Daredevil Month: Matt Murdock v. FCC

Posted: March 13, 2015 in Comic Book Study
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Image taken from marvelanimated.wikia.com

Welcome back to Daredevil Month true believers. Today, we’ll be taking a look at two of the most bizarre and unfortunately situated cartoons that DD has had the pleasure of starring in. Due to a number of different problems, these cartoons were either in production or just in the planning stage before being shut down by the companies putting them together. Would they have been good enough to watch even today? Or would they have been laughably terrible? You be the judge.

Proposed Daredevil Cartoon – 1980s

Promo for the cartoon. Image taken from marvelanimated.wikia.com

The 1980s were a great time for cartoons. We had the Thundercats, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and at one point, we almost had Lightning the Super-Dog. After the success of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Marvel wanted to keep up their string of television success with a Daredevil cartoon, which inexplicably had the Man Without Fear fighting crime with his seeing-eye dog.

Needless to say, this project never got off the ground. Supposedly, after ABC failed to kickstart the cartoon, NBC would have given it a look, but didn’t, since, as comic book and television writer Mark Evainer put it, “networks generally don’t like picking up things that their competitors have passed on”.

Evainer’s statement about the series:

I wrote the bible and pilot and pilot for that Daredevil cartoon series…or rather, I should say I wrote a bible and pilot for it. Others had done several of each and ABC wasn’t happy with any of the approaches. I was hired to take over and much of what I did involved throwing out concepts and alterations that others (including Stan Lee) had done to the basic premise. By that point, there were a lot of characters and gimmicks a lot less faithful to the premise than any superdog.

I basically turned it back into the version of Daredevil drawn by Wally Wood. Matt Murdock did have the seeing-eye dog, which was not an illogical thing for a blind guy to have, and the dog sometimes aided him a la Lassie but wasn’t any sort of superdog.

ABC agreed to buy the series and it was even announced in the Hollywood trade papers…but then a gent who worked for Marvel said the wrong thing to a top exec at ABC who, I suspect, was looking for an excuse to not buy the show and to give the time slot to another project that he preferred. Whatever the reason, we woke up one morning to find that Daredevil was off the schedule, never to return.

Daredevil – 1990s

Daredevil from the Spider-Man (1994) cartoon. Image taken from youtube.com

About a decade later, Marvel and Fox tried to put together a different cartoon about Daredevil, which would have been spun off of his appearances in other Marvel cartoons at the time, including Spider-Man. The series, which would have featured characters such as Namor and the Punisher, was said to be among the darkest (tonally) cartoons Marvel had ever made.

Unfortunately, executives wanted to hold production and wait to release the show so it would coincide with the release of the Daredevil film, in case the film turned out to be a huge hit. After that failed to perform at Fox’s level of expectations, the cartoon was never heard from again.

Were there any other details I missed about these cartoons? Were there any other failed Daredevil cartoons that you think should have been included on this list? Leave me a comment, or send me a tweet with that widget on the left. Also, be sure to check out the Comic Books vs the World Youtube channel. Keep coming back to keep up with Daredevil Month!


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