Chris Mautner at Panels & Pixels shares a heartbreaking story from a recent trip to the comic shop:
A young boy of about six or seven was terribly upset because he had saved his money to puchase a Daredevil comic, Daredevil being his favorite hero currently. Trouble is, the storeowner didn’t really have any Daredevil comics suitable for a six year old. I haven’t followed the character lately, but I can imagine how grim and gritty Matt Murdock has gotten over the years. Heck, I wouldn’t want my kids reading the Frank Miller stuff at that age.
Anyway, this poor boy was terribly upset and crying and the storeowner (who I shall call Jim because that’s his name) was frantically seraching for something suitable and not coming up with anything. Eventually the kid had to settle for something else (I think it was the Flash) and go home rather dejectedly.
Now, for those who may be thinking that Jim may have been overreacting, realize that the boy didn’t have his parents with him. It was an aunt or babysitter or some such thing, so I can perfectly understand Jim’s reluctance. What retailer wants an angry parent barging into their store a few days later asking what the hell kind of material does he sell to kids with the knives and the bleeding and the violence and whatnot.
Three things that come to mind about this story:
1) You have to wonder if the kid likes Daredevil so much because he’s seen the movie; if that was the case, I’m not sure the store owner has to worry about the parents throwing a fit over what the kid brings home.
2) I bought the first Frank Miller-drawn issue of Daredevil, #158, off the stands when I was maybe a year older than the kid referenced in the story. And when Miller took over the writing a few issues later, Daredevil was a staple at our house … it was one of the first comics my brother and I subscribed to (along with Uncanny X-Men, the Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man).
As you can see from the cover of #160 above, where Bullseye looks to be strangling the Black Widow with a hair dryer, Daredevil hasn’t exactly been a “kid-friendly” comic in a long time … yet somehow I escaped from childhood unharmed by my exposure to it and haven’t killed anybody (yet) as a result of reading it.
3) I wonder if a Marvel Adventures Daredevil title would be able to present a kid-friendly version of Hornhead without watering down the character so much that he’d be barely recognizable … not to mention the fact that some parents might simply be put off by his name and look.
So what do you say? Kid-friendly Daredevil, yes or no?