Real Name: ?? Dolan (first name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human technology user (Post-World War II era; Age of Camelot)

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: King Arthur

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Merlin" (see comments)

Base of Operations: 6th century Camelot; originally from the 20th century

First Appearance: Strange Worlds#4/2 (June, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: None. Professor Dolan was a normal human who had discovered the plans for a time machine while researching the legend of Merlin. He used the time machine to travel back to the 6th century, where his knowledge of modern science made the people of that era think him to be a sorcerer.

History: (Strange Worlds#4/2 (fb) ) - Professor Dolan theorized that the legendary Merlin the Magician was actually a man from the future who went back to ancient times in a time machine -- his superior knowledge and abilities just appeared to be magical to the people of that era. Although he was laughed at by his colleagues, Dolan became obsessed and immersed himself in heavy research on Merlin. By studying some ancient scrolls, Dolan was able to construct a time machine. Although he couldn't pick the exact spot where he'd land, Dolan knew it would be in the vicinity of Camelot, and he should have no trouble finding Merlin.

(Strange Worlds#4/2) - Upon reaching his destination and startling a knight on horseback, the time machine exploded and burst into flames, and Dolan made it out just as the machine was consumed. He saw that he was now committed to this period in time, but then a thought occurred to him -- Merlin (according to Dolan's theory) also came by time machine, so maybe he could help Dolan return. Asking for directions to Camelot from a man driving a horse-drawn cart, Dolan was told by the man that he had never heard of anyone named "Merlin". Going to a larger town, Dolan found no one else there who had ever heard of this so-called magician.

On Dolan's continuing voyage to Camelot, he stopped at the village of Chedon, where history told him Merlin once lived. Spending months there, Dolan amazed many of the simple-minded townsfolk with his knowledge of scientific principles and some of the commonplace items he had brought with him: a cigarette lighter, a wristwatch, and a pen light.

The longer he remained there, the more Dolan began to doubt his theory. He grew depressed as he thought that maybe his friends were right and he had been wrong. Then a knight rode up to him with orders for him to report to King Arthur -- since Arthur must know where Merlin was, Dolan went to him.

King Arthur had heard of Dolan, of this mysterious stranger's "enchantments," and needing a court magician, Arthur appointed Dolan to fill the position. Arthur dubbed him "Merlin," the very name Dolan himself had created. Stunned, Dolan realized that by a strange time paradox, he had come back through the centuries to find Merlin, and he had only found himself!

Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Steve Ditko.

In regards to the rules of time-travel in the Marvel Universe, it has been established that when one goes backwards (or forwards) in time, they do not actually travel in their own time-line, but are instead shunted into an alternate universe.

Although the origins of the true Merlin/Merlyn are shrouded in mystery, more than likely this story ain't it. I would speculate that perhaps Professor Dolan was from Earth-616 and he was shunted into an alternate Earth that did not have its own version of Merlin (perhaps by the machinations of the real Merlin himself, working behind the scenes for some unknown agenda?).

Since the King Arthur in this story appears to be older than the King Arthur of Earth-616 (he appears to be about the same age as Dolan), this would seem to validate that this took place in another reality.

And the time paradox ending of this story reminds me of the story from Fantastic Four I#5, wherein Reed, Johnny, and Ben went back in time to the 18th century and Ben discovered that he was the legendary pirate, Blackbeard. Hmm...come to think of it, they were on a quest for some gems that were enchanted by Merlin...was Merlin maybe behind the scenes in that one too?

I wonder if maybe Professor Dolan was the Merlin who recently fought S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Howling Commandos unit.

In Mystic#55 (January, 1957) "Out Of The Fog!" was another time traveler (granted an accidental one thanks to a "Time-Fog") turned Merlin.

And a big THANK YOU to Dennis Giansante for scanning this story for me!

Profile by John Kaminski

Professor Dolan/"Merlin" has no known connections to:

King Arthur

The aged ruler of Camelot, he needed a court magician and thought the perfect choice would be the mysterious stranger (Dolan) who worked "mystic feats of magic" and who was searching for someone named "Merlin". Arthur summoned Dolan to Camelot and dubbed him "Merlin," the very name Dolan himself had created!

--Strange Worlds#4/2




Dolan's time machine

A one-man time-travel device that Dolan constructed using information gleaned from ancient scrolls. It exploded and was consumed by flames after it transported Dolan to the past.

--Strange Worlds#4/2








images: (without ads)
Strange Worlds#4, p8, pan4 (main image)

p10, pan5 (head shot)
p10, pan4 (King Arthur)
p6, pan1 (time machine)

Last updated: 09/06/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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