Something quite unexpected happens to Daredevil early in his career: he dies—at least as far as the general public is concerned. In order to solve some secret-identity problems, Matt Murdock takes the novel approach of killing off his alter-ego, then claims to be his own replacement. As a result, most people in his world—lacking our omniscient viewpoint—believe there was an original Daredevil who sacrificed his life in the line of duty. Everything after that point is thought to involve a second Daredevil. Even his fellow superheroes seem confused by this turn of events. I’ve always been interested in what the history of the Marvel Universe looks like to the people who live in it, and their story of Daredevil is surprisingly different from our story of Daredevil.
The internal chronology of the Original Marvel Universe works pretty well, I like to say—not perfectly. This post demonstrates how the sequence of events occasionally requires some tweaking to maintain a logical consistency. The major event here, from a chronology standpoint, is the election of Matt Murdock’s law partner, Foggy Nelson, as district attorney for New York. As the election is also featured in Amazing Spider-Man, this causes the Daredevil series to lag behind a bit, throwing off Daredevil’s crossover appearances in Avengers (requiring some minor details to be changed) and Iron Man (requiring one issue to be moved out of sequence). Still, I believe that making these small changes here causes the least amount of disruption to the timeline as a whole, and Daredevil catches up again early in Year Four.
Note: The following timeline depicts the Original Marvel Universe (anchored to November 1961 as the first appearance of the Fantastic Four and proceeding forward from there. See previous posts for a detailed explanation of my rationale.) Some information presented on the timeline is speculative and some is based on historical accounts. See the Notes section at the end for clarifications.
Here comes… The True History of Daredevil, the Man Without Fear!
January 1964 – Matt Murdock continues assuming the persona of a long-lost twin brother, “Mike,” around his law partner, Franklin P. “Foggy” Nelson, and their secretary, Karen Page, in order to protect his secret identity. Matt has convinced them that “Mike” is Daredevil, though he often finds this charade more trouble than it’s worth. However, both Foggy are Karen are still angry with Matt for his seeming betrayal of “Mike” last month, so pretending to be his own twin allows Matt to avoid the tension and enjoy their company. Matt is invited to give a lecture at Carter College, a small liberal-arts school in New England, and while there, he encounters a professor who claims he was attacked by a big green alien in the woods. Deciding to investigate, Matt dons his Daredevil costume and soon finds the alien spaceship and fights with its monstrous occupants. As luck would have it, the aliens plan to conquer Earth using an energy weapon that causes temporary blindness, which has no effect on the sightless superhero. The ray is activated, causing a wave of blindness to sweep over the globe—though most people in North America are asleep and don’t notice—but Daredevil quickly destroys the weapon. Convinced that they must abandon their invasion plans, the aliens beat a hasty retreat.
Back in New York, Matt convinces himself to ask Karen to marry him. However, when he arrives at the office, Foggy tells him that Karen has been kidnapped by the Masked Marauder’s gang in order to bait a trap for Daredevil. Claiming that he’s going out to find “Mike,” Matt instead becomes Daredevil and heads to the address left by the kidnappers. Upon entering, Daredevil continues to play the blind man and allows himself to be captured and unmasked, hoping to convince Karen that Matt Murdock is a brave and selfless man who is worthy of her love. The gang’s new leader orders Matt to be locked up while they wait for the real Daredevil. Matt quickly escapes, puts his mask back on, and fights with the crooks until the police arrive. Though Karen has responded the way he’d hoped, Matt suddenly realizes that being Daredevil’s wife would put her in constant danger, so he decides not to propose after all.
Daredevil hears the ransom demands broadcast by HYDRA, threatening to release a deadly spore into the atmosphere unless the nations of the world submit. Luckily, the terrorists are soon defeated by S.H.I.E.L.D.
When the Cobra and Mister Hyde go on a crime spree, Daredevil decides to bring them to justice. In order to draw them out of hiding, Matt disguises himself as their old enemy, Thor, and swings around the city on his grappling hook. Unfortunately, he is soon accosted by the real Thor, who is incensed that someone is impersonating him. Daredevil challenges Thor to a fight to prove that he is up to the task of taking on the Cobra and Mister Hyde. Though the thunder god easily bests Daredevil, he is sufficiently impressed to give the masked hero’s plan his blessing. Moments after Thor has departed, Daredevil is attacked by the Cobra and Mister Hyde, who quickly gain the upper-hand, only to suddenly abandon the fight. Daredevil trails them to an old barn outside the city, where he renews their battle, but they splash him with a chemical that deadens his hypersenses. Unable to prevent his foes from escaping, Daredevil slowly makes his way home.
The next day, Matt dresses up as “Mike” and goes to the office to tell Foggy and Karen that he has been struck blind. However, when Foggy spots the Cobra and Mister Hyde confronting the police on a nearby rooftop, “Mike” decides he must help capture them despite his handicap. He changes into Daredevil and, with Foggy’s help, convinces his two foes that he has regained his vision, putting himself in great peril to do so. The Cobra and Mister Hyde escape again, only to later ambush Daredevil and take him prisoner. They take the hero to another hideout, this one located in a remote lighthouse on the New England coast. There, Daredevil manages to sabotage the generator, plunging the building into complete darkness, which allows him to wrest the antidote from Mister Hyde. His hypersenses thus restored, Daredevil is finally able to fight back effectively. He knocks the Cobra unconscious, but fails to prevent Mister Hyde from escaping. After summoning the local police, who take the Cobra into custody, Daredevil makes his way back to New York.
