Real Name: Billy Herrick
Identity/Class: Human (1950s era)
Group Membership: None
Affiliations: At least two unidentified playmates
Enemies: Jim Emmet
Known Relatives: Alexander "Alex" Herrick (father), Clara Herrick (mother); Alice (last name unrevealed; aunt)
Aliases: "Kid", "little brat" (as called by Jim Emmet)
Base of Operations: His family home
First Appearance: Spellbound I#16/1 (August, 1953)
Powers/Abilities: Appearing to be a normal boy of perhaps eight years of age, Billy Herrick apparently had no paranormal abilities (see comments).
An imaginative youngster, Billy enjoyed playing with the new Space Master Disintegrator Gun toy that he received for Christmas, and he liked to pretend that it was real.
Armed only with his "space gun," Billy demonstrated great courage when he confronted a murderous intruder who had invaded his family's home--in defense of himself and his parents, Billy was somehow able to use the toy to disintegrate the intruder.
Height: 4' (by approximation)
Weight: 80 lbs. (by approximation)
(Spellbound I#16/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of Billy Herrick and his parents is largely unrevealed, but his father Alexander defended killer Big Jim Emmet at Emmet's trial. However, Emmet was proven guilty and sentenced to forty years in prison--he blamed Alex for his conviction, and he would continue to send threatening letters to Alex during his incarceration.
Six years later, around Christmas Eve, Emmet broke out of prison, and he was determined to get his revenge on the Herrick family; the authorities contacted Alex and alerted him about Emmet's escape.
(Spellbound I#16/1) - On Christmas morning, the Herrick family was in their home, gathered around the tree and opening their gifts; Billy was delighted to receive a Space Master Disintegrator Gun, and he playfully ran around the house, pretending to "disintegrate" the piano and Spot, the family dog. Clara was concerned because her son seemed to take the toy seriously, but Alex told his wife that it was just plain healthy fun, and that every healthy boy had a strong imagination. Billy put the gun away as the family sat down for breakfast.
After breakfast, Billy went outside to show his new gun to his friends--Alex told him not to stay out too long, and reminded his son that they were going to Aunt Alice's for dinner later.
As Clara looked out the window and watched Billy and his friends playing with the "space gun," she remarked to Alex that it was wonderful to have faith like Billy's--to believe that a mere toy had all the reality in the world. But then Clara noticed that Alex seemed to be troubled by something, so she questioned him; Alex told her the news of Emmet's escape. Clara became alarmed, but Alex affirmed that he didn't take the threats of Emmet (whom he considered to be a boastful fool) seriously.
(Unbeknownst to the Herricks, Emmet was watching them outside the window!).
But Clara was still worried and told Alex they should request a police guard--Alex tried to calm her, assuring his wife that nothing was going to happen, so she should just call Alice and tell her they'd be there at 2 o'clock.
(Unbeknownst to the Herricks, Emmet was sneaking in their door!)
Clara tried to use the telephone to call Alice, but she found the line was completely dead--Alex discovered that the cord had been cut. Suddenly, Jim Emmet stepped out of hiding and pistol-whipped Alex; as the stunned Alex fell to the floor, Emmet held Clara at gunpoint and ordered her to call Billy--for his revenge, Emmet planned to kill the family together.
But just then, Billy came back in the house of his own volition, still carrying his "space gun". Emmet was about to shoot Billy first, and Clara warned her son to run; but Billy defiantly stood up to Emmet, warning the thug to leave their home or else he'd fire his disintegrator gun at him--while Alex and Clara begged their son to flee, Emmet merely erupted in laughter and dared the boy to try, Billy pointed his toy "space gun" at the criminal and fired--with a blinding flash and a scream, Big Jim Emmet completely disappeared.
Alex and Clara were flabbergasted by Emmet's apparent disintegration--Billy only explained that Emmet had forced him, because the criminal refused to heed his warning; Alex ordered his son to give him the gun.
Shortly afterward, Alex and Billy Herrick were in a rowboat, paddling out to the harbor--Alex tossed the "space gun" overboard, and it sank into the frigid waters. Billy questioned his father as to why he threw the good gun away; Alex only responded that he'd get Billy some other toy--one not so dangerous!
