We were waiting for the Tournament of Roses parade to start this New Year’s morning, passing the time by watching the 65 consecutive episode Spider-Man Marathon on Jetix. My favorite fishbowl-sporting supervillain showed up, just when I was ready for a myth to live by for the first day of the New Year. Mysterio delivered.
We had never seen this one before, and the legend of the green-and-purple faceless illusionist went places beyond all the stories we ever heard. In fact, as far as I can tell, the intense twist at the end of this cartoon is a strange place in Mysterio’s mythos that he never dared to go in the comic books.
The episode is called “The Haunting of Mary Jane Watson”. It was written by Megeen McLaughlin and Virginia Roth. Those two women cooked up the spiciest scenario of Mysterio’s entire career. It included a full body transplant machine.
It seems that Marvel Comics allowed the writers of the cartoon some major slack in forming a love interest for Quentin Beck. A movie starlet named Miranda Wilson was supposedly killed when one of Beck’s special effects went horribly wrong. Miranda was not dead, however, and she crawled into Mysterio’s underground fortress of illusions after the river washed her ashore. Beck was deeply in love with his celebrity guest, and he had just gotten his hands on some serious robotic technology from Kingpin. So he made himself a cybernetic princess.
Miranda was devastated by the loss of her beauty. Her face had been badly burned. She did not want to live as anything less than a pretty face, so Quentin hooked her up to a full body transplant machine and promised that she could transfer her personality into another girl.
Then, of course, Mary Jane Watson happened to get tricked into the cave and strapped to the machine.
What happened in the end? I wouldn’t want to spoil that. You can watch the cartoon for yourself. It is linked here in halves, the full body transplant machine starts at 4:56 in Part Two:
As I researched the story further, I found out that Miranda Wilson was voiced by the brilliant Beverly Garland. Beverly was also the hilarious Cookie LaRue on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.
Beverly Garland passed away this past month.
In honoring such a dedicated artist for her massive acting career, I think I finally found the part of this myth that calls me forward into the New Year. Beverly Garland touched me today, in a most unexpected way.
Her voice lives on through an obscure twist of fate, and it actually includes a full body transplant machine. We leave behind such exquisitely unpredictable legacies. Let’s make 2009 another year to remember, even if we never really know what a tangled web we weave.