The following morning, Daredevil tries to stop the Beetle from robbing an armored car, but he is so exhausted that the villain easily defeats him and makes a clean getaway. When he finally reaches the offices of Nelson & Murdock, Daredevil changes into “Mike” and informs Foggy and Karen that his “blindness” was only temporary. He then convinces them to take a vacation to Montreal by train, as he suspects the Beetle may try to steal a priceless diamond necklace that is being taken to a Canadian exhibition. His hunch proves correct as the Beetle raids the moving train and makes off with the necklace. Daredevil follows the villain to a nearby town, only to be captured by the Beetle’s gang. The Beetle decides to publicly unmask Daredevil at the exhibition in order to destroy his effectiveness as a crimefighter, and the long drive to Montreal gives Daredevil the chance to get some much-needed rest. Thus, the next morning, Daredevil is able to defeat the Beetle and his gang in a spectacular fight at the exhibition center. The crooks are taken into custody by the RCMP, the necklace is recovered, and Karen, Foggy, and “Mike” enjoy a week of skiing in Montreal.
February–March 1964 – When they finally get back to New York, Matt and Foggy get busy with several high-profile court cases. As a result, Matt has little time to go into action as Daredevil, though he does put in several appearances as “Mike Murdock” to keep Karen and Foggy from getting suspicious.
April 1964 – Growing restless, Matt goes out one night to patrol the city as Daredevil. He soon finds Electro and the Matador plotting to form a gang of his old enemies to destroy him. Daredevil swings down and attacks them, quickly taking out the Matador. However, Electro blasts Daredevil with a nerve-jangling jolt of electricity. Too stunned to pursue his fleeing foes, Matt returns home and goes to bed. The next day, Daredevil swings around Manhattan in search of his enemies. He ends up fighting with the Matador again, as well as Stilt-Man, but is forced to abandon the battle when he twists his ankle. The following evening, Daredevil encounters Frog-Man in Central Park and trails him to a nearby power plant, where Electro and his group are waiting. There, Daredevil battles the Gladiator, but Electro, Matador, Stilt-Man, and Frog-Man soon grow impatient and attack their enemy all at once. The chaos actually works to Daredevil’s advantage, and his foes’ lack of teamwork leads them to defeat.
Soon after, Matt decides to have Daredevil spend a couple of weeks with a USO tour entertaining the troops in Vietnam. During one of the shows, a wounded G.I. freaks out when his eyesight finally fails completely. Sympathetic, Daredevil goes to visit the soldier, Willie Lincoln, in the infirmary and tries to give him encouragement about living a normal, productive life despite his blindness. Willie feels hopeless, though, since before joining the Army he’d been a policeman and sees no way to return to that career. Sensing that Willie is in more trouble than he’s letting on, Daredevil advises him to look up attorney Matt Murdock once he’s back in the states.
May 1964 – Matt, Foggy, and Karen are shocked when the Trapster smashes through the window of their 15th-floor office. After roughing them up, the Trapster announces his intention to kill Daredevil to win back the respect of the supervillain community. Matt realizes that the law firm’s well-known association with his superhero alter-ego has put his friends in danger once again. After the Trapster has departed on his anti-gravity sled, Foggy and Karen exhort Matt to immediately warn “Mike” about the threat, forcing Matt to claim he doesn’t know his twin’s phone number. Incredulous, Foggy and Karen leave to notify the police. Once alone, Matt changes into Daredevil, feeling fed up with the whole “Mike Murdock” problem, and goes off in pursuit of the Trapster. When he finds his quarry, their battle carries them across the rooftops of the city, until the Trapster incapacitates Daredevil with some adhesive anti-grav discs borrowed from his partner, the Wizard. As Daredevil floats off into the sky, the Trapster sets off to kill the Fantastic Four. Daredevil manages to save himself with the grappling hook in his billy club, then races to the Baxter Building, where he saves the Invisible Girl from a hidden time bomb. When Mister Fantastic and the Human Torch return, they thank Daredevil for his help, but their conversation is cut short when Daredevil senses the Trapster nearby. Daredevil chases his foe across Central Park, through a department store, and into the subway system, where the Trapster is finally knocked unconscious and taken into custody by the police.
Before he can leave the subway, Daredevil is captured by Doctor Doom and taken to the fortress-like Latverian embassy. After toying with his prisoner for a while, Doctor Doom traps Daredevil in a strange device that transposes their minds into each other’s bodies. Matt is shocked as he suddenly regains the ability to see after twelve years of blindness, but he is immediately locked in a dungeon as Doom leaves to launch a surprise attack on the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, all the offensive systems in Doom’s armor have been disabled, but Daredevil manages to escape anyway by tricking the guards with his best Doctor Doom impression. In a desperate gamble, Daredevil goes to the main control room and broadcasts a declaration of war against all four of Latveria’s neighboring nations: Symkaria, Transia, Transylvania, and Yugoslavia. As Daredevil had hoped, Doctor Doom soon returns and switches bodies again so he can deal with the situation. As his world goes dark once more, Daredevil breaks free, grabs a fire ax, and smashes up the transference machine. Amused that the hero managed to outfox him, Doctor Doom allows Daredevil to leave the embassy alive. Daredevil immediately returns to the Baxter Building to apprise the Fantastic Four of the situation.
