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:
Description: Karen is watching Matt from afar in the office. Foggy is also in the scene. Caption: “And now, back again to our intrepid legal eagles…” Matt is thinking to himself: “It was nice of Foggy to get me this push-button tape recorder, so I could dictate without seeing! But, I wonder what he’d say if he knew I can use the most delicate electronic equipment more capably than a sighted man? From the sound of Karen’s breathing, I know Karen is looking at me! She’s pitying blind Matt Murdock, I suppose!” Foggy on the phone: “Don’t worry Collins! I’ll have that brief prepared for you by Tuesday morning!” Karen thinking:”Oh Matt, I love you so! If only you’d give me some encouragment! Just a word… or a gesture! But I can see that you simply don’t care!” Matt thinking: “It’s hard to think when she’s so near me! If only Foggy didn’t love her, I’d make a pitch myself… Even though it would be hopeless! But she must never know how I feel about her!”
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…
Description: Karen is alone in her apartment. Caption: “And, at Karen’s apartment, where she ponders her most difficult decision…” Karen says “I know Foggy wants to marry me! …And he’d make a wonderful husband! But… I can’t stop loving Matt! Yet, a girl can’t throw away her life for a man who’ll never propose…! Who could be calling at this hour? What?!! Franklin Nelson… In emergency… At Municipal Hospital!! I… I’ll be right there!”
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?
Description: Karen rushes to the hospital where she meets Matt. Caption: “While, back in the hospital…” Karen says “Oh, Matt, I always took Foggy so much for granted! But now… Now that he’s in danger… I realize how much I care for him…!” Matt is thinking “I knew it! She does love him! Now I can never tell her how I feel… Never!” Matt says “I… I’d better go now, Karen! But, I’ll be back if you need me!” Karen is thinking “Yes, I care for foggy, Matt… But it’s you I love! If only you weren’t so cold… so unemotional… Oh, Matt… Matt…”
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.
Description: Karen and Matt are walking down the street, arm in arm. Matt is thinking “Lichtenbad? That’s just a fly speck on the map of Europe! Why would the world’s most famous eye doctor move there?” Karen says “Anyway, I’m going to have a suprise for you soon! I hope you’ll like it!” Matt replies “A surprise? What kind of surprise, Karen?” Karen says “If I told you that, it wouldn’t be a surprise any more, would it?” Karen thinks to herself “Oh, Matt, my darling! If only we could stay this way forever… Arm-in-arm… never to part!” Matt is thinking “Her pulse has quickened… Her heartbeat speeded up! I can almost believe she’s in l… NO! It can’t be! …It mustn’t!”
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.
Description: Karen is seen daydreaming in the office with her sole remaining boss hovering in the background. Caption: “And, as Matt Murdock waits breathlessly for the doctors next words, let’s return briefly to the U.S., where we find…” Foggy says “Karen, would you get me the file on the sub-mariner case, please?” Karen, looking very absent-minded says “Yes, Matt… Eh, I mean Foggy!” Foggy thinks to himself “She’s been that way since he left! She can’t forget him for a minute! Even though he’s sightless, it’s Matt whom she loves! I can stand right in front of her, and she doesn’t know I’m there! To Karen I’m nothing… Nothing…!” Out of frustration, Foggy punches and breaks a mirror. Karen comes to his aid at the sound of the crash: “Foggy! What is it? What happened?? Oh… your hand! Did you hurt yourself…??” Foggy is thinking “It’s not my hand that hurts me Karen! …It’s my heart! But nothing can change that!” Foggy speaks: “I’m all right! I accidentally brushed past the mirror, breaking it!” Foggy is thinking to himself again: “I wish there were no Matt Murdock! I wish he’d never return! And I hate myself for it!”
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.
