Real Name: Mac Grant

Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)

Occupation: Swindler

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Lois Deane

Enemies: Detective Tim Haley, Detective Ed Morgan, unidentified old man

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Old Black Beard", "the old goat" (as referred to by his past self)

Base of Operations: Unidentified American airport

First Appearance: Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2 (February, 1957)

Powers/Abilities: A normal man with no paranormal abilities, Mac Grant was an amoral con-man who felt no guilt for his crimes. He was skilled at piloting both propeller and jet aircraft (see comments), and he had his own plane.

While fleeing from the police, Grant took a flight in an experimental jet which transported him 2 hours into the past--following this time-displacement, Grant briefly wore a stolen hat and coat, and disguised his face with a false black beard..

Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Mac Grant is largely unrevealed, but under unspecified circumstances, he swindled $10,000 from an old man. On the run from the law, Grant was planning to use his plane to fly to Canada; he went to the airport, where he sat in a diner booth and waited for his girlfriend Lois Deane to arrive.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2) - While Grant drank a cup of coffee in the diner, he was concerned that the police might tail Lois to find him.

   Meanwhile, Detectives Morgan and Haley were staking-out Lois' home, and they followed her when she took a cab to the airport.

   At 10:00 PM, Lois entered the diner, and Grant was sure she had seen him; but when a black bearded stranger sitting at the counter beckoned to her, Lois smiled and walked over to him instead. Grant was initially puzzled by his girlfriend's behavior, but when he saw the two police detectives come in and arrest the bearded stranger, he figured Lois had purposely led them to the wrong man so Grant could make his getaway. The detectives took the bearded stranger and Lois (since she was a material witness) into custody--Grant was unconcerned, because Lois had done nothing wrong, and he figured they'd release her shortly.

   Grant hurried out to his own airplane to make his flight from justice, but he was unable to get the plane's engine started. He searched the airfield and found a jet plane with plenty of fuel, so he climbed aboard it and took off--within 30 seconds, the aircraft hit the top speed of 3500 MPH. Grant struggled to control the strange plane as it accelerated--he was aware that it was far exceeding even the top speed shown on the indicator, and nothing but blackness surrounded him.

   Grant was helpless as his flight continued, but two hours later, the fantastic plane ran out of fuel--he glided the jet down to a landing strip, and was surprised to find that it was the same airport from which he'd departed. Landing safely, Grant hastily disembarked from the jet and walked to the airport terminal. He supposed that the detectives had let Lois go by this time, and she was probably waiting in the diner for him--but figuring the detectives might be waiting there, too, Grant decided to get some sort of disguise.

(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2 - BTS) - Grant went into the airport terminal's sundry store and bought a Halloween mask (see comments)--he removed the black beard from the mask and affixed it to his face; he completed his disguise by making off with a customer's hat and coat, leaving his own leather jacket on the hook in their place. 

(Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2) - The disguised Grant went to the diner and sat at the counter. A few minutes later, Lois came in, and Grant beckoned to her. When Lois smiled and approached him, the disguised con-man complimented her for the trick she had used to fool the detectives--Lois was confused, for she didn't understand what Grant was talking about. Just then, Detectives Morgan and Haley entered and placed Grant under arrest. As he was being taken into custody, Grant glanced over to a booth in the corner of the diner--he was stunned when he saw himself staring at him! 

   Looking up at the clock over the diner's doorway, Grant was shocked to see that it was 10:00 PM, because it had been 10 o'clock two hours ago! Breaking out in a cold sweat under the false beard, Grant could only theorize that the jet plane had flown so fast that it had carried him backwards, two hours into his past--Mac Grant now realized that the black bearded stranger he had seen being arrested earlier had been himself!

Comments: Created by Carl Wessler (writer) and Gray Morrow (artist).

Grant seemed to easily adapt from flying his propeller airplane to flying that jet--maybe he was formerly a pilot in the US Air Force, and he was experienced in flying both types of aircraft; and maybe that experimental jet had some connection to the time-traveling XD-1.