As he approaches the Fantastic Four’s headquarters, Daredevil is intercepted by the Human Torch, who clearly thinks Daredevil is really Doctor Doom in disguise. Daredevil maneuvers the Torch into crashing into a rooftop water tower, knocking him out. Spider-Man then drops in, curious as to why the two heroes are fighting each other. When Daredevil explains the situation, Spider-Man quickly swings off to find help. Daredevil continues on to the Baxter Building, where he is attacked by Mister Fantastic and the Thing. Spider-Man soon returns with Thor, and the six superheroes brawl until the Invisible Girl arrives and stops the fight with her force fields. She announces that Doctor Doom was just on the six o’clock news making a public address in Latveria. Mister Fantastic apologizes to Daredevil for the misunderstanding, and they all part on friendly terms.
Returning to the office, Matt learns that Foggy has been recruited to run for district attorney again. He is supportive of his partner’s ambitions, even though it means Foggy would have to give up his private practice. Matt is a bit disturbed, though, to discover that Foggy is dating Debbie Harris again, who is out on parole after serving six months in prison for her role in the Organizer’s scheme last summer. Foggy is trying to keep their relationship a secret, fearing the voters will reject him if it’s known he is dating an ex-con, especially since his opponent, Sam Bullit, is running on an extreme law-and-order platform. Matt is more worried that the public scrutiny brought by the campaign will expose “Mike Murdock” as a non-existent person.
When three of the Organizer’s henchmen, Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man, break out of prison, Daredevil tracks them down. During the ensuing fight, Daredevil learns that they have a new boss now, someone who calls himself the Exterminator. Though he stops the heist they were committing, Daredevil is unable to defeat his three foes. They throw him through a plate-glass window and stalk off into the night before he can recover. The next morning, Matt convinces Foggy to go public with his relationship with Debbie, before Bullit finds out and uses it against him. They plan a double-date at the swanky Palm Club, but the evening is ruined when Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man storm into the club and blast Debbie with an energy beam that causes her to dematerialize. Foggy is distraught, assuming Debbie has been disintegrated, but Matt’s hypersenses reveal she’s still there, just somehow out of phase with the rest of the world. He quickly changes into Daredevil and hunts down the evil trio, only to be blasted with the same energy weapon. Daredevil’s senses go crazy as he is transported to some kind of interdimensional limbo.
Daredevil struggles to adjust to the bizarre sensory input of the limbo dimension, where he soon locates Debbie Harris and some other people. One by one, they all fade away, allowing Daredevil to identify the subtle shifting of the energy patterns that indicates a rift is forming. Thus, he is able to leap through the next rift and return to Earth. Daredevil immediately heads home, where he finds Karen waiting. He assumes his “Mike Murdock” persona to speak with her, learning that two days have elapsed since he disappeared. Karen also informs him that the Unholy Three, as the papers are calling his foes, have kidnapped Foggy. Using his hypersenses, Daredevil tracks them down and crashes into their hideout, where he finds the Exterminator menacing Foggy with a large-scale version of his interdimensional-displacement weapon. Daredevil fights his way through Ape-Man, Bird-Man, and Cat-Man and blows up the weapon. Everyone except Daredevil is knocked out by the blast, and, seeing a chance to rid himself of his “triple-identity” problems, Daredevil rips up his shirt and leaves it in the wreckage where Foggy will see it. He retreats to a safe distance as the police arrive on the scene and arrest the Unholy Three. However, the Exterminator has vanished without a trace, and Daredevil guesses he’s probably trapped in the limbo dimension.
At the law office the next morning, Matt learns that Foggy has indeed assumed that “Mike Murdock” sacrificed his life to save him. Foggy also reveals his suspicion that the Exterminator was a scientist named Philip Sterling, who had been a member of the Organizer’s gang but escaped capture last summer. However, since the Exterminator was apparently vaporized in the explosion along with Daredevil, they can never know for sure. Matt finds he is unable to feign grief over the loss of his “twin,” which causes Karen to accuse him of being cold-hearted. As Foggy informs the press of Daredevil’s heroic death, Matt decides to take a break from being a superhero to focus on his relationship with Karen.
June–August 1964 – Over the course of the summer, Matt Murdock and Karen Page spend as much time together as they can while working several court cases and helping Foggy with his campaign for district attorney. Finally becoming lovers, Matt and Karen grow closer than ever before. They enjoy attending concerts together, as well as various fundraising events with Foggy and Debbie. Matt is happy to let the world think Daredevil is dead, and begins to contemplate abandoning his superhero career forever so he and Karen can have a normal life together.
