Real Name: Jonathan Black
Identity/Class: Human technology user; Post-World War II era
Group Membership: None
Enemies: A stray dog (unintentionally)
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: His house in Lakeville (somewhere in the United States)
First Appearance: Uncanny Tales I#44/3 (June, 1956)
Powers/Abilities: None, however Black was in possession of Gas X, a chemical which could negate the pull of gravity.
History: (Uncanny Tales I#44/3 (fb) - BTS) - Jonathan Black somehow came into the possession of Gas X, and planned to use it to first blackmail the United States, then he'd extend his operations from country to country until he ruled the world! Beginning in the town of Lakeville, he would introduce tiny whiffs of Gas X into the gas mains leading into buildings in town which would lift the structures off their foundations, but if he met with any resistance, he would use a bit more the next time and the building would rise up to the stratosphere and stay there for weeks!
(Uncanny Tales I#44/3) - On May 15th, at 11:23 a.m., a small Cape Cod house at 531 Spruce Lane rose several feet from its foundation for one hour and nineteen minutes, then settled back down to its foundation.
At 1:43 p.m. the next day, the Lakeville Service Station tore loose from its foundation and floated in the air.
At 4:12 p.m. the next day, the entire shopping center at 931 Broadway lifted off its foundation.
Nobody was hurt during these incidents, and all the buildings settled down safely. Scientists investigated and made their reports, but could not explain this phenomenon -- it was beyond belief. Panic spread amongst the citizenry, and some people began to leave town.
At 4:01 p.m., as Jonathan Black reclined on his sofa with his dreams of grandeur, a starving stray dog leaped through the open window in Black's lab, went over to him, and licked his hand. Black cruelly struck the mongrel to chase it off. Frightened, the mutt leaped back out the window, toppling the cylinder of Gas X as it jumped, causing the canister to leak. The resultant gas leak of the entire tank caused Black's home to shoot off into outer space.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Harry Lazuras.
It was never elaborated exactly where Black got Gas X from -- whether he invented it, stole it, etc. (...hey, it was just a three page story -- they didn't have time to get too complicated with the plot).
I would say that Gas X probably contained a high concentration of anti-gravitons. Further, the machinery in Black's lab must have generated a field that somehow cancelled the anti-gravity effect; otherwise that cylinder of Gas X (and anything it was attached to) would have been floating around all the time.
Given his predicament at the end of the story, Jonathan Black probably froze and/or suffocated in the cold vacuum of space.
This story -- "Beyond Belief!" -- was reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales#4 (June, 1974).
Profile by John Kaminski
Jonathan Black has no known connections to:
Gas X has no known connection to:
A chemical mixture in gas form, Gas X was kept in a cylinder in Jonathan Black's lab in his home, and introduced into the gas mains of buildings in town in small whiffs, the effect of which would cause the whole building to rise from its foundation for a short period of time.
When a stray dog later accidentally toppled the gas cylinder, the resultant leak flooded Black's house with Gas X, causing it to shoot up into space.
--Uncanny Tales I#44/3
Uncanny Tales I#44, p11, p1 (main image)
Uncanny Tales I#44 (June, 1956) - Harry Lazuras (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
Weird Wonder Tales#4 (June, 1974) - reprint
Last updated: 10/28/06
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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