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Real Name: John Fox

Identity/Class: Extradimensional normal human

Occupation: Prisoner;

formerly criminal

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Colonists of Vestas 203

Enemies: Dart birds of Vestas 203

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Mobile

First Appearance: World of Fantasy#16/5 (February, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: Fox was a strong and rugged individual with excellent survival skills. He was rehabilitated from his criminal behavior via the technology of the Conditioning Room.


(World of Fantasy #16/5 (fb) - BTS) - Circa the "future" year 2000 A.D. (see comments), John Fox committed an unspecified crime. He went into hiding in the jungles of New Guinea until he was apprehended by the authorities. 

(World of Fantasy #16/5) - Fox was brought to trial. After finding him guilty, the judge told Fox that steps were being taken to change his criminal behavior. The defiant Fox angrily struggled with the guards as they dragged him off to his sentence. 

(World of Fantasy #16/5 - BTS) - Fox was taken to the Conditioning Room, where--unbeknown to him--two attendants rendered him unconscious and placed him within a device that induced a virtual reality existence into his mind. 

(World of Fantasy #16/4) - While sleeping under the influence of the conditioning technology, Fox dreamed that he made his escape from the guards and stole a police rocket. He flew the spacecraft past Mars and into the asteroid belt, where he landed on Vestas 203; the tiny planetoid was the home of a small colony of uranium miners (A mineral on the surface of the asteroid provided a breathable atmosphere for the colonists and the indigenous lifeforms). Fox managed to take a few weapons and provisions from the rocket just before an explosive eruption destroyed the spacecraft. Marooned on the barren asteroid, Fox set up a campsite and constructed a shelter from the hides of native animals. He eventually ran across some of the mining colonists, who were searching for a lost boy; Fox gruffly informed them that he hadn't seen the youngster and told them to go away--the colonists respected his wish and complied. Later, Fox found the lost boy and heroically saved him from some attacking dart birds. He returned the youngster back home and in appreciation, the grateful colonists invited Fox to join their community--since he had reached a point where he missed the companionship of others, he took them up on their offer. Becoming a hard-working member of the mining colony, Fox's personality changed as his criminal demeanor and anti-social attitude diminished. He learned the value of an honest day's work, and found happiness as a useful and productive member of the group. In the Conditioning Room, the sleeping Fox's contented smile told the attendants that the rehabilitation process had been a success; the former criminal was now ready to be returned to society, for he had been redeemed and given a new lease on life.

Comments: Created by an uncredited writer, Jack Kirby (pencils) and Chris Rule (inker). 

This story was done with a surprise ending, and it wasn't until the last two panels that the reader learned that Fox's escape and experiences on the mining colony were merely a product of the Conditioning Room. 

Since Fox's "life" on Vestas 203 was an "imaginary" scenario (in the context of the story), it's unknown if there actually ever were any inhabitants on that asteroid (...or if Vestas 203 even existed). 

This story kinda reminds me of the movie "Total Recall". 

In regards to that "futuristic" date: Remember, this story--"Prison 2000 A.D."--was originally published back when that "world of tomorrow" was still over four decades away. Although there have been instances of technology similar to the Conditioning Room seen on Earth-616 (such as Dr. Doom's Remembrancer), there are too many discrepancies for it to fit into the mainstream Marvel universe in that particular year (e.g., styles of clothing and architecture, the fact that space travel was commonplace). 

Since I'm on the topic of criminal rehabilitation, here are a few other examples that might be worth mentioning: 

  1. Tony Stark once sent Quasimodo (Quasi-Motivational Destruct Organism)'s mind into a virtual reality world where the disfigured living computer believed he'd been given a perfect human body (@ Iron Man Annual I#12/2). 
  2. Since Doc Savage played a role in Earth-616 continuity (see Blacksun/Mysterium & Saku): In the pulp magazines, Doc had his "Crime College," where he performed brain surgery on captured criminals and "deactivated" the portion of their brains that made them commit crimes, thus transforming them into honest citizens. 
  3. On Earth-712, Tom Thumb invented the Behavior Modification (B-Mod) machine that brainwashed criminals into reforming (@ Squadron Supreme I#6). 

And a BIG Thank You to Monsterblog for the scans! .

Profile by John Kaminski.

John Fox has no known connections to:

Fox in the Conditioning Room

Conditioning Room

On the "future" Earth of 2000 A.D. (see comments), criminals were rehabilitated with the technology of the Conditioning Room. The attendants would render a criminal unconscious and placed the person within a machine that induced a dream-like virtual reality into the mind; during this procedure, the criminal learned valuable life lessons and was guided on an enlightened path to become a better person. In one such case, John Fox was successfully reformed after "living" the simulated life of a hard-working uranium miner on the asteroid Vestas 203.


--World of Fantasy#16/5


Colonists of Vestas 203

The friendly settlers of Vestas 203, the colonists included two men, a young woman, and a 10-year-old boy (see comments). They worked at a uranium mining operation on the asteroid. They eventually invited fugitive John Fox to join their colony and helped him reform from his criminal behavior.


--World of Fantasy#16/5

Dart birds - dive!

Dart Birds of Vestas 203

Hostile lifeforms that inhabited Vestas 203 (see comments), the dart birds threatened the life of a young colonist. They were frightened away by John Fox, who used a magnesium grenade to create a flash of light to drive them away (the creatures apparently hated light).


--World of Fantasy#16/5

images: (without ads)
World of Fantasy#16/5, p1, pan1 (main image)

p4, pan3 (headshot on Vestas 203)
p5, pan5 (in Conditioning Room)
p5, pan1 (with colonists)
p4, pan4 (dart birds)

Other Appearances: None

First Posted: 01/21/2011
Last updated: 04/20/2014

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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