Despite having his own movie and a popular Netflix show, Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil, still has plenty of cool facts from his long history that many fans might not know about.
Everyone and their mother knows that Daredevil is blind. They might even know that he’s an orphan or that his father was a boxer or that he was trained by a man named Stick. But that’s not everything there is to know about the New York vigilante. Daredevil has had over half a century worth of stories in his comic book run, and over that time he’s developed quite the colorful history.
We’ve already done a list on powers that you might not realize he has, so for this list we’ll stick to facts about his life or adventures that you might not have heard of.
Let’s see how well you know the Devil Of Hell’s Kitchen. Here are 17 Things You Didn’t Know About Daredevil.
17. His Original Costume Was Yellow
We all know Daredevil’s signature red suit and horned mask. You might even know his all-black street clothes and blindfold look, thanks in part to the Netflix show. But did you know the Devil Of Hell’s Kitchen didn’t always look so cool? In fact, his original costume involved tights. Bright yellow tights.
In his original comics, Matt Murdock got around in a bright yellow and black costume with a single red ‘D’ on the chest. The costume was originally supposed to look like an acrobat’s suit, since Matt was a skilled acrobat, with skin-tight leggings and a leotard. Thankfully the embarrassing look didn’t last long and his signature red was introduced in issue #7 the following year. All in all, he’s had five different costumes during his career, including a brief stint in a heavily armored suit and a black and red one.
16. He’s Friends With Spider-Man
With so many Marvel characters operating out of New York City, it stands to reason that they would run into each other from time to time. Such is the case with life long New Yorkers Spider-Man and Daredevil. The two, who it’s worth noting share a similar origin story, meet for the first time in issue #16 of The Amazing Spider-Man in 1964, after Daredevil rescues the web slinger. It wasn’t until later that the two eventually revealed their identities to each other, after Matt uses his ability to distinguish heartbeats to learn his secret. Over the subsequent half-century the two have remained superhero besties, often teaming up together to keep the streets safe.
Eagle-eyed fans have even believed to have spotted a Spidey cameo in Daredevil season 1 in a newspaper clipping. Unfortunately the picture is too small and blurry to tell for sure, so the jury’s still out on that one, but it would be a pretty cool shout out to their long-running super-friendship.
15. He Pretends To Be His Fake Twin Brother
In one of the more bizarre storylines to feature in the comics, Karen and Foggy begin to suspect Matt’s identity as Daredevil. Matt, having to think on his feet, quickly comes up with this explanation: Daredevil is actually his previously unheard of identical twin brother, Mike Murdock. That’s right, Matt makes up a fake twin brother to cover his tracks. In an even more bizarre turn of events,he then has to pose as Mike to convince everyone of the lie.
So he dresses in eccentric clothing and starts to act loud and brash to distinguish himself from Matt’s more quiet personality. He even uses his super senses to make it look like he’s not blind. And everyone just believes it. In fact, Matt himself even starts to believe it and asking himself which is the real him, Matt or Mike? He even considers proposing to his girlfriend Karen as Mike.
The storyline proved to be to confusing and unbelievable for the audience and the idea was ultimately scrapped after less than 20 issues. Matt fakes Mike’s death and the storyline is quickly forgotten.
14. He Works With The Black Widow
Before everyones favourite Russian Avenger was teaming up with Iron Man and Captain America on the big screen, Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, regularly worked with Matt Murdock in the comics. In fact, the two have a long and complicated history in the comics that spans over 40 years. They first met when Matt defended Natasha in court when she faced a murder charge, and they then fell in love. Soon enough, the two heroes were spending their nights fighting crime as a dynamic duo. Over the years they’ve shared a comic title, Daredevil and The Black Widow; they’ve been roommates, crime-fighting partners, and lovers. In the 1970s the two moved to the west coast and became San Francisco’s resident crime-fighting couple.
While their romance ultimately didn’t last, the two still cross paths from time to time and end up kicking a lot of ass together. Now if only we could get the MCU and the TV universe to meet in the middle, maybe one day we could see these two work together in live action.
