done, so is well worth having in the collection.

These stories have been released in various formats over the years, you can get them separately in two trade paperbacks quite easily, or together in a companion omnibus, which is currently out of print.

Elektra: Assassin

Elektra: Assassin

Elektra: Assassin Miller & Sienkiewicz

This is a non-essential story set before Elektra’s first appearance in Daredevil. It’s deliberately over-the-top and a bit more ‘fun’ than Miller’s previous work on the character. Elektra has a run-in with S.H.I.E.L.D. while trying to regain her memory and prevent a villain called The Beast from starting a nuclear war. This story is now considered non-canonical by most people, but fans of the character consider it essential.

Elektra Lives Again Frank Miller

Originally released as an oversized graphic novel, this story follows Elektra as she tried to put a stop to The Hand. It also heavily features Matt Murdock, but interestingly never as Daredevil, and explored the relationship between the two characters. This story has a mixed reception and isn’t necessary to understanding either of these characters, but is worthwhile for Frank Miller fans and completionists.

Both of these stories can be collected as graphic novels fairly cheaply, though Lives Again is currently out of print. There is also an omnibus containing both stories, which is out of print but can be found fairly cheaply.

Jeph Loeb, Kevin Smith & David Mack
Daredevil: Yellow

Daredevil: Yellow

Daredevil: Yellow Loeb & Sale

Set during the early days of Matt Murdock’s crime-fighting career, the story explores his early romance with Karen Page and his mission to bring his fathers killers to justice. Loeb and Sale are on fine form in this story as they explore themes of fear and love. This is one of the more light-hearted Daredevil stories on the list and is essential for any fans of the character.

Daredevil V1: Guardian Devil Smith & Quesada

Kevin Smith comes to Marvel comics to relaunch Daredevil with a new Issue 1 (which weren’t as common in those days), telling a tragic story that sets Matt Murdock on a dark path he’s only recently been able to leave. It’s a little over-written because it’s Kevin Smith, but it is a complex, well told story that is important to the mythos as it involves several key elements of Daredevil lore, such as Kingpin, Bullseye, Karen Page and Daredevils mother.

David Mack's Echo Cover

David Mack’s Echo Cover

Daredevil V2: Parts of a Hole Mack & Quesada

David Mack introduces a new character named Maya Lopez to serve as a love interest for Matt Murdock, and her alter-ego Echo as an interesting foil for Daredevil. Maya has been deaf since birth and was a child prodigy, able to mimic any action she sees. She has been influenced by The Kingpin since an early age, who tries to use her against his arch-enemy.

Daredevil V8: Echo: Vision Quest David Mack

Mack follows up on his first Echo story in the middle of Bendis run on Daredevil (while he and Maleev take a quick break), this time he uses his own distinctive art style. Having realized she’s been lied to her whole life, Echo goes on a soul searching journey to her Native American roots and meets Wolverine along the way. This story sets her on the path to her next big story, told by Brian Bendis in the pages of his New Avengers series.

Daredevil: Yellow can be found in various formats as it’s been released several times over the years. Kevin Smith’s issues can be found fairly easily in Trade Paperback or Oversized Hardcover Volume 1, which also includes Parts of a Hole. Echo Vision Quest is available in OHC Volume 4 and Trade Paperback.

 

Come back in a couple of days for Part Two, which covers the award winning run by Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev.


About the Author

Stuart Kirkham

Stuart is a comic book collector, film and TV enthusiast, and video game crackerjack. Unfortunately these pursuits are occasionally interrupted by having to go to work and do real-life things.