March 20, 2019

Marvel Comics Makes New Daredevil Title into Free Audiobook

Daredevil swings across an audio-detailed cityscapeMarvel Comics has released a free audio Daredevil comic. Daredevil, a red-costumed crime fighter, is also Matt Murdoch, mild-mannered blind lawyer with secret super senses. Blinded as a youth, ironically while saving a blind man from an on-coming truck carrying radioactive material, young Matt’s other four senses develop to extraordinary levels. These senses enable Matt to become the superhero Daredevil, the Man Without Fear. Using his super hearing as a kind of echolocation, Daredevil swings across the canyons of New York City, battling such supervillains as Kingpin, Bullseye and the Owl with his trusty billy club and ninja skills.

Daredevil #1 Audio Edition is not the first audio comic book. Superman Lives!  has been around since 2005.  Batman–The Complete Nightfall Series appears even earlier, circa 1994. However, this seems to be the first time Daredevil has shown up in audio format (though the movie, Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, does have audio description).

According to an Associated Press release, senior Editor Stephen Wacker said that the audio version of Daredevil # 1 came about after he and series writer Mark Waid thought the Matt Murdock/Daredevil character might appeal to visually impaired fans.  Wacker relates that he has “received several letters since editing the character. Many spoke of being visually impaired or sharing the character with friends who were.” Wacker was thus inspired to present the first issue of the reset title as an audiobook.

Full panel descriptions are provided directly from Daredevil writer Mark Waid’s script, the same descriptions that the artists use to inspire their drawings. We gave a listen to the audio sample and, after a slightly awkward introduction, it has all the earmarks of an enjoyable read. The descriptions are clear and well-detailed without being overblown, making the action  easy to visualize, and the voices used, while not professional actors, are well done.  The cover has the innovative detail of a red-costumed Daredevil, swinging via billy club across a aurally-depicted grayscale cityscape. All the buildings and even the birds flying by are made from the words their sounds make. For instance, the birds’ outlines are filled with the word “flap” repeated over and over.

While this seems to be Marvel Comics first foray into the world of audiobooks (a summary internet search did not turn up any other available Marvel titles), as huge fans in our own right (Spiderman rules!), we hope they will be inspired to make many more.

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