13. He Moved To San Francisco
Despite being known as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, Matt hasn’t always operated out of the New York City neighborhood. In 1972, Daredevil and Black Widow relocated to the sunny bays of San Francisco together. They were the first major Marvel characters to move outside of New York and take up operations elsewhere. While living in the Bay Area, Daredevil and Black Widow take on a plethora of famous villains who have seemingly followed them across the country, including Electro, The Purple Man, Mister Fear, and Indestructible Man.
He stayed on the west coast, sharing a mansion with Black Widow and her partner Ivan before the call of the Big Apple proved too much for the New York native. He ended up returning to his old stomping grounds in Hell’s Kitchen after 23 issues. Daredevil and Hell’s Kitchen go hand-in-hand. We really couldn’t imagine the character working the same way he does if he were to call anywhere else home for too long.
12. He Was Fired By The Fantastic Four
As we’ve seen in the Netflix series, sometimes being a hero is a real problem for Matt’s law career. This fact was made painfully obvious in this storyline from the early comics. When Nelson and Murdock are hired by their first high profile clients, superhero team The Fantastic Four, things seem to be looking up for the pair. The Fantastic Four hire Matt to go over some legal documents concerning the lease for the Baxter Building, not knowing his secret identity at the time. During the case Matt discovers that the supervillain Electro is breaking into the building to steal Mister Fantastic’s secret formulas and blue prints.
Matt, dressed as Daredevil, confronts Electro only to have him escape. He then spends most of the day tracking the villain down and fighting him. After he finally defeats Electro and hands him over to the police, he races back to the office to meet with the team. When the Fantastic Four return to Nelson and Murdock they discover Matt hasn’t had time to do any of his law work. Not knowing that he spent his day defending their home and work space, the group decided to find a more reliable lawyer and promptly fire him.
11. He’s Met Batman
Yes, by Batman we do mean that Batman. While DC and Marvel have always had a bit of a rivalry going, that doesn’t mean they can’t occasionally work together. In fact, they’ve done quite a few inter-company crossovers, including the time the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen met the Bat of Gotham. This particular crossover actually has happened three times. The was a non-canon one-shot called Daredevil/Batman: An Eye For An Eye, where Gotham and New York occupy the same universe. The two go toe-to-toe before turning their attentions to the bad guys and teaming up.
The second time around, this time in canon, Daredevil finds himself mysteriously transported to Gotham City during the Unlimited Access Marvel/DC crossover event. The two vigilantes share a brief scene together, after Daredevil saves the character Access from being hit by the Batmobile. They exchange names before Daredevil is magically transported back to Marvel’s universe.
They then teamed up once more for another non-canon one-shot called Batman/Daredevil: King of New York to take down Scarecrow and Kingpin, when they conspire to unleash fear gas over Gotham City. Considering the two characters have similar tones and story arcs, both being orphans who fight street level crimes in dark cityscapes, the two gelled nicely together.
10. He Suffers From Depression
It’s always a good reminder that most of these heroes are human when we see them struggling with very human problems. While it’s awesome to watch Spider-Man fight the Green Goblin or Iron Man take on a god, it can be just as compelling to watch Peter Parker try to graduate high school or Tony Stark try to overcome his addictions. The human side to these heroes is what makes them relatable. Daredevil’s human side is never more apparent than when we discover he suffers from depression.
It makes sense that Matt would have some psychological effects from a job that regularly involves high stress situations, the death of loved ones, and the occasional demon possession. In a particularly moving moment during Mark Waid’s 2014 Daredevil run, Matt gives us an insight into his struggle with mental illness. He tells us that depression drives everything good in his life away and leaves him feeling numb and drained. In another comic, he also admits to thinking about suicide after his girlfriend’s death.
