Monday, January 25, 2010

Number 673

Whiz Wilson and his Futuroscope

Lightning Comics, a continuation of Ace's Sure-Fire Comics, was a typical anthology comic of the year 1940. It had a superhero, a cowboy, a magician, and Whiz Wilson, a science fiction hero in the Flash Gordon mold. Whiz had what he called a Futuroscope, a really handy device that could move him around in time and space. I'd like one of those, myself. I wonder if anyone has one for sale on eBay...

Anyway, the Grand Comics Database doesn't have any information on Whiz Wilson, but the art in this episode from Lightning Comics #4, is derivative of Alex Raymond, just like a couple of dozen other comic book features. I really don't know how the earliest comics could have existed without Raymond and Hal Foster's Prince Valiant to swipe from.

Just how tied to Flash Gordon was Whiz Wilson? This is the lead sentence from another episode, as quoted by the GCD: "One day Whiz Wilson sets the dials of his Futuroscope to take him to the planet Mongo, in the year 2300..." Mongo. That's where Flash, Flash's girl Dale Arden, Doc Zarkoff and Ming the Merciless hung out.

This particular adventure has Whiz mixing it up with some post-apocalyptic stone age types in South America.


Peter Bernard said...

One of my favorite things about comics from the late 30's up to just before the war is the way the panels get smaller on the last page and 3 pages of action get wrapped up in the last few tiny panels. They always look like the artist was told to draw 10 pages and when he got to page 7, the editor changed it to an 8-page story, haha. This was very well-drawn for a comic from that era though.

Pappy said...

Peter, when I look at a story like Whiz Wilson, crammed into 7 pages, I think that comic book creators of today would turn it into a 6-issue story arc.

Lysdexicuss said...

Hey ! That tool Whiz is taking in panel 5, page one...? I have a soft-spot for it !