Lives in Comics: Andrea Artusi tells about Daredevil

Lives in Comics: Andrea Artusi tells about Daredevil
Spring 1970. I am six years old and the first issues of Marvel titles published in Italy by Corno appear on newsstands. The two characters called to represent what will soon be a real invasion of stars and stripes superheroes are Spider-man, in Italy Spider-Man, and Daredevil or simply Devil for us. Between the two, contrary to the more widespread trend, I have no doubts and my preferences go for the red devil. The first number that I can buy, thanks to the purchasing power and choice that the children of the time still held, being able to count on the autonomy of management of their economic resources guaranteed by pocket money and tips from grandparents and various relatives, is 9. titled 'The Duke of Lichtenbad' with which I open my (very) personal series of 'essentials' from this character's golden age.

Andrea Artusi guides us to discover his affection for Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil

Why do I love him so much? I think because he manages to represent a combination of strength and weakness at the same time that made me immediately feel close to him. He is a superhero endowed with extraordinary powers that could be useful to him in everyday life but who cannot prove why they would reveal his secret identity, while at the same time being forced to severe limitations in his role as vigilante. It is tormented, complex. Not linear in its action. It was a shock for how human he appeared to me in his super human being. Outlined as it was at its best from the narrative point of view by a Stan Lee in the midst of his volcanic activity as a screenwriter and drawn by some of the most extraordinary talents of that shining era of American comics such as Wally Wood, John Romita, Gene Colan who will be followed in the following years by other greats such as Miller, Sienkiewicz, Mazzuchelli ... A character who like few others embodies the paradigm of the 'superhero with super problems' but who does so with many and such peculiarities that, in my opinion, detach him from the whole panorama of the Marvelian fandom, placing it on a very particular dimension.

Devil N ° 9 Horn edition 'The Duke of Lichtenbad'

History is one of the typical and delightfully naive ones of Marvel productions of the years '60. Matt Murdock, attracted by the prospect of recovering his sight thanks to the promising results of a doctor's research, leaves New York to reach the imaginative state of Lichtenbad where the scholar in question operates, albeit prey to a thousand doubts as to whether the intervention may deprive him of his powers. Arriving on the spot, the blind lawyer immediately feels the climate of fear of the population subjugated by the Duke who is the emperor and who dominates the small enclave with an iron fist and the manner of a dictator of the past. Devil will obviously sacrifice his ambition to become 'normal', and therefore acceptable and lovable by his beautiful secretary Karen Page, to end the yoke that crushes the people of the state not before the doctor makes an even more extreme sacrifice than his own by getting killed. in the revolt. An epilogue that definitively cancels even the faintest hope of a further intervention to restore Matt Murdock's sight. Considering that Devil's activities as a masked hero are concentrated in New York for 99.99% of his adventures and that one of the very few times we see him take action in other places concerns such a specific situation perhaps to find out what his was secret identity it was enough to go through the checklist of flights to the Lichtenbad of that period, but anyway ... the comics of the Silver Age forgive this and more.

'Fantastic 4' N ° 34 Horn edition 'A Blind Will Lead Them'

It's not a Devil number, but an extremely interesting crossover because it's a rare interpretation of the character by Jack 'The King' Kirby. Even the story seems like the classic Stan Lee plot heavily reinterpreted by the designer who more than any other has marked the destinies of the House of Ideas. In the story, the Fantastic Four, protected by the screen of force produced by the Invisible Woman, manage to survive a nuclear explosion, but after being rescued by a friendly submarine, they realize that they have irremediably lost their powers. Reed Richard, worried that the Fantastic Four will become easy targets of the many enemies, designs devices that artificially simulate the lost abilities, but after realizing the difficulty in imitating the characteristics of the quartet, he summons the group's lawyer, Matt Murdock aka Devil, entrusting him with the task, in case something should happen to him, to preserve the scientific material. Meanwhile, in the castle of Latveria, Doctor Doom remembers being deceived by Reed Richard in the previous fight and, determined to take revenge against the hated enemy, bursts into the Baxter Building attacking our heroes. Matt Murdock, realizing the desperate situation in which the Fantastic Four find themselves, transforms into Devil and helps the quartet defend themselves from the onslaught of Destiny. Do not miss the interminable dialogues of esteem between Devil and Reed Richards alias Mister Fantastic who declare their mutual admiration between a fist of Destiny and the shock wave of an explosion.