Caption: “Meanwhile, at the law office, Foggy is elated…” Foggy: “Karen, I’m beginning to believe I really have a chance! The latest poll results show the party is gaining like crazy! You may be looking at the next D.A.!” Karen: “I hope so, Foggy!” Karen thinking: “But why does the prospect chill me? Is it because of her… of Deborah? Am I jealous? Do I really care for Foggy after all?”
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.
Foggy: “Karen! Pull yourself together! He may still turn up somewhere! Stranger things have happened!” Karen: “No! He’s gone! I’ve lost him forever! He’ll never know how… I cared!” Foggy thinking: “I was right! She did love him! But she can’t mourn him forever!”
Of course, Matt is very much alive (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this and you wouldn’t be reading it), as shown below…
Caption: “And so, Foggy Nelson receives an unexpected cablegram a short time later–!” Foggy: “Karen! It’s from Matt! He’s alive! He’s in England right now! Do you hear — Matt Murdock is alive!” Karen: “Oh Foggy! This means he was saved when the plunderer attacked his ship! I-I’m so happy!” Foggy: “And what’s more — he needs us! There is an important case coming up in Britain which he wants me to try for him! Involving someone named Ka-Zar!”
Below are two additional panels from #14 where Foggy is something of a jerk once again, and Karen is finally reunited with Matt.
Foggy thinking: “Just when I felt that I myself could have a chance with Karen! But what’s wrong with me?!! Matt’s my partner — my friend! I can’t wish him any harm! — If only Karen didn’t care for him!” Foggy says “Call the airport — we’re flying to London!” Karen: “Oh Foggy! Isn’t it wonderful! We’ll all be together again — the way it used to be!” Foggy: “I asked you to call the airport — not to make speeches!” The, thinking to himself: “Easy, Foggy — easy! Get a grip on yourself!” To Karen: “Sorry Karen! I didn’t mean to snap at you!”
Description: Foggy and Karen meet Matt at the airport in London. Foggy says “Matty boy! You ol’ sonuvagun! It’s great to see you again!” Matt: “Thanks Foggy! It’s good to be back!” Matt thinking: “The way she called me darling! If-if only I could feel she meant it!” Karen: “Nothing’s been the same without you, Matt! You mustn’t ever leave us again!”
Wow! If only that would have been enough. Instead, here we find them having the same problems in issue #16.
Description: The caption reads “But, what about the real Daredevil? Let’s visit Matt Murdock, and find out–” Karen says to Matt, as she leaves the office, “I’ve no date tonight, so I guess I’ll curl up with a good book!” Matt replies “Sounds like a great idea, Karen! Hope you enjoy it! See you tomorrow morning!” Karen is thinking: “Oh, Matt — Matt! You big goof — can’t you even take a hint?? Why can’t he feel about me the way I do about him? Won’t he ever ask to date me??”
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…
Caption: “While, back at the law office of Nelson and Murdock…” Matt: “I’m sorry I wasn’t able to do anything to help..!” Karen: “Don’t be silly, Matt! What could you… or anyone… have done against Spider-man!” Foggy is thinking: “The tone of voice she uses when she says Spider-man… If only I could hear her mention my name with such awe! And yet… Perhaps I can!”
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.
Foggy is thinking: “I feel like a heel for trying to give Karen the wrong impression! And yet… All my live I’ve dreamed of being a heroic figure! Even in college, I remember how it was Matt who had all the glamor! Although blind, it was he who won top honors in every course, while I just plodded along! I’ve always been nothing but… Mr. Ordinary! I don’t know where this will lead to, but I can’t back out now! I’ve got to see it through!” Karen is thinking: “Matt has been so silent through all of this! Can it be that he’s envious of Foggy? It isn’t at all like him, and yet… What man wouldn’t wish that he could be Daredevil himself?” Matt is thinking: “I don’t know why Foggy is doing it, but he doesn’t realize how dangerous it is! He’s putting his life on the line! If the underworld should get wind of this, he’ll be a target for half the trigger-happy hoods in town!”
“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!