Chapter 9 | The Perplexing Origins of the Radar Sense


From Daredevil #1 (1964), by Stan Lee and Bill Everett

Matt, to the reader: ”But my most important new ability is in the form of a built-in radar that I seem to have developed! It enables me to walk anywhere safely, without bumping into anything!”

”I feel a strange tingling sensation when I approach any solid obstacle, warning me which way to turn!”

Man: ”Say, son… Want any help crossin’ the street?

Matt: ”No thanks! I can make it!” Thinking to himself: ”Little does he suspect I can cross more safely than he can… For I have every one of my remaining senses working at absolute peak capacity!”

The two panels which introduce the radar sense. The first, of Matt walking through an office space, is described in the book. The second sees him about to cross the street when he is offered assistance by a man on the street. From Daredevil #1 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett.

From Daredevil #2 (1964), by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Caption: ”And, in the street below, not suspecting the dread danger which awaits him above…”

Matt thinks to himself: ”I can visualize the shape of the Baxter Building by the sound of the air currents hitting it… just as easily as if I could see it!”

In Daredevil #2 (1964), by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando, we see Matt Murdock stand outside the Baxter Building.

From Daredevil #3 (1964), by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Caption: ”Although this eyes are sightless, for he has been blind since the age of fifteen, Daredevil’s other senses are so sharp, so unfailing, that he can perform breath-taking feats which even a sighted person cannot match!”

Matt thinks to himself: ”Luckily, my built-in radar sense tells me how far I am from a sold obstacle… So I always know when to dodge and when to grasp!”

Bystander #1: ”Look!! Here comes Daredevil!!

Bystander #2: ”You’re too late this time! Even you can’t help that poor man!”

Daredevil is seen dropping to the street after just having let go of a lamp post, as seen in Daredevil #3 (1964) by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando.

From Daredevil #3 (1964), by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando

Caption: ”Later, back at the aviary of the Owl…”

Matt thinks to himself: ”I’m in some sort of large cage! Judging by the slight air movement above me, it’s dangling exactly eight and a half feet from the ceiling… And from the sound of the Owl’s voice, it’s ten feet from the floor! Estimating the time it takes an echo to bounce back from the walls, it’s a huge room, roughly 325 feet in diameter! That tells me all I need to know… for now!

The Owl: ”I hope my two guests will be comfortable! If there’s anything you need, just ring for room service!

Daredevil and Karen are being held captive by the Owl and his men who are looking up at the two large birdcages dangling from the ceiling, as seen in Daredevil #3 by Stan Lee and Joe Orlando.

From Daredevil #5 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Matt thinks to himself: ”That heartbeat! That fast, nervous pulse rate! I’ve heard it before! Wait… Of course!.. The Masked Matador! I can hear the way his fabric folds when he moves! It’s his Matador costume! How clever of him! A costume party is the one function he can attend in his criminal guise without arousing suspicion! Others will think he’s one of the guests!

My radar sense indicates he’s standing against the wall… his back towards the crowd! I hear him turning a dial… softly… cautiously…”

In Daredevil #5 (1964), Matt studies the Matador in the crowd at a costume party. The final of three panels sees the Matador with his back towards the reader, opening a safe.

From Daredevil #5 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Matt thinks to himself: ”If only they’d be quiet! If only I could explain to them… My radar sense can’t function with all the commotion!

The caption reads ”Explanation of Daredevil’s radar sense”: ”Normally, my radar sense goes out, hits objects around me, and bounces back, giving me a mental picture of my surroundings!

But when there is too much movement and confusion all about me, the ”picture” which comes back is garbled and distorted!”

Daredevil is seen clearly bothered by the rowdy crowd behind him. Inset are a couple of panels that show how his radar sense functions under optimal circumstances, and when there's too much commotion. From Daredevil #5 (1964) by Stan Lee and Wally Wood.

