Daredevil has always been a character tinged with an element of horror, but a redesign from superstar artist Tim Sale turned him into the devil like never before. Stripping away the parts of his costume that made him look heroic, this was a Matt Murdock reimagined for the grim and gritty 1990s, a straight-up horror character, turning Matt Murdock into less a Daredevil, more an actual devil.
Appearing in issues of the mid-to-late 1990s magazine Marvel Vision: The Marvel Fan Magazine, before being collected in 1998’s Timeslip Collection #1, Marvel’s Timeslip pin-ups were a series of redesigns of classic Marvel characters, done by the most popular comics artists of the era.
Each entry includes both the pin-up and an imagined version of Stan Lee’s original pitch for the character, addressed to the contemporary artist.
Tim Sale’s Daredevil Design is Horror Perfection
As redesigned by Tim Sale, Daredevil is given an amazing horror makeover, leaning more heavily into the character’s demonic imagery. Best known for his collaborations with writer Jeph Loeb, including Daredevil: Yellow, Sale’s Daredevil leans into the same aesthetic that made his and Loeb’s Batman: The Long Halloween so successful. Clearly inspired by classical depictions of the devil, with high collar, horns and pitchfork, Sale’s costume also taps into the comics’ zeitgeist of the ‘90s. Devilish characters like Spawn were all the rage during the decade, and this hyper-muscular, cape-wearing Daredevil is just as much in conversation with Spawn as he is with classic Daredevil, or Sale’s own Batman.
Daredevil has had Many Brushes with Horror
Part of why the Timeslip Daredevil redesign works: there has always been an element of demonic horror to the modern version of Daredevil. From Blackheart, to Mephisto, to the Beast of the Hand, Matt Murdock has faced more than his share of actual demons in his time. Still, no creative team has ever embraced Murdock’s own demonic aesthetic the way Tim Sale does here. Even when he was possessed by the Beast in 2010’s Shadowland, Matt only got a single issue as a demonic version of himself. Sale’s redesign is a step further than Marvel would likely commit to, but one that still fits the tone of so many Daredevil stories.
The other reason the redesign is so successful is because of what it asks about Matt Murdock himself. As a guilt-stricken Catholic, Matt has always felt uncomfortable using the visage of the devil to spread fear. By leaning even further into this aspect of his design, Sale’s costume paints a Matt Murdock whose internal conflicts are that much greater. He’s shed the stuntman and boxer imagery that connects him to his father, and a more classically romantic view of heroism, instead pushing further into the parts of himself that he hates. Timeslip asks what Daredevil losing his connection to humanity means for the character – and the answer is nothing good.