We all know that Matt Murdock is no Peter Parker. He has (almost) always had a steady job, doesn’t live on his aunt’s wheatcakes, and is sufficiently low-profile to never have been his own clone (though he did almost sort of have a clone in the 90’s, but that’s different). Matt probably isn’t very wealthy, however, and one has to wonder how he was able to pay New York City-level rent for his apartment during those slower times at the firm. Either way, he has always had a nice place to call home.
Let’s take a look at a couple of the places Matt has lived over the years, starting with a panel from Daredevil vol 1 #8, an issue which also featured Daredevil’s first encounter with Stilt-man and his civilian alter ego Wilbur Day, who has since met his demise. One has to wonder if Matt had some sort of special villain appeal as a lawyer since they always seemed to come to him with their legal concerns. Another question is whether his habit of talking to himself while home alone was a prelude to the mental health issues that would plague him many years later…
Description: Matt enters his apartment as outlined in the main text below. Caption: “Later that night, after leaving the office, Matt Murdock goes directly to his apartment! And, for the first time, we show the apartment beneath Matt’s which he has secretly rented also, under an assumed name…” Matt (talking to himself!): “That Carl Kaxton certainly sounded rough! Over the phone! I hope I’ll be able to win Wilbur Day’s case against him! But I can’t get Stilt-man out of my mind! Who is he? How did he escape me so easily? What is his secret? … There’s only one thing to do when my mind is racing like this… I’ll go to the special soundproof gym in my apartment below…”
And here we see Matt’s comparatively humble apartment, complete with a gym and an electric workshop (for billy club manufacturing?), all accessed through the classic sliding bookcase covering the equally classic secret stairway. We also learn that Stan Lee apparently had a love affair with exclamation points. Eventually, Matt would move up in the world, and his apartment became decidedly more high-end. The panels below are from issue #167, by guest writer David Michelinie and penciller Frank Miller.
Description: Captions: “Murdock’s Upper East side brownstone is a veritable castle, remodeled to accommodate his needs as a lawyer — and as the Man Without Fear. He has a personal art gallery, containing countless sculptures and bas-reliefs — things of beauty to be touched but never seen, the most extensive Braille library in the world, and a hidden soundproofed gymnasium for countless hours of training toward physical perfection. To protect his secret identity, Daredevil leaves his brownstone through a disguised skylight exit, which he activates by stepping on an unmarked floorboard.”
Yeah, too bad that last “castle” of an apartment building got completely squashed by the Kingpin in the first issue of Born Again, taking with it all the books and the art… Fisk is such a meanie. I also seem to remember that there’s a similar layout of his apartment building from around the same time period. I’ll post it when I find it!
Next up, “Oh Karen! #2,” where we will take a look at the riveting love triangle between the lawyers and Karen Page in the pre-Mike Murdock era. It’ll be sappy and silly, and you won’t want to miss it!
Another question is whether his habit of talking to himself while home alone was a prelude to the mental health issues that would plague him many years later…
lol, you are a piece of work girl. That really made me laugh out loud!
Another thing that cracks me up are the handy “caption with arrows” that the Man used to put in these “explicative panels” of the early days.
Really, is there this imminent need to explain the reader that that is a sliding bookshelf and that those stairs are hidden?
It’s like if we follow the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words, but if we provide the thousand words anyway it’s still an improvement”
The caption with arrows is a remnant from the era of Sunday funnies where that was commonly used to point out such clever devices as Dick Tracy’s “two way wrist radio”, so you wouldn’t think old Dick was talking into his wristwatch or to himself.
Back in the Dark Ages, the writer and artists felt a need to explain everything. 8^)
For all his troubles, financial need doesn’t seem to have been Matt’s main trouble, which means that, on the whole, his lawyering has been a quite profitable work.
I mean, and excepting his youth in Hell’s Kitchen or the time when he had his accounts blocked and afterwards(in Born Again , up to Kevin Smith), he has been seen as the owner of a brownstone more often than not.