Interview With Warren Simons
(February 2007)

The editor of Daredevil answers a few questions and provides a sneak peek of some forthcoming projects!

Kuljit Mithra: Most DD fans know the story of how Ed Brubaker worked with Brian Michael Bendis to help launch DD#82's Devil in Cell-Block D. I'm curious to know how you fit into the timeline of the Brubaker/Lark hirings, the decision to put DD in prison etc., as you started as editor on the title with DD#82 as well. Was everything already in place when you started? When did you learn of your Daredevil editing job?

Warren Simons: I generally try to avoid getting into the minutia of Marvel editorial. I know that Joe Q likes us all to stay very hush-hush about the "feats of strength" and "amulet of fire" ceremonies he holds at his apartment every month. But, for those of you curious about the inner-workings of Marvel editorial, I'll spill a little bit here: A few years back, the great Jenny Lee left Marvel Comics. Jenny and I, at the time, were both working in the Marvel Knights office, and when she moved on I was called into Joe Q's office. Axel Alonso was also there. And there was a large raven in the corner, which was kind of odd. Anyway, Joe took out some kind of card -- I wasn't sure what it was, actually -- and asked me if I thought I was ready to "be a soldier in his comic book army." I told him I was. Joe put the card in my hand, lit it on fire, and screamed at me to "let it burn." When I came to, I found out that I was editing DD. That's generally how it works up here.

Mithra: Did you feel any pressure with following such an acclaimed run?

Simons: After that ceremony, you'd think so, right? But, actually, there was never any pressure from anyone at Marvel to try to match or exceed Brian & Alex's run. Which is nice, because, as Ed notes at the back of DD # 87, it's a remarkable run.

Mithra: What are your feelings on Daredevil as a character? What do you want the title to achieve for the reader and what kind of direction do you want it to take?

Simons: Well, when I was a wee lad, my father bought me a very, very beat-up copy of Daredevil # 1. So from a strictly personal place, I think it's kind of cool that two decades later I'm working on the book. And in some ways that will always be what DD means to me as a character.

Editorially speaking, I think that Matt is an extraordinary character in the great Marvel tradition -- you're almost more interested in him out of costume than in it. And I think that's just another testament to the brilliance of Stan Lee and the great writers who came after him. We could go on and on about the contradictions that define his character . his day job and his night job, his religion and his love life, his resiliency -- but I think what it comes down to is that Matt's really all heart, and that's what makes him such a compelling character.

What do I want the title to achieve for the reader? Well, I'd like readers to know that they can come to this part of the Marvel Universe every 30 days and know that Ed & Michael have something great in store for them. I can tell you that Ed has some really gut-wrenching things planned out for the next arc.

Mithra: Can you discuss how you work with Ed Brubaker on the stories? Is there a back and forth with ideas, or is he left on his own and you suggest things after? What exactly is your role for the title, and is it any different than some of the other titles you edit?

Simons: Well, one of the cool things about working at Marvel -- in addition to the love that David Bogart has for my excellent scheduling prowess -- is that you get to work with a wide range of creators. Sometimes you'll be giving a writer his or her first gig at Marvel, while at other times you'll be working with someone who's been a professional writer for two decades. At the end of the day, every book is different, every title is different, and every writer is different. It dramatically lowers the margin of error to have a talented, veteran writer on a title, especially someone like Ed who knows where he wants to go with Matt Murdock, and has a real love for the character which is evident on every page.

Mithra: Do you work in a similar way with the art team?

Simons: Working with Michael Lark, Stefano Gaudiano and Matt Hollingsworth is a bit like being handed a brand new Ferrari and being asked to "see how this thing handles." The work has been outstanding. Michael really is just at the top of his game, and these guys are great fun to work with, even Stefano. (I'm just kidding, Stefano, you know that I love you.)

Mithra: Was it a difficult decision to let spoilers out before the first arc began... I'm referring to the revelation Foggy had 'died' that was on the cover to #83.

Simons: No.

