Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Number 2074: Mark Swift and the Time Retarder

Mark Swift,  no relation to boy inventor Tom Swift, is an orphan. He is taken care of by his elementary school teacher, Mr Kent, who just happened to invent a working time machine called the Time Retarder. Wow! Kent is wasting his time teaching. This was written and drawn in an era when it seemed okay to expose young children to danger. Mark, who looks about 10, and his “responsible” adult, Mr Kent, plop the Time Retarder down in the middle of a battle between King Darius of the Persians and Alexander the Great. I can only imagine what the Department of Child Services would have done if they had known that.

The feature was created by Jack and Otto Binder for Fawcett’s Slam-Bang Comics. Mark’s time (ho-ho) in comics was limited. Slam-Bang lasted only 7 issues, and after an inventory tale was published in Master Comics #7, Mark and his guardian zipped off to time and place unknown.

Grand Comics Database doesn’t guess at the artist or writer. From Slam-Bang Comics #6 (1940):


Daniel [] said...

Article I §§ 9–10 of the US Constitution forbid laws ex post facto. I think that all that Mr Kent need do would be to claim that he'd no intention of taking Mark into dangerous times and places until they were already far enough back in the past that any present law were not yet passed. (Mr Peabody might have a tougher time of that.)

It's nice to see the old-fashioned art here. I remain a fan of the way in which comic books were colored in the early golden age.

Alexander the Great is often presented as a heroïc character, but his basic algorithm was to deal so horribly with those who resisted conquest that the next several communities would surrender promptly. Thus, all the males of a city that had refused to surrender would be crucified or somesuch, the city would be leveled (with literally not one building stone left upon another) and the girls and women raped. He was not a perfect monster, but he was a monster.

bzak said...

I guess it's lucky Tom not only had a teacher who could invent things, but was a two fisted he-man as well.

Brian Riedel

Pappy said...

Daniel, Alexander seemed nice enough when he was played by Richard Burton. Errr, actually I don't remember. My dad took me to see the movie when it was new (1956), and the only thing I remember is he died in the end.

I see the set-up for a Bob Newhart skit here: Child Protective Services worker interviewing Mark's guardian: "And you say you...heh heh heh...took Mark into the...ha-ha-ha...past? And you met...guffaw...Alexander the Great? Explain it to the judge!"