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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 119

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 continue our look at what is most likely the greatest Daredevil story ever told, Born Again, by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. It might last longer than a week, as there are a lot of cool moments, and they just keep coming with greater frequency as the series continues its slow build towards the ending.

Enjoy!

When last we saw Ben Urich, he was having his finger broken by one of the Kingpin’s enforcers (“every time you speak Matt Murdock’s name aloud, we break one of your fingers”) while Urich watched as the enforcer crippled the crooked cop that was ready to tell Ben the truth about the frame job on Matt Murdock.

Interspersed in the next issue, we see how this affected Urich, all leading up to a really great moment at the end.

Mazzucchelli really shined on these Urich panels, with his depiction of Urich’s reactions to everything.

What a great progression from totally beaten to totally resolute!

And I love how, once again, the Kingpin’s actions would have worked had he not gone one step too far. That’s a great little piece of writing right there by Miller.

19 Comments

Excellent stuff. I love the way Jonah’s portrayed, too.

I wonder if any part of Frank Miller knows deep down that he did by far his best work with all the ‘creative restrictions’ of a comics code-approved newsprint Marvel superhero title with a strict monthly deadline…

Poor Ben! Those close-ups as he hears the death rattle are freakier than “The Scream” by Munch.

This is one of the saddest and most grueling sequences to read through when you consider that Ben is NOT Matt. Just an average guy who gets caught up in lots of nasty stuff but ends up doing the right thing. Nice take on Jameson by Miller here, btw. And that creepy “plant” with the mop is just as intimidating as the nurse. “Matt Murdock” is the moment where Ben Urich became a hero for me as a kid.

I’m really loving this week’s installments. This is one of the greatest comic stories EVER. I gave away my original copies of these issues decades ago while moving away. I gotta look up the latest trade or hardcover printing right now!

Actually, I’ve been meaning to get the Born Again trade this week after reminding myself of these snippets, but I’ve decided the story deserves better.

I think this is one of the few stories that needs to be read in the original format, which means me having to tunnel through the pile of stuff my parents dumped in my old room to get the original issues.

I think this might be my equivalent of wanting vinyl over CDs…

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 30, 2009 at 3:09 am

That scene where JJ Jameson was chewing out Ulrich for being such a pussy, was really one of the rare moments that I actually liked JJ Jameson.

That Born Again story remains one of my favorites.

I’ve been waiting for this all week. My very favourite moment from Born Again.

Another aspect about it that’s so great is the way Mazzucchelli starts out drawing Urich naturalistically (like the rest of the cast) and then when he hears the nurse on the phone he suddenly draws him in this expressionistic way– all angular and severe. He just elongates his face slightly and makes the lines harsher but it makes an incredible difference. It’s brilliant.

I think this is one of the few stories that needs to be read in the original format, which means me having to tunnel through the pile of stuff my parents dumped in my old room to get the original issues.

It’s funny you say that because I’ve only ever read Born Again in trade! I bought and read it for the first time back in ’89 when it was one of the few trades Marvel did (in a slightly oversized format if I remember correctly) I only bought and the original issues for the first time last year. I therefore am not sure if I agree if it needs to be read in the original format but I do like seeing the colouring on mando paper (or whatever newsprint Marvel was using in ’86).

Another aspect about it that’s so great is the way Mazzucchelli starts out drawing Urich naturalistically (like the rest of the cast) and then when he hears the nurse on the phone he suddenly draws him in this expressionistic way– all angular and severe.

Also meant to say he pulls the same trick earlier with him in the aftermath of his fingers being broken when Urich says ‘don’t say the name’.

i’ll shut up now.

What’s interesting is how you can forget things like this over the years. I’ve grown so used to the Ben Urich who’d never back down from a story.

The thing that’s great about JJJ is that there are so many levels to his character. He’s cheap. He’s a blowhard. He’ll do what it takes to sell papers. He’s got courage. He has ethics. He can’t be bought or intimidated. He does care about the people around him, even though he can treat them like crap.

once again another moment proving why born again is such a good story for never thought ben would wind up getting a beat down by Jamson to do his job and also finaly relizing that the kingpin needs to be taken care of for his actions

Patrick Joseph

April 30, 2009 at 7:45 am

Graeme-

That visual transition always amazed me when I was 18 and it amazes me now. Not only does the expressionism signal a change in Urich, but but it signals a distinct developmental change in Mazzuchelli as an artist. To me, after that sequence his art matured with a dizzying speed. Just in time for Year One and and his Rubber Blanket anthology.

(PS: I hold off making comments here very often because you always seem to make the point I’m hoping to espouse no matter how obscure or far fetched before I can make it to the comments section. Freaky)

For anyone that’s interested, there’s going to be a Mazzuchelli show at the MoCCA in NYC, starting June 6th. From what I understand, though the show focuses on his new book coming out, there will be decent bit of Daredevil and Batman work as well.

Best Portrayal of JJ Jamison. Ever!

This is also one of my favorite moments from Born Again. Miller weaved so many elements into this part. There is the horror of the killing & the real horror of what it does to Ben Urich, the shining moment of JJJ’s life, and the humor of the deadlines of the Daily Bugle.

‘Copy boy die or what?’

This is brilliant stuff. i’ve always thought that the constraint of working within a system can help an artist do great work, as they have to stretch to get their vision across. i think that Miller, given large boundaries with enough freedom, and also with some constraint, produces great work.
Haven’t enjoyed Crazy Miller as much as Restrained Miller.
Just my opinion…
DFTBA

To be fair, Miller did outstanding work on his own. Ronin, Give Me Liberty, Sin City and Hard Boiled are all great.

God, I love righteous “power of the press” JJJ.

There’s a great Ben Urich short story in the otherwise lamentable 1989 “Atlantis Attacks” Daredevil annual where he and Bushwacker are attempting to take down the same drug lord, him through the press, Bushwacker through intimidation and murder. It’s well worth the dollar you’d probably pay for if you ever managed to dig it up in a back issue bin.

This is the only part of the story I’ve been lucky enough to read. The grocery store where I had bought comics stopped selling them just before this story began, and I didn’t have anyplace else nearby to get them for awhile. I found this issue about a year and a half after it came out, at a flea market. I hadn’t even known the story existed until then.
Anyway, it made a huge impression on me, and I’ve always wished I had the rest of it. But by the time there was a comic book store in my area, these issues were already out of my price range. I think I really lucked out on getting this one, though. Although I can’t be certain, not having read the rest of it, it does seem that this is probably the chapter in which everything comes to a turning point, and it is the one that bears the title ‘Born Again’. (Or did every issue have that title?)
And of course, there’s the big revelation with the nun.

It’s like Beetlejuice or Candyman. Say Matt’s name out loud, and Nurse Butch shows up and starts kicking ass.

Miller was so bloody genius in this work! He’s become a parody of himself, but this was just brilliant.

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