Sometimes I’m surprised I’ve not written of Daredevil before. I spend a lot of time thinking, talking, and writing about the intersection of comic books and theology and teach theology at a Catholic Mercy school and am a lifelong Catholic. So Matt Murdock/Daredevil feels like a character made for me. A lawyer by day who lost his sight as a child, Matt uses the radar sense he gained, along with his extensive martial arts training, to protect the people of Hell’s Kitchen as Daredevil. As Marvel’s most prominent Catholic character, his faith and his relationship with God influence all areas of his life, superheroing included. He attends Mass. He goes to confession. His parish priest and nuns are trusted natural supports. But I never “got” Daredevil. My brother David loved him but I wasn’t interested. He felt like a bargain basement Spider-Man (when quippy) or bargain basement Batman (when dour). Then I began reading Chip Zdarsky (writer) and Marco Checchetto (main artist on the run)’s Daredevil and OH. MY. GOSH. I get it now! Twenty-seven issues in and I love it! A major story beat is Matt discerning God’s will in his life and, naturally, I was excited to explore this myself. Is Daredevil’s vocation divinely ordained or an example of someone trying to sanctify their all-too-human violence in God’s name?
I’m not trying to be hyperbolic when I say, Spider-Man: Life Story is the future of the comic book industry. Now I don’t mean to imply the comics industry as a whole is going to follow Chip Zdarsky’s elegant lead with every comic. I’m just saying I think they should. In Spider-Man: Life Story, Zdarsky (accompanied by my all-time favorite Spidey artist Mark Bagley (yay!)) explores what Peter Parker’s life could have been like had he aged naturally, with each issue of this six issue miniseries touching on one decade in Peter’s life. For example issue #1 is set in 1966, four years after Peter was bitten by the radioactive spider (as Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spidey in 1962 (see how that works?)). Issue #2 looks at the ‘70s and so on as Peter ages in real time. He isn’t perpetually stuck in his late 20’s or early 30’s. Four issues in, I’ll confidently say this will stand as one of the greatest Spider-Man stories ever told. It’s the most interested I’ve been in Peter Parker’s adventures as Spider-Man in almost twenty years too. In allowing Peter to age, Zdarsky has illustrated the hidden potential of the comic book genre. Continue reading
Admittedly, I’ve been behind on my comic reading. There was Christmas (not to mention the shopping, wrapping, and delivering of Christmas goodies). There was getting work done so I could enjoy my Christmas vacation without school stuff to do. And then there was this little movie that came out a few weeks ago that I was a wee bit focused on. But now Christmas day’s over and I’m snowed in by the CRAZY HUGE SNOWSTORM hitting us here in Erie, PA. So I’ve plenty of time to delve into the comics waiting for me! One of the comics in my pile was Chip Zdarsky and Jim Cheung’s new Marvel 2 In One starring the Thing and the Human Torch. Annnnd I’m in love! Continue reading