Devil Horn Edition N ° 46 'The costume under the skin'

The period in which Devil is drawn by Gene Colan is extremely significant for the evolution of the character. The tormented and at times expressionist trait of the American artist seems to want to make graphic and visible the anxieties of the blind lawyer who struggles between his role as superhero and executioner and that of a man who has seen his life distorted by his double identity. In this issue with the (beautiful) title, emblematic in this sense, we find a Matt Murdock who is going through a profound identity crisis and decides to say enough with Devil. His alter ego has made him lose his best friend and Karen's affection and Matt wants her more than anything else. While he is at home mulling over how he will be able to apologize to his friends, he is attacked by an automaton that we will discover to be somehow 'tuned' to track him wherever he is. A strenuous struggle that highlights the sometimes unreal and lysergic tone of the character's life and his events, which appears in this as in other episodes made by Colan as driven by inexorable and tragic events from which it is impossible for him to escape.

Devil Horn Edition N ° 49 'The night of the panther'

As the Italian regular series approaches the milestone of number 50, which for all Marvel characters has always scored a point of fundamental turning point of the narrative arc, here comes an episode that is totally detached from the others. The story, frankly, appears a bit confused and botched. Foggy Nelson and the police are looking everywhere for Devil not to arrest him, but because a violent chemical reaction is unleashed in his blood and in danger of dying. They accidentally meet the Black Panther and ask him to help them track him down. The Panther accepts and communicates it to the Avengers headquarters where they were already working to find Hawkeye, which also disappeared without a trace. Meanwhile, Miss Page is held hostage by Saxon, who waits in Matt Murdock's apartment for the arrival of her ultimate target, which is Devil. Instead, the Black Panther arrives who, after being hit by Matt in the delirium caused by the chemical compound, had recovered and followed him. What makes the difference is the interpretation that Barry Windsor Smith gives of the two characters, Devil and Black Panther, right from the cover of the book. A contortion of muscles and impossible positions, dilated facial expressions and bodies that seem to want to explode from what they do not seem to be together anatomically. Yet everything is as beautiful as only he could make it.

Devil Horn Edition N ° 50 'The origins of Devil'

In the first issues of the series the information we receive on the origins of the character, as often happens in Marvel titles, they are very sparse. The numbers 50 are often an opportunity to deepen them (or to overturn them as happens for example for Thor who discovers that in fact his alter ego Doctor Blake in fact never existed) and Devil also does not escape this rule. In this episode a whole series of dynamics and characters appear that will be repeatedly resumed and further detailed in the continuation of the character's publications. A villain, Starr Saxon, has discovered Devil's secret identity and Matt, thinking about how to solve the problem, begins to remember how his whole adventure began. He thinks back to his father, who pushed him to study to succeed in life, to his accident in an attempt to save a blind man, when he was hit by the truck and hit in the face by some radioactive elements. He realizes his powers while in high school, Foggy Nelson's roommate. He remembers his father, boxer Battling Murdock, forced to get involved with a certain Fixer, a shady guy who combined rigged boxing matches to get money from fools. And money, Murdock's father needed it to pay for his son's education and medical care. Then he remembers another fateful day in his life, when his father had to lose a boxing match but, having Matt come to see him, decided not to let him down and won. Fixer certainly didn't take it well and had him killed. This flow of thoughts causes Matt Murdock to make the fatal decision. The blind lawyer will disappear, only Devil will remain. Wonderful to remember is the wonderful cover of Gene Colan.

ANDREA ARTUSI is a designer and screenwriter for Sergio Bonelli Editore, after having made his debut on the pages of Catholic children's publishing at a very young age. He was creative director of the Comics & Illustration department of Fabrica, the Communication Research Center of the Benetton Group, Illustrator and teacher. Every week for IUSVE Cube Radio, she hosts the radio program Outpost 31 on comics and pop culture.

You can learn more about the myth of Daredevil by purchasing the volume Daredevil: Omnibus

Powered by Blogger.