During the 80’s Frank Miller was hired to continue the title and did so in a similar vein to previous writer Roger McKenzie. Resuming the drastic metamorphosis the previous writer had begun, Miller took the step of essentially ignoring all of Daredevil’s continuity prior to his run on the series; on the occasions where older villains and supporting cast were used, their characterizations and history with Daredevil were reworked or overwritten. Most prominently, dedicated and loving father Jack Murdock was reimagined as a drunkard who physically abused his son Matt, entirely revising Daredevil’s reasons for becoming a lawyer. Spider-Man villain Kingpin was introduced as Daredevil’s new nemesis, displacing most of his large rogues gallery. Daredevil himself was gradually developed into an antihero. In issue #181 (April 1982), he attempts to murder one of his arch-enemies by throwing him off a tall building; when the villain survives as a quadriplegic, he breaks into his hospital room and tries to scare him to death by playing a two-man variation on Russian roulette with a secretly unloaded gun. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Almost immediately, [Miller] began to attract attention with his terse tales of urban crime.” Miller’s revamping of the title was controversial among fans, but it clicked with new readers, and sales began soaring, the comic returning to monthly status just three issues after Miller came on as writer.
Daredevil debuted in Marvel Comics‘ Daredevil #1 (cover date April 1964), created by writer-editor Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, with character design input from Jack Kirby, who devised Daredevil’s billy club. When Everett turned in his first-issue pencils extremely late, Marvel production manager Sol Brodsky and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko inked a large variety of different backgrounds, a “lot of backgrounds and secondary figures on the fly and cobbled the cover and the splash page together from Kirby’s original concept drawing”.
Writer and comics historian Mark Evanier has concluded (but cannot confirm) that Kirby designed the basic image of Daredevil’s costume, though Everett modified it. The character’s original costume design was a combination of black, yellow, and red, reminiscent of acrobat tights. Wally Wood, known for his 1950s EC Comics stories, penciled and inked issues #5–10, introducing Daredevil’s modern red costume in issue #7.
Frank Miller returned to the character and his origins with the 1993 five-issue Daredevil: The Man Without Fear miniseries. With artist John Romita, Jr., Miller expanded his retcon of the life and death of Murdock’s father, “Battling Jack” Murdock, and Murdock’s first encounters with the Kingpin and Foggy Nelson. The role of Stick in the genesis of Daredevil was expanded, as was Murdock’s doomed love affair with Elektra.
New writer D. G. Chichester and penciler Lee Weeks continued from where Nocenti left off, with Murdock resuming his friendship with Foggy Nelson, struggling to re-win the heart of Karen Page, appealing the revocation of his attorney’s license, and bonding more deeply than ever with Hell’s Kitchen. Chichester’s focus on Daredevil’s relationship with New York City went so far as to have two issues devoted entirely to Daredevil defending New Yorkers from ordinary criminals and even simple accidents. The critically acclaimed “Last Rites” arc from #297–300 saw Daredevil regaining his attorney’s license and finally bringing the Kingpin to justice.
The creative team of Chichester and penciler Scott McDaniel changed the status quo with their “Fall From Grace” storyline in issues #319–325 (Aug. 1993 – Feb. 1994). Elektra, who was resurrected in #190 but had not been seen since, finally returned. An injured Daredevil creates a more protective costume from biomimetic materials: red and gray with white armor on the shoulders and knee pads. Revamped billy clubs could attach to form nunchucksor a bo staff. His secret identity becomes public knowledge, leading to him faking his own death and assuming the new identity of “Jack Batlin”. This new identity and costume lasts for several story arcs, while Murdock finds a way to convince the world that he is not, in fact, secretly Daredevil (courtesy of a double). A short stint by J. M. DeMatteis returned Daredevil to his traditional red costume and Matt Murdock identity.