Release Date: 2003
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Running Time: 104 minutes
Cast: Ben Affleck, Colin Farrell, Jon Favreau, Jennifer Garner, Michael Clarke Duncan
Comic Artist: Stan Lee, Bill Everett
First Appearance: Daredevil 1


Introduced in April 1964 Daredevil was the creation of veteran Marvel editor Stan Lee (real name Stanley Lieberman). From the early 1960's Lee had regenerated a flagging Marvel Comics by creating a new brand of angst ridden heroes including Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, X-Men etc.

Matt Murdock was the son of an ex-boxer now turned muscleman for the mob. One day young Matt sees his father strong-arming a man on the docks, and is so emotionally overcome that he does not notice that the cans into which he bumps contain radiation. The radiation blinds him, but also heightens his remaining senses. From that moment on he is Daredevil: the man without fear.

Matt grows up to be a lawyer, but finds that in the court system many guilty people go free: the law is served, but justice is not. Hence he becomes a lawyer by day, and a vigilante by night.

Between 1979 and 1982 Frank Miller (texts) and Klaus Janson (artwork) helped to transform the Daredevil strip into one of the most exciting and influential titles of the era, turning Daredevil into a deeply tortured soul. The main feature of the Miller/Janson period was violence: graphic, ripping, tearing violence that still managed to pass the comics code.


Sometimes playing a comic-book hero gives actors a chance to show suave, stylized moves. After stripping off their civvies, they emerge from the phone booth a star. Christopher Reeve gave a breezy, farcical charge to Superman and Clark Kent. As Batman and his alter ego, the wastrel playboy Bruce Wayne, Michael Keaton seemed to have a thousand things on his mind, most of them unpleasant. But poor Ben Affleck is lost in the minor, passable Daredevil, where he portrays the blind, red-costumed and horn-headed crime fighter whose other senses — hearing, touch, taste — were exaggerated in the chemical accident that cost him his sight. A big man, Mr. Affleck is shriveled by the one-dimensional role. Even his scarlet leather outfit makes him diminutive. The interlocked double D on his left breast makes him look like part of the food-service industry: "Hi, I'm Daredevil, and I'll be your superhero this evening."

© Elvis Mitchell , The New York Times

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