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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 68

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at the fight that led directly from yesterday’s classic Bullseye/Elektra fight.

Enjoy!

After killing Elektra, there’s a great bit where Bullseye appears to figure out that Matt Murdock is Daredevil. However, using weapons to kill people is a bit more Bullseye’s area of expertise and not seeing through ruses, so he easily falls through a decoy set by Murdock to make it appear as though Murdock and Daredevil are in the same place at the same time.

This leads then to their climactic fight, which writer/artist Frank Miller and finishing artist Klaus Janson do beautifully…

What an amazing scene, particularly the train track page.

If I had to pick one “moment,” I guess I’d go with the bit where Murdock accurately predicts that Bullseye will never kill again.

21 Comments

Daredevil letting Bullseye fall is arguably the beginning of “grim and gritty” superheroes. Even if the moment is qualified by Bullseye trying to stab DD, it’s pretty obvious DD wants him to die.

And the later issue where DD plays Russian roulette with Bullseye feels like Miller is metaphorically pondering whether he should take the full step into dark superheroes (i.e. super”heroes” not averse to hurting and killing people). That issue ends with a stalemate, but of course Miller took the full step a couple of years later with Dark Knight Returns.

Tuomas:

I’m not sure that step was taken with DKR. It’s filled with ultra-violence, sure but he makes a big point of showing Batman not killing (although he skirts pretty close to that line). It’s in his later work on DD (Born Again and Man Without Fear) where he shows Matt killing.

Miller does excellent fight scenes though. I can’t speak for his later work but this issue and the latter “Batman versus a SWAT team” sequence in Year One are some of my favourites from any creator.

Hmm, it’s been ages since I last read DKR, I forgot Batman doesn’t kill anyone in it. Still, compared to Miller’s first run on Daredevil DKR is one big step further into “grim and gritty”, and I’ve always felt the last issue of his DD (before he returned to the title with Born Again) is all about him pondering how far he can go with superheroes.

Personally, I think my favourite DD/Bullseye moment is the earlier train track scene where DD is wounded, and Bullseye is out cold in the path of an oncoming train. Daredevil goes through all the reasons not to save Bullseye in a string of thought balloons, rationalising why he can’t possibly do it — and then inexorably comes to the real reason, which is simply that DD hates him. And after acknowledging that, DD has no choice but to try. It’s arguably more grim and gritty, as while DD isn’t being particularly ‘badass’, it’s very indicative of the more interesting character that he quickly became — a man who is doomed and damned, and knows it, but is locked into his fate by his own cast-iron morality.

I remember growing up how excited my father was about these Miller Daredevil issues. He was chomping at the bit each month in anticipation. I wasn’t interested in Daredevil at all! I was more interested in Spider-Man at the time. I was about six or seven, my father was in his early thirties. About ten years later I went back and reread ever comic that we had long runs on, and I remember being completely blown away once I got to the death of Elektra and all the other Miller issues. He had really caught lightning in a bottle back then, and was about five or six years ahead of his time. This is definitely a very cool comic book moment.

how chilling that moment was and showed how daredevil had reached the breaking point by doing that even though bulls eye would have done the same thing to him. not to mention him saying bulls eye would never kill again

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 10, 2009 at 6:56 am

Boy, was that prediction EVER wrong. ;-)

@JoeMac
It’s, “champing at the bit,” not chomping. I see this misused almost daily.

@Anonymous

Merriam Webster says they’re essentially interchangeable, and that “chomping” is used more frequently even in print now than “champing.” So I wouldn’t say “chomping” is incorrect.

http://www.word.com/collegiate/archives/2006/09/from_the_mail_s_11.html

Good stuff, back when Frank Miller was at the top of his game as a writer.

One question… at this point, was Miller just doing rough layouts, with Klaus Janson then doing both the finished pencils and the inks? I know that’s how the later part of the Miller/Janson DD run was done. I think Janson does not get enough credit for how much work he put into the production of the amazing artwork on those issues.

Citizen Scribbler

March 10, 2009 at 9:37 am

@Tuomas-

If you’re looking for the start of modern “grim and gritty”, I think most people would mark it from the time, in 67′ or 68′, when The Question refused to save two drowning crooks who were pleading for his aid.

Of course, the golden age Spectre ran around killing people all the time, not to mention other heroes of the time who frequently filled crooks with hot lead. Grim and gritty was around long before Frank Miller- he just childishly wallows in it more than other creators.

-Citizen Scribbler

Pretty hard to find any artwork today that has that same incredible kinetic feel. Few artists can present major battles in a way that’s exciting, and just believable. I have to believe Miller/Janson were researching Jackie Chan movies at this point to get these action sequences right. There is more excitement in these few pages than in any of Leinil Yu’s overly-busy splash pages.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Janson on his own, less so Miller’s grittier, post-Sin City artwork. But the two of them in this early phase of their collaborations is excellent. Their anatomical style seems very fluid and dynamic here, particularly in extended fight scenes like these. The fourth panel on the first page shown above with DD’s kick to Bullseye’s head is brilliantly choreographed. Again, a classic issue in terms of solid storytelling.

The pages look better here than they do in the “Visionaries” reprint.

To answer Ben Herman’s question: Frank was doing thumbnails on 8 1/2″ X 11″ typewriter paper at the point when we did this particular issue. I forget when we specifically transitioned to that way of working but we gradually went from Frank doing tight pencils on the first couple of issues of our run to breakdowns and then to Frank doing thumbnails for the last year or so of the run. I’d have to look at the issues to be sure. I always thought the big “breakthrough” came when I started doing the coloring in issue 179 (“Spiked”-one of my favorite issues). Sometimes, the more people that work on the art, the more conflicts there are among the individual approaches which can lead to chaos on the page. The ability to control so much of the look of the book, I think, allowed for a very cohesive vision to emerge. It’s nice to see these pages especially since they are culled from the original floppies. You can see the little dots that the poor quality newsprint and repro process produced. I think we’ve gained a lot in terms of reproduction and slickness in the last 15 years but lost something in the process. The art had to succeed by the ingenuity and creativity of the artist. When I see these pages, I’m always reminded of just how much fun they were to do.

Anonymous, I said Chomp because I meant Chomp. My dad was literally chewing on a horse’s bit. Chomp is another word for chew. Don’tcha know? And it dates back to 1581. Not exactly a new usage.

It was weird to see a grown man in horse tack running around the house, foaming at the mouth, eyes rolling as he reads Daredevil, but such was the life I led.

So why was Klaus Janson actually a decent penciller in those days? His inks are good, but anything I’ve seen that he’s drawn himself in the last 20 years has looked pretty terrible.

The coolest moment for me was when Bullseye used the sai to hook on to the passing train.

I’d just like to say I love the way this blog automatically converts nondirected quotes to directed quotes.

Miller and Janson certainly know how to choreograph a fight scene. And Miller must have loved Bullseye, art-wise, as he can do alot with him in the Sin City art style.

That was an epic time for DD. Back when it meant something when a main character died.

This story would have absolutely no impact now. We’d all expect Elektra to come back from the dead. We’d all expect DD to try and kill Bulleseye these days (in the day of the mean heroes).

Good stuff by Miller back when.

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