6 Degrees of Separation from Daredevil to Disney: A Prophecy Fulfilled
Back in August we were pleased to announce that Marvel Studios, and by association Disney, had reacquired the rights to Daredevil. That means that Matt Murdoch can finally make his way into the expanded film universe that The Avengers have proven so wonderfully adept in, and maybe we'll all get a chance to have the unwatchable mismatch that we were treated to in 2003.
Still, something was tickling our minds back when the announcement was made. Something like a prophecy fulfilled. And since the world of pop culture is more or less exactly like that of religion, or even better, all it required for someone to consume some alcohol and track the threads of Daredevil through the threads of geekdom until everything made some kind of sense. Easy? No. Possible? Hell yeah!
First thing's first... did you know that Daredevil and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles take place in the same universe? It's true. In Daredevil #1 a young Matt Murdoch is hit with a can of radioactive ooze that falls off a truck because in the Marvel universe the stuff of lawsuits and Lifetime movies is also the stuff of legends.
20 years later Kevin Eastman drew a picture of a turtle with nunchucks that busted his friend Peter Laird up laughing, and the two began writing a comic. Since they were both big Daredevil fans they decided to just steal the scene right out from the Daredevil comic, but follow the ooze canister after it fell into the sewers and created the four heroes we remember so well. This was never official, you understand, but you can tell from the art above that it was also completely true.
Now, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was Mirage comics, but it also branched into the world of Image comics when the turtles teamed up on several occasions with the Savage Dragon. Image comics also boasts Todd Macfarlane's Spawn, another one of the Dragon's occasional allies. Here's where we make a jump.
Despite Spawn's popularity over the years he hasn't exactly made his mark on the world of video games. In fact, only one can truly be said to be any good at all, and that is his spot as a guest character in Soul Calibur II. The idea of the game was that each platform would receive a special character. The Xbox got Spawn, The Playstion got Heihachi Mishima, and the Gamecube got Link from the Legend of Zelda in one of his few non-Nintendo titles since the disaster that was licensing the character to the Philips CD-i.
Judging by what I just said, you'd think that the three games are actually three separate parallel universes, but that doesn't take into account the character of Necrid that appeals in all three. Designed by Macfarlane, the character draws heavily on hellspawn attributes he wove into Spawn's design.
His presence hints that the Soul series briefly came into contact with the Image universe, or at least that of Spawn himself. Certainly the idea of hell dimensions containing powerful weapons that must be destroyed are shared by Savage Dragon, Spawn, and in many ways Link himself. What would a Zelda game be without a Dark World?
So... Daredevil, Mirage, Image. Nintendo. That's four degrees of separation. Here's the next. Link is a legendary hero not just in his own franchise, but in another epic one as well. In several releases of the first Final Fantasy a gravestone in Elfheim contains a tomb which reads, "Here Lies Link," an obvious reference to the elfin hero. You could write that off as a tongue in cheek joke, but in Adventures of Link you can find a grave stone dedicated to Dragon Quest's Erdrick.
One way or another, the great heroes from Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and the Legend of Zelda apparently come to rest in separate worlds, which gets really confusing when you consider the cyclical nature of the mythology of Zelda and Dragon Quest. Add in a sleeping Link in Super Mario RPG, which also featured a door into the Final Fantasy universe guarded by the night Culex in Monstro Town, and you can't deny that the three worlds are all in someway connected. Which leads us to...
Disney! Arguably Disney did the best thing it's ever done when it teamed up with Square Enix to bring gamers the Kingdom Hearts series. Not only are they superb games to play, but there's no denying that the games firmly set the Final Fantasy universe as just one among many other Disney universes. Appearances by characters from VI, VII, VIII, and X abound. In fact the greatest hope among those of us watching Disney pick up studios is that we'll get to see a truly epic Kingdom Hearts featuring characters from things like Star Wars and Marvel...
Including their recently reacquired property Daredevil. Six degrees later, the circle is complete.
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