A post from my Marvel blog of years ago detailing a pitch for an early 1980s DAREDEVIL Saturday Morning cartoon series.
History is littered with Marvel tie-in projects that never got done. As far back as 1974, Stan Lee was going on in his soapbox about how a Spider-Man movie would hit theaters the following year—he was only off by twenty-seven years that time. Of late, since taking command of our own destiny and establishing Marvel Studios as a viable production entity, this hasn’t happened so often. But let me take you back to a time when that wasn’t so.
In the early 1980s, Marvel sent Stan to the West Coast to help establish Marvel Films, an animation studio, in an attempt to create the very situation that we’ve got today. However, in those Neolithic days, Marvel’s name didn’t carry the same kind of pedigree and clout it does today, and so most of what the studio worked on was altered dramatically from the source material.
Case in point: around 1983, ABC spent several months trying to develop a Saturday morning series about Daredevil. The illustration at the left was from one of the many presentations to the network. For years, rumor had it that was eventually killed this deal was somebody at ABC getting cold feet after the Frank Miller DD cover with him holding a .357 Magnum at the camera ran, but in all likelihood the truth was that there was a regime-change at the network, and all of the previous team’s projects were scrapped—that’s typically how it goes in television.
Apparently, the Daredevil pitch went through numerous rewrites and numerous iterations. Here’s the one I heard about:
As in the comics, Matt Murdock is a blind lawyer who is secretly Daredevil. (Unlike the comics, he has dark black hair, at least if the presentation drawing is anything to go by.) By day, he pals around with his teenaged niece and his seeing-eye-dog. But when evil strikes, he becomes Daredevil, his dog becomes Lightning, the Super Dog ( I love the way, in the production drawing, Lightning affects a pose of mild-manneredness in his civilian guise as Matt’s seeing-eye dog…), and the three of them take to the streets in Daredevil’s specially-equipped van.
Now, stop and think about this for a minute: who’s driving the van? Is it the blind guy, the underage girl, or the seeing-eye dog?
Anyway, once they find a crime in progress among the rooftops—which is where most of the crime in New York City typically takes place—Matt moves to the back of the van to the giant cannon, which unfolds from the top. And then, his niece launches him skyward…like a Daredevil…