Without Joe Quesada’s Daredevil, the Modern Marvel Doesn’t Exist
Daredevil may not be on the same level of popularity as Spider-Man and the X-Men, but he remains a firmly prominent member of Marvel’s street characters. This helped make him emblematic of the huge success Marvel had in the 1980s, thanks of course to an iconic Frank Miller run. Daredevil would later achieve even greater success over the next decade to save not just the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, but Marvel Comics as a whole.
The ’90s left Marvel in dire financial straits, but Joe Quesada came along and helped turn things around for the company. The start of this successful run was Marvel Knights (Print)led by a very successful relaunch of daredevil. This would not only put the character back on the map, but lay the groundwork for Marvel as a whole to begin to deleverage. It was also the first step Joe Quesada took to becoming Marvel’s editor. As Quesada winds down his long tenure at Marvel Comics, here’s a look at how he became Daredevil’s most successful sidekick and, from there, one of Marvel’s most successful editors.
The 90s Killed the Popularity of Daredevil Comics
Prior to the 1980s, Daredevil was a second-rate Marvel hero with marginal success, essentially acting as a poor version of Spider-Man. Everything changed when Frank Miller took over writing the character’s book, and “The Man Without Fear” would never be the same again. Essentially dismissing much of what had come before, Miller’s run turned the series into a dark noir crime story, borderline turning Daredevil himself into an anti-hero. It ultimately helped propel one of Stan Lee’s lesser-known creations into stardom, with the Ann Nocenti race following in her footsteps. This series dealt with several themes and topics, while introducing now classic villains such as Typhoid Mary. Sadly, that would be the last time Daredevil had success in a while.
DG Chichester’s run would see the title lose steam, especially with some of Matt Murdock’s changes to the status quo. A new costume was also introduced, which was not well received by the fandom. Karl Kesel and Joe Kelly would attempt to return the character to his generic swashbuckling roots, which after Miller’s changes did not earn him any favors. Having gone from a must-have title to something that barely registers on most readers’ radars, the forward momentum of the daredevil Miller’s run comics were completely gone. It didn’t help that Marvel as a whole was bleeding into bankruptcy, with characters beyond the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises falling apart. This has seen several bizarre changes at Marvel, such as Avengers: Crossing (by Bob Harras and Steve Buccellato) and heroes reborn (by Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld), because few people cared about these properties. As part of this sinking ship, the daredevil the comics, which had been regularly published for decades by then, were cancelled.
Joe Quesada’s Rolodex Relaunched Daredevil and Marvel Comics
By the late ’90s, Marvel was in the throes of bankruptcy and hoped to start righting the ship by fixing some of its more low-key characters. Unfortunately, that number now included Daredevil, who had once been at least king of the B-listers. Marvel was planning to do this through what was essentially a much more successful version of their heroes reborn editing idea. Creators Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti have been hired, through their company Event Comics, to work on a new Marvel imprint. Title marvel knightsit would tackle stories involving lesser-known and street-level Marvel characters, and while the stories would be in continuity with the mainstream 616 universe, they would also be less reliant on following the characters’ original stories.
Quesada and Palmiotti were the editors of the imprint, bringing in talent from their independent comic book days such as Brian Michael Bendis. They also encouraged artistic and narrative experimentation, preventing things from looking too similar. The story of guardian devilwhich was the initial arc of the revival daredevil comics. Acclaimed screenwriter Kevin Smith, who has long been a huge comic book fan, penned the screenplay.
See Daredevil protect a baby who could save or end the world itself, guardian devil was a return to form for the former Hornhead. The story retained the dark, street-level tone that Frank Miller had established for the character, while evoking his deeply Catholic beliefs. As well as being friendly to new readers, it also draws inspiration from old Marvel stories, including both the Daredevil tale born again and even Spider-Man stories such as Kraven’s Last Hunt and the infamous story of the 90s The clone saga.
The book’s gritty but experimental art was provided by both Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti, making them as instrumental to the story as Smith himself. The style and tone of the book would carry over to the David Mack and Brian Michael Bendis series, the latter particularly considered one of the best. daredevil never run. The book’s more mature tone and focus on a street-level character was influential to all of Marvel Comics going forward, as seen in Bendis’ run on The Avengers, which included characters such as Luke Cage. It also helped earn some of the success of DC books such as watchmen and Sand sellerbut for the more mainstream Marvel books.
The success of the marvel knights was all thanks to Smith, Palmiotti and Quesada daredevil, which wouldn’t have been the case if the latter two hadn’t brought the band together in the first place. From there, Quesada would see himself becoming the editor-in-chief of Marvel, with several huge published hits under his belt. While his time running Marvel was certainly heavenly as far as the company’s finances were concerned, it all started thanks to a little trip Quesada took to Hell’s Kitchen.
Black Widow and Daredevil were nearly killed by New York’s most depraved murderer