September 1964 – When a costumed criminal called the Jester goes on a crime spree and escapes capture at every turn, Matt starts to think he may be forced to become Daredevil again. As such, he goes back to wearing his costume under his street clothes in case he gets a chance to bring the villain to justice. Soon after, the Jester accosts Matt, Karen, Foggy, and Debbie in Central Park and kidnaps Matt in order to force Foggy to drop out of the race for district attorney. Matt warns the Jester that the “new” Daredevil is coming after him, but the villain is undaunted. Arriving at his hideout, the Jester locks Matt in a basement room, where he immediately changes into Daredevil. When the Jester returns with some rope to tie his hostage up, Daredevil attacks him. However, he finds he has gotten a bit stale during his retirement, and the fight does not go well. Convinced that he’s facing an amateur, the Jester is not impressed. Daredevil finally feigns being knocked unconscious, then follows the Jester into the city as he goes to report to his employer. The Jester heads for the office of city politician Richard Raleigh, but when they arrive, Raleigh is apparently already dead. Daredevil confronts the Jester, but the villain decides to cut and run since his employer has been killed. Daredevil pursues him, but the Jester manages to escape. When Daredevil returns to Raleigh’s office, the body has disappeared. That night, Foggy holds a press conference and announces the coming of the “new” Daredevil.
Daredevil goes to Avengers Mansion to attend the impromptu wedding of the Wasp to a mysterious masked man known as Yellowjacket. He mingles with the other guests, including Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Thing, the Human Torch and his girlfriend Crystal, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange and his girlfriend Clea, Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, Beast, Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury. Daredevil also meets the Black Panther, the Black Knight, and the Vision. After the brief ceremony, a giant python erupts from the wedding cake and attacks the Wasp. The Avengers ask their guests to step out while they deal with the situation. About a half-hour later, the police arrive to take the Ringmaster and his Circus of Crime into custody. The guests then return to the party to discover that Yellowjacket is really the Wasp’s old beau, Henry Pym, a.k.a. Goliath. Several of the guests are curious about the “new” Daredevil, but he refuses to confirm or deny their suspicions.
Fearing for Karen’s safety, Matt returns to his previous aloof behavior, which leads her to an emotional breakdown. Karen tearfully resigns from her job, and Matt speaks unkindly to her, hoping she’ll move on with her life. Foggy and Debbie are shocked by Matt’s insensitive behavior, but he refuses to discuss it. He returns home, brooding that he and Karen can never be together as long as Daredevil stands between them. Foggy convinces Debbie to fill in as the firm’s legal secretary until he can find a suitable replacement for Karen.
Upset about losing Karen, Matt takes to the rooftops as Daredevil, intent on hunting down the Jester. However, he overhears a police bulletin about a thief who has stolen radioactive materials from a nearby hospital. Daredevil quickly tracks down the thief and knocks him out, but while examining the loot, he starts to feel dizzy and aggressive. Itching for a fight, Daredevil heads over to Madison Square Garden, where Captain America is giving an exhibition for charity. Without warning, Daredevil swings down from the rafters and savagely attacks Cap. Though confused at first, Captain America defends himself expertly, and their battle quickly leads them through the building and out into the streets. Suddenly, Daredevil’s berserker rage leaves him and he realizes the radiation had induced a form of temporary madness. He flees the scene, ignoring Cap’s demands for an explanation. The next morning, Matt is embarrassed to read reports of how the new Daredevil was soundly defeated by Captain America, though Cap graciously insists it was all part of the show.
October 1964 – Matt Murdock meets with a new client—Willie Lincoln. Willie explains that he’d been kicked off the police force after being framed for bribery by mobster “Biggie” Benson, who used a stooge named Whitey Barton to incriminate him. Matt agrees to take the case, believing he can clear Willie’s name. It is from Willie that Matt learns that Karen has taken a job at the city’s Welfare Department.
A week later, Matt hears a news bulletin that an obscure actor named Jonathan Powers plans to reveal Daredevil’s secret identity at the stroke of midnight on the George Washington Bridge. Though it may be a hoax or a publicity stunt, Matt decides he’d better check it out. When he arrives at the bridge later that night, Daredevil hears a man calling for help and swings down to offer assistance. The man attacks him viciously, and as the crowd of reporters closes in, the man suddenly screams that Daredevil is trying to kill him. The man then wrenches free of Daredevil’s grasp, tumbles over the railing, and plunges into the dark waters below. The police on the scene try to arrest Daredevil, forcing him to flee. The next morning, the Jester appears on television to announce that he intends to bring Daredevil to justice for the murder of Jonathan Powers.
Realizing the Jester has framed him, Daredevil tracks his foe to Central Park, but their fight is interrupted by the police. Daredevil is forced to spend the next two days evading a police dragnet, which prevents him from changing into his civilian identity. With Matt Murdock’s home and office under constant surveillance, Daredevil decides to hide out at the Statue of Liberty. Unfortunately, the Jester turns up and keeps him busy until the police can capture him. The next morning, Daredevil escapes from prison and finally makes it to his law office. Matt explains his disappearance to Foggy and Debbie by claiming to have been mugged. After getting some rest at home, he realizes that the “murder victim” was none other than the Jester himself. Hatching a plan, Matt buys a Jester costume and wears it to the NBC studios, where he makes an impromptu appearance on The Tonight Show. Posing as the Jester, he brags to Johnny Carson about how he captured Daredevil yesterday. As anticipated, the real Jester storms into the studio, outraged that someone would try to steal his glory. Daredevil reveals himself and attacks his foe. After a battle that trashes the studio, Daredevil manages to unmask the Jester, revealing him to be Jonathan Powers. The Jester confesses to his scheme on national television, and Daredevil is exonerated.
