Well, I was going to post the first installment of my Random Reviews series tonight. The random numbers generator had dictated that I would review the second issue in Brian Michael Bendis’s arc Decalogue (issue #72, vol. 2), and I will. Just not tonight. I had also planned to post the update of Hell’s Kitchen tonight – and I may still do that – but before getting to any of it, I decided to kill the “Matt Murdock is a player” myth once and for all. I have my reasons for posting about this now (a chatroom conversation), but this post could have been written at any time.

This myth is based on a couple of different assumptions. The first one is that Matt has had an unsual number of girlfriends or sexual partners. The second is that he’s pretty much been with every woman he’s been close to in the book. Both of these are clearly false. So, let’s take a look at all the women he’s been naked with, and some of the ones he hasn’t touched and see what we find, okay? In chronological order (in continuity, not by publication date)

  1. Elektra Natchios

    While I sort of hope Matt at least went on a date or two in high school, Daredevil continuity is pretty clear on Elektra’s status as first girlfriend. It is also safe to assume that the two were both virgins when they met. Either way, their relationship lasted for a year before Elektra’s father was murdered and she went all dark on him. While Matt may certainly have done the deed with other women in college, we are led to believe that he was pretty broken up about her. Either way, if we didn’t hear about it, it doesn’t count.

  2. Karen Page

    It started as a complicated affair between these two and stayed in that vein. In fact, they’ve been reunited three times. Karen leaves Matt relatively early on – and even that goes back and forth for a while – and then returns to him in Born Again, later during Chichester’s run (after he cheated on her with Typhoid Mary during Nocenti’s run), and finally during the Kevin Smith arc Guardian Devil which marked the end of the road for her.

  3. Natasha Romanova

    Wow, Matt sure does sleep around, going from one monogamous relationship to another. *ahem* Either way, Matt and Natasha experience a troubled but passionate partnership in and out of the bedroom for a while, during their time in San Francisco, and then part ways. While they may have been friends with benefits in between panels at other times, it still doesn’t increase Matt’s count for the total number of partners.

  4. Moondragon

    Daredevil and Moondragon shared a mutual attraction, but they never actually acted on it. With Moondragon having been raised on another world (Titan), and Matt still being in a relationship with Natasha, it never developed beyond a close emotional connection. On the other hand, I can see how Moondragon actually living in the Matt/Natasha/Ivan household for a month would have been a little weird. Alas, we can assume that there were no orgies at the mansion.

  5. Heather Glenn

    Matt remains single for a while before reluctantly falling in love with goofy heiress Heather Glenn. Their relationship was never particularly solid, but they did contemplate marriage at one point. It was also complicated further by Elektra’s return to New York, and Matt wasn’t exactly a good boyfriend, but there was never any infidelity that we know about. The two part ways and Heather kills herself. Well, you all know how that goes.

  6. Becky Blake

    Why would I put Becky Blake on this list, you ask? For some of the same reasons I put Moondragon on this list, to show female characters with whom Matt has had an emotional bond of some kind (in Becky’s case, this never went beyond friendship, though she certainly had the hots for him), yet never slept with. Because, the myth would have us believe that Matt sleeps with every woman his radar touches and that simply is not true.

  7. Glorianna O’Breen

    Somewhere in the post-Elektra and Heather mayhem, Matt had a brief relationship with Debbie Harris’s neice from the green isle. She would later end up meeting her meaningless demise in a stupid storyline years later, but not before leaving Matt for Foggy. I know some fans who share a certain understanding for Glorianna’s tastes.

  8. Typhoid Mary

    With the conclusion of Born Again, Matt is back with his long lost love Karen Page, and all goes well for a while. Then, he falls under the spell of the enigmatic Mary and cheats on Karen, which I must admit bothered me a little. Sure, she has a certain control over him, but still. After Chichester takes over the book, Matt reunites with Karen.

