Comics Marvel Television

Major Moments in Comic Book History: Daredevil’s Identity

Matt Murdock being revealed as Daredevil was a big moment for comic book readers.

In Marvel Comics, Daredevil wasn’t always tight-lipped with his secret identity. Ben Urich pointed this out in Daredevil No. 30. Urich told him Spider-Man, Kingpin, Foggy Nelson, and every woman he’s dated knows his not-so-secret identity. Not a good move when you’re trying to keep a low profile. Eventually, his identity became public knowledge.

This caused all sorts of turmoil in his life. His loved ones were put in danger, his job became more difficult, and it almost cost him his life. It also affected his personality. Matt started becoming more aggressive towards his enemies. This leads to his friends beginning to worry about him. They thought that he’d cross a line that he couldn’t come back from. Instead of accepting their help, he lashed out. He’s lucky they didn’t abandon him.

Even after his identity was found false, no one believed it. To the world, Matt Murdock was Daredevil. The lawyers going against him were having a field day with this. They would bring up his secret life despite it being “proven” to be false. People would no longer hire him because he wasn’t reliable. Nevertheless, Matt kept fighting the claims. Eventually, he had to admit who he was. Matt was disbarred in New York and moved to California. 

Eventually, Matt Murdock’s identity was forgotten thanks to Purple Man’s children (check out Daredevil: Purple for more on that). Matt Murdock had a new lease on life. This time, he was more careful about who he let into that part of his world.

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Who made this happen?

When a superhero’s identity is revealed, it’s never a good thing. The only person who seemed to come out unscathed was Superman (granted, it’s only been a couple of years since this happened). Spider-Man’s life was ruined (Marvel Comics Civil War) as was Batman’s during the Injustice comic book. The difference is Daredevil’s may have been handled better by the writing team.

Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, and Mark Waid took different approaches to Matt Murdock’s life. Bendis and Brubaker showed the grim side. Matt was showing people why he shouldn’t be messed with. Criminals knew better than to try and commit crimes in Hell’s Kitchen. Otherwise, you deal with a new kind of Daredevil. This gave comic book readers a true example of Daredevil’s abilities.

Mark Waid’s run seemed happier. While the art by Peter Krause helped, the entire vibe of the series was more chipper. Matt’s career was booming, he was in love, and embracing his new “celebrity” on the west coast. Most of the run was Matt being happy, a lot of it was a mask. He had multiple bouts with depression. Some of them were out in the open. Others were him acting as if everything was okay. A particular issue (Daredevil No. 10 by Mark Waid) showed a realistic view of what it’s like to be depressed and suicidal. A comic book that this writer believes everyone should read.

 

Will this happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

The problem with this is the backlash that Marvel Studios would get. The casual MCU fan doesn’t read comics. It’s obvious if you go on Twitter and read tweets from “comic book fans.” All they know are the classic stories and how things have been for decades. For example, they may not know that Superman revealed who he was in 2019, Batman doesn’t have his fortune, or that Harley Quinn hasn’t been with Joker for around a decade. A change like this could turn fans off from watching the show. No matter how good the series is. Sad, but true.

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Comic book importance

This will forever be an important moment in comic book history. It’s one thing for a character with superhuman strength, invulnerability, or a healing factor to be a public figure. It’s another when you’re a blind lawyer with heightened senses. Readers saw what it looks like to be outed and have to struggle. Kudos to the creative team of writers, artists, and editors for bringing this to life.

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What do you think? Would you rank this as an important moment in comic book history? Let us know in the comments below.

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