New Superversive SF Post: “Understand what you’re Asking For”

I think this post may be the best thing I’ve ever written for the site. Here I analyze the first issue of “Daredevil” and contrast it to the Netflix version of the character. To sum up: As it turns out, the first issue of “Daredevil” is awful.

An excerpt:

So why did I go through all of this? I’ll tell you why. Here at Superversive SF there’s a lot of nostalgia for the past, including the occasional lamentation that we’ve gone too “gritty” and lost the charming, campy optimism of the golden and silver age comics.

But the original “Daredevil” was written smack in the middle of that campy, optimistic silver age of comics. And here’s the thing: The first issue is considered a genuine classic. It is considered to be one of the best issues of the Stan Lee era. And it’s awful, a blatant ripoff of the Spider-Man origin story covered in a new coat of paint, full of bizarre, nonsensical character decisions and lazy, uninspired writing.

Check out the rest at the link, and comment here, there, or wherever you like.

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10 Responses to New Superversive SF Post: “Understand what you’re Asking For”

  1. Jeffrey S. says:

    Malcolm,

    I’m going over to your post right now to read what you wrote! I hope you’ll check out my little piece over at What’s Wrong as well and comment there — I’d love to get your opinion on my thoughts.

    • Hey Jeffrey, thanks for checking it out. I responded to yours, but mostly I’m just confused. I recall NO pre-marital sex in “Daredevil”. “Jessica Jones” has it, but then it’s been pretty up front about its commitment to “pushing boundaries” (quotes intentional) all along.

      What scenes are you referring to, anyway?

  2. Randy P. says:

    Batman: The Brave & The Bold the television series is what I personally mean when I talk about Silver Age’s more optimistic tone, it just happens to have the better writing of latter day comics without all the nihilism. Actual Silver Age and Golden Age comics are more hit and miss, but that show embodies everything amazing about those comics.

    And to be honest, I would take a lot of those campy Silver Age comics over any of the modern SJW garbage currently being written.

    • Sure, but not over most of the Marvel cinema, and certainly not the Frank Miller golden age (defined as an arbitrary “before he started to suck”).

    • Also remember: The show I’m comparing it to is not nihilistic but, in fact, superversive: http://superversivesf.com/2015/10/27/daredevil-is-superversive/

      • Randy P. says:

        Sure, Daredevil was a bad Silver Age comic that improved when Frank Miller got his hooks in it. The Question had the same sort of transformation in the 80s (which was a great move outside of changing the origin story and his real name… which seems to have thankfully been retconned again, so whatever) in keeping the core of what made the character initially appealing, but having much better writing.

        Thing is, much as I like the optimistic tone of the Silver Age, I also thought the Netflix version of Daredevil was the best portrayal of the character ever. He had the idealism and optimism of the Silver Age embedded in him (and a great deal of Catholicism) while going through events that would have crushed a normal man and almost crushed him at several points. But eventually, he succeeded.

        To me, the tone doesn’t need to be bright and sunny to hold the spirit of Silver Age, it’s the characters themselves that should strive for something more. The whole cast of Daredevil pulled that off, even the bad guys to an extent. Gritty or not, it had that sense of hope which is what have always appealed to me about comics and superheroes.

      • The idea behind the article was twofold:

        1) This first issue of “Daredevil” is considered to be one of the very best of the pre-Miller era, and it’s full of terrible writing

        2) How did nobody notice that all the original “Daredevil” was was a lazy attempt to make a quick buck by making another version of Spider-Man? Because to me it seems obvious. Everything about it screams “We didn’t put a lot of effort into this because we were just trying to cash in on Spider-Man’s success.” And nobody seems to notice, and that baffles me.

      • Randy P. says:

        Yes, I agree. I’m under the impression when a lot of people think of the Bronze Age of comics they think of Watchmen (which has honestly aged awfully) and not the better stuff like Daredevil, X-Men, or The Question (aside from the pointless changed origin story) which are better than their Silver Age versions.

        On the other hand, I think the Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller is particularly potent for our times, especially modern comics which have all but abandoned heroics for SJW crusades and whining. Part 1 in particular with its apathetic youth, psychologists and sociologists denying objective evil, and its abandonment of common sense, is more relevant than its ever been.

        That’s a long way to say I agree with you.

  3. Scholar-at-Arms says:

    “How did nobody notice that all the original “Daredevil” was was a lazy attempt to make a quick buck by making another version of Spider-Man?”

    Heh, I noticed at 13, and while I tried to like Lee’s Daredevil, I wasn’t able to. Later I discovered Miller’s run, and thought it was terrific.

    One thing that you didn’t mention: the Dark Age happened for a *reason*. Yeah, some authors may have philosophical reasons for promoting nihilism (Alan Moore, GRRM) but artistically it was a reaction against some stuff that was pretty badly done. Daredevil is far from the worst: the original X-Men run is much worse (and also a cash grab – the original concept was clearly a Fantastic Four palette swap).

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