  9. Nyla

    Nyla was the girl Matt befriended during his amnesia phase at the end of Nocenti’s run. I’d say they were pretty close for a while. They didn’t get naked though. Then again, maybe that was because Matt couldn’t remember he was supposed to be such a “dawg.”

  10. Maya Lopez

    Shortly after Karen dies, Matt has something of a rebound relationship with the mysterious deaf woman Maya, while her alter ego – Echo – is trying to kill Daredevil. Their courtship seemed innocent enough though, and consisted mostly of hanging out at coffee shops and going to movies (that was actually a pretty funny scene, if you ask me). Like a very twisted episode of Friends or something. However, with this being the 21st century, I’m going to assume the did more than just hold hands, and I’m marking her name in bold. In case any of you were wondering, that’s the significance of the formatting.

  11. Milla

    The first woman with whom Matt went all the way and finally tied the knot, and currently in refrigerator-like stasis in the book. This frees Matt up for other relationships down the line, but not without serious complications as the two are still married and Matt probably isn’t ready to give up on her yet.

  12. Dakota North

    Will something happen between these two? Some say “yes.” So far, they are co-workers and friends and Matt hasn’t slept with her yet. Until he does, she’s proof that Matt does not, in fact, sleep with every woman who comes in the room. And here I haven’t even counted all women he’s casually come into contact with, such as Kathy Malper, Rosalyn Sharpe (yeah, a little twisted, but she’s a woman), countless secretaries and legal aides, and probably a crime victim or two.

So, what’s the tally? Well, Matt has had sex with eight women… Eight! Holy cow! And he’s how old? Early to mid thirties? Let’s say thirty-five and conclude that he’s had roughly one new sex partner every two years. He sure sleeps around, doesn’t he?

In case you’re wondering, the self-reported median number of sexual partners for American men happens to be… eight. Wow, not bad. If you look at the average, it’s even higher with all those actual skirt chasers skewing the numbers. I’d say Matt better get a move on, or he’ll turn into a downright prude…

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

20 comments

  1. I wonder if the reputation (like Tony Stark’s) is because there’s no constant female love interest in the comic – therefore any woman he spends time with is a Major Love Interest and he’s a bit of a man-whore! I think your list spells it out nicely – serious relationships with Elektra, Karen, Heather and Milla (and possibly Natasha, but she seemed to consider him more of a buddy-with-benefits). Not very many, really.

  2. Admittedly, I’ve known people who were far more promiscuous than Matt and in a shorter span of time! Matt’s “score” is quite nun-like, in comparison, and (with the exception of Typhoid Mary), whenever he’s been with a relationship with a woman, that woman has been the only one (for the while).

    Then there’s the question whwther we consider Matt’s sleeping with a customer (in “Elektra lives again”) or openly flirting with one (as in “daredevil: father”) as canon… Though personally, the first one would fit in Matt’s erractic state of mind after the trauma of Elektra’s death. The second one is by Joe Quesada, so I think no further comment will be required… Well, yes: sometime in teh future people will read the books he has scripted and wonder why Quesada was ever allowed to come close to any typewriter (there should be a law against it)

    Maybe what makes Matt seem promiscuous it is the comparison with Foggy’s score, which is lower than either Matt’s or the American average, LOL. Re the Glorianna affair, it must be said that Matt was not a reliable boyfriend, skipping dates and all. Foggy, in constrast, showed himself as a trusty guy one could depend of: Some of us girls like men we can trust :p, so i?m definitely with Glori in her choice of men.

  3. For me, it is not a matter of quantity what makes a character a player/womanizer, but of quality. In almost every relation he’s been in, Matt has always been serious about it.
    This is why I don’t think he fits the definition of “player”.

  4. Candace Nelson could be on the list (not in bold). I seem to remember her a Matt going out a time or two during the later Steve Gerber stories.

