Oh Karen! #4, still guest-starring Mike Murdock

Well over a year ago, I started a series called Oh Karen! that was intended to chronicle the life and times of Karen Page, from the first issue until her death many decades later. This was all going nicely until I realized recently that I hadn’t added any new chapters to Karen’s story in well over a year. For shame! If you’re new to this site, and are curious about what happened to Karen before issue #30, have a look at the first three posts in this series.

When we last saw Karen, she had just been introduced to Matt’s fictional twin Mike Murdock, whom Matt invented on the fly in Daredevil #25. Here, we see the Mike Murdock madness continue. So, with no further ado, I bring you Karen’s meeting with Matt pretending to be Mike being Daredevil pretending to be Thor (and, if this story seems familiar, it’s probably because I recently blogged about it in “Because I can’t just kill him” – part 6). From Daredevil #30:

Daredevil enters through the window, dressed as Thor, Daredevil #30
Daredevil enters through the window, dressed as Thor, Daredevil #30

Continue reading “Oh Karen! #4, still guest-starring Mike Murdock”

Oh Karen! #3, guest-starring Mike Murdock

This episode of Oh Karen! looks at the early issues of the Mike Murdock era through Karen’s eyes. I don’t think I’ll ever do a separate post about the madness that was this strange plot development, so what I do have to say about “brother Mike” will have to be said here. I’m sure he’ll pop up again when I discuss an issue he was in, and quite possibly in Oh Karen! #4, but that’s about it. If you want to read more about Mike, I direct you again to the links in this post, and this post.

Completely unrelated, but apparently there’s also a televangelist named Mike Murdock. The annoyingly colorful design of his website, found at www.mikemurdock.com, is only paralleled but the look of his fictitious namesake’s clothes. I personally consider his hideous wardrobe choices as Mike to be solid proof that Matt doesn’t really “do” colors…

So, what does all this have to do with Karen? Well early Karen was quite promiscuous with her affections, and Mike Murdock managed to take her breath away. While she was still in love with Matt, Karen was quite taken with his other personality’s “bad boy” appeal. Below, we have the panel from issue #25 that started the whole thing. Spider-man has sent a letter addressed to Matt in which he confronts him with the fact that he knows that Matt is really Daredevil.

Karen reads a letter from Spider-Man, Daredevil #25
Karen reads a letter from Spider-Man, Daredevil #25

Karen feels embarrassed about opening Matt’s letter, but in the light of the fact that he’s been missing for a couple of issues, she and Foggy were hoping to find a clue. Of course, I do like Karen’s line: “But why would Spider-man have written such a letter — if it weren’t true?” I mean, it’s not like people ever make rash and unsubstantiated allegations, right?

When Matt shows up in the office, a couple of pages later, he is faced with having to come up with a story on the fly. Don’t ask me why a simple “Well, Spider-man is obviously mistaken, as evidenced by the fact that I’m totally blind” wouldn’t suffice in this situation. But then again, when you’re faced with such solid arguments as Karen’s “What would make him say that? Spider-man hasn’t the time to make rash accusations!” what are you going to do? Here, I’d actually like to take a moment and just consider the meaning of the adjective “rash.” My trusted online dictionary of choice gives the following definition: “characterized by or resulting from ill-considered haste or boldness.” Seems to me that rash accusations are exactly the kinds of accusations you make when you don’t have time to put together a solid argument…

Matt makes up a twin brother on the fly, Daredevil #25
Matt makes up a twin brother on the fly, Daredevil #25

Anyway, Matt is put on the spot, and makes up a story about a twin brother no one has ever heard of. Foggy shows an unusual amount of common sense in questioning why he’s never heard of this brother since they’ve been best friends for years. Good question! Matt then goes on to characterize his twin as both reclusive and the black sheep of the family. Things go from bad to worse when Foggy demands to see this mystery brother…

Mike Murdock makes his first appearance, from Daredevil #26
Mike Murdock makes his first appearance, from Daredevil #26

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. You’re looking at Mike Murdock’s big debut. I always wondered why Karen or Foggy didn’t question the fact that he’s just let himself into their office, and why he and Matt where never seen together, but thinking too much will inevitably give you a headache. It’s like thinking about where the universe ends or something.

Despite being a fairly despicable figure, “Mike” manages to be quite successful in getting on Karen’s good side, whereas Foggy is more of a skeptic. I really do hope Matt has a good singing voice as he’s doing a song and dance (different panel) routine in the office in issue #26.

Mike Murdock strutting his stuff, from Daredevil #26
Mike Murdock strutting his stuff, from Daredevil #26

Issue #26 is also famous for featuring the story where Daredevil took on both Stilt-man and Frogger (sorry, Leap-frog…). This was enough to score quite a few points with Karen who seems to be thinking “wow, isn’t he just too dreamy…?” Foggy, meanwhile, seems more inclined to agree with the teaser for the next issue: “Mike Murdock must die!”

