Stan’s Soapbox – Marvel Age #127 (August 1993)

Hi, Heroes,

Let’s say you’re an attorney named Matt Murdock. You’re a nice-looking young guy, in great physical condition, with a good reputation and a successful law practice. You’ve got it made, right?

Of course, there are a couple of things about you that are slightly unique. For one, you’ve been blind ever since you were fourteen. Also, you happen to be a masked super hero with a secret identity; a daring, gymnastic crimefighter known as – Daredevil!

Wait a minute. How can a super hero be blind? Well, as every Marvelite knows, anything is possible. It was with that axiom in mind that we first created Daredevil three long decades ago!

Countless readers have since asked why we decided to make ol’ Hornhead a blind man. As near as I can remember, this is the answer…

Try to think back to those exciting days in the early sixties when Marvel was a ‘borning. We had just published THE FANTASTIC FOUR, followed with THE INCREDIBLE HULK, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, MIGHTY THOR, THE AVENGERS, and THE X-MEN. The mags were selling so fast you’d have thought we were giving them away for free! (Of course, in those days they were 12 cents a copy – pretty close to free!)

Anyway, our frantic fans kept demanding more and more new super heroes, and you know us – we exist only to serve! By now, we had already given our passionately applauding public a scientist whose body could stretch, a female who could turn invisible, a teenager who could burst into flame and fly, two men who were the world’s strongest beings, a student who could web-sling and stick to walls, a doctor who was also a powerful, god-like being from fabled Asgard, and industry tycoon with a suit of impregnable armor, a masked shield-slinging sentinel of liberty, and amphibious Prince of Atlantis, and a mixed-up group of mutant misfits. Well, by that time, as you can imagine, it wasn’t too easy to come up with something new and original!

That’s when the thought struck me! Almost all of our other heroes has some personal problems of afflictions. Iron Man had a weak heart, the Thing has a grotesque appearance, Spider-Man was plagued by money worries and family troubles, etc., etc. So, why not create a new superhero who would push the envelope still further? Why not find an obstacle for him to overcome that would be different and more difficult than any of the others? It didn’t take too much more imagination to come up with a dramatic handicap that might be overcome in a truly heroic way. And that’s how the sightless Daredevil, Man Without Fear, was born!

Of course, it takes more than a costume or a super power to make a hero attain some sort of literary immortality. It takes that one essential ingredient called characterization. A hero’s personality must be so well defined that that readers feel they know him, and what’s even more important, the readers must also like him. Luckily, that seems to have been the case with Matt Murdock. Over the years we’ve seen his character grow and change and continually develop. We’ve seen him involved with romances with Karen Page, with the Black Widow, with Elektra and many other interesting and colorful females. We’ve seen Matt experience depths of despair after being defeated by the Kingpin, we’ve seen all his emotional highs and lows and in-betweens – but no matter the problem, no matter the challenge, we’ve never seen him give less than his best and we’ve been right there with him, cheering him every step of the way.

As a matter of fact, so great is his popularity that ever since December of ’92, Daredevil  has been co-starring in an epic-length episode of the Spider-Man newspaper strip, an episode which just ended with the episode of May 23rd. Judging by the mail we’ve received, ol’ D.D. is as big a hit in the newspapers as he’d been in the comics.

Well, the time has come to close with that imperishable quote so near and dear to every Marvelite’s heart…”Exceptio probate regulam!”