In 1998, artists and co-writers Joe Quesada and Jimmy Palmiotti were given free rein on four Marvel titles to kick off their Marvel Knights imprint. They went on to pencil and ink a relaunch of Daredevil after recruiting their friend Kevin Smith to write the series. At the time, Smith was one of the hottest directors in Hollywood. Together, Smith, Quesada, and Palmiotti revitalized Daredevil and influenced both the 2003 feature film and the recently concluded Netflix live-action series. But it wasn’t always a smooth process.
Both Smith and Palmiotti were our guests in the latest installment of SYFY WIRE’s Behind the Panel, and they recounted the history of Marvel Knights: Daredevil. That includes the time Smith tried to back out of the series after previously committing to it. Quesada seemed to take the news in stride, but Palmiotti’s response was a bit more colorful.
“It might have been a little saucy,” admitted Palmiotti. “I wasn’t looking at it as ‘This is Kevin Smith, the film director.’ I looked at it as ‘This is our buddy who is gonna write the book. We got him the job. And now he’s backing out because he doesn’t have an idea.’”
Palmiotti’s pep talk was ultimately successful, as it allowed Smith to come up with the initial idea for “Guardian Devil.” Even the recurring delays ended up being beneficial for the story, as Smith and his collaborators were able to write themselves out of a few corners by revealing a larger agenda behind the initial plot.
“It was never like ‘I’ll help these guys out,’” added Smith. “It was a privilege. It was an honor to be asked to write it. After I got over my chicken fits thanks to Jimmy, it was one of the greatest jobs I’ve ever done. You want to talk about dividends that continue paying down the line? We’re still talking about it 20 years later. People still think of me as a comic book writer because of that.”
For more of Smith and Palmioitti’s oral history of “Guardian Devil,” check out the full video!