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Exclusive: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee Talk DAREDEVIL #1 for All-New Marvel NOW!

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by on November 25, 2013

Daredevil is known to millions as the Man Without Fear, but soon he’ll be the Man Without an Ongoing Series. Or will he? The news that Ol’ Hornhead’s monthly series is coming to an end in February took many by surprise given how terrific Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s run has been and the fact that next year marks Daredevil’s 50th anniversary.

We know that Waid will be penning a Marvel Infinity series called Road Warrior, featuring art from Peter Krause, that takes Matt Murdock from his old stomping grounds of Hell’s Kitchen across the country to the land of exorbitantly high rent and weird social media start-ups, San Francisco! And today we’re pleased to exclusively announce that Waid and Samnee will be continuing their amazing partnership on a brand new Marvel NOW! Daredevil series, starting with issue #1 in March 2014.

Along with Amazing Spider-ManDaredevil was one of the few Marvel series not to reboot as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. However, given the state of affairs in Matt Murdock’s life and his impending change of scenery, now seemed like a natural time to make the transition. To take you deeper inside this supremely exciting news, I caught up with Mark Waid and Chris Samnee to pick their brains about what we can expect from DD in SF, why now is the perfect time for a “relaunch”, keeping Daredevil grounded and much more. Plus, thanks to our friends at Marvel, we have you’re exclusive first look at the cover for Daredevil #1, so we hope you have perfect eyesight or, at the very least, radar sense because you’re not going to want to miss this.

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Nerdist: This isn’t Daredevil’s first rodeo in San Francisco. Gerry Conway took him there in the seventies to pal around with the Black Widow. What made you feel like now was the right time to take him back?

Mark Waid: Without spoiling too much of the final issue of the previous series, we can tell you that Matt has to leave New York and, in many ways, has no choice but to return to California–specifically, California, no where else to go. But that’s where he and his cast will hang their collective hat from now on.

Chris Samnee: I wasn’t involved in that decision, but I am excited to draw DD in San Francisco. Especially since that era of the title is some of my earliest exposures to Daredevil.

N: How will the status quo change in this new series? Way more shots of Matt Murdock enjoying delicious burritos?

CS: I’ll let Mark answer this one, since I’m not sure how much we can give away!

MW: And missing street gyros. Ha! Again, we can’t say too much without spoiling the big “season finale” upcoming, but at least one cast member will accompany him. Maybe not all. And the nature of Matt’s law practice will have to change substantially. And, of course, there’s the architecture–cityscapes and street locales have always been a big part of DD’s storytelling, and this will be a whole new look.

Also, Daredevil’s going to quickly find out he’s not the only crimefighter in town–and that he’s fooling himself to assume there’s room for more than one.

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N: Why is Daredevil restarting at #1 rather than simply picking up at #37? I understand that Ol’ Hornhead is getting a fresh start, but is the numerical change meant to be symbolic?

CS: With the end of #36 a chapter in Matt Murdock’s life has ended. We’re moving forward now in a new direction with a new cast and new stakes. The new #1 just makes sense. We’re restarting the series just as Matt is trying to jump start his life and career.

MW: We were actually given the opportunity by Marvel to relaunch with a #1 last year as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, which absolutely would have boosted sales–but together, the team agreed that since we were in the middle of a storyline, it would be a gimmick, not an organic shift. When the opportunity arose to relaunch again this year, it made a lot more sense given the way we’re about to change literally every aspect of Matt Murdock’s life. Every aspect.

N: Given that its starting over at #1, will this be a good place for new readers to hop on or will it be building off of the events of the previous series? What’s the most exciting part about “starting over”?

MW: The most exciting part of a relaunch? Honestly? To me, it’s the challenge to the craft of writing–how to make it feel totally new-reader accessible while at the same time not losing any of the previous readers or the momentum the characters have built. But I know we can do it. Especially given how soon one of the villains from the previous run will be popping up….

