The next creator to take on Marvel's anthology miniseries Daredevil: Dark Nights is Eisner-winner David Lapham, who's handling the two-part "What A Day, What A Night" story starting in September's issue #4.
Lapham has worked a good deal as a writer recently at Marvel, on titles like the recently wrapped Age of Apocalypse, but this story sees him both writing and illustrating, as he did on books like his crime series Stray Bullets, where he first attracted critical acclaim in the mid-'90s.
We talked to Lapham for more about his upcoming story, his interest in Matt Murdock, and the role current Superior Foe of Spider-Man The Shocker has in the story. He even brought along some brand new art from his first issue along to show off.
Newsarama: David, you and Daredevil seem like a natural pairing in a lot of ways, but this is your first time taking on the character in a lead role since 2005's Daredevil vs. Punisher miniseries. What do you personally find creatively inspiring about the character? And what aspects of the character are you looking to explore in this story?
David Lapham: Yup. This is my first DD since the Ends and Means mini series I did. I'm very excited about it. Like many cartoonists of my generation, I grew up on a steady diet of Frank Miller and Klaus Janson's Daredevil, so there's definitely a very large channel burned into my brain for that character.
Also, though, in this particular story I was able to bring two additional things into the mix. The first was Mark Waid's take on DD. I loved how he was able to create something brand new that didn't cast aside the old DD. It fit but was his own take on DD. A little brighter while still retaining the darkness. Since this story is about DD in his present continuity it was fun bringing those aspects to it. The other fun part was I was able to use a character I created with Arturo Lozzi in a Prince of Orphans Immortal Weapons one-shot I wrote several years ago. The character, called Buggit, was part of the opening sequence where I introduced Power Man and Iron Fist. He's this awesome little 18" tall guy who strapped dynamite to his chest and tried to kill a judge for sending his wife to the slammer. Anyway, it's great being able to revive your own character and I had a ton of fun with him in this Daredevil two-parter.
Nrama: Unlike much of your recent Marvel work of length recently (like Deadpool MAX and Age of Apocalypse), you're both writing and drawing this Dark Nights story. Does taking on both roles make this a more personal type of story for you?
Lapham: I don't know if it makes it more personal in approach but definitely in the end product. I think Age of Apocalypse was very personal and I approached every script and the characters and the world like they were mine. In AoA we made up the characters from scratch. We used the names – Trask, Stryker, etc. – but really they were brand new and the nature of it being outside the Marvel U meant we could really go nuts with out takes on the characters. So that one was very personal. Still, after the script is written it goes to the artist who adds their own stamp. There's no judgement there on better or worse, in fact, the most fun part of collaborating is working with great artist who bring unexpected and awesome things to the table, but drawing your own story instantly becomes more you.
Nrama: This is a very broad question, but what can you share at this point about your story? The solicitation reveals it involves Shocker, the Avengers, and monsters, so it looks like there's a wide range of things taking place.
Lapham: The story's called What A Day, What A Night. The concept starts with the Buggit character. The little guy steals something important and leads Daredevil on a chase through the city. Along the way they run into a host of Marvel characters, the mob, police, pretty girls, all sorts of stuff. Kinda a superhero version of After Hours.
Nrama: Speaking of the Shocker, what inspired you to use him — more of a Spider-Man villain — in this story?
Lapham: It's all part of the happenstance nature of the story. Also Electro was on holiday.
Nrama: The first Dark Nights story, by Lee Weeks, is something of a timeless story, that isn't too heavily tied to continuity. Is this along the same lines?
Lapham: Haven't read Weeks' story yet. Mine isn't tied to continuity, but it does take place within what Waid is doing. Some of his supporting cast is in there and I think it fits, but not in continuity like it fits in between issue 20 and 21 or that kind of thing.
Nrama: Daredevil is obviously a character with an impressive creative legacy — which creators most heavily influence your take?
Lapham: Miller, Janson, Mazzucchelli, Waid, and Paolo Rivera.