A couple of weeks later, Willie Lincoln is ready for his day in court. Daredevil stakes out Willie’s apartment to make sure “Biggie” Benson’s goons don’t try anything. Sure enough, a hit-man comes to kill Willie, but Daredevil beats him up and sends him back to his boss. The next day, Matt expertly maneuvers Whitey Barton into admitting that Benson forced him to lie about Willie taking bribes. All charges against Willie are dropped, but Matt decides to go home with Willie as a precaution. When three of Benson’s hit-men show up that night, Matt tells Willie to hide in the closet. He then turns out all the lights and attacks the gunmen, trying to make them think he’s Willie. During the fight, Matt changes into Daredevil and finishes them off. Daredevil convinces Willie to take all the credit so the gang will leave him alone. As the police arrive and take the gunmen into custody, Willie goes along with the plan, reluctantly. Daredevil assures Willie that Matt Murdock will put in a good word for him with the police commissioner.
A few days later, an army of mercenaries employed by the international crime cartel Zodiac invades Manhattan, sealing the island off behind an impenetrable force field. They announce that, unless they are paid one billion dollars in ransom within 24 hours, they will liquidate the island’s population. Daredevil teams up with the Black Panther, who reports that they are the only superheroes at large in the city, as Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, and Quicksilver have been captured by Zodiac. Daredevil and the Black Panther attempt to rescue the Avengers from the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue, only to find the captive heroes have already been moved to Madison Square Garden to face public execution. Daredevil puts on some of his old “Mike Murdock” clothes and infiltrates the crowd at the arena, where he manages to use his billy club to sabotage the units keeping the Avengers in suspended animation. Once free, the Avengers make short work of Zodiac’s forces, and as soon as the force field is disabled, the National Guard pours into the city to round up the mercenaries. Daredevil spends the rest of the day helping the Avengers repair some of the damage caused to Manhattan’s bridges and tunnels by the invasion. That evening, Daredevil rendezvous at Avengers Mansion with Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Goliath (formerly Hawkeye), Quicksilver, the Scarlet Witch, the Black Panther, and the Vision. When the Avengers realize that the three separate cases they were working on were in fact all related to Zodiac’s invasion plot, Daredevil reminds them of the fable of the three blind men and the elephant.
Just days before the election, Foggy’s opponent, Sam Bullit, is exposed in the Daily Bugle as a corrupt fraud. As Bullit is arrested on charges of kidnapping, conspiracy, and other crimes, his campaign collapses, leaving Foggy running essentially unopposed.
November 1964 – Daredevil learns that Stilt-Man has been hired to make sure Foggy does not become the next district attorney. He races to the offices of Nelson & Murdock to get his partner to safety, but when Matt enters, he is shocked to find that Karen has returned. They kiss passionately, but, fearing that Stilt-Man is on his way, Matt immediately chases Karen, Foggy, and Debbie out of the office. No sooner has he changed back into Daredevil than Stilt-Man comes crashing through the window. Daredevil manages to drive the villain off, but he evades capture by fleeing through a perfume factory that overwhelms Daredevil’s hypersenses. Matt is frustrated that, once again, Karen and Foggy think he’s an insensitive jerk.
Two days later, Franklin P. Nelson wins the election for district attorney in a landslide victory. However, he is still angry with Matt, who ducks out of the early-evening celebration and returns to his brownstone apartment. As soon as he arrives, though, Matt is attacked by a large rubbery robot and knocked out. When Matt comes to, he finds himself lying on the sidewalk outside, being tended to by Willie Lincoln and his seeing-eye dog. Willie helps Matt up, telling him that he’s now working as a liaison between the police and the black community under the auspices of the National Urban League. Once he’s back in his apartment, Matt changes into Daredevil to wait for the robot to strike again. Sure enough, it soon comes crashing through the wall, but during the ensuing fight, Daredevil manages to give the robot a jolt of electricity that damages its systems. The robot retreats, enabling Daredevil to follow it back to its creator. Fearing capture, the robot-maker sets fire to his own laboratory, and in the confusion, he inadvertently reprograms the robot to kill his employer, “Biggie” Benson, rather than Daredevil. Though Daredevil pursues the robot to the penitentiary, he fails to stop it from killing Benson. After finally disabling the robot, Daredevil heads home to his wrecked apartment, starting to feel weak and dizzy.
Matt then phones Karen and arranges to meet her for a late dinner. On his way to the restaurant, Matt encounters the roboticist, who reveals that he knows Matt is Daredevil. Introducing himself as Starr Saxon, the roboticist then disappears into the crowd. Matt’s head is throbbing too much for him to get a fix on Saxon with his radar sense. At the restaurant, Matt’s condition worsens, and when he senses Saxon is nearby, he tries to lead him away from Karen. Unfortunately, Matt passes out in the alley behind the building. He is soon found by the Black Panther, who follows him back to his apartment. There, Matt starts to feel better and becomes Daredevil again to rescue Karen from Saxon. Foggy then arrives with the police and alerts Daredevil that the robot was highly radioactive, which is what made him sick. Fearing that Saxon will expose his secret identity, Daredevil lets him escape, and the Black Panther agrees not to intervene. Frustrated, Daredevil broods about the situation until dawn, then decides the only way to foil Saxon’s plans is to fake his own death—again—and kill off Matt Murdock.
