Erik Gelden. Wiseass. Small time gambler. Petty criminal. Burger expert. Supervillain?
Well, not exactly. But Jessica Jones‘ new love interest with some low level mental superpowers actually has his roots in the pages of Marvel Comics. Erik was a small-timer known as Mind-Wave, a little known Daredevil villain who has a, shall we say, very strange history. Mind-Wave was created by Marv Wolfman, Bob Brown, and Jim Mooney and first appeared in Daredevil #133 (1976). Real name Erik/Mind-Wave used a helmet of his own creation to enhance his innate ESP abilities. The helmet allowed him to hear the thoughts of those around him and allows the villain to predict the action of anyone he battles. Mind-Wave also used his helmet to mentally control his heavily armored vehicle known as (I shit you not) the Think Tank.
So this is where things get odd, and very ’70s. In order to stop Mind-Wave, Daredevil had to team up with, not Spider-Man, not the Fantastic Four, not Iron Man or any of the Avengers, and not even Howard the Duck. Daredevil had to team up with…Uri Geller. Wait, who?
For those not in the know regarding 1970s pseudo-celebrities, Geller was am Israeli-born stage magician and self-proclaimed mentalist who became famous for bending spoons and keys with his mind, correctly guessing strangers’ license plate numbers, and other bits of psychic hokum. He made the talk show circuit with memorable appearance on Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin. It was on Carson that Geller experienced his greatest shame and greatest success. Carson forced Geller to use The Tonight Show’s spoons instead of the illusionist’s tricked out spoons and Geller was unable to perform his magic (we’ve all been there, right guys?). Geller claimed he was feeling mentally weak that day and unable to utilize his vast array of powers.
Somehow, the public felt sorry for Geller with many believing that a magic trick could be performed any time but true magic was unpredictable (oh ’70s), and Geller’s career actually skyrocketed. The spoon trick became Geller’s staple stage routine and the mentalist even sued Nintendo over the Pokemon Kadabra (you know, the one with the spoons), and this whole thing is really freaking weird. Two more fun facts: Michael Jackson was the best man at Geller’s wedding and my father was actually friends with Geller. The spoon bending humbug was actually in my kitchen (note: he used his own spoons to show me his trick).
So yeah, Uri Geller, a man who hung out in my kitchen long ago helped Daredevil defeat Mind-Wave. I am now able to play six degrees of separation between myself and Jessica Jones. As for Mind-Wave, Geller helped defeat the villain by entrapping him in mentally bent metal. Wow.
This was (somehow) not Mind-Wave’s last appearance. I guess the powers at be at Marvel thought the villain was kinda useless (he was defeated by a “psychic” who was once defeated by Johnny Carson, after all), because in his next appearance, Mind-Wave was killed by the vigilante known as Scourge. That’s right, in Captain America #319 (1986), Mind-Wave was present in the supervillain hang out known as the Bar With No Name when Scourge came in, guns a-blazing, and took out Mind-Wave and sixteen other costumed villains. But this is Marvel, where death is but a temporary state and in 2009, in The Punisher #6, the villain known as the Hood resurrected all of Scourge’s victims to go after Frank Castle. Mind-Wave was once again killed, this time by a Punisher tossed grenade. Poor Mind-Wave defeated by a phony real world psychic, killed by Scourge, killed by Punisher, and all but forgotten.
How did he end up on TV again?
But alas, there was another Mindwave, this time with no bent spoons, no Think Tank, and no hyphen! This Mindwave was created by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato Jr. and made his first hyphenless appearance in Thunderbolts #116 (2007). This new Mindwave had advanced telekinesis and telepathy. Mindwave used the latter power to try to drive the Thunderbolts insane. Mindwave II’s appearance took place in the era of the Thunderbolts when the T-Bolts were essentially Marvel’s Suicide Squad. Mindwave allowed himself to be arrested and imprisoned in the same prison where the T-Bolt’s resided. Mindwave tried to drive the villains turned sorta heroes insane until he was killed by Bullseye. Oh, well. At least Mind No Hyphen Wave wasn’t shivved by Uri Geller.
So there you have it, the really, really strange history of Mind-Wave. Now, the world of Jessica Jones is one of subtle moral ambiguity, but one things’s for sure…at least he won’t be stopped by some spoon bending charlatan who once shared a Dr. Pepper with my dad in my kitchen.
Life is weird.