  5. Hmm, does the italic formatting mean that there was attraction but she didn’t have sex with Matt or simply that is an example of a female character who crossed paths with Matt but didn’t end up in any relationship?
    Because if it’s the latter, other characters could be added, such as Lily Lucca.

  6. Hmm, yes. The italics simply means that they were a female character of some significance that Matt didn’t sleep with but probably would have if actually had been the male version of a nymphomaniac. So yes, both Candace Nelson and Lily Lucca should probably be added. I’ll wait until someone comes up with yet another one (what was the name of that female layer in Playing to the Camera?) and then update the post so they are all included. 🙂

  7. Wow, I’m really sleepy apparently. That should be “…if he actually had been…” and lawyer, not “layer.” Too bad you can’t edit comments.

  8. The playing to the camera girl was named Kate Vinokur.

  9. I re-read some old issues of Captain America today and I realized Cap almost had as many GF than DD !
    http://snarkfree.blogspot.com/2006/07/top-five-captain-america-girlfriends.html
    Adding “honorable mentions” Rebecca Quan (from the Robert Morales run)and Connie Ferrari (the Jurgens run ?) to the Top Five, that makes seven ! And I think he also had an affair with the Scarlet Witch…

  10. 12. Dakota North
    Will something happen between these two? Some say “yes.” So far, they are co-workers and friends and Matt hasn’t slept with her yet. Until he does, she’s proof that Matt does not, in fact, sleep with every woman who comes in the room.

    Uh-oh, this one backfired… 😉

  11. Yes, I guess it sort of did. LOL Oh well, at least he hasn’t touched Becky yet. And I don’t think he’s touched Josie over at Josie’s bar either (though considering she might be the mother of his yet-to-be-revealed missing half-brother that’s probably good). 🙂

  12. I really enjoyed this article, ran into it from today’s post.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT FOGGIE, HUH?! They have been “partners” for quite some time, they usually stay late at night in the office together, and spent their wild college years together.

  13. And by “Foggie”, I mean “Foggy”. I almost lost what little DD cred I had left right there.

  14. Ah! I guess you haven’t seen this post, just brewing with sexual innuendo. Seriously, though, I’ve read Matt/Foggy fan fiction, and it was painful (I’m all for gay rights, but slash is just not my cup of tea). They are more like brothers.

  15. I’ve always regarded Murdock as a “player”. Not promiscuous, but definitely a player. His love life is certainly much more active and he had more sexual partners than most superheroes. I’m positive I’ve read more one comic book where it shows him having one night stands. Of course, writers are not going to show him having different sexual partners all the time, but I think it shows he is not morally above that, just like Ann Nocenti showed him not above cheating. He is not like Starfox, that’s for sure, but caracters like those are not taken seriously and are shown as immature. As far as I know, most DD readers regard him as a player and there is nothing wrong with that.

  16. You should add Candace Nelson, Kate Vinokur, Elaine Kendrick (his sexy but anti-Daredevil secretary during “Playing to the Camera”), Lily Lucca, Felicia Hardy, and Kirsten McDuffie (in varying italics and bold) to the list. Also, I think a lot of this reputation comes from the fact that Matt and Natasha were the first in married couple to share a home in any comic book in the entire world. That, coupled with Natasha’s own… “progressive” views on sexuality, may have given Matt an image as a guy who will sleep around outside of a marriage a long time before that was common (or at least commonly remarked on).

  17. Reading this post, I was reminded of a panel from a Wolverine comic (part of the “Enemy of the State” storyline from a few years ago, and no, I can’t offer a more precise reference) where Logan called Matt, to his face, “the biggest himbo ever to put on a pair of tights”. That’s pretty funny when you consider that Wolverine hangs out with the X-Men … unless he knows (smells?) something on Matt that we’re missing …

  18. Are you sure about Matt and Nyla not being lovers? I realize we never saw them get naked together on-panel, but in reading those issues I thought they had implied an off-panel physical relationship had developed.

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