As they rowed back to shore, Alex thought to himself about the miraculous salvation of his family on that Christmas Day--it seemed as if Billy was able to save them from Emmet because he believed that his toy was real, but Alex was still left with an unexplainable question: HOW???
Comments: Created by an unidentified writer and Bill Everett (artist).
No explanation was given for Jim Emmet's disintegration--considering the time of year, maybe Santa Claus was somehow involved behind the scenes (...unless Billy was secretly a mutant who could turn his thoughts into reality).
In regards to the Space Master Disintegrator Gun: My guess is that "Space Master" was a kids television program during the 1950s of Earth-616 (mainstream Marvel Universe)--probably similar to Captain Video and Tom Corbett, Space Cadet--and the "space gun" was some kind of toy tie-in.
The manufacturer's name on the box of Billy's "space gun" appeared to be "The Ideal Toy Company"--it probably had no connection to the now-defunct "real-life" Ideal Toy Company, which produced such cool toys as Captain Action and the Zeroids.
This 5-page story--When You Believe--would be reprinted in Weird Wonder Tales#3 (April, 1974).
And thanks go to MarvellousLuke for the images!
Profile by Ron Fredricks.
Billy, Alexander, and Clara Herrick have no known connections to:
Big Jim Emmet has no known connections to:
The parents of Billy Herrick, Alex was apparently a public-defender with the
court system, and Clara was a homemaker.
Located somewhere in America (possibly the
northeastern coast), the three-story house was the home of
Alexander and Clara Herrick, their son Billy, and their dog Spot. It
was situated near a harbor.
Described by Alex Herrick as "a neurotic to begin with," Big Jim Emmet
had killed four people. He was put on trial, with Alex Herrick
assigned as his defense; but Emmet was proved guilty and sentenced to
forty years in prison.
Six years later, around Christmas Eve, Emmet broke out of prison; armed
with a knife and gun, he went to the Herrick family home.
Apparently manufactured by the Ideal
Toy Company (see comments), it
was a seemingly innocuous toy "space gun"; when the trigger was pulled, it
produced a harmless flame-like display of sparks.
images: (without ads)
Spellbound I#16/1, p1, pan3 (Main Image - Billy Herrick opening present on Christmas Morning; Alex Herrick, Christmas tree (background))
Spellbound I#16/1, p2, pan5 (Headshot - Billy Herrick holding disintegrator gun)
Spellbound I#16/1, p2, pan4 (Billy Herrick pretending to disintegrate Spot; Alex Herrick (background))
Spellbound I#16/1, p5, pan5 (Billy Herrick firing "space gun" at Jim Emmet)
Spellbound I#16/1, p2, pan3 (Alex Herrick; Clara Herrick, Billy Herrick, Spot (background))
Spellbound I#16/1, p4, pan2 (Clara Herrick discovers telephone line is dead; Alex Herrick (background))
Spellbound I#16/1, p3, pan7 (Herrick family home (exterior); Alex and Clara Herrick discussing Emmet's escape)
Spellbound I#16/1, p1, pan2 (Clara, Alex, and Billy Herrick inside their home on Christmas Morning)
Spellbound I#16/1, p4, pan6 (armed with knife and gun, Jim Emmet threatens Alex and Clara Herrick)
Spellbound I#16/1, p5, pan4 (Jim Emmet mockingly dares Billy Herrick to disintegrate him; Alex and Clara Herrick (background))
Spellbound I#16/1, p5, pan6 (blinding flash of light and Jim Emmet's final words)
Spellbound I#16/1, p5, pan7 (Clara, Alex, and Billy Herrick standing around earthly remains of Jim Emmet)
Spellbound I#16/1, p2, pan6 (disintegrator gun laying in its box)
Spellbound I#16/1, p2, pan1 (Billy Herrick fires toy disintegrator gun, produces display of sparks; Clara and Alex Herrick (background))
Spellbound I#16/1 (August, 1953) - unidentified writer, Bill Everett (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
First Posted: 12/25/2018
Last updated: 12/25/2018
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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