Since Grant pulled the black beard off a Halloween mask, it would imply that this story took place sometime just prior to October 31st (...either that, or that airport store did a bad job keeping their inventory up to date).

It's hard to make logical sense of this 4-page story--The Black Beard!-- because it seems that Mac Grant is eternally trapped in an endless chicken-or-egg time-loop. If the experimental jet was out of fuel when the future Grant landed it, then how could the earlier Grant have taken off in it? And the future Grant was arrested, so what happened to his past/present self? (Argh! All these alternate time-divergences and paradoxes make my head hurt!).

BTS test pilot Charlie could have been Chuck Chandler (3-D Man).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Mac Grant/"Old Black Beard" has no known connections to:

Lois Deane has no known connections to:

Detective Tim Haley has no known connections to:

Detective Ed Morgan has no known connections to:

Lois Deane

The girlfriend of swindler Mac Grant, she went to an airport diner to meet him--Lois was unaware that she was being tailed by Detectives Morgan and Haley.

When she entered the diner, she saw a black bearded stranger sitting at the counter who beckoned to her; Lois walked over and smiled when she recognized the stranger as Mac Grant in disguise.

But unbeknownst to Lois, the disguised man was actually the Mac Grant who had been transported back from 2 hours in the future, and her Mac Grant was actually sitting in a diner booth!

-- Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2

Mac Grant's airplane

Located at an unidentified American airport, it was a propeller aircraft used by Mac Grant (Judging by its silhouette, I'm guessing it may have been a Cessna 140).

After he had swindled $10,000 from an old man, Grant planned to use his plane to fly to Canada; but the engine on the old plane wouldn't start, so Grant went in search of another aircraft--he ended up stealing an experimental jet.

-- Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2

Experimental jet

Located at an unidentified American airport, this aircraft had never been flown before, and its top speed was unknown; a test pilot ("Charlie") was scheduled to take it for its first flight.

But when fugitive Mac Grant couldn't get his own plane's engine to start, he stole the jet to flee from justice. During Grant's flight, the jet reached such an incredible velocity that it transported him 2 hours into the past.

-- Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2

Detective Tim Haley and Detective Ed Morgan

Two plainclothes police detectives (It was unclear exactly which one was which), they were pursuing con-man Mac Grant; the detectives were on a stake-out at the home of Grant's girlfriend, Lois Deane, in the hopes that she would lead them to Grant.

They tailed Lois when she took a cab to the airport to meet with Grant, and followed her into the airport's diner, where they found the disguised Grant sitting at the counter.

The detectives were unaware that the disguised Mac Grant they were arresting had actually been transported back from 2 hours in the future, while the "real" Mac Grant was sitting in a diner booth.

-- Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2

images: (without ads)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p1 pan1 (Main Image - Mac Grant sitting in airport diner booth)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p2, pan3 (Headshot - Mac Grant, after detectives arrest his future self)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p2, pan2 (Mac Grant (sitting in diner booth); Mac Grant's future self (in black beard disguise), Lois Deane, Detectives Tim Haley and Ed Morgan (background))
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p4, pan4 (Mac Grant (in black beard disguise) sees his past self sitting in diner booth)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p4, pan6 (Mac Grant (in black beard disguise) realizes he's traveled two hours into the past
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p3, pan6 (Lois Deane speaks to disguised Mac Grant in diner)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p3, pan7 (Lois Deane, confused by Mac Grant's compliment)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p2, pan4 (Mac Grant by his plane)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p2, pan5 (Mac Grant climbs into experimental jet)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p2, pan6 (in control tower, airport personnel react as Grant flies off in experimental jet)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p3, pan2 (Mac Grant flying experimental jet)
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p4, pan1 (Detectives Tim Haley and Ed Morgan about to arrest Mac Grant; Lois Deane (left))
Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2, p4, pan3 (Detectives Tim Haley and Ed Morgan; Lois Deane (right))

Strange Stories of Suspense#13/2 (February, 1957) - Carl Wessler (writer), Gray Morrow (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor) 

First Posted: 12/10/2019
Last updated: 05/31/2020

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