I wonder if Stan Lee, when he created the “gorgeous Karen Page” for Daredevil #1, had any idea that his innocent piece of eye candy would turn into a heroin addict and prostitute. Karen eventually broke free of her addiction and returned to normal life before she died of a billy club to the chest at the hands of Bullseye. Or Kevin Smith, depending on how you want to look at it. Either way, it’s a terrible way to go. Oh, and I hope I’m not spoiling anything for anyone here, but this happened ten years ago (real time), so… Well, tough luck!
While people who have only read Volume 2 may not be all that familiar with Karen, she has a long and interesting history, which I thought I’d explore in a number of posts, starting at the very beginning. In the beginning, Karen was a picture of beauty and innocence, so sweet that if you could eat her, she’d be cotton candy. She was also immediately pulled into a love triangle with Matt and Foggy who both pined for her. She, in turn, had a thing for Daredevil – and Matt. Let’s have a look at some Karen moments from the first four issues, shall we?
Here’s Karen way back in Daredevil #1 from 1964. Notice the lovely hairdo and the ever so becoming Florence Nightingale tendencies:
Description: The caption reads “But, entering the new office, Foggy finds it onuccupied, except for the most decorative accessory…” Foggy says “Karen! Today’s your day off! Karen answers “I know, Mr. Nelson! But I’m a stranger in New York, and had no one to visit, so I thought I’d tidy up the office while I hade a chance! Is Mr. Murdock with you?”
Description: Their conversation continues in the next few panels: Foggy says, “No! Matter of fact, I hoped he’d be here! I don’t like him wandering around town alone!” Karen says, “I understand! What a pity such a wonderful, handsome man is so handicapped!” Foggy thinks “Wow! I’d sure like to hear her talk about me in that adoring tone of voice!” then says to Karen, “Don’t let his blindness fool you Karen! He’s still the smartest, most capable, most courageous fella I know! He doesn’t even seem to mind not seeing!” Karen answers “There’s something about him that makes a girl want to take him in her arms and… Oh, I’m sorry, Mr. Nelson! I had no right to speak that way! It’s just that he seems to need someone to look after him!”
In fact, she gets so invested in Matt that in issue #2, she decides to contact a Dr Van Eyck on Matt’s behalf in the hope that an operation might restore his sight. Matt isn’t particularly enthusiastic about the prospect. Not because Karen shouldn’t be sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong, but because he fears that having his sight restored might affect his other senses as well. This makes absolutely no sense, but oh well. That’s comic book logic for you.
In issue number three, Karen is taken prisoner by the Owl, but not until after she’s spent yet another panel feeling sorry for him (seriously, she did that just about every other panel she was in…).
Description: The caption reads “And, upon joining Karen and Foggy again…” Foggy asks Karen and Matt, “I’m going to take Karen bowling tonight, Matt! How about joining us?” Matt replies, “No thanks, Foggy! I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to appreciate it! A spare and a near-strike sound about the same to me!” Karen thinks to herself “Poor Matt! My heart goes out to him for his handicap! If only I could take him in my arms…!”
After Matt – ahem – Daredevil rescues her from the Owl, she has something of an epiphany. She recognizes something of Daredevil in Matt. Who would have guessed?!
Description: Karen and Matt are walking down the street together when they stop. There’s a close-up of their faces as Karen stops to look at Matt. She says “It’s odd… even though you say that… you remind me somehow of another man… A man who is so totally different!” Matt answers, “Oh. Well, eh… I guess we’d better be getting home now…” Next panel, the caption reads “And, after reaching the city, as Matt slowly walks away…” Karen thinks to herself “I must be falling in love with him! Why else would such a shy, quiet, handicapped man remind me of… of all people… the man called Daredevil??!”
In Daredevil #4, Karen – who seems to be in perpetual danger – is once again rescued from the mind control of the evil Purple Man. It appears, however, as if she somehow sees something more in Matt yet again. This time she shrugs it off with a classic “I guess I’m just a silly female!” Indeed you are, Karen!
Description: Final panel of the issue, Foggy and Karen watch Matt leave the office. Foggy says, “There goes one of the greatest guys in the world! It sure is a pity he’s blind!” Karen responds, “And yet, for some strange reason, I sometimes feel he sees more than any of us! I guess I’m just a silly female!” A final caption reads “Daredevil, the fearless adventurer whom the world has taken to its heart, will thrill and amaze you again next issue! Join us then for the all-new action and Marvel-type surprises!
Well, more Karen coming up (eventually) in Oh Karen! #2. I’m guessing it will take about twelve chapters or so to bring us right up to 1998, the year in which she met her untimely demise.