A couple of days later, Matt stages an elaborate demise by crashing a single-engine plane into Long Island Sound. As the newspapers report Matt Murdock’s tragic death, Daredevil terrorizes the underworld in search of information on the whereabouts of Starr Saxon. After getting into an argument with Spider-Man, Daredevil learns that his old foe, Zoltan Drago, a.k.a. Mister Fear, has gotten out of prison and challenged him to a duel at the Central Park Zoo. Daredevil decides to put his search for Saxon on hold to see what Mister Fear is up to. The fight at the zoo goes badly for Daredevil, who falls victim to his foe’s power to induce panic attacks. Looking for a place to hide out afterwards, Daredevil returns to the law offices of Nelson & Murdock, where he finds Foggy and Karen going through Matt’s case files and personal effects. Pretending to be the “new” Daredevil, he asks Foggy for information on Zoltan Drago, and thus learns he suffered from an intense fear of heights. Since the Mister Fear he fought at the zoo was zipping through the air on a large flying disc, Daredevil suspects he was an impostor. The next day, Daredevil tracks down Mister Fear and discovers him to be none other than Starr Saxon, who admits to having killed Drago and stolen his costume and equipment. However, during the fight, Saxon loses his footing, falls off his flying disc, and plunges to his doom. Though Saxon’s body is not found, Daredevil is convinced his foe is dead and is relieved to be out from under the shadow of blackmail.
Daredevil learns from Foggy that the bereaved Karen has gone back to her family’s estate in Fagan Corners, Vermont. Intending to finally tell her the truth about his multiple identities, Daredevil makes his way to the Page family’s Victorian mansion, but when he arrives, he is accosted by a bizarre apparition calling itself Death’s-Head. Undaunted, Daredevil storms into the house, where Karen and her mother inform him that Karen’s father, the disgraced nuclear scientist Paxton Page, has disappeared, perhaps kidnapped by enemy agents. Later that night, Daredevil battles Death’s-Head but is defeated. Upon returning to the house, Daredevil learns that Death’s-Head is a manifestation of a figure from nightmares Karen had as a child. Suspecting the butler, Daredevil tails him to a nearby abandoned mill, underneath which is a secret laboratory. However, when Death’s-Head threatens them both, Daredevil realizes the villain must be Paxton Page himself. His hunch is proven correct when Death’s-Head sacrifices himself to save Karen from the death-trap he’d sprung for Daredevil. The butler reveals himself as a government agent assigned to protect Paxton Page from foreign spies, though he admits he couldn’t protect Page from the radiation that ultimately drove him mad.
Following Paxton Page’s funeral two days later, Daredevil reveals to Karen that he is Matt Murdock. Stunned to learn that not only is Matt alive, but he is also a superhero, Karen faints. Daredevil carries her back to her room, where she soon revives. As they discuss the situation, Karen realizes that both “Mike Murdock” and the plane crash that “killed” Matt were just elaborate frauds. She assumes that Matt is not really blind, either, but he explains about the childhood accident that took away his sight and granted him his superhuman senses. The next day, they return to New York, where a stunned Foggy quickly arranges a press conference. They explain away Matt’s apparent death as part of the new district attorney’s scheme to trap Mister Fear, claiming that Matt spent the last ten days hiding out in Vermont. Foggy then surprises Matt by announcing that he will serve as Foggy’s Special Assistant for an investigation into the mysterious underworld figure known as “Crime-Wave,” who is trying to unite all the New York gangs into one syndicate. Afterwards, Matt asks Karen to marry him, but she is hesitant to commit if he intends to continue putting his life at risk as Daredevil. He assures her that tomorrow’s charity appearance will be Daredevil’s farewell performance.
The next afternoon, Daredevil attempts to make a speech at a UNICEF parade, but he is interrupted by a motorcycle-riding assassin calling himself Stunt-Master. Daredevil easily defeats Stunt-Master, who admits that he was offered $1,000 by Crime-Wave to kill Daredevil. Realizing that too many criminals would be glad to be rid of Daredevil, Matt decides not to announce his retirement after all. Bitterly disappointed, Karen leaves, but the crowd prevents Daredevil from going after her. Later, Matt grows frustrated when Karen tries to distance herself from him. A day or two later, Stunt-Master, a.k.a. George Smith, is arraigned on the charge of attempted murder, but gets off on a technicality and goes home to California.
Daredevil spends the next week trying to break up Crime-Wave’s protection racket, but meets with limited success. Luckily, Willie Lincoln manages to discover the location of Crime-Wave’s secret headquarters, which Foggy publicizes in order to bait a trap. When a hired killer known as the Torpedo comes after Willie, Daredevil is waiting for him. Although the Torpedo gets the better of Daredevil, Willie knocks him off the roof where they are fighting, and the assassin falls to his death. The next day, Matt infiltrates the staff aboard Crime-Wave’s gambling ship, anchored outside the twelve-mile limit. With some unwitting help from Debbie Harris, Daredevil is able to catch Crime-Wave red-handed and send his ship back into U.S. territorial waters, where the Harbor Patrol can arrest all the crooks. Foggy personally unmasks Crime-Wave and is shocked to discover he is one of the top assistants in the district attorney’s office, Mason Hollis. Despite his success in smashing Crime-Wave’s syndicate, Matt then spends a depressing Thanksgiving Day alone in his apartment, brooding about Karen.