9. He’s An Avenger
The coming Netflix team-up The Defenders isn’t the only superhero team Daredevil has joined over the years. He is, in fact, a member of an Avengers team as well. After the original Avengers roster disassembles, a new version is eventually formed, the aptly named New Avengers. This roster included Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Spider-Man, the Thing, Captain Marvel, and plenty of others.
When Captain America approaches him to join, Matt initially turns down the offer (he once turned down an offer to join the original Avengers as well), citing how messy his life as Daredevil already is without adding the Avengers to the mix. During the crossover event Fear Itself he is asked to join the team by his friends Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, the former of whom is now the Avengers team leader. His answer remains unclear until the very last panel, where he is shown sitting on the couch at the Avengers Mansion. He addresses the audience, introducing himself with a smile as a swashbuckling ninja who “couldn’t say no to a friend“. He then went on to appear as a regular character in the line up from the end of 2011 to the beginning of 2013.
8. He Was Part Of The Inspiration For Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
When the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic was created, it parodied a number of popular comic books of the time. One particular comic it borrowed heavily from was Daredevil. The Turtles took their origin story directly from the Daredevil comic, where a traffic accident involving a blind man and a truck douses them in radioactive chemicals to give them powers. The first issue even included what many consider a sneaky Matt Murdock cameo, when one of the chemical canisters hits a young boy directly in the face, mirroring Matt’s origin.
As well as the shared origin story, their wise, martial arts-practicing mentor Splinter is a play on Daredevil’s wise, martial arts-practicing mentor Stick. But perhaps funniest of all, they even took Daredevil’s arch nemesis, a clan of evil ninjas called The Hand, and rebranded them as The Foot.
7. He Regained His Sight (More Than Once)
Like Wolverine’s claws or Batman’s cowl, Matt Murdock’s blindness has always been a defining feature of the character. Not only does it give his story a unique twist, it is also the reason he can do what does, since his blindness is balanced by his other super senses. But, thanks to a few magical interventions, Matt has been given back his sight a few times over the years.
The first came when the powerful character Moon Dragon needed his help when she was injured. Using her immense powers, she restored his sight, but in doing so she stripped him of the radar sense that he had grow so used to using during fights. Unable to use his fighting skills in the same way without his radar sense, he eventually gets her to restore the status quo.
The same thing happens at least twice more with The Beyonder and The Uni-Power both gifting him back his eye-sight for brief periods of time. Of course, neither time lasts too long because what is Daredevil without its blind hero at the helm?
6. He Was Married Once
Matt Murdock has had a number of high-profile love interests including long time girlfriend Karen Page, old flame Elektra, and partner-in-crime Black Widow. But another lesser known love interest was one he actually ended up marrying, Milla Donovan.
After rescuing her from a near-miss accident, Matt realizes she is blind just like him. The two strike up a relationship and eventually end up tying the knot. Unfortunately, like most comic book romances, things end up very badly.
During their time together, Matt won’t move on from the death of his last girlfriend, which causes him to suffer a possible breakdown. Then Milla is almost killed by multiple villains. Then Matt cheats on her. And then she ends up going crazy and killing someone. Yes, you read that right, their relationship ends when she kills someone.
Poor Milla is given a drug by Mister Fear that makes her go crazy and she ends up pushing someone in front of a train, killing them. She winds up being committed to a mental institution where she still currently resides. The honeymoon period had definitely come to an end.
5. He Has An Evil Doppelgänger
During the Infinity War crossover event, a villain named The Magus, AKA Adam Warlock, creates an army of evil doppelgängers of many Marvel heroes. Spider-Man’s idiotically named doppelganger was called, uh… Doppelganger. Then there was Daredevil, whose evil doppelgänger was a huge red devil called Hellspawn. He had fangs, claws, a razor-sharp tail, and wielded a spiked billy-club. Yikes. He also had Daredevil’s blindness and enhanced senses.
Unfortunately the beast was invisible to Matt’s radar sense, which made fighting him a lot harder, but thankfully not impossible. Matt had to team up with Elektra in order to bring him down. Hellspawn stayed around after the Infinity War concluded, causing all sorts of trouble until Daredevil and Elektra finally killed him some time later.
