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Weird Tales of the Future

Entry updated 30 January 2023. Tagged: Comics, Publication.

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US Comic (1952-1953). 8 issues. Stanley Morse (Key). Artists include Ross Andru, Eugene E. Hughes, Tony Mortellaro, Ed Smalle and Basil Wolverton. 4 or 5 comic strips per issue, plus 2 text pages (fiction, save for a non-fiction piece "Flying Saucers, Meteors, or What?" arguing "it is logical to assume that some of the meteors [being reported] may be rocket ships!"). Issue #8 reprints the five strips from Weird Mysteries #1 (1952), but with a new cover.

Weird Tales of the Future was a consistently good comic – particularly the first five issues – with some interesting stories and memorable artwork, especially from Basil Wolverton. Most notable are "Survival of the Fittest", where Robots in 2032 demand their freedom, which people are reluctant to grant as it would mean acknowledging them as equals; so the robots steal some recently built Spaceships to make a new life elsewhere. However, humanity have discovered the records of an ancient civilization which also had a human/robot problem and invented a radiation that destroyed their rebels: so they produce and release that radiation ... unaware that it had been a robot civilization whose rebels were people. "The Monster on Mars" has a castaway on Mars returning to his shelter to find an enormous hand with eyes inside: it offers to return him to Earth in return for food and shelter. He uneasily agrees, but villainous Mercurians (see Mercury) arrive seeking his lodger – a beautiful princess from Venus whose hypnotic powers made him believe she was a giant hand. In "Nightmare World" chemist Herman Lasher produces a formula to "summon the powers of the subconscious mind", he drinks it and collapses asleep: his visions are initially surreal but become horrific when he is captured by a creature who transplants his brain into another monster – shortly after Herman wakes, to find himself still in that new body. "The Man from the Moon" concerns a man abducted by Moon people; over the years they adapt his body to conditions on the lunar surface (see Cyborgs) until he resembles a robotic Moon man. Over a century later they return him to Earth, only to find it in ruins and humanity horribly mutated (a nuclear War is implied). Saddened, he returns to the Moon.

Other stories include "City of Primitive Man", set in 2552: Evolution has turned humanity into short, large-headed weaklings – save for Will and Mora, who work out. They are testing a serum to "restore humanity to man", but a colleague – desiring Mora – injects themself and turns into a caveman, going on to inject others. "Flight to the Future" has Ted Haynes, believing he has committed a murder, applying to the Suspended Animation Commission to avoid justice: he is accepted and sealed in a tube for 20,000 years. He awakes in a listless, aged future whose ruler is the only strong-willed individual: Ted decides to take his place, only to discover it is the man he thought he had killed (who had also gone into suspended animation, but was awoken much earlier). In "The Engine That Came Through Time" a time traveller from 2733 (see Time Travel) gives Scientist Arthur Bergholm the Faster Than Light engine he was planning to invent, explaining in this timeline an interplanetary War will prevent him doing so. Bergstrom takes a party of scientists on a four-day trip to Alpha Centauri and back, only to find Earth – and the settled solar system – in ruins (see Disaster), with 400 years having elapsed (despite being scientists, only then do they remember the Lorentz-Fitzgerald contraction – see Relativity). The time traveller reappears to explain it was all a ploy to save the scientists so they can rebuild civilization. "The Ghouls Who Ruled the World!" has a scientist using gamma rays to bring the recently dead back to life; to test it further he revives a well-preserved corpse from the 1920s: he is not concerned that they were a gangster, as he is convinced that witnessing the crime-free twenty-first century will surely show them the error of their ways. In "The Worm Turns" a monstrous worm appears from deep Underground, so the army drop a nuclear bomb, blowing it to pieces ... but the pieces only become separate worms. "The Purple Mists" has two astronauts landing on a planetoid to discover its purple mist rots their spaceship, clothes – and their bodies (see Horror in SF). [SP]

further reading

  • Weird Tales of the Future (Hornsea, East Yorkshire: PS Publishing, 2020) [graph: illus/various: published in two volumes: hb/Basil Wolverton]


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