Marvel's ongoing Daredevil title is heading into a new era in December with Daredevil – but not exactly Matt Murdock – apparently heading to prison. And to help tell the tale, artist Mike Hawthorne is joining the Daredevil creative team alongside writer Chip Zdarsky and artist Marco Checchetto with November 25's Daredevil #24 (opens in new tab).
Before he swings into Hell's Kitchen, Newsarama caught up with Hawthorne to discuss what it's like to come into an ongoing series and make a mark, how the cast of Daredevil gives exciting opportunities to flex his figure drawing skills, and his goal to draw as many Daredevil enemies as possible.
Additionally, we've got some of Hawthorne's penciled pages, and the debut of his cover for Daredevil #27, the title's 'King in Black' tie-in.
Newsarama: Mike, you're joining the Daredevil team with this month's #24, joining writer Chip Zdarsky and the main series artist Marco Checchetto. How has it been so far?
Mike Hawthorne: Honestly, it's a dream. Chip is doing amazing work, and Daedevil is a bucket-list character for me!
I'm beside myself at getting a chance to draw these beloved characters!
Nrama: What's your personal history with Daredevil? Is Matt Murdock a character you've wanted to draw?
Hawthorne: I wasn't a big reader of the series as a kid, but when Frank Miller's Elektra Lives Again (opens in new tab) dropped it broke my head open! It was the kind of comic that sticks with you, and I knew I had to draw him someday, even if it's not at Frank's level.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: You're a jack-of-all-trades as an artist, but lately you've been focused on cosmic stuff and physical comedy like Deadpool. What do Daredevil and Chip's scripts call for from you?
Hawthorne: Chip's scripts have been surprisingly tense, as Matt is in a weird and tumultuous spot in his life. Everyone knows Chip has a brilliant sense of humor, and his work has a certain something that isn't easily copied. But this isn't a gag-fest, Chip is doing some heavy stuff with the character. You can feel Matt's turmoil on every page.
It's my job to make that work on the page. I have to get the big and small moments across, working the story just right so Chip's intentions shine through while also giving the reader something cool to look at.
So, as always, I'm in service to the story.(opens in new tab)
Nrama: Everyone's excited to see your rendition of Daredevil, but I'm especially piqued by the idea of you drawing Wilson Fisk.
Hawthorne: Oh my god, yes! Me too! Honestly, Fisk is another bucket-list character for me! In fact, he's up there with Doom and Galactus (all of which I've gotten to draw too!).
So, yeah... if Marvel fires me tomorrow I'll feel complete artistically!
Nrama: What's a character like that offer you as someone who teaches drawing, and specifically figure drawing?
Hawthorne: Studying figure drawing trains you to see everyone as distinct and individual. Sometimes that's lost in comics, as the 'heroic' set of proportions are so ingrained in the visual vocabulary. So anytime I get to deviate from that is a great drawing day. I love it!
Nrama: On that note, Daredevil's environment of Hell's Kitchen is almost as important as any character in the story. What are the things you keep in mind while drawing DD's neighborhood?(opens in new tab)
Hawthorne: You're right, and it's something you have research like crazy to get 'right.' I try to not just draw generic New York buildings, I want to strive for authenticity. I want people familiar with the area to be able to identify the place, down to the little details. Like, I want people to feel like they know the place, down to the mailboxes or storefront graffiti!
Nrama: Which other Daredevil characters are you looking forward to drawing?
Hawthorne: Oooh... I like the baddies. Typhoid Mary is crazy fun! Elektra too. I'm a sucker for them!
Nrama: After #24, you're back in January's #26 sharing the art duties with longtime series artist Marco Chechetto. What's it like fitting in with someone with such a different style? Do you try to adapt, or do you lean into the differences?
Hawthorne: Marco is amazing, and has brought something truly special to the series. I applaud him!
But, outside of a respect for visual continuity, I can't chase after another artist's style. I looked at his work to make sure I had all the info I needed, then just did my thing. Hopefully fans will feel I did my job well, and it wasn't a let down from Marco's killer work!(opens in new tab)
Nrama: This isn't the first time you've joined a book mid-stream, but gone on to make a mark yourself. What's this experience like?
Hawthorne: Honestly, it's always an honor to be trusted with a successful book. You walk in knowing the party is already live, so all I gotta do is not mess it up!
I try to be respectful of the fan's expectations and love of the series, and keep the things running on the tracks Chip and Marco have laid down.
Nrama: What do you want out of this Daredevil run?
Hawthorne: To hopefully do my job well, keep the quality level high and have a fun time doing it!(opens in new tab)
That...and drawing as many of his Rogues as I can!
Nrama: Big picture, what can people look forward to in Daredevil coming up?
Hawthorne: Hmm? I think fans can expect to see Matt having to operate outside of his comfort zone. They can look forward to seeing him double down on what makes his character special as well as see him be challenged in some ways he's perhaps not really ready for.
On second thought, scratch 'perhaps'.. he's definitely going to be challenged in ways he's definitely not ready for!
Speaking of villains, here's our list of the best Daredevil villains of all time (opens in new tab).