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I'm fairly well-versed with comics lore, but I'm not very familiar with Daredevil. I know his basic powers/abilities, but I'm interested in learning more in the run-up to the new Netflix show.

One thing I've noticed is that Daredevil is often referred to as "the Man Without Fear." Now certainly, Daredevil is quite brave, but from what I can tell he's not particularly brave relative to Captain America or Spider-Man or any other A-List Marvel hero.

Is that line just a catchy subtitle, like "the Caped Crusader" or "the Man of Steel", or does Daredevil have some special relationship with overcoming fear that I haven't come across yet? At least Batman and Superman's subtitles give interesting information about the character: Batman is on a moral quest to stop crime, Superman is incredibly strong and tough.

Surely Daredevil isn't literally incapable of feeling fear? That would be dangerous, and would undercut a lot of narrative drama. But otherwise, calling a superhero "the Man Without Fear" seems like calling a superhero "the Man Who Fights Bad Guys!" Not terribly unique...

Is there some reason why Daredevil deserves the title "the Man Without Fear" more than any other hero?

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    Daredevil Issue #1 - It's been his 'tagline' since his first appearance. – Valorum Feb 19 '15 at 18:06
  • @Richard Yes... Yes that's true... My question is why? – Nerrolken Feb 19 '15 at 18:19
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    “he's not particularly brave relative to Captain America or Spider-Man” — oh yeah? Did those guys ever jump off a building without being able to see anything? – Paul D. Waite Feb 19 '15 at 21:36
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    He's blind, and a criminal defense lawyer. Sure, all the A-listers go up against dangerous people, but do any of the others expose themselves to the same bad jokes? – KSmarts Feb 19 '15 at 22:15
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Daredevil's nickname (which appears as the tagline on the cover of Daredevil #001) is well chosen. Despite his blindness, he regularly jumps into situations without the faintest idea what he's getting into.

He's been called the "Man Without Fear" since his introduction. In the classic serials, the narrator stresses his fearlessness at least once every two pages...

Issue #001
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He's also not above wise-cracking about the risks he's taking:

Issue #002
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Issue #003
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  • TBH, he IS pretty fearless. The average Joe wouldn't have the courage to go leaping around and doing all the acrobatic stuff he does, stuff where ONE mistake means death. – Omegacron Feb 19 '15 at 19:03
  • @Omegacron - Agreed. I wouldn't dare walk over the road with my eyes closed, let alone leap into the air. – Valorum Feb 19 '15 at 19:12
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    This is a good answer. The simplest thing, the oldest thing, is just: a Daredevil is someone who dares to do crazy things; man without fear dovetails nicely. IMHO in the very oldest comics, they didn't have much of an idea about the character beyond "blind yet manages with other senses"; he comes across as very much like Spider-Man without webs (both characters crack lots of jokes for one thing). In later comics they emphasized his martial arts and Eastern mysticism background (nicely retconned in by Frank Miller) and they made him a tough and gritty guy with intense willpower. – steveha Feb 20 '15 at 0:11
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    @steveha - I expected to find that the radioactive particles that blinded him (and heightened his other senses) would also be responsible for his fearlessness but, no, he actually ends up getting injured (in the first place) because he acts without fear. It seems to be merely a natural condition of his. – Valorum Feb 20 '15 at 0:16
  • Wow, I had actually forgotten about the radioactive canister thing. The whole retcon thing about him training with the martial-arts master "Stick" and developing his radar-sense from that displaced the radioactive stuff in my memories! Anyway, one more use of "The Man Without Fear": I remember a storyline, I think called "Born Again", where the Kingpin learned Daredevil's secret identity and destroyed his life. His minions left Daredevil in a deathtrap, and Daredevil escaped. The Kingpin was truly worried: "I have shown him... that a man with nothing to lose is a man without fear." – steveha Feb 20 '15 at 5:42
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It's just his subtitle, although it matches well with the name of Daredevil, being someone willing to take great risks. Add to that that the combination of his physical abilities and his enhanced senses allowing him to "see" his environment in ways that those around him cannot allows him to pull off feats such as seemingly launching himself off of a roof with no way of catching himself. E.g., he knows, via his radar sense, that there's a flagpole, but to the eyes of anyone watching, it's a man fearlessly leaping backwards off of a roof to a seeming death.

It's part of a wiki entry, but this is partially explored in his Comicvine entry:

Daredevil's original design was reminiscent of a circus acrobat. His name seems to come from the fact that a circus acrobat appears "fearless" when performing potentially life threatening feats. Thus the title "Man Without Fear". In this case Matt takes his acrobatics to more risky heights.

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It's his nickname.

Daredevil Wikipedia

Daredevil's nickname is "the Man Without Fear".

Rezvan-Mojarrad, Sohrab (2002). "Daredevil". The Superhero Dictionary.

There were also multiple comicbooks / tv shows that depicted the same name.

  1. 1993 five-issue Daredevil: The Man Without Fear miniseries
  2. Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513
  3. 1990s Spider-Man: The Animated Series episodes "Framed" and "The Man Without Fear"

Edit: Even as a person commented the first issue of Daredevil had the term in the title.

I don't think anybody goes into detail why he is called this but from what I know about his character he is called this because he is just a human who has heightened senses whom fights crime.

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    Why is it his nickname? – phantom42 Feb 19 '15 at 18:09
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In Daredevil's origin story, he fearlessly pushed a blind man out of the way of an out-of-control truck, but in typical Marvel irony, the truck spills radioactive containers and one causes his own blindness. Stan Lee - bless 'im - was never much for subtlety!

As others have said, he subsequently hones his senses, acrobatic and fighting skills such that, despite his blindness, is then able to throw himself into situations that much braver (and seeing) men might balk at.

The key point to my mind is that his fearlessness is neither part of his super powers (enhanced senses) nor a personality trait that is the result of having super powers - it was something that was already part of him as a teenager and is what caused him to risk himself to save another, thereby creating Daredevil.

  • Plenty of superheroes throw themselves into dangerous situations. My question wasn't whether Daredevil is braver than the average person, it was whether he's braver than the average superhero. – Nerrolken Aug 1 '16 at 2:44

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