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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
It has to be the Blindness.

I've been trying to make this thing be organized and all, but instead, I'm just going to ramble.

Okay, okay. Go make fun. Everyone has been. I've been. I'm reading a Marvel hero. And it's a good thing that I like popular culture so the universe isn't totally new and confusing to me. Reading comics is a lot like reading fanfic - the writers have to assume that you're familiar with the basics of the characters or they have to go in for clunky exposition. And I know a lot of comics have some big block of prose on the title page to explain what's going on, but we all skip that. So, that I know that this is the world of the Hulk and Captain America and Spiderman helps a lot.

And I knew who Daredevil was, sort of, because of the hype around the movie a few years ago. The concept did intrigue me(not enough to see the movie, though.) So when my friend offered to lend me his copy of Frank Miller's Visionaries vol 1, I took it.

And, um. Flat 4-color art. Captions everywhere. Clunky exposition. *Thought balloons*. A red cane with a crook neck that comes apart and the crook straightens with a "thwik" effect, that's supposed to be a blind's man cane. And I fell in love. Because the concept was just that cool - a blind superhero with Jim Ellison's senses, who can read print and handwriting with his fingers and Batman around the roof tops of Hell's Kitchen, but can't drive a car or, really, recognize a face. Who wears a red capeless Batman suit, but the eyeholes are covered - and yet no one wonders how he can see out of them. (Batman has lenses, see.)

And he has one of the hardest jobs for a sightless person - he's a lawyer. That's research and writing and reading briefs and statements and none of it's going to be braille or on tape. That's looking at the jury when you can't see them. They never really show that, btw. They never show his associates reading to him, or him using a brailler (he does use a dictaphone in one scene, though.) And we assume his "radar" sense helps him face the jury directly, but he can't make eye contact. Of course the dark glasses help.

So, I know it's the blindness thing. I mean, a handicapped superhero is rather cool. DC has Dr. Midnite, of course, but his glasses make him able to see, and right now Wonder Woman, but that's temporary. And Jericho of the Titans was mute, but he could hear. You just get used to unpowered heroes being perfect specimens and powered heroes having, well. Powers. Plus the physical perfection. And here's Matt, and he has powers, but a lot of what they do is compensation for the sense he's lost. They also help him solve crimes ala Jim Ellison, but it seems mostly they help him not be obviously blind.

And then there's the lawyer thing, so he's being driven in both lives. And that's not what secret identities do. When Batman puts on the Bruce mask, he's just hanging out being a playboy. When Clark is Clark, he's following a story, not saving the world. Wally's fixing cars. Kyle's drawing pictures. They have off-time. Okay, maybe not Bruce, but he tries.

But Matt? When he's not off fighting assassins and the occasional exgirlfriend, he's fighting injustice. And between superhero stuff and training and lawyer stuff and his sex life (something Bruce has never had), I'm not sure he gets downtime at all.

But mostly, it's that he's blind. So when he goes through hell to get important documents, they turn out to be newspaper - because he can read print with his fingers, but he can't take the time to do that here. If he could see, he'd take a moment for a quick glance, but he can't,and feeling print takes time. Because his senses can get overwhelmed (something we Sentinel fans know well) and make him helpless. Because he uses his cane as Matt not just for show but because it's easier. And he still doesn't take anyone's arm when he walks, even though that would be easier and faster, because he doesn't have to and it would be out of character.

And because he dates world-class beauties and has never perceived more than a vague radar impression of them.

And because he doesn't have as many issues as Bats, but that's because NO ONE DOES. And, really, only because of that. This is a guy who gets engaged/married because an exgirlfriend dies. This has happened twice and is not a sign of mental health. This is a guy who becomes his archenemy.

This is a guy who - my goodness. Who beats himself up because he can't beat up the guys invading his house, and the police won't come to him because he's been outed as a superhero. Which he denies until he stops denying it. Which all of his girlfriends and half his villains, and even a reporter have all figured out, but his best friend/law partner never did. Maybe it's the not seeing? Or that he discounts other's senses because they don't match his?

Batman's flawed, but his flaws make him great. Daredevil's flawed, and it makes him human.

But then, even as a DC girl, I know that Marvel's heroes all tend to the human. Yet none of them draw me the way Matt does. It has to be the blindness.


'Rith pointed me here ("Deb discovered Matt Murdock!"), so I'm here to exhort and encourage. And to perhaps finally find someone else who can squee that Bendis has turned Foggy into good New York Jew. Bendis finds other resonances with Matt and the Bat than Miller went with, but it adds instead of contradicts.

Matt is so determined to be independent, he's going to get himself killed. If one of his ex-lovers doesn't do him in first.

(I've written two Foggy bits that I will produce links to upon request, but I'm not here to pimp me -- I'm here to pimp Matt'n'Foggy.)

If you haven't read, the original Typhoid Mary issues are a good choice. Matt has a terrible time with Mary... and he's not your first choice for a hero willing to use sex as a weapon. And the very last issues of Volume One, which are totally crack-addled and nonsensical and just demonstrate why Matt is Marvel's Bad Science Magnet, but also have Matt deciding that getting a chance to see Foggy's face more than makes up for the fact that he never saw Karen's.

Did he? Cause that confused me no end. In Kevin Smith's series, Foggy's mother is this high powered attorney. In Bendis', she's a charicature of a Yiddishe Mama.

Explain, please?

And Bendis is...well, plot and darkness and deliciousness, but oh, the *art*. I just sit and *stare* at the art. Alex Maleev...oh, my.

Matt is so determined to be independent, he's going to get himself killed. If one of his ex-lovers doesn't do him in first.

He is, you know. Even if he gets normal senses, he'll try to be totally independent, and he doesn't have the tools because he's had his senses. And then Foggy will pick up the pieces.

Because it must be love for Foggy. Why else would he put up with Matt? And Matt's a good Catholic boy and he only sleeps with girls, and so, poor Foggy.

(I've written two Foggy bits that I will produce links to upon request, but I'm not here to pimp me -- I'm here to pimp Matt'n'Foggy.)

Links, please.

I haven't read Typhoid Mary. I've read three volumes of Frank Miller, and vols 1 (Kevin Smith), and 4, 6, 9 and 10 (Bendis) of the Marvel Knights TPB.

Yeah, I know. It's what my comic shop had.

Suggestions, please.

Life gets a lot easier when you boil Kevin Smith's run down to: Bullseye killed Karen Page and Foggy has a Jewish adoptive mother. Because, really, the rest is scheiss.

Bendis's Foggy is a mensch in all the best ways. He's a worrier, but not an overbearing one. He's caring and he will pick up the pieces and he understands guilt is a weapon. Bendis loves to make his New York characters speak Yinglish (or try to) and Foggy has moments where his phrasing is very much something we'd hear in Supersol's or anywhere else you get a bunch of Jews speaking to each other in English. (Or maybe I just read into it too much, but I don't think so. Bendis was raised somewhat frum.)

An old post on the v2 paperbacks: http://www.livejournal.com/users/miss_porcupine/36172.html that is mostly useful for the links. Most of the Typhoid Mary appearances were collected in trade. The Bendis is generally great and should be read in order, if possible.

If you haven't visited yet: http://www.manwithoutfear.com/

Foggyfic links: One, Two, and Three (featuring Nightwing; blame 'Rith)