Any character created in a fictional genre has to have key elements in order to grow a significant fan base. First the character has to be relatable, the reader has to be able to connect to the life of the protagonist.
The life experiences of the character are things that you can relate to and you don't have to stretch your imagination to understand the circumstances of their lives. Second, the character has to be likeable, someone that you want to root for no matter the circumstance. It allows you to forgive them when they make bad choices or find themselves at moral cross roads where they struggle regularly to do the right thing. Lastly, they have to have a level of complexity that makes them unique and different from any other character that you have read about in the past. Its even better if they exhibit a level of vulnerability that reveals their human frailties.
Matt Murdock is such a character. Matt grew up in Hell's Kitchen (this is an actual area in NYC), his father was a boxer who was killed by organized crime figures because he refused to throw a fight. Matt is an attorney, graduating from Columbia University in New York; he opened up a private practice along with his best friend Franklin "Foggy" Nelson. Matt is also a superhero, he jumps across roof-tops at night chasing bad guys and protecting the innocent. Matt is a skilled gymnast and a master martial artist incorporating Ninjutsu, Kung-Fu, Aikido, Judo, Wrestling and American Boxing combining them into an unorthodox style of fighting. Matt's fighting prowess is proficient enough to fend off trained assassins, mafia henchmen and other hired gun types. Okay, by now you are wondering, "What's Big Deal?" all of the superhero types have skills and abilities above the average why is this guy special? What makes Matt unique is that he is blind.
Matt lost he sight at the age of 12 when he pushed an old man out of the path of a runaway vehicle carrying hazardous waste materials. Although the poison in the canisters caused Matt's blindness it also enhanced his other senses to super human levels. Matt's hearing is so acute that it allows him to sense objects around him like radar. He can hear the shift in a persons heartbeat when they tell a lie, similar to a polygraph machine. Matt has a level of dexterity that allows him to read pages with printed ink as long as the letters are slightly raised on the page. He has depth perception that far surpasses the average sighted human being, meaning that he can leap from tall distances and move through space as he is falling, landing without the danger of causing serious injury to himself.
After years of observing his exploits, his adversaries have come to know him as the "Man without Fear". I think that is why I like Matt the most, he had every reason to be afraid particularly after losing his father and his sight at such a young age but instead he became one of the most popular and well respected heroes in comic book history. I think that we have a lot in common with Matt, circumstances beyond our control, impacting our lives in negative ways on a daily basis. But like Matt, God wants us to be fearless; 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that "God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline (sound mind)". I know what you are thinking right now, everyone is scared of something, everyone has a phobia, how can you live and not be scared? The answer is that you must learn to trust God more than you trust yourself.
Proverbs 3:5 says "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". Fear is the absence of faith and although the mind can conjure many reasons to be scared the fact of the matter is that faith in God can and will concur Fear. Don't misunderstand me, there are many things that we should be cautious of but we should never submit to fear. As an example, I don't believe in swimming in Shark infested waters, I don't hang out in the same places where venomous snakes live. Trusting in God means that you will allow him to guide your steps, it means that you will let him fight your battles for you, it means that you will not limit yourself because you are scared to take a leap of faith.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) - "Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see". I wonder what Matt would say to that.