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Posts tagged ‘Adventures in the Unknown’

Adventures in the Unknown (Early Golden Age)


The serial “A Thousand Years a Minute” concludes after three more installments of Adventures in the Unknown, as Ted and Alan shoot a triceratops, rescue a caveman, fight off a giant snake in a river, and then get captured by more cavemen, but freed by the one they helped.  Not awful, but this is not Rip Hunter, Time Master by any stretch.

Their next serial, “The Infra Red Destroyers,” begins with the following issues, All-American 13, though according to the story a year has passed between issues 12 and 13.  Ted and Alan get a cover appearance with the opening chapter of this serial, which it frankly does not merit.  They story, which runs to issue 18, is an overly complex mess of meteor-missiles from Venus, an invisibility ray, a mad scientist, an innocent man framed for murder, an inquisitive reporter, and giant Venusian snakes who want to take over the world.  The White House, Washington Monument, the Empire State Building and big chunks of New York City get destroyed in this storyline, but the art fails to make any of that look impressive.  The Venusian snakes turn on the mad scientist and kill him just before Ted and Alan wipe them out with poison gas.

Their final storyline, “Rescue on Mars,” runs from issues 20 – 25, and sees the two men return to Mars to retrieve Professor Lutyens, bringing along their new buddy Jack Williams.  Alan has invented a metal that will not melt, and foreign spies are pursuing them, but that’s largely a distraction from the main story.  Jack gets to play the hero, putting a robot head over his own (which works remarkably well at tricking the other robots).  We discover the Lutyens brain is back in his old body, and the professor constructs a robot to help them escape, which they do.  They land on Earth near some Japanese troops, but Lutyens still has his old paralysis ray gun, and uses it on them.

The series ends at this point, as I am sure upon returning to the US the professor and the boys are grabbed by the intelligence services and put to work creating weaponry for the US military.

Adventures in the Unknown:  All-American 10 – 18  (Jan – Sep 40),  20 – 25 (Nov 40 – Apr 41)

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Adventures in the Unknown


Adventures in the Unknown is a science-fiction serial, featuring two college students, Alan Kane and Ted Dolliver, who get recruited by Professor Lutyens to travel to Mars in his spaceship, the Wanderer.

Issues 1 – 6 are titled “The Mystery Men of Mars.”  Lutyens has found a way to reverse gravity, and this will make the spaceship “fall upwards”, sending it to Mars.  Despite that somewhat nonsensical premise, the scenes as they travel through space use zero gravity accurately, in an era where that could only have been a wild guess.  They also wear spacesuits in the ship, for protection, though once they land on Mars they go back into the normal clothes before emerging on the planet.

Mars is run by odd looking robots, which contain the preserved brains of the long-dead martians.  The robots intend to seal the three travellers in specimen tubes for a museum, but Lutyens communicates using math – so again it seems the writer has some decent scientific understanding.  Lutyens chooses to stay on Mars, and has his brain removed from his aging body and placed in a  robot shell.

The boys show themselves fairly inept without the Professor to help them.  They take a robot guide to help them get back to the ship, but lose their way, and their guide, and have to “steal” another robot to get back to their ship.  They make it back to Earth, crash-landing in the Atlantic, but the robot ceases to function and almost no one believes their story.

The only one who does believe them is another scientist, Ignatius Lazar, who happened to be on the ship that rescued them, and saw the martian robot before it stopped working.  Turns out he has invented a time machine, the “tempomobile,” and enlists Alan and Ted in making a time trip with it.

This serial is called “A Thousand Years a Minute,” and begins in issue 7, but continues past my cut-off point.  Before they leave, the boys find a caveman skull with a bullet hole in it, and wonder about it (I’m certain we will see how it happens later in the story).  But for now, I will leave the two college kids trying to shoot dinosaurs with their rifles, and failing, in the paleolithic.

Adventures in the Unknown continues in the Early Golden Age

Adventures in the Unknown:  All-American 1 – 9  (Apr – Dec 39)

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