Foggy is complaining and Karen is smitten, from Daredevil #26
Foggy is complaining and Karen is smitten, from Daredevil #26

Mike Murdock does not die in issue #27. But Karen and Matt do manage to get themselves kidnapped by the Masked Marauder aka The Evil Landlord. The Masked Marauder wants to get at Daredevil and tries to get his name. Matt finds himself in a jam, once again, as he is forced to reveal Daredevil’s “true” identity while coming off as the most disloyal brother in the world.

Matt betrays his "brother" when he and Karen are kidnapped, Daredevil #27
Matt betrays his twin when he and Karen are kidnapped, Daredevil #27

In issue #28, Karen is still upset with Matt for his disloyalty, but seems to have all the time in the world to spend with Mike. Between all the kidnappings and the soap opera twists, it’s amazing they ever did any work at all in that office.

Karen watches while Mike juggles, from Daredevil #28
Karen watches while Mike juggles, from Daredevil #28

Before going to Carter College to give a lecture about the legal ramifications of aliens arriving from outer space (though Mike has told Karen and Foggy that Matt has already left), Daredevil decided to ruin his friends’ date by dropping in unannounced. In this panel, from issue #28, we see Karen actually thinking, and getting dangerously close to figuring out how the whole thing fits together.

Karen does too much thinking, from Daredevil #28
Karen does too much thinking, from Daredevil #28

By issue #29, Matt has decided to propose to Karen. At first, he can’t quite decide whether he should do it as Matt or Mike since he can’t really decide which one is his true identity(!) So, he does what any sound superhero keeping up three identities would do, he lets other circumstances dictate his course of action as he changes outfits high up on a window ledge.

Matt changes into his suit on a window ledge, Daredevil #29
Matt changes into his suit on a window ledge, Daredevil #29

First, Matt gets a chance to redeem himself and clear his name when Karen is kidnapped by the Masked Marauder’s men. They have been tipped off by a note left by their boss that the people at Nelson & Murdock know Daredevil’s true identity. Daredevil rushes over there and now pretends to be Matt dressed up as Daredevil in order to protect his brother. Did you follow that? Me neither. This ends in the wonderful “unmasking” scene that is also portrayed on the cover, where we are led to believe that Matt actually wears his shades underneath his mask!

Daredevil is unmasked!, from Daredevil #29
Daredevil is unmasked!, from Daredevil #29

At the end of this issue, Matt comes to the conclusion that being married to him is simply too dangerous. In light of his track record as far as relationships are concerned, this is probably a valid assessment. His proposal to Karen was not to be, and it would be quite a few issues before they took their relationship to the next level.

Matt decides that marrying Karen is too dangerous, Daredevil #29
Matt decides that marrying Karen is too dangerous, Daredevil #29

Matt: “Her very life was threatened… because someone merely suspected she knew me! If she became my wife… she’d never be safe for a minute!”

On the other hand, considering that she’d already been kidnapped five times since joining the firm, one wonders how big a difference it really would have made. I really hope she got paid for all those hours she spent as a hostage. Who knew being a legal secretary could be that exciting?

Oh Karen! #2

Okay, so let’s check in with Karen again, shall we? Or rather, Karen, Matt and Foggy, since everything Karen does for the next fifteen issues is tied up in what I jokingly dubbed the Love Triangle of Doom a few posts ago. While Dr. Doom was in no way involved, the love triangle itself was indeed doomed. Karen would end up choosing Matt over Foggy, despite Foggy’s every effort. Foggy actively pursued Karen – to the point of pretending to be Daredevil (but there’s enough goofiness in that storyline to warrant its own post somewhere down the line) – whereas Matt pined for her from a distance. Karen, meanwhile, had her eyes set on Matt. Well, except for slight jealousy she felt toward Debbie Harris when she was seeing Foggy. Apparently, Stan Lee didn’t picture women as the kind of bunch who would easily make up their minds about something. Matt, on the other hand, is convinced that all Karen feels for him is pity for a “sightless” man. Yes, Stan’s complete infatuation with the word “sightless” is becoming more and more apparent as it begins to pop up about three or four times every issue in all its corny glory.

Let’s look at the soap opera that was early Daredevil through the lens of some twenty panels from issues #6 through #17. After that, a new chapter begins in issue #25 as the triangle turns into a square – or perhaps even a pentagon, depending on how you look at it – as Matt is forced to make up a fictional twin brother when his secret identity is compromised for the first time. The Mike Murdock subplot would go on for an amazing sixteen issues, and we’ll look at Karen’s part in all of it in “Oh Karen! #3.” Now on to the task at hand!

First, we have three panels from Daredevil #6:

Karen in a panel from Daredevil #6, by Stan Lee and Wally Wood
Karen in a panel from Daredevil #6, by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Okay, does anyone want to count the exclamation points in these two panels? And I wonder if Stan Lee knows the meaning of the word dictate, but that’s another story. Let’s see what happens when Ox lands Foggy in the hospital in the wake of an appearance by the first Mr. Fear…

A second panel of Karen from Daredevil #6
A second panel of Karen from Daredevil #6

Karen rushes off to the hospital, perhaps wondering why oh why Matt hasn’t proposed yet when it’s been a full five and half issues since their first encounter. Some guys sure like to take their time, don’t they?