CS: It builds off of the current run, sure. It also directly follows the Road Warrior Infinite story that Mark and Peter Krause have coming up. That being said, I think it will be a perfect spot for new readers to jump on. In the same way that Mark made the current run such an easy in-point for folks that hadn’t been following along for years, while still building on everything that had come before.  I think the most exciting part is that hopefully new readers will decide to jump in and be excited about what we are doing.  I’m also excited about having a fresh locale to work in.  San Francisco is full of character and will be a fun city to draw!

N: Much like Matt Fraction and David Aja’s HawkeyeDaredevil has had an oddly down to earth sensibility about it, nicely striking the balance between the mundanity of Matt Murdock’s civilian life with the over-the-top nature of his superheroics. How do you find that balance tonally in order to ground a character with such a large, looming presence?

MW: I’ll be perfectly blunt and admit to you that it’s not easy. Chris will tell you that I was convinced the entire time I was writing the Silver Surfer issue that we’d gone too far into science fiction, but (a) I’d been dreaming of that one shot of Matt riding Surfer’s board for years, and (b) we worked to make it clear in the context of the story that Matt was VERY much out of his element. That’s really the trick, isn’t it? To make these characters totally relatable without ever losing sight of the fact that they operate in a world Galactus tries to eat every couple of years.

CS: For me, it helps to just try to make every scene I’m drawing feel as real as possible. I like to include details of backgrounds and surroundings so each panel feels lived in and real to the reader.  Whether it’s two people talking in an office or folks swinging from rooftops, if I can keep from taking the reader out of the experience, I’ve done my job.

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N: You two are credited as storytellers rather than writer and artist. Why make that particular distinction?

MW: Because Chris is every bit as instrumental to the way we tell these adventures as I am. He’s a master storyteller, and I leave a great deal of the choreography and pacing to him because MASTER STORYTELLER. Comics is a collaborative medium, and when you’re lucky enough to find someone like Chris who so strongly shares your sensibility, it only makes sense to share the credit, as well.

CS: It all started back on issue #23 where Mark let me take the reins on the extended fight scene between Daredevil and Ikari.  What we do feels a lot more collaborative than the traditional distinction between writer and artist.  Mark and I talk often about story beats and script, and I think he feels comfortable letting me take over pacing/plotting of certain scenes, so I think the credit of storyteller makes sense for us.

N: Will Javier Rodriguez and Joe Caramagna be joining you on the new series as well?

MW: Yes. They leave over my dead body.

CS: Absolutely!! It wouldn’t be the same book without them.

N: Last but not least, what comics are you reading and enjoying right now?

MW: I really dig Superior Foes of Spider-Man, a great, inventive, funny villain-caper book. I like Sex Criminals and Pretty Deadly from Image. And Batman ’66 is a comic written specifically for me, it seems.

CS: I don’t get much time to read these days but there’s a handful of creators whose work I always try to snag whenever I get a chance. Jeff Parker, Declan Shalvey, Joe Quinones, Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone and Mike Allred are just a few of my must-buy creators.

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And there you have it, true believers! You may have seen it on Nerdist News, but if you haven’t, here’s your first exclusive sneak peek at the cover to Daredevil #1, illustrated by Chris Samnee, coming your way in 2014!

Official solicit info: “Join Marvel’s fearless hero as he begins his most awe-inspiring adventure yet in the sunny city of San Francisco! Gifted with an imperceptible radar sense and a passion for justice, blind lawyer Matt Murdock—a.k.a. DAREDEVIL—protects the Golden City’s streets from all manner of evil. But big changes are in store for Matt Murdock as old haunts and familiar faces rise to give the devil his due. Hold on tight, because here comes Daredevil…the Man Without Fear!”

Are you excited for Daredevil #1? What would you like to see him get up to in San Francisco? Chime in below and let us know or echolocate your way to Twitter and tell me there!