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Real Name: Joe Phelps

Identity/Class: Human technology user 

Occupation:  Sound engineer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Anita Rogers

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unidentified recording studio, unidentified city, USA

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#99/3 (August, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: Technically inclined by profession, Phelps was skilled at operating the audio-recording equipment in a music studio. He accidentally discovered a method of producing lethal sound waves while playing a vinyl record at speeds exceeding 200 rpm (see comments).


(Strange Tales I#99/3 (fb)) - While employed at a recording studio, Phelps became infatuated with singer Anita Rogers, but Anita already had a steady boyfriend and had no interest in Phelps' romantic advances. Feeling spurned, Phelps became obsessed over Anita's rejection of him and plotted to get his revenge. One day while he was in the recording booth, Phelps inadvertently played a record too fast and he was buffeted by a shrill blast of ear-piercing sonic waves. He felt himself weakening and losing consciousness, but managed to switch the speakers off before the effect proved fatal. When he recovered, Phelps thought of using the record to kill Anita--it would be the perfect crime, for the acoustic assault would leave no evidence of bodily injury. 

You can't stop the music!

(Strange Tales I#99/3) - Phelps bided his time until a week later, when he and Anita were alone in the building. As he sat in the protection of the soundproof recording booth, Phelps saw the beautiful singer in the studio, so he began to play the record over the studio's speakers. But as he watched through the observation window, he noticed that Anita didn't suffer any ill effects from the hideous noise. He switched on the speakers in the recording booth so he could confirm that the record was actually playing, and he was immediately struck down by the deadly sound waves. But just before he died, Phelps learned the reason why Anita hadn't been harmed by the virulent cacophony: She had had her concealed hearing aid turned off!

Comments: Created by an uncredited writer and Don Heck (artist).

No explanation was given as to why that record acted the way it did--in the real-world, if you play a record too fast, you just get something that sounds like "Alvin & The Chipmunks" (annoying, but hardly lethal). But I had a thought: Maybe that particular record was a leftover from Don Russell that was never recalled following the scandal that ruined his singing career; and maybe the hypnotic impulses that were mixed with the sounds of "Russell's" voice on the record were deadly when played at high speeds (Yeah, it's kinda convoluted, but YOU try coming up with a better explanation!). 

The story title was "Man in the Glass Cage", so I guess that could be considered an alias.

For the benefit of younger readers who may not know what "vinyl records" are, see HERE

This story was reprinted in Uncanny Tales II#10/3, from which these scans came. 

And a BIG Thank You to Grendel Prime for the scans!

Profile by John Kaminski.

Joe Phelps has no known connections to:

Anita Rogers has no known connections to:

Anita Rogers

Anita was a beautiful vocalist who was deaf, but she kept her disability a secret by hiding her hearing aid behind a lock of hair. She was romantically involved with her steady boyfriend Bob. Anita recorded her songs at a music studio, where she became the object of sound engineer Joe Phelps' affections; she politely told Phelps that she was already in a relationship, but the obsessive man felt insulted by her rejection and plotted revenge. While she was alone with Phelps in the studio building, Anita just happened to have her hearing aid turned off when Phelps unleashed an assault of deadly sonic waves against her; the attack backfired and resulted in the death of Phelps instead, and Anita left the studio, unaware of what had transpired.


--Strange Tales I#99/3

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#99/3, p4, pan4 (main image)

p5, pan1 (headshot)
p3, pan2 (Phelps suffering effects of record)
p2, pan4 (Anita singing)
p5, pan5 (Anita revealing hearing aid)

Other Appearances: None

Last updated: 02/07/11

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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