Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Number 1650: Whiz Wilson’s future past

As a youngster I was besotted by thoughts of the future: spaceflight to other planets, robot servants, and personal aircraft with which we would zip around the skies just as easily as driving a car. I once said to my father, Big Pappy, “I would love to have a time machine and go into the future!" Big Pappy, never one to go off into tangents of fantasy, brought me swiftly back to reality: “Oh yeah? What if you found out when you were going to die?”

Ulp! I had not considered that. Okay, then, cancel that trip into the future.

Whiz Wilson, featured in Ace Comics’ Lightning Comics, didn’t let such things bother him. He made regular trips into the future and got himself involved in adventures. He even found ways to fight the enemies of 1941 with help from the people of year 6000, as in this tale from Lightning #6 (1941).


Anonymous said...

American fisticuffs win through once again —with a little help from our friends in AD 6000! These early comics are so fraught with surprises. I enjoy the time-traveling panel with the silhouette against calendar pages and lightening bolts. Glad to see we didn't need the calendar pages in any other time-traveling panel. Addressing the deer as MR Doe. (Could her first name could have been John? =smile=)

Most of all, to read the warped logic of loaning a fearsome stratotank weapon to Whiz for forcing peace upon the past. Well, you know, that mayor had AD 6000 intuition and just KNEW Whiz was/will be a stand-up guy. And he was and will be stand-up after killing a whole bunch of conscripts for a dictator. I sigh that the warped logic of a 1941 kids comic is still afoot in the world. Still just as warped.

Pappy, you may have been besotted with the possibilities of the future as a kid, but here you are NOW in the FUTURE of the PAST. That's got to be worth something, anyway. Ironically, we are sometimes besotted with our past, having seen that future… Good post. Thanks!

Daniel [] said...

I'm not sure that there's much point in critiquing the issues of the internal logick of this story.

I note that this story is amongst several that I've seen from before the real-world attack on Pearl Harbor, in which stories the heroes end the Second World War either before or not long after open hostilities erupt between the United States and some foreign power.

I imagine that, in many cases, the writers simply weren't thinking ahead; but I wonder about the thought processes of those who were. I guess that many of them regarded their work as something that would be forgotten in a month or so. But, for example, Siegel and Shuster seem to have seen Superman (about whom one of these stories was written) as far more than thrown-together. Did they imagine that America was going somehow to dodge the bullet?

Pappy said...

7f7, I think I mentioned in another post that at one point in my young life I was so excited by the prospects of life in the future I asked my mother, "When will the future be here?" As if Mom could give me an exact date.

The predictions about our future set forth in the optimistic visions of a postwar world, especially the parts about no longer having wars, have sadly not come to pass. If only.

I think what would boggle the minds of some 1940 Whiz Wilson, arriving in our future of the first decades of the 21st century, would be the advances in communications and computers, and especially the Internet.

Pappy said...

Daniel, we have the advantage of lessons in history which tell us that in those days leading up to war being declared on America by Japan and then Germany, there was still a lot of hope that our country could avoid entanglements in foreign wars.

So in answer to your question, yes, there were many who imagined that America would somehow dodge the bullet.

cash_gorman said...

I'm sure part of that optimism was also the fact that the US was bigger than enemy foreign powers put together. How could they hope to stand against us once we entered the War. Especially if we have the superheroes on our side :)

The comment about possibly finding out when you died reminds me of Fabian's decent Two-Gun Kid mini from some decades back. The premise is built on that during the time he was in the future, he did find out when he was going to die, only the hitch was that the reports had his two identities of Matt Hawk and Two-Gun Kid dying days or weeks apart!