Mithra: Speaking of covers, can you talk about the cover artists (Edwards, Finch, Lark, Bermejo and Djurdjevic), and why Lark isn't doing all the covers?

Simons: We've been lucky to work with some great cover artists over the first year. Mr. Lark is a very talented cover artist, but over a year, 12 covers add up to at least 1/2 an issue -- more than that when you factor in the number of variables that go into creating a cover -- and as this is Mr. Lark's book on a monthly basis, I'd prefer to keep our fill-in issues as limited as possible. So working with cover artists like Tommy Lee Edwards or David Finch or Lee Bermejo or Marko Djurdjevic to limit the fill-ins on the interiors pages has been a good recipe so far. And speaking of lovely covers, check out this cover for # 97 by Marko Djurdjevic.

Mithra: What are your feelings overall of how the first two arcs were received by DD fans and new DD fans. Would you have changed anything? Was there anything major that was changed before it went to print?

Simons: As the great Satchel Page said, "Don't look back, something might be gaining on you." I try to keep my eyes on what's up next, so no, I definitely wouldn't go back and change anything. I am very happy with how Ed and Michael's run has been received so far. And nope, nothing was changed. Ed had this game plan pretty much ironed out at the start of issue # 82.

Mithra: Will there be periodic fill-ins to help Michael Lark, as was done with David Aja's issue?

Simons: Yes. Lee Weeks is up next with issue # 94.

Mithra: Daredevil (the title) has kept itself away from the events in Civil War for now, although the Iron Fist revelation does tie in... will we be seeing any of the real Daredevil in Civil War and Civil War in Daredevil?

Simons: Civil War # 7 goes on sale this week, and I don't want to spoil anything, but get ready, folks! Here comes... DORMAMMU!!!

And, since you mentioned Iron Fist: if you are reading this interview and have enjoyed DD this year, please pick up the THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST. I am telling you folks, it kicks some serious ass. David Aja, John "HE IS AN ICON FOLKS" Severin!!!, Travel Foreman, Russ "HE IS AN ICON FOLKS" Heath, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Matt Hollingsworth, I mean, HELP ME OUT HERE FOLKS... WE ARE BUILDING THIS BEAUTIFUL CREATURE FOR YOU AND YOU ALONE. LOVE IT. COME SAY HI TO IT. HOLD ITS HAND. IT WILL NOT BITE. TRUST ME, IT IS GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! IT IS THE VITAMIN C OF KARATE COMICS. Pick up the first issue!! LESS THAN A SHOT OF WHISKEY, TWICE THE KICK!!!

Mithra: There have been several nods to past DD continuity... what is your view on how much continuity should impact a story you want to tell in the title?

Simons: As long as there's a good, original story driving the comic, I think continuity is great. When continuity acts as a crutch, and when I need to bring 30 years of knowledge to an issue to have any idea what's happening -- when there's no story besides the continuity, and it's impenetrable for a new reader -- that's when I want to put a drill bit to my head. Books that have 75 characters traveling back and forth in time and jumping across dimensions are generally comics that I have little interest in reading or editing.

Mithra: And finally, is there anything you can reveal about what's coming up? How about Daredevil mini-series?

Simons: The extraordinary life of Matt's father, Jack Murdock, is going to be the focus of DAREDEVIL: BATTLING JACK MURDOCK, a four-issue MARVEL KNIGHTS limited series that will be on-sale in June. The story is by super-talented artist Carmine Di Giandomenico and everyone's friend, Zeb Wells. Here are a few preview pages.

  

Carmine's doing all of the art on this series, this is his baby. And Zeb's just doing an outstanding job with the scripts. If you're a Daredevil fan, or a boxing fan, you're going to love this one. It's got a little bit of the same flavor as one of my favorite short stories, HE SWUNG AND HE MISSED by Nelson Algren, which I can't recommend highly enough.

And we're going to have a pretty big announcement this weekend at the New York Comic Con. I think this one will make DD fans pretty happy.













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(c) Kuljit Mithra 2007
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear
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