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The superhero industry is built on an illusion. The big brands, Marvel and DC, would have you believe that their foundation stones are dashing characters and zip-pow stories. But those properties are only the second level — the true foundation is the unsung toil of freelance comic-book creators, operating on work-for-hire agreements without union protections, who crank out all those heroes, villains, and sagas. They hardly ever get their due because they don’t outright own the characters they create for Marvel or DC, and can thus usually can only hope for a “special thanks” credit on a film or television adaptation of one of their brainchildren. So perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked by what comics writer Marv Wolfman says to me.

I call him up to discuss Bullseye, the iconic supervillain he co-created for Marvel Comics with artist John Romita Sr. in the mid-1970s. “I’m writing a piece about Bullseye,” I tell Wolfman over the phone. “He’s one of the lead villains in the new season of Daredevil, so …” Before I can finish the sentence, Wolfman interjects: “He is?”

“Yeah!” I say. “No one told you?”

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