A couple of days later, Karen agrees to a dinner date, but she gets upset when Matt decides he must try to capture the Cobra and Mister Hyde after they rob the Guggenheim Museum. Karen refuses to listen to Matt’s explanations of why he can’t give up being Daredevil, so he takes her home. At the museum, Daredevil is intrigued to learn that the two villains stole only a few antique toys, but since there are no other leads, he goes home to bed. The next day, a carnival owner named Lemuel Frye leads Daredevil into a trap, where he discovers that the Cobra and Mister Hyde are in league with the Jester. The three villains have converted the carnival rides into death-traps, but, though Frye is killed, Daredevil escapes and defeats the evil trio in the Hall of Mirrors. The police arrive, led there by Karen, and take the villains into custody. When Daredevil thanks Karen for the help, she angrily reminds him that it is her birthday, but he obviously had other plans.
December 1964 – Receiving an anonymous tip, Daredevil goes to stop the robbery of a Broadway theater box office. He is beaten to the punch by a new superhero calling himself Nighthawk. However, the next evening, Matt learns that the two crooks apprehended by Nighthawk were never turned over to the police. Suspicious, Matt tracks Nighthawk’s meteoric rise to public acclaim over the next several days, and finally decides to expose Nighthawk as a fraud. Disguised as a jewel thief, Daredevil ensures that he is caught red-handed by Nighthawk, but his bag of loot contains a hidden microphone. Nighthawk admits that he’s not really interested in fighting crime and just wants to be a celebrity, and his words are broadcast to the crowd below. Daredevil then reveals himself and chides Nighthawk for becoming a phony hero instead of a real one. They get into a fight, but the disgraced Nighthawk escapes into the subway system.
A few days later, Matt accompanies Foggy to a Long Island police precinct where five industrial spies, known as the Espionage Elite, are being held after their capture at Stark Industries. Iron Man arrives to interrogate the spies as to the whereabouts of their leader, Spymaster. When the angry Golden Avenger gets too rough with the prisoners, Matt intervenes. Iron Man storms out, leaving Matt and Foggy to continue their investigation. Later that afternoon, though, Matt decides that Daredevil should check up on Iron Man. Near Stark Industries, Daredevil comes across a woman skulking around the rooftops in a catsuit and a metal facemask. At first he thinks she might be a cat burglar, but they are both ambushed by Spymaster and taken prisoner. The woman identifies herself as Madam Masque, and she and Daredevil make an escape attempt, but they are knocked out by a force field. When he regains consciousness, Daredevil finds that he, Madam Masque, Iron Man, Nick Fury, and an Irishman are the helpless prisoners of Spymaster and three members of Zodiac: Aquarius, Capricorn, and Sagittarius. A weapon called the Zodiac Key is then used to transport them all to another dimension ruled by a group of mystics called the Brotherhood of Ankh. The mystics insist that the heroes and villains all battle each other, so their conflict will recharge the Zodiac Key’s energies. However, Daredevil refuses to fight, leaving the Brotherhood with no choice but to return them to Earth. When the group materializes at Stark Industries, the members of Zodiac are quickly captured, but Spymaster escapes. Nick Fury then gives Daredevil a lift back to Manhattan.
The next morning, Karen announces that she’s quitting her job and leaving town. Matt tries to talk her out of it, but she refuses to discuss it and storms out in tears. Nevertheless, Matt accompanies Foggy out to Ryker’s Island Prison, where Melvin Potter, a.k.a. the Gladiator, is claiming to have amnesia. During the interview, Matt’s hypersenses immediately reveal Potter to be lying, but he has to keep it to himself. In an effort to prove to Potter that he is the Gladiator, Foggy has him put on his armored costume. As expected, as soon as he snaps his circular saw blades to his gauntlets, the Gladiator attacks them. Matt slips out, changes into Daredevil, and fights with the Gladiator. The villain soon discovers that the district attorney switched out his real saw blades for cheap imitations, and he is recaptured. Later that day, Matt follows Karen out to Los Angeles, where he tracks down Karen’s college roommate, Sally Weston. Sally claims to think Karen is still in New York, and Matt can’t tell whether or not she’s lying over the telephone. He changes into Daredevil and searches the city for Karen, without success.
After nearly two weeks of searching for Karen, Daredevil stumbles upon Stunt-Master committing a robbery. Daredevil quickly captures him, and Stunt-Master admits he’d been trying to go straight until getting bamboozled into doing one last job. They hatch a plan to switch costumes in order to catch the crooks that set Stunt-Master up. Disguised as Stunt-Master, Daredevil meets with the men who hired him and learns that the mastermind behind the plot was the robbery victim himself, who’s trying to scam the studio he works for out of a fortune. Daredevil and Stunt-Master knock the crooks out and slip away as the LAPD storms in. They exchange costumes again, then return to the scene of the bust to talk to the reporters. Daredevil graciously gives most of the credit to Stunt-Master, who is hailed as a hero.
Christmas comes and goes as Daredevil continues his fruitless search for Karen. A few days afterwards, he learns that Stunt-Master has been signed to star in an action-adventure TV show as himself. The next morning, Daredevil has had enough and breaks into Sally Weston’s apartment to search the place. He discovers that Karen is, indeed, staying there, and that Sally has gotten her a bit-part on the gothic soap opera Strange Secrets. Daredevil heads over to the studio to look for Karen, and finds her being menaced by a big bruiser calling himself Brother Brimstone. Daredevil drives the villain off, then walks Karen back to Sally’s apartment. Karen explains that “Brother Brimstone” is a character from the show, played by the hot-tempered actor Ross Archer, whose behavior lately has been increasingly erratic. When they arrive, Karen says it would be best if she and Daredevil were not seen together, and Matt agrees to give her some time to sort out her feelings.
