Before my father was a lawyer, before he was a teacher, before he met my mother, my father was a street brawler. He was fairly tight lipped about the fights. This was due, in large part, to wanting my brother (Tony) and I to be better than he was -to solve conflict without punching or hitting someone with a lead pipe. Shame was also a factor. He wasn’t proud of that aspect of his past. It was something he accepted, then channeled in a different direction. Instead of fighting other people with his fists, my father worked towards fighting for people with his words: as a writer, a teacher, and a public defender. If the idea of a street fighting lawyer from a rough part of town – the Gleason family lived in the shadow of Chicago’s steel mills-sounds familiar, then my fascination with Matthew Michael Murdock becomes a bit more clear.
My father didn’t care for comic books. Neither he or his friends could afford them. When I was much younger, he would occasionally pick up a D&D game book or a trade of Rising Stars and comment on the art. I know for a fact he read the entire Icewind Dale and Dark Elf trilogy in the span of a weekend. He claimed it reminded him of Tolkien, just a watered-down version. Genre fiction was in his wheelhouse, but comics were not.
He wasn’t disdainful of the medium. He encouraged Tony and I to read anything and everything, including comics. He was simply particular about the art and the stories found in the comics. So he would pick up Rising Stars or Sam and Twitch and leaf through the pages to talk about the art. When it came to Daredevil, my dad refused to even glance at the art
This has nothing to do with the legal or ethical ramifications of a defense attorney/ninja beating up bad guys in search for the best defense of his clients and everything to do with my father’s ban on anything lawyer related after work. Courtroom dramas were to be avoided at all cost. Take Law & Order. Thought it was not banned in the house, if he was in room when others were watching the show, he would announce loudly how he could, “beat that shitty case and make that [District Attorney] DA squirm.” He loved making the prosecution squirm. If my father was still alive, after we binged season of Daredevil on Netflix, I am sure I could have gotten him to read Brubaker’s and Waid’s run. And if he was hooked, I’m pretty sure he would have written Charles Soule to express his displeasure at the idea of Matt Murdock as a DA.
But that will never happen. My dad passed away during Brian Bendis’ run. When I came back to comics, two years after my dad died, I started with Daredevil. And it made me miss him even more.
Nick pointed out in a show that Daredevil occupies the same place in brain as my dad. He was right then and he’s right now: my dad and Daredevil share a lot of similar beats, so it makes complete sense that they are closely linked in my head. But that’s only part of my love for the character. My entire family has a connection to him. My brother was the one who started collecting Daredevil. Tony doesn’t have the same time to read Daredevil as he once did. With two young kids and two jobs, he doesn’t get a lot of freetime, but he still wants to know about Daredevil’s stories, and I catch him up every time we have a beer together. I have an uncle who collected Daredevil in the 60s. When the conversations turn to comics -as they frequently do when I’m in room – he wants to be caught up as well. I have cousins who have not picked up a comic book in their life, but they have binged every single MCU and Netflix show. They aren’t as devoted to the character as I am, but Daredevil still brings us closer as a family. So if you combine my family’s affection for the character, the themes Matt and Pat have in common, and the stories of Matt overcoming his depression, it’s no wonder that Daredevil is my hero. He reminds me of the person I have tried to live up to my entire life.
I have a version of Cap’s shield on my arm. I still plan on getting the star of Hala on my other arm. Two different characters to inspire me to do more. I am not creative or confident enough to get a Daredevil tattoo. But I got a commission. A beautiful, perfect commission that reminds me of the hero who I miss terribly and who still inspires me greatly.