Third panel of Karen from Daredevil #6
Third panel of Karen from Daredevil #6

Wow, this is all starting to get pretty complicated. If only people could learn how to communicate! Am I right? 😉 The below panel is from Daredevil #9. The surprise Karen is talking about is that Klaus Kruger, “hereditary ruler of the Principality of Lichtenbad” (and former classmate of Matt and Foggy’s in law school) has promised to take Matt back with him to have an eye operation performed by the appropriately named Dr. van Eyck. The doctor has just relocated to Lichtenbad, and that’s what they were discussing in the preceding panel.

Karen and Matt in Daredevil #9, by Stan Lee, Wally Wood and Bob Powell
Karen and Matt in Daredevil #9, by Stan Lee, Wally Wood and Bob Powell

Why don’t you two talk it out already?! Okay (taking deep breath), moving on… Below is another panel from Daredevil #9, which lets us check in on Karen and Foggy while Matt is living it up in Lichtenbad.

Foggy and Karen alone in the office in Daredevil #9
Foggy and Karen alone in the office in Daredevil #9

Hmm… I’m suddenly wondering if those seven years of bad luck you get for breaking a mirror were accidentally transferred to Matt. Looking at the last thirty years of the comic, it would certainly appear so. Below, in issue #10, we have Karen once again questioning her true feelings. Foggy is running for D.A. and he’s been seeing Debbie Harris.

Yeah, Karen… Why don’t you make up your mind already? Then again, having one of your love interests go missing in a shipwreck can make you see things more clearly. Below we see Karen mourn Matt’s apparent death in Daredevil #13. This first panel is on the same page as the one I posted in Bad Foggy! and he doesn’t come across as a whole lot more sympathetic here. He wisens up at the end though.

Karen breaks down at the news that Matt is missing, Daredevil #13
Karen breaks down at the news that Matt is missing, Daredevil #13

Of course, Matt is very much alive (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it), as shown below…

Karen and Foggy find out Matt is alive, Daredevil #14
Karen and Foggy find out Matt is alive, Daredevil #14

Below are two additional panels from #14 where Foggy is something of a jerk once again, and Karen is finally reunited with Matt.

Foggy is being a jerk again, Daredevil #14
Foggy is being a jerk again, Daredevil #14
The law firm is reunited, Daredevil #14
The law firm is reunited, Daredevil #14

Wow! If only that would have been enough. Instead, here we find them having the same problems in issue #16.

Karen leaves Matt at the office, disappointed, from Daredevil #16
Karen leaves Matt at the office, disappointed, from Daredevil #16

Before moving on to the next two panels, from issue #17, some explanation is required: Spider-man has tracked Daredevil to the offices of Nelson and Murdock, and assumes that Foggy must be Daredevil. Spidey is quite paranoid about the whole thing too since the Masked Marauder has sent a number of Daredevil look-alikes after him, and actually dangles poor Foggy from the office window in an attempt to get him to confess. This plants the seed for Foggy’s brilliant idea to pretend to be Daredevil to win Karen’s love. No one ever said being a guy in love was easy. Though I guess I wouldn’t know. Being a girl and all…

Matt laments not being able to help against Spider-Man, Daredevil #17
Matt laments not being able to help against Spider-Man, Daredevil #17

Oh no, Foggy! Don’t go there, it ends badly. Believe me! Poor guy, now he’s even jealous of Spider-man. Below is a panel with some kind of record-breaking seven thought balloons. This was apparently enough for a self-congratulatory statement from Stan the Man himself.

Stan Lee goes overboard in the thought balloon department, Daredevil #17
Stan Lee goes overboard in the thought balloon department, Daredevil #17

“Chalk up another no-prize award for our Batty Bullpen! Seven thought balloons in one panel… Undoubtedly a new world record! — Sensation-monger Stan!” Okay, I think everyone has had about enough panels for one day (and for some reason, placing all these images behind a cut didn’t work this time…). In the next installment of this series, we’ll look at what happened when Mike Murdock was thrown into the mix!

Oh Karen! #1

Foggy and Karen discuss Matt, Daredevil #1

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:

Foggy looking for Matt, Daredevil #1
Foggy looking for Matt, Daredevil #1
Foggy and Karen discuss Matt, Daredevil #1
Foggy and Karen discuss Matt, Daredevil #1

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…).

Karen feeling sorry for Matt, Daredevil #2
Karen feeling sorry for Matt, Daredevil #2

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?!

Karen sees something of Daredevil in Matt, Daredevil #3
Karen sees something of Daredevil in Matt, Daredevil #3

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!

Foggy and Karen admire Matt in Daredevil #4
Foggy and Karen admire Matt in Daredevil #4

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.