BRAD the micronaut
Real Name: Brad (last name unrevealed)
Identity/Class: Extradimensional human
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: Professor Ace (employer)
Known Relatives: Ed (brother)
Base of Operations: Mobile on Earth; originally from an Earth-like planet in a "macroverse"
First Appearance: Journey into Mystery I#56/4 (January, 1960)
History: (Journey into Mystery I#56/4 (fb)) - Brad had travelled the world, and had seen and done everything -- there was nothing left in life that exited him.
(Journey into Mystery I#56/4) - When Brad heard the news that his brother Ed needed major surgery, he promised the doctors that he would get the money somehow, but he was broke. Seeking money and adventure, Brad answered a newspaper ad for Professor Ace, who needed a man for his experiment. The professor warned Brad of the danger, but Brad wasn't concerned. Professor Ace demonstrated his machine which generated a shrinking ray capable of reducing the size of living matter. When an elephant was shrunken away to nothing, Professor Ace theorized that it had shrunk into another dimension.
After Ace wrote a check to pay Brad (which he mailed to his brother to pay for the surgery), the experiment began. Exposed to the shrinking rays, Brad got smaller and smaller until his size was reduced to the point that Professor Ace couldn't even see him using a microscope -- then he just seemed to vanish from existence.
From Brad's perspective, the world seemed to vanish as well, and microscopic creatures now towered over him. Brad continued to shrink smaller...smaller...down into nothingness...
When his shrinking finally stopped, Brad found himself in a city in a strange new world. Going up to a bystander on the sidewalk, Brad learned the name of this new world -- Earth!
Brad would now make Earth his home, but he would forever wonder -- How many worlds could there be that might be even smaller than his new home?
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.
Until the last page, this story was written in such a way as to make the reader think that Brad was actually an Earthman who was involved in a shrinking experiment.
This story reminds me of the story "Lost In the Microcosm" from EC Comics' Weird Science #12 (May-June, 1950), which pretty much had the same premise and the same shock-ending, although both of these stories would seem to be inspired by the short story "He Who Shrank" by Henry Hasse from Amazing Stories magazine (1936).
Brad was never actually called a "micronaut" in this story; I just gave him that title to distinguish him from any other characters just named "Brad".
(And the first time I remember seeing the word "micronaut" in a Marvel comic was in Fantastic Four I#76, wherein Reed, Ben, and Johnny shrank down and travelled in the Reducta-Craft to the Psycho-Man's Sub-Atomica (where they confronted the Murder Machine), and Reed said that they were the first human micronauts -- Reed must've forgotten to mention that fact during their adventure on Doctor Doom's Microworld back in FF I#16, though.)
Professor Ace's theory -- that anything exposed to his shrinking ray actually shrank down into another dimension -- is an early use of the rule of "microverses" in the Marvel Universe: "Microverses" are really other dimensional realms that can be accessed through the process of shrinking to tiny sizes.
The "Pym Particles" (or I guess in that "macroverse" they'd be known as "Ace Particles") which were generated by Professor Ace's shrinking ray machine probably originated from the dimension of Kosmos.
Maybe Brad's homeworld was the same one that Professor Dark lived on.
Doctor Stone from World of Fantasy#16 (February, 1959) story "Worlds Within Worlds!" is a prototype to Professor Ace & Professor Dark.
And a big THANK YOU to Dennis Giansante for scanning this story for me!
Profile by John Kaminski
Brad the micronaut has no known connections to:
An aged scientist, he built a machine which generated a shrinking ray. Wanting to test the shrinking ray on a human subject, Ace paid the drifter Brad to work as his test subject, and seemingly shrank Brad out of existence.
--Journey into Mystery I#56/4
images: (without ads)
Journey into Mystery I#56, p19, pan1 (main image)
Journey into Mystery I#56 (January, 1960) - Steve Ditko (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Last updated: 07/26/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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