by Tom Ryan, Third Eye Annapolis
I have always loved Daredevil myself and with so many Third Eye Faithful just getting into the character, I thought this would be the perfect time to share with you the best graphic novels to pick up if you love the show.
This right here is a tried-and-true CLASSIC. Frank Miller (SIN CITY, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS) is not only one of the best writers of DD but in this run also pencils almost all of the artwork.
He was really the first writer to make any big impact on Daredevil and his history since Stan Lee left the book, and many of those changes have shaped the character over the years.
This volume is the one where DD and the Kingpin first cross paths and the incredible thing is, it’s done in such a smooth way that it already feels like he was there the whole time.
In addition to introducing one of the best villains our hero has ever faced, Miller is also the one to bring Elektra and Daredevil together and give them a much larger history.
He also basically creates the character of Stick and in volume 2 fully explores his past and embroils Daredevil in his first fued with the deadly ninja assassins known as the Hand.
Now, if you’re new to Daredevil this is definitely the best place to start. This is Frank Miller’s origin story for the character and is beautifully drawn by John Romita Jr. (KICK ASS, AMAZING SPIDERMAN).
Many of the shows flashbacks to DD’s childhood are taken directly from this story, as well as the black costume he wears.
More than just showing us how Matt Murdock was blinded by radioactive chemicals and given enhanced senses, we actually see a lot of his past with a focus on his father and their relationship.
Several other characters get their own origins in this book as well including Matt’s longtime friend and law partner Foggy Nelson, ninja assassin Elektra, Daredevil’s mysterious teacher Stick, and of course, the Kingpin (D’onforio does such a good job, right??)
Next up, I have to recommend reading the highly acclaimed DD run by Brain Michael Bendis (ULTIMATE SPIDERMAN) and Alex Maleev (BATMAN: NO MAN’S LAND). With an aesthetic that looks much more indie than superhero, this run was like Matt Fraction’s HAWKEYE, exploring the character in a brand new way and introducing a whole new audience to it.
Bendis beautifully demonstrates why Matt Murdock continues to be Daredevil by focusing on the relationships that inspire him and the people he’s protecting. Every time I see a scene in the show focusing on a pair of cops, or low life thugs, or any ordinary Hells Kitchen residents, I’m reminded of this book and why I love it so much.
The first arc is absolutely incredible too. It involves Ben Urich getting to the bottom of a story about a young boy who is still traumatized after Daredevil defeats his supervillian father.
I’m telling you, if you’re loving everything that’s going on in the show, from Foggy to the Kingpin, you’re ESPECIALLY going to love this run. Don’t wait to check it out!
4. DAREDEVIL BORN AGAIN
BORN AGAIN is not just the best Daredevil story; it’s easily the darkest superhero story you can find! If you love the SIN CITY look and feel of the TV show and want to see your heroes go through the ringer, you have to check out this book.
SERIOUSLY, this is THE story that people talk about when they say Frank Miller writes dark, gritty comics.
Setting a precedent unlike any other, Miller shows us a strung out Karen Page who has hit rock bottom and sells Daredevil’s secret identity for one last fix.When this information makes its way to the Kingpin, then things really start to get bad!
He begins to take apart Matthew Murdock’s life piece by piece, robbing him of his practice, his house, his friends, and his loved ones.
Want to see what happens to the Man without Fear when he has nothing to lose? Third Eye Faithful, I cannot recommend this book enough!
This is where the current run of Daredevil started and it is a fantastic jumping on point if you want to see what our favorite blind lawyer/vigilante is doing nowadays.
When Mark Waid (KINGDOM COME) began writing Daredevil he decided to bring the character back to a brighter, more swashbuckling style.
To help that, we see Matt choose a new, forward outlook on life instead of focusing on the grit of the city or the terrible things that have happened to him. It is definitely different from the other stories on this list, but nonetheless true to Daredevil.
If your favorite parts of the show are when he’s joking with Foggy or helping innocent people in the courtroom, this book will really hit home for you.
I also have to mention the fabulous art is this run which really sets it apart.As the main series artist, Marcos Martin (AMAZING SPIDERMAN) does more than beautifully illustrate Daredevil, his cast and his city; he creates a brand new, unique way of SHOWING us DD’s 360 degree radar sense on the page in a way that’s never been done before. This is truly one you have to see for yourself!
If you can pry yourself away from Netflix (or have already watched, and re-watched every episode and need more), come on by Third Eye Comics today and we’ll happily show you these and more great Daredevil stories. (And freak out with you about how good the show is, because seriously isn’t it amazing?!)