The best Daredevil comics of all time
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As always, this year’s San Diego Comic Con was filled with announcements from Marvel and DC about upcoming projects, but the ones that gladdened my heart the most were all about Daredevil’s triumphant (re)return of Charlie Cox in the MCU. Not only Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio’s Kingpin will return for 2024 Daredevil: Born Againbut the Man Without Fear will also appear on this month’s show She-Hulk and next year’s entertainment Spider-Man: Year One.
Daredevil is my favorite Marvel superhero of all time, so I’m thrilled with this bounty. If you’re looking to read up on old Hornhead, here’s my list of the best Daredevil comics of all time.
I want to note that, like most long-running superheroes, the creators who worked on Daredevil over the 58 years of its existence were overwhelmingly white and male. While understandable for the 1960s, Marvel (and DC) has only made marginal improvements in hiring color and female and non-binary designers in recent years, and still has a long way to go. Browse. While waiting impatiently for them to catch up with the 21st century, check out these color designer comics or these women’s comics.
Daredevil Omnibus Volume 1 by Stan Lee, Bill Everett, Wally Wood, Gene Colan, John Romita, Joe Orlando, and more
Daredevil didn’t really become the character we know today until the 1980s, but he’s been around since 1964, and if you like Silver Age Marvel, Matt Murdock’s early adventures are a lot of fun. I know the price of this omnibus is a bit high, but you can find more affordable collections (albeit with less hassle they contain) under the Mighty Marvel Masterworks and Epic Collection lines. However, none of these contain my favorite Silver Age storyline, in which Matt decides to pretend to be his own (imaginary) sighted twin brother. Mike Murdock, for reasons. Decades later, Mike would become a real boy, because the comics; it ended in tragedy, because Daredevil.
Daredevil: Yellow by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
Want a more accessible look at Matt’s costume debut? Daredevil: Yellow is a modern retelling of Matt’s years as a new hero, featuring stunning artwork by the late great Tim Sale.
Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Omnibus
Frank Miller may be a divisive name in comics, but his early Daredevil work remains both among his best and some of the greatest Daredevil stories ever told, which defined the character as we know him today. . These comics feature Elektra, Stick, and the Hand and contain the first encounter between Daredevil and the Punisher. This volume also contains my favorite Daredevil issue, #185, in which Matt and BFF Foggy’s nice partner is mistaken for a mob enforcer called “Guts” Nelson. A slimy comedy ensues and is all the funnier for taking place in such a dark black landscape. I love him so much.
Daredevil: Born Again by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli
Miller’s magnum opus, at least as far as Daredevil is concerned, is further enhanced by the absolutely stunning work of the great Mazzucchelli. The Kingpin discovers that Matt Murdock is Daredevil and destroys his life brick by brick. Admittedly, the plot derails a little towards the end, but the first three issues are a masterpiece. Read it before the 2024 adaptation arrives on Disney+.
Daredevil Epic Collection: A Touch of Typhoid by Ann Nocenti and John Romita, Jr.
In the overwhelmingly masculine lineup of writers and artists who have worked on Daredevil over the years, Ann Nocenti’s 50+ issue of the late 80s and early 90s stands out. Nocenti uses her race to interrogate both the nature of heroism and the roles society forces women to play. I’m never sure if I really As these comics, but I’m fascinated by them. Read them and come tell me about them.
Daredevil: Parts of a Hole by David Mack and Joe Quesada
This gorgeous dream story incorporates Mack’s intricate paintings and innovative layouts, and also introduced the character of Echo. It’s a great one-and-done if you don’t want to get bogged down in reading six decades of Daredevil history for some reason.
Daredevil by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev Ultimate Collection
Bendis and Maleev are the other iconic team associated with Daredevil, after Miller, Mazzucchelli and Romita. During this slow, character-driven run, Matt gets noticed as Daredevil and his life spins even more out of control than it usually is, which is saying something. More than any other Daredevil run, I’d say this one fits the feel from the 2015 Netflix show.
Daredevil by Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark Ultimate Collection
Picking up immediately after the Bendis/Maleev run, the Brubaker/Lark run begins with Matt in prison, where he was sent for the many crimes associated with, you know, Daredeviling. When tragedy strikes, Matt goes into “I’m not trapped here with you, you’re trapped here with me” mode, and it’s delicious. Their run’s opening arc, “The Devil in Cell Block D,” feels like the best season finale you’ve ever watched. One of my favorite DD stories of all time.
Daredevil by Mark Waid, Volume 1 by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin
MY FRIENDS. THAT’S IT. IT’S THE BEST. Mark Waid wrote the entire 2011 and 2014 Daredevil series (Marvel likes to cancel comics then relaunch them with the same creative team, ignore their nonsense), first with the great Paolo Rivera on art, then with the great Chris Samnee. It’s a major tonal shift from most Daredevil comics since Miller, returning Matt to his roots as a swordsman acrobat. It also delves more deeply and explicitly — and for me, relevantly — into Matt’s serious mental health issues than any other run. It creates a perfect balance between light and dark. These are my favorite Daredevil comics of all time. Please read each of them.
Daredevil by Chip Zdarsky Volume 1: Know Fear by Chip Zdarsky and Marco Checchetto
This race, which started in 2019 and ended earlier this year, quickly established itself as one of the biggest. Matt is at his peak when he makes an escalating series of (mostly) well-intentioned and absolutely terrible decisions that take his disastrous life from car accident to train wreck, and Zdarsky hits those beats perfectly. Go through this series and marvel at the bad choices a man can make. Then follow those choices through the Devil’s Reign crossover miniseries, followed by the July 2022 one. daredevil #1, too by Zdarsky and Checchetto. I told you that Marvel loves canceling and relaunching series with the same creators!
Have you read any of these Daredevil comics? Are you excited to see Red Batman back on screen? Do you love Foggy Nelson as much as I do? Let us know on social media!