The Man Without Fear is also the Man Without Rest. After a long road trip Daredevil finally arrived in San Francisco yesterday. Instead of taking a day or two to enjoy the smells and sounds of the Bay Area, he’s already working with the SFPD to track down a kidnapped child. The first issue of the fourth volume of Daredevil is an enjoyable romp that finds hornhead being chased by sky sleds from The Embarcadero to Nob Hill. As noted in the issue, this isn’t the hero’s first stint in San Francisco.
This regular feature on The Shared Universe is intended to act as a tour guide of the Bay Area by following the adventures of our most recent New York City transplant. If an issue of Daredevil features any notable landmarks I’ll pull them out and provide some context for readers unfamiliar with this region of the country.
In the unlikely event that Waid or Samnee stumble across this website I want to mention that I have no interest in nitpicking inconsistencies with reality. I respect the prerogative of the artist and writer to bend facts and visuals for the purpose of storytelling. Also, I know Daredevil’s a character in a funny book.
A Daredevil Tour of the Bay Area: Issue 1
The issue starts at a San Francisco police station where Matt Murdock is lending his unique set of highly tuned senses to the search for a missing child. He puzzles together enough clues for one of the officers to conclude that the girl may be in the old Naval Yard on San Francisco’s Treasure Island. Matt believes she may be in a bowling alley on the island.
First Stop: Treasure Island Naval Yard
Treasure Island is a man-made land mass in the San Francisco Bay. The landmass is named for Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson who briefly lived in San Francisco from 1879-80. It was built in the 30s as a federal Works Progress Administration project to provide a place to host the 1939 World’s Fair. The island became a Naval Base during World War II until it was closed in 1997. In 2008 the federal government sold Treasure Island to the city of San Francisco. Since that time there’s been a great deal of controversy over radiation levels and whether or not the island should have been opened for residential use.
(This is at least the second mention of Treasure Island in a comic book since August of last year. In Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman‘s Station-to-Station a secret lab there creates dinosaurs, laser guns, and a massive tentacle monster.)
And, yes, as Matt Murdock learns, there is an abandoned bowling alley on the naval base grounds.
Second Stop: Cupid’s Span
A 60-foot-high fiberglass bow-and-arrow sculpture in Rincon Park by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed the sculptors in 2002.
Third Stop: The Embarcadero Clock Tower
Kirsten McDuffie tells Daredevil to “swing west around the Embarcadero clock tower.” We don’t actually get to see the clock tower in this issue, but most people who’ve visited or viewed images of San Francisco can likely picture the iconic building on the bay. McDuffie is referring to the 245-foot-high clock tower that sits atop the Ferry Building. According to wikipedia the clock tower’s design was based on “the 12th-century Giralda bell tower in Seville, Spain.”
Fun comic fact: The Ferry Building is home to San Francisco Chef Chris Consentino’s Boccalone Salumeria where he sells “Tasty Salted Pig Parts.” Consentino is not only a Top Chef Masters winner and James Beard nominee, but he’s also good friends with Wolverine. The two teamed-up in a one-shot last year penned by Consentino called Wolverine: In the Flesh. Wolverine pays Consentino back for helping him solve a mystery by doing food prep in the kitchen of the chef’s Church Street restaurant Incanto.
Fourth Stop: St. Francis Memorial Hospital
Daredevil asks Kirsten to direct him to Chinatown, but before she can do so a major plot point comes into play, so his trajectory is shifted to St. Francis Memorial Hospital on Bush Street. The current address was first opened in 1911 after the original hospital burned during the earthquake of 1906. The hospital is located in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood and was once home to the four wealthy business tycoons who built the Central Pacific Railroad. Those mansions also burned to the ground during the earthquake. According to wikipedia, “nob” is disparaging British slang used to describe the newly rich.
Below is a map of this month’s tour.