My Comic Book Dream Come True!

Sixteen months ago, my friend David Mack (on one of his frequent trips to Los Angeles) almost spent his birthday alone. He was a guest in a house without a host in a week when almost everyone else he knew was out of town. Luckily, his temporary residence was square between the gallery where I work and the apartment I used to rent. So my roommate and I (who both share birthdays within a month of David’s) demanded that he let us take him out for a celebratory meal. That evening proved quite pivotal, not only in a friendship that has since included an art exhibition and a future publishing project, but in realizing that regardless of where you are from, as you progress through life you’ll find other people from completely different backgrounds who are just like you.

In the course of a conversation that eclipsed the operating hours of a pretty great little gastropub in Silverlake, Mack mentioned that he was working on a script with Brian Michael Bendis for the final Daredevil story–a sort-of The Dark Knight Returns for old horn head. It’s no secret that I share the opinion of most comic book academics that Daredevil is perhaps the best written character in superhero fiction. From Frank Miller‘s two incredible and groundbreaking stints on the title, through many high-calibre stories (including a run by David Mack) to Bendis’ who-thought-it-would-be-possible-to-unseat-Frank-Miller-as-the-best-writer-of-Daredevil run, to the holy-shit-I-can’t-believe-Ed-Brubaker-improved-upon-the-Bendis run, to the current series which won yet another Eisner Award for Mark Waid & Paolo Rivera, Daredevil has been in some very capable hands.

As a strawberry-blonde teenager named Matt with aspirations to attend law school, and whose dad had been an amateur boxer (long before retiring from a lifetime of government service), I had more than a little in common with blind attorney, Matt Murdoch. I, too, got very into martial arts at a young age, and even did a little pee-wee boxing; I dabbled in non-competitive kick-boxing in my twenties, but I never became a ninja. I got to keep my eyesight, though, so I guess it’s a fair trade.

Almost as a joke, I told David to feel free to write me in as a shit-bag mob lawyer in whatever story he was writing.

Deadly serious, he looked at me and said, “Are you sure? I’m working on a character right now who doesn’t have a name yet.”

I was floored. “Hell yeah! That would be awesome!” It was like it was my birthday, not David’s.

A few months later I got this text: Just got done proofing your page at Bill Sienkiewicz‘s place!
I replied: Sin-KEV-itch! Drawing me?

Mack texted back: Bill’s inking. Klaus Jansen drew you 🙂

The man who collaborated with Miller on the original Daredevil run and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns was in turn collaborating with the artist on Miller’s way-outside-the-box Elektra: Assassin, only this time their roles are reversed, with Klaus penciling and Bill inking. And they were illustrating the words of talented Kabuki scribe and Echo creator David Mack in conjunction with Brian Michael Bendis, whose achievements are too lengthy to list, so I’ll just call him the King of Marvel Comics.

Somewhere (probably on facebook), there are a few pictures from that night, and hilariously, my silver suit jacket and striped tie have made it onto the page.

I’m not sure if colorist Matt Hollingsworth (Death: The High Cost of Living) is aware, but he nailed it.

In a gracious turn, the lads made me much taller and instead of making me a mob lawyer, I’m the guy that replaces Matt Murdoch as Foggy’s business partner.

The law firm of Nelson & Kennedy is referenced no less than three times in the first panel at left. In a bit of unforeseen coincidence, my next door neighbors growing up on Western Ave. in Lynn, MA were The Nelsons. No lawyers there, though.

I wrote about this series last October, when the first issue hit the shops, and I’m happy to say it remains as strong as that initial promise portended. I’d say it’s the most engaging masked series out there, probably because of the freedom that tackling a story outside the regular continuity affords. The work is worth the collective talents of the names attached, which is above and beyond any number of manufactured marketing ploys or subpar vanity projects. When the omnibus is finally released it will be great to have all the alternate covers collected in a single volume with the individual issues–especially since both David Mack and Alex Maleev have produced their own versions. Since Michael Lark wasn’t a collaborator on either Mack or Bendis’ stints at the helm (Lark penciled the Ed Brubaker series apex), I doubt they’ll call him in for a cover, but it would be the cherry on top of a pretty sweet series. 

Of course I got my dessert early. Thanks David!