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WILLY PHELPS

Real Name: Willy Phelps

Identity/Class: Extratemporal human technology user (1960 to 2010 AD)

Occupation: Inventor

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Owner of the world's only time machine" (as called by himself)

Base of Operations: An unidentified American city in 2010 AD;
originally from that same unidentified American city in 1960 AD

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#68/5 (April, 1959)

Powers/Abilities: An inventive genius, Phelps built a time machine. Unconcerned with scientific advancement, he was only motivated by his personal greed, and wanted to travel into the future to collect information on "past" (relatively speaking) stock market trades that would benefit him financially when he returned to his present. Due to unforeseen circumstances, his time machine was disintegrated and he was "trapped in tomorrow". Phelps also had an interest in gambling, particularly betting on horse-races.

Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 160 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

head shot

History: (Strange Tales I#68/5) - The past of Willy Phelps is unknown, but for 19 years he devoted every spare moment of his time toward the construction of a time machine. By 1960, he completed the apparatus, and after thoroughly testing it, he climbed inside and set the time selector to 2010, then activated it and transported himself 50 years into the future. The time machine materialized in an area where once Phelps' home had stood, which by 2010 was an empty lot surrounded by a transparent fence. Phelps got out of the time machine and opened a gate to let himself out of the enclosure, then walked through the futuristic city to the offices of the Daily Clarion newspaper. He went to the newspaper's "morgue" section and requested back-copy newspapers from 1960. Phelps researched the financial sections and found information on stock market quotations, which gave him details on which companies to invest his money, and he even found the winners of horse-races.

   Some time later, armed with enough information to make himself a millionaire many times over, Phelps walked back through the ultra-modern metropolis and returned to the empty lot where he left his time machine. But as he approached the vacant lot, he was shocked to see his time machine was gone. Panicking, Phelps rushed to the first person he saw, a uniformed man (possibly a futuristic sanitation worker?). The man informed Phelps that the fenced area was an electronic garbage disposal field which disintegrated the city's waste. They watched as a garbage truck dumped a load of rubbish over the fence and saw the trash vanish--to his horror, Phelps guessed the fate of his time machine. Having lost his only means of returning back to his own time, Phelps sank to the pavement and wept. He bemoaned the fact that it took him 19 years to build the time machine, and he wondered how long it would take him to build another. As he sobbed, he could only lament how his greed had caused him to be stranded in the future.  But seeing that he had a second chance at life, Willy Phelps hoped he would be worthy of it.

Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and John Buscema (artist)

In regards to this story's depiction of 2010 AD: Speaking as someone who was alive way back then, I can assure you that our world (and Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel Universe) looked nothing like that advanced future Phelps visited, so he likely went to a divergent Earth whose technology had progressed more rapidly.

It took Willy 19 years to build his time machine, and he wondered how long it would take to build another--he had already worked out the design, so you'd think he could build a duplicate fairly quickly. However, since the original was built using parts from 1960 and earlier, he'd have to adapt his design to the advanced 2010 technology, or else start hunting around for "antique" parts, otherwise he's still stuck in the future.

And then there's the problem of poor Willy not fitting in with life in that future world--he'd be looked upon as being backward and "behind the times," and he'd have to catch up on 50 years of history (kind of like Steve Rogers after he was originally thawed). 

There was no mention as to if this future world had developed time travel technology, but maybe Willy changed his ways and taught this 21st Century Earth about his time machine, and this world eventually became the 29th Century world of Norman Crane, where time travel seemed to be commonplace.

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Willy Phelps have no known connections to:


Phelps' time machine

It was a booth-like device built by Willy Phelps in his home workshop in 1960. It could transport an individual through time (...but apparently not through space, because it appeared in the same spot in 2010 where Phelps' home previously stood). In 2010, the time machine materialized in an empty lot that was actually an electronic garbage disposal field, where it was later apparently disintegrated to atoms, and Willy Phelps was marooned 50 years in the future.

--Strange Tales I#68/5












Unidentified city of 2010 AD

In 1960, it had been the American city where Willy Phelps lived. By 2010, it had developed into a gleaming futuristic metropolis with advanced technology.

--Strange Tales I#68/5











Electronic Garbage Disposal Field

In the future of 2010, it was a vacant lot (where Willy Phelps' home had stood 50 years earlier) surrounded by a transparent wall (made of an unspecified material) with at least one access gate. All of the refuse of the city was collected by garbage trucks and dumped into the empty area, where an electronic process disintegrated it completely. Phelps' time machine was apparently destroyed when he unknowingly left it in the area while he attended to other matters.

--Strange Tales I#68/5











images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p1, pan1 (main Image, Willy Phelps in home workshop)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p4, pan6 (head shot, Phelps realizes his time machine is gone)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p5, pan6 (Phelps sitting on pavement)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p1, pan3 (Phelps (left) standing by time machine (right))
Strange Tales I#68/5, p2, pan3 (Phelps inside time machine)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p3, pan1 (unidentified city in 2010, Phelps in fenced enclosure)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p4, pan5 (Phelps walking through futuristic city)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p5, pan4 (garbage truck dumping trash into disintegration field as uniformed man and Phelps watch)
Strange Tales I#68/5, p5, pan5 (trash being disintegrated)


Appearances:
Strange Tales I#68/5 (April, 1959) - unidentified writer, John Buscema (artist)


Last updated: 11/12/15

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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