The Dawn of the Knights

By Mario Muscar

Palmiotti said he was proud when the book performed so well.

"I still think it’s the best Joe and I have looked working together," Palmiotti said. "We both work with a lot of different people these days, but looking back on that, I can clearly see a certain kind of magic and synchronicity that’s almost impossible to find in comics. It’s one of my favorite projects and still on a number of people's 'top 10' lists. How cool is that?"

Quesada looks at the work differently.

"I can never look back at my own work fondly," he said. "I really can't. Once it's out of my hands, I pretty much dislike a lot of it. So I look at that Daredevil stuff and I see some major, major problems with it. But you know the book itself, the actual comic and the trades and the hardcover, I am very, very proud of, because I do think that when you put them alongside the watershed marks of comics history, I think that Daredevil #1 really symbolizes the coming rejuvenation of Marvel and the comics industry. I think it was very, very important. And not because of my involvement. It was just the timing and marketing and everything was there, and Kevin coming to comics had a lot to do with that stuff."

Following Smith, Quesada and Palmiotti, Daredevil continued to be an important book for Marvel Knights, especially starting with Brian Michael Bendis' and Alex Maleev's run that began with #26. Issue #82 saw Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark take over for Bendis and Maleev, and the book dropped the Marvel Knights imprint.

Punisher

Prior to Marvel Knights, the Punisher had seen great success in the gritty comics of the 1980s and early 1990s. But in the mid-1990s, sales started to drop on Punisher comics. The title was canceled in April 1997 and the character was killed. Quesada and Palmiotti received a pitch from writer Christopher Golden that brought Frank Castle back from the dead as a demon-hunting agent of heaven. Quesada said he liked the idea.

"A pitch came and we thought it may not be the biggest selling book that we do but it has an interesting angle on the Punisher," Quesada said. "You have to understand, putting it in a historical context at that point, there had been so much bizarre stuff done with the Punisher. Everything you could imagine had been done to the Punisher. The Punisher woke up from plastic surgery in one issue and was black. Everything that could be done was done. Just weird, oddball stories, and the vigilante thing had been done to death at that point. We wanted to do something with the character that was a little bit different, and this demon-hunting Punisher was okay. We thought, 'Let's go with it and see what happens,' because the Punisher hadn't sold very well in a really long time. So we went with that angle."

While the four-issue series, featuring art by comics legend Bernie Wrightson, sold very well, the series was not well-received by fans.

"People just didn't respond well to this version of the Punisher," Quesada said.

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