Issue(s): Daredevil #133
In place of a lettercol for this issue, Wolfman describes how he became convinced that Geller was authentic, thanks to a key bending trick as well as his ability to replicate a drawing.
It's a good thing neither man was trying out to be an artist.
Also in the lettercol is a photo of Geller that i include here in case you want to print it out and hang it on your closet door.
In issue #137's lettercol, there is a letter from Mark Evanier (who was writing for Gold Key at the time) lambasting Wolfman for buying into any of this stuff:
Do you believe in the Easter Bunny? In the Great Pumpkin? In the talent of Jerry Lewis? If you're the selfsame Marvin Wolfman - that witty soul with whom I have shared several comic conventions - then you probably answered no to two, possibly all three, of the above queries. Why, then, do you believe in Uri Geller?
#137's lettercol also has a letter from Randi and a preemptive response from Geller which includes a bunch of testimonial quotes from PhDs.
In story, Daredevil fails to stop a new villain called Mind-Wave and his deliciously dumbly named Think Tank.
So police lieutenant Bert Rose brings Daredevil to DA Tower, who introduces Daredevil to Uri Geller.
As both Geller and Daredevil point out, the introduction of Geller in the Marvel universe isn't all that exciting or controversial. Geller's origin (which is what he claims is his actual real-life origin)...
...happens 3 times a week in the Marvel universe, so there's really no problem here.
Geller and Mind-Wave have some history, so Geller is able to defeat Mind-Wave while Daredevil fights his goons.
Marvel Universe Geller has powers beyond what i think Geller claims to have in real life.
He never appears again, but Mind-Wave does.
I'm vaguely interested in knowing if Marv Wolfman really believed in Geller's abilities, but i'm more interested in what Stan Lee hoped to get out of putting Geller in this comic. Just increased sales for the issue? Eventually including more (and better) celebrities in Marvel's comics? Some sort of reciprocation from Hollywood.
This isn't the last time this type of thing will be done (i'm thinking of the Saturday Night Live and Letterman issues, and the much later inclusion of Tim Gunn in Models Inc..; i'm sure there are more examples). But it seems like there would be a fairly low ROI for including Uri Geller.
Anyway, also in this comic, the Jester kills the unnamed guy that has been creating the fake advertisements for him. The Jester plot comes to fruition in the next arc; the fact that he appears here helps this issue not feel like total filler.
And i didn't notice it so much last issue, but it's worth noting that the police lieutenant Rose really makes sure you see the rose attached to his lapel.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
One of the most embarrassing books Marvel ever put out, and easily the worst stain on Marv Wolfman's career.
Mind-Wave looks way too much like the Batman villain Kite-Man.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | May 25, 2013 5:29 PM
As an example of how reviled this issue was back then, Fandom Funnies #3 is 12/76 ran a cartoon with the caption "Uri Geller demonstrates power by mentally forcing Marv Wolfman to bend!"
Posted by: Mark Drummond | April 12, 2014 3:33 PM
Mind-Wave does appear again, but only to be killed by Scourge. Good job, Scourgey!
Posted by: Jonathan | September 5, 2015 10:57 AM
Footage from Gellar's disastrous Carson appearance, with commentary from Randi, can be found here:
Johnny, who was a former stage magician himself and knew Uri was a fraud, handled it beautifully.
I shudder to think how Leno or Fallon would have handled it.
Posted by: Bob | September 23, 2015 12:34 AM
"I'm vaguely interested in knowing if Marv Wolfman really believed in Geller's abilities"
It's been a while, but isn't there a note from Marv in the letter column for this issue that makes it clear he's totally enthralled by Gellar? I believe that's what Evanier was responding to in the bit from #137 that you included here.
Posted by: Dan H. | September 23, 2015 11:23 AM
Dan, the lettercol in this issue is indeed replaced by a testimonial from Wolfman, including a story about how Wolfman saw Geller bend a key in his hand without applying force and a copy of the illustration that Geller drew that matched an original drawing that Wolfman made. I would be more than willing to accept that the whole thing was just hype, though, if Wolfman later said that he never really believed that Geller was magic.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 24, 2015 7:37 AM
That makes sense. I just know that people like Wolfman are often the biggest suckers for guys like Gellar: there are plenty of smart people who simply lack knowledge of the techniques that have been used to fool people for hundreds/thousands of years and often their ego will prevent them from admitting even to themselves that it's possible they were fooled.
It's a case of "Hey, if *I* couldn't figure it out, it MUST have been magic!" Again though, I'm talking in general. I don't know Wolfman personally at all, so I have no idea if he was being sincere or sly in his gushing appraisal of Gellar. Did he ever respond to Evanier's comments?
Posted by: Dan H. | September 25, 2015 2:10 AM
The response says that Marv "says he was extremely careful not to take his eyes off of Uri when he performed his 'Psychic/Magic' tricks".
Posted by: fnord12 | September 25, 2015 8:18 AM
Marv later admitted that he didn't really believe in Geller in this interview:
MW: Of course it was magic. Magic being some slight of hand manipulation. However, he was wonderful at it and I have no idea how he did it since I was holding the key and couldn't feel any pressure as he bent it. I also kept the drawing he made based on mine. There was no way he could see what I drew. Now, I know magicians can do this although I don't know how. I never believed he had powers. I believed he was a really good magician. However, again, since this was a contractual deal Marvel made, I couldn't come out in the letter column and say he did a great trick that I couldn't figure out.
Posted by: Michael | September 26, 2015 11:58 AM
Thanks for that Michael, but...
"Later" is kind of the operative word there. By the time Wolfman did that interview, Gellar had shit the bed on the Tonight Show and it was obvious to everyone that he was a fake. It's possible that Marv's engaging in a little bit of revisionist history there.
Posted by: Dan H. | September 26, 2015 12:35 PM
This issue has some truly weird script typos, as if everything else wasn't bad enough.
"...and I was knocked into unconsciousness. For how near, I do not know..."
"There's a good never diamond exchanges down there..."
Posted by: Mark Drummond | October 8, 2016 4:58 PM
Well, Uri Gellar was all over the news last week because recently unveiled CIA papers "proved" his immense psychic ability so obviously this back issue is about to SKYROCKET. Get them while they last, o frantic ones!
Posted by: Wis | February 3, 2017 3:21 AM
Huh, when I was reading this issue in 2016, I thought it's just some random D-list character. Apparently it's a real guy! Interesting.
Posted by: Karel | May 20, 2017 4:19 PM
Maybe Wolfman could have saved face by doing an issue featuring James "The Amazing" Randi, the magician and skeptic responsible for exposing Geller. I remember that episode of "The Tonight Show" when Geller looked like a certified fool, with Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, and Ricardo Montalban (!) looking on. I also recall picking up this issue as a lad. Even then with my young mind, I didn't consider it a high point in DD's history. Although the Geller as both a youth and adult looks like the template for James-Michael Starling/Omega the Unknown.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | December 25, 2017 7:19 PM
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 25, 2017 7:53 PM
Comments are now closed.
|SuperMegaMonkey home | Comics Chronology home|