4. He Regularly Deals With The Occult
While Daredevil’s Netflix show seems to be grounded for the most part in reality, the comics regularly dip their toes into more mystical waters. As well as the aforementioned demon doppelgänger, Matt has also regularly come into contact with many other occult threats. His most prolific enemies, The Hand, operate under this banner, regularly resurrecting people and worshipping demons.
One such story had him protect a baby who may or may not have been the Antichrist incarnate. Another has him possessed by a demon called The Beast that has him do its evil bidding. That storyline ends when he sacrifices himself to break the demon’s spell, only to be later resurrected from the dead by Elektra, who herself has been bought back to life after dying. All of this seems a far cry from the days of drug dealers and gang members of the streets of Hell’s Kitchen, but Daredevil has proven himself a worthy opponent to both the mundane and the supernatural.
3. He’s been on TV before
While we’ve all come to know (and love) Charlie Cox’s portrayal of the Man Without Fear on Netflix, that’s not actually his first appearance on live action TV. Back in 1989 he appeared alongside Lou Ferrigno’s Hulk in a made-for-TV movie called The Trial of the Incredible Hulk. When David Banner (the name they used in the TV show instead of Bruce) is arrested, he hires lawyer Matt Murdock (Rex Smith) to prove his innocence. The two then team up as their alter egos to fight Wilson Fisk, AKA Kingpin.
The movie was meant to act as a backdoor pilot for Daredevil to get his own show but those plans never came to fruition. Judging by the quality of the movie and the cringeworthy portrayal of Daredevil, it’s probably a good thing the plans fell through. Thankfully we have the Netflix version to eradicate all images of this movie from our minds.
2. Other Characters Have Donned The Suit
Unlike Captain America or Spider-Man, Matt’s never officially given up his title to another character, but that’s not to say that others haven’t put on the suit from time to time. In fact, a few of Matt’s famous friends have taken a turn under the mask. Both Spider-Man and Black Panther have pretended to be Daredevil several times to throw people off Matt’s scent. They’d show up dressed as Daredevil while Matt would appear elsewhere in civilian clothes. Black Panther also took over for Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen once when Matt was away, performing all his responsibilities, though he kept his own costume that time.
During one run of comics, while Matt was in prison for a brief time, his friend and teammate Iron Fist was hired to patrol the streets and pretend to be Daredevil in his stead. When Matt returned, he tracked down this impostor and tried to fight him, only to discover his friend behind the mask.
Even his non-superpowered friend Foggy Nelson got in on the action once, pretending to be Daredevil to impress Karen Page. Unaware that his best friend is the real vigilante, he gets himself a suit made and sets up a fake battle for Karen to see. When he gets into a real fight the real Daredevil has to swoop in to save him.
1. He Has The Worst Luck With His Secret Identity
Compared to some of his other hero friends, Daredevil has had some bad luck when it comes to keeping his identity a secret. His buddy Spider-Man first exposes his secret accidentally in a letter, which Karen and Foggy then read. This is the event that leads him to make up the aforementioned Mike persona.
A TV station reports to the world that Matt Murdock is Daredevil while he’s working in San Francisco, forcing him to ask Black Panther for help in proving he’s not. Karen once sold his identity to a drug dealer for a hit, and the Kingpin, plus a whole bunch of other villains, find out the secret.
He has his identity printed in a tabloid, then later on the front page headline of a major daily newspaper. S.H.I.E.L.D knows, the FBI finds out, but it’s not until the end of Daredevil Volume 3 (2014) that he ever owns up to his secret identity. In this issue he swears in front of a court, under oath, that the rumours are true; Matt Murdock is Daredevil. After a group of assassins attack the court he even unveils his Daredevil costume and fights the goons in full view of everyone present. The world now knows once and for all who the man under the costume is… at least until continuity changes again.
Daredevil will appear in Marvel’s The Defenders on Netflix in 2017.