From Daredevil #8 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Matt thinks to himself: ”The gas pedal is nailed to the floor… and the brake pedal has been cut! This is no simple accident!! Somebody planned it! Wait! That muffled ticking beneath the hood… My radar sense tells me…

Matt, aloud: ”…there’s a time bomb hidden in the moter! I’m driving a death trap!!

In Daredevil #8 (1964), we see the first use of radar rings to illustrate Daredevil's use of the radar sense. Here, Daredevil is driving down the street in a runaway car (a convertible), against a backdrop of concentric rings. In a second panel, the image of a bomb appears overlaid on his head to show his being made aware of a bomb.

From Daredevil #8 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Matt thinks to himself: ”The bomb is ticking louder now! It’s nearing the instant of detonation! But I can’t desert the car… Without me to steer it, someone will surely by hit! I’ve got to keep guiding it… till the end! My only hope is the river! If I can reach there before it explodes, and plunge the car into the water..!

Caption: ”With iron nerve, with steady hands, the Man Without Fear guides the doomed vehicle at breakneck speed through the city streets, guided by his radar sense the same as a jetliner flying through a heavy fog…!

Though Daredevil ’sees’ images rather than actual sights, so accurate is his sensory perception that he steers the onrushing car with the skill and precision of a master driver!”

Daredevil aloud: ”Just a little bit further! I’m almost there!

Daredevil, still in his car, approaches a man on the sidewalk, which provides us with the first case of a panel attempting to illustrate Matt's point of view. In one of the panels, there's an inset showing a jet airplane. From Daredevil #8 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood.

From Daredevil #8 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Matt thinks to himself: ”He’s moving closer! Ordinary walls are no obstacle at all to my hyper-acute extra-sensory ’radar’! I’d better learn who it is, although I’ve got a good hunch…!

Matt says: ”Sorry, Mr. Day! I thought I heard something! In fact, perhaps I’d better see if anyone’s at the door!”

Matt is meeting someone in his office, in Daredevil #8 (1964) by Stan Lee and Wally Wood. Behind him, we see the outline of a third man in an adjacent room, with Matt apparently sensing him through the wall.

From Daredevil #9 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Karen thinks to herself: ”I’m sure it’s his blindness that makes him so cold, so distant! If only I could convince him that it doesn’t matter to me! I only want him to have that eye operation… to see again… for his sake!

Matt says: ”Foggy? Are you there? Karen says she has a surprise for me! Know anything about, partner? Foggy? What are you doing?

Foggy says: ”Eh, just straightening things up a bit, Matt! It’s been a busy morning! Anyway, part of Karen’s surprise whas in the newspaper this morning! I’ll read it to you, Mathew my boy!”

Matt thinks: ”The ol’ son-of-a-gun! I can sense him holding a golf club clear across the room!”

Foggy thinks: ”If I can just sink this last putt without him hearing it!”

Shot of the office with Matt and Karen in the background and Foggy in the foreground holding a putter. From Daredevil #9 (1964) by Stan Lee and Wally Wood.

From Daredevil #9 (1964), by Stan Lee and Wally Wood

Daredevil thinks to himself: ”My radar senses can ’see’ through the floor below me as though it’s made of glass! This castle isn’t as old-fashioned as it seems! It’s filled with complex electronic equipment… and enough power to blow up half a continent! But I’ll worry about that later! Right now, I’ve got to concentrate on saving my own little hide!”

Daredevil is standing inside the fortress in Lichtenbad. The floor below appears transparent under his radar sense. From Daredevil #9 (1964) by Stan Lee and Wally Wood.

From Daredevil #10 (1964), by Wally Wood and Bob Powell

Daredevil thinks to himself: ”What’s that?! My radar hearing has picked up a radio message! It’s being transmitted from this yacht!”

Off-panel message:Organizer to Frog Man… The time has come for our next move…”

Matt is onboard a yacht in Daredevil #10 (1964), by Wally Wood and Bob Powell. A closeup of Matt's face shows tight radar rings in the background.