Friday, September 07, 2018

Number 2230: Fobidden Worlds: Earthworm digs to danger

Jeff is a young scientist. In a comic book that means he can do anything scientific. He is first shown working as an assistant in a chemistry lab, but for his new job he is helping put together a machine to go to the center of the Earth.

This is a story from 1956, so we will look at a situation: Jeff meets his boss’s daughter, Gloria, who is a beautiful (of course) blonde. At some point Jeff cannot control the beast within and grabs her in an unwanted embrace. Gloria speaks to us in our time. She lets Jeff know she is not to be sexually harassed. Good for Gloria, and take heed, men.

Moving on, Professor Myatt has invented the Earthworm, the earth-boring vehicle that will take them to the planet’s core (being a professor in a comic book is the same as being a scientist: they can do anything). He is warned that the island where they are working is soon to have a hydrogen bomb dropped on it! Yow! That means getting out the wrenches and getting Earthworm ready even without any testing. Jeff shows during the descent he is not only a grabby guy, but a coward. Luckily for him and for the sake of romance he later shows some spine and Gloria forgives him his other flaws.

[SPOILER ALERT] The problems for our heroes are solved with an H-bomb. How many fifties science fiction films have you seen that echo that same thinking? [END SPOILER]

The “The Land that Time Forgot” was written by editor Richard E. Hughes, and drawn by Ogden Whitney. It was published in Forbidden Worlds #48 (1956).


Daniel [] said...

I recently reviewed a self-published book on Amazon whose author unthinkingly presumed that ichthyologists could simply become geophysicists. That wasn't the worst thing about the book, but it was pretty bad.

It seems that Lands that Time Forgot must always have creatures of four sorts — saber-toothed cats, brontosaurs, tyrannosaurs, and pterodactyls.

Perhaps when the Grand Comics Database is more fully realized, we will be able to do simple searches that will tell us how many problems were solved by nuclear bombs, how many Lands Time Forgot, and how many boring machines tunneled through the Earth (and especially into Fort Knox).

As it is, though I don't want to spend time on research right now, I'm rather curious about how many stories Hughes wrote at his most active. Surely some part of the explanation of how haphazard his stories were lies in the volume of stories that he were generating.

Darci said...

Postscript: Dropping the H-bomb didn't save the upper world, because the Professor, Gloria, and Jeff were all contaminated by the underground germs (to which they had no defense). Our only hope would be if they all died before that military operation returned to its base on the mainland.

Pappy said...

Darci, good point. Makes for a rhetorical question: Would you rather die from a virus to which your immune system has no defenses, or blown to atoms instantly by an H-bomb? For me I would fudge and say I would rather die in my sleep, but we most often don't get choices, do we?

Pappy said...

Daniel, I'm not sure how many titles Richard Hughes eventually wrote stories for, but there was a time when he had four supernatural titles going simultaneously, all of them authored by his pseudonyms. I remember he used one pen-name, Robert Standish, and I phonied up a school report in 9th grade on what career I would like when I grew up. I chose freelance writer by writing a pretend interview with "Bob Standish." I thought it was pretty good. Got a B+ on it, so the teacher might have smelled some fakery, but it got me through the assignment.

One thing I have wondered about Hughes is how many scripts he wrote in his lifetime? He was active from the early forties as an editor/writer (Nedor) through the ACG years. If it were possible to count every story he wrote over the years he might have been one of the most prolific comic book scripters of all time. Not to mention what stories by other writers he had to edit and perhaps rewrite.