November 20, 2009

Charlton Premiere #4 [1968]

"The Time Machine" is a neat little 7-page time travel story with art by Ditko. The title page is a really great image of a ship going through time, shown as a tunnel with slices of various times going from the far future back into history.  It starts in the very advanced looking 2037 A.D., and now that we're more than half-way there from when the story was published, I'm pretty confident we won't have those flying cars by then.  A young scientist is trying to get an elder one to help him develop his time travel theories, but the older man doesn't believe it's possible, and even if it is considers the consequences of changing the past too dangerous.  Evidently he grew up reading old Charlton comics...

The kid doesn't buy it, and throws himself into his research with renewed vigor, perfecting his invention with a minimum of design work.  Seriously, the thing looks like a giant bullet.  It works, though, and he decides to go check out the cavemen.  Oddly, we're taken back to the past by a previously unseen narrator, a guy in a green hooded robe.  Not sure what his name is.  Anyway, he introduces us to a particular caveman who's destined to be the ancestor of half of humanity.  Well, until his hunger leads him to the wrong place and he gets killed by a time machine.  Fortunately for humanity, the rules of time travel in this particular reality aren't the same as that old comic.

A nice little story, although some of the narration is a bit too cute, trying a bit too hard.  In addition to that great time tunnel image, Ditko's version of savagery (something he uses in a lot of his independent work as well) is always a treat.

According to an intereview in ALTER EGO, Steve Skeates wrote this story.

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