The next day, Daredevil hides out in the rafters of the soundstage where Karen is filming Strange Secrets. Suddenly, Daredevil detects Brother Brimstone on a catwalk above him and swings up to confront him. Brother Brimstone drops the dead body he was carrying, fights with Daredevil, and escapes. Daredevil is surprised when the dead body is identified as Ross Archer. Production on Strange Secrets is halted for a few days, and Daredevil offers his help to the LAPD detective in charge of the investigation. The offer is refused, but Matt knows that Karen will not be safe until Brother Brimstone is captured.
January 1964 – Daredevil’s adventures resume in Daredevil #28 and following. The aliens Daredevil encounters are the Queega, from the Andromeda galaxy. In the next issue, Daredevil stops by the offices of the Marvel-Universe counterpart of the Marvel Comics Group and meets with Stan Lee. This confirms that Daredevil is one of the titles they publish, apparently illustrated by Gene Colan. Daredevil is among the heroes who make cameo appearances in the S.H.I.E.L.D. story in Strange Tales #156.
April 1964 – Daredevil fights the Emissaries of Evil—Electro, Gladiator, Stilt-Man, Frog-Man, and the Matador—in Daredevil Annual #1. He then travels to Viet Nam, where he meets Willie Lincoln, as seen in the flashback in Daredevil #47.
May 1964 – Following his battle with Doctor Doom, Daredevil appears in Fantastic Four #73, along with Spider-Man and Thor. The Fantastic Four would be well aware of Doom’s ability to switch bodies with someone else, as they experienced it firsthand back in Fantastic Four #10. The names of Latveria’s four neighboring nations are not revealed in the story, but the map of the Balkans on Marvel Earth would eventually become clear. While Daredevil is searching for the Unholy Three just prior to Daredevil #39, Foggy Nelson appears in Uncanny X-Men #46 to read Charles Xavier’s will. Later, Foggy is correct that the Exterminator was really Philip Sterling, who will eventually escape from the interdimensional limbo and menace Daredevil again as the Death-Stalker.
September 1964 – Prior to Matt resuming his career as Daredevil, Foggy appears in Amazing Spider-Man #65, conferring with retired police captain George Stacy. The crooked politician Richard Raleigh presents something of a problem, as his death in Daredevil #42 is supposed to follow his appearance in the magazine-format Spectacular Spider-Man #1. However, that story was later incorporated into Spider-Man’s regular continuity, showing Raleigh to be very much alive. Therefore, I must presume that Raleigh feared the Jester was coming to kill him and took a drug that would simulate death. A few minutes after Daredevil left, Raleigh revived and decided to lay low for a while, probably leaving New York on a quiet “fact-finding” mission. Since only Daredevil and the Jester thought he was dead, Raleigh’s apparent demise would never have made the news. Immediately afterwards, Daredevil attends the wedding of the Wasp and Yellowjacket in Avengers #60.
October 1964 – Daredevil and the Black Panther team up against the forces of Zodiac in Avengers #82. At this point, the Black Panther has not yet learned Daredevil’s secret identity, so the two heroes likely meet on the rooftops of the city after T’Challa causes the blackout to slow the invasion down. Also, though they mention battling the Thunderbolts gang, that doesn’t actually happen until next January. Amazing Spider-Man #91–92 shows Sam Bullit’s rise and fall. It is probably only because of Bullit’s disgrace that Foggy, a relatively young and inexperienced lawyer, wins the race for district attorney.
November 1964 – In Daredevil #48, Foggy wins the election in a landslide, and apparently begins serving as the district attorney immediately afterwards. Meanwhile, in the presidential election, Republican senator Morris N. Richardson defeats incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson amidst widespread claims of voter fraud and other election-day irregularities. The nation is unaware that Richardson is also Number One of the Secret Empire and plans to turn America into a totalitarian dictatorship. Following the election, NASA’s Apollo mission safely lands men on the moon, as seen in Fantastic Four #98 and Astonishing Tales #1. The lunar mission was ready five years earlier than in the real world due to advanced technology available from Stark Industries and elsewhere, though the Secret Empire made sure it did not take place until the election was over. For more information, see OMU: POTUS - Part Three. After his apparent death in Daredevil #55, Samuel “Starr” Saxon’s broken body is retrieved by his robot servants, who transfer his mind into a computer, as revealed in Captain America #249. He will eventually return as the Machinesmith. Karen’s hometown, Fagan Corners, Vermont, is named after comics fan Tom Fagan, who organized the annual Rutland, Vermont Halloween Parade that was featured in numerous comic books of the time.
December 1964 – The story in Iron Man #35–36, which crosses over into Daredevil #73, actually takes place between Daredevil #62 and 63. Although Daredevil #73 necessarily occurs out of sequence, there’s nothing in that issue to cause any continuity problems. The Irishman is Stark Industries engineer Kevin O’Brien, though Daredevil doesn’t get the chance to learn his name. Daredevil’s encounter with Brother Brimstone brings us up to Daredevil #65.
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