Real Name: Derek Welles

Identity/Class: Alternate reality human technology user (Earth-60911; 2050 A.D. to 3050 A.D.) (see comments)

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Carl (last name unrevealed) and other unidentified colleagues

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: An unidentified American city (2050 AD)

First Appearance: Tales to Astonish I#11/3 (September, 1960)

Powers/Abilities: Welles had no paranormal abilities; however, he had access to the technology of his future era, where time travel to the past was commonplace, but going into the future was considered to be impossible.

However, Welles believed that it was possible to travel to the future, so he built his own time machine to prove his theory.

Height: Unrevealed (5'10"; by approximation)
Weight: Unrevealed (180 lbs.; by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Black

(Tales to Astonish I#11/3 (fb) - BTS) - By the year 2000 AD, mankind had developed time travel (see comments), but the "direction" of travel was limited to only the past--while time travelers were able to return to their own era, it was thought to be impossible to make a voyage from the present into the future.

   By 2050 AD, time travel had become commonplace--a thriving time travel industry came into being, and a multitude of tourists were easily able to make daily excursions to visit the past.

(Tales to Astonish I#11/3) - But Derek Welles believed that traveling to the future was possible, and he discussed his idea with his friend Carl; however, Carl insisted that such a voyage was impossible, because one couldn't go into something that hasn't yet happened!

   But regardless, Welles arduously researched books on time travel, and he came up with a design for his own time machine; then came the day when Welles completed his machine, but when he activated it, the apparatus exploded--fortunately, Welles was uninjured in the incident.

   Undeterred by his first failure, Welles was still determined to prove his theory, so he successfully constructed a second time machine, which did not explode.

   Afterwards, Welles met with Carl and some of his other colleagues to tell them about his plans: The next day, Welles was going to use his time machine to go a thousand years into the future. Carl and the others advised him not to attempt the dangerous voyage, and they warned him that if he tried to go into a time period that didn't exist yet, he'd melt into nothingness. But Welles wouldn't listen to the "timid fools," and he insisted that tomorrow, he would be going into the future, and nothing would stop him!

   The following day, Welles set his time machine to 3050 AD, but as he was about to enter the device, he heard a pounding at the door of his home--it was Carl and the others, begging him to give up his mad scheme. Welles heedlessly dashed into the time machine, locked its door, then activated it. There was a kaleidoscope of color, form, and sound... then an unbearable pressure that caused Welles to lose consciousness.

   An infinity later, Welles awoke, and even before he opened the time machine's door, he knew he was no longer in 2050, but in another age! And most importantly, he was unhurt, so he had thus proven that man could survive a voyage into the future!

   But when Welles opened the door and exited the time machine, he found the world was just a barren wasteland--he figured his machine had taken him to the past instead, back when Earth was just a raw, primitive planet.

   Welles regretted not listening to his colleagues, because they seemed to have been right--it was impossible to go into the future, and man could only travel into the past. Feeling that he had failed miserably, Welles thought himself lucky that he wasn't killed trying his foolish stunt, and he resolved that as soon as he got back home, he'd destroy the time machine.

   A few moments later, the deeply disappointed Derek Welles and his machine were back in 2050 AD...but he would never know the mistake he had made, for he had actually traveled to Earth in 3050 AD! If he had looked a little further around that barren world before jumping to his conclusion, Welles would have seen a rock engraved with a parting message from the people of the future, who had abandoned Earth in 3045 AD to search the galaxy for a larger and more fertile planet...

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby.

Since time travel was developed in 2000 AD, and later used by the general public, then the events of this story probably took place on an alternate Earth.

The plot of this 5-page story--I Dared to Look into the Beyond!--was basically a reworking of an earlier 4-page story--Journey into Nowhere!--from Strange Tales I#69/3 (June, 1959).

I'm guessing that Welles was probably named in homage to author H.G. Wells, who wrote The Time Machine, which was adapted in Marvel Comics Classics#2 (1976).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

Derek Welles has no known connections to:

>Carl has no known connections to:

Derek Welles' time machine has no known connections to:

time traveling tourists

In the year 2000 AD, mankind had discovered the secret of time travel (see comments). However, traveling to the future was considered to be impossible, because the future hadn't yet happened; therefore, time travel was limited to the past only.

By 2050 AD, traveling through time had become quite commonplace, and the tourist industry constructed "time tunnels" that provided a means for people to make excursions into the past and back.

One of the most popular tourist destinations for time travelers was the ancient Roman Empire.

--Tales to Astonish I#11/3


A colleague of Derek Welles, Carl tried to dissuade him from attempting to travel into the future, because the future did not yet exist.

But despite the warnings of Carl and other colleagues, Welles was determined to travel to the future in his own time machine.

On the day Welles made his voyage, Carl and the others pounded on the door of Welles' home and tried to stop him, for they feared he would destroy himself in the attempt.

--Tales to Astonish I#11/3

Derek Welles' time machine

In 2050 AD, time travel to the past was commonplace, but traveling to the future was thought to be impossible. But Welles wanted to prove that traveling to the future was possible, and after weeks of arduous research, he built his first time machine; however, after the initial test, the device exploded--fortunately, Welles was uninjured.

Still determined to prove his theory was correct, Welles constructed a second time machine, which successfully functioned. Welles set the device to transport him to 3050 AD and activated it.

But when his journey was over, Welles found himself on what appeared to be a barren and primitive Earth--believing that the machine had instead transported him to the distant past, Welles thought his mission to be a failure, so he returned home and apparently destroyed the time machine.

Welles was unaware that he had actually traveled to 3050 AD, but the infertile Earth of that era had been abandoned by all of its inhabitants.

--Tales to Astonish I#11/3

Earth of 3050 AD

By 3045 AD, Earth had become an infertile world, and all of mankind abandoned it to search the galaxy for a larger, more fertile planet to inhabit. But before they left, someone had engraved a parting message into a rock to explain humanity's mass exodus.

In 2050 AD, Derek Welles used his time machine to prove that traveling to the future was possible. He set the machine to take him a thousand years into the future; but when he found the world to be a barren, lifeless planet, Welles mistakenly believed that he had been transported to Earth's primitive past instead. Thinking that his mission to have been a complete failure, Welles returned to his own time.

But ironically, if Welles had looked a little further around the barren landscape before jumping to his conclusion, he would have found the rock with the message engraved in it.

--Tales to Astonish I#11/3

images: (without ads)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p1, pan1 (Main Image - Derek Welles, being held back by Carl; unidentified colleagues (background))
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p2, pan5 (Headshot - Derek Welles)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p4, pan2 (Derek Welles (left) tells his plans to Carl and other unidentified colleagues)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p5, pan5 (Derek Welles thinks that his mission has failed)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p2, pan1 (time travelers enter time tunnel)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p2, pan4 (time travelers appear in ancient Rome)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p2, pan5 (Carl tells Derek Welles that time travel to the future is impossible)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p3, pan1 (Carl explains to Derek Welles why traveling to the future is impossible)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p4, pan1 (Derek Welles finishes his time machine)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p4, pan6 (Derek Welles inside time machine, about to begin his journey)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p4, pan7 (Derek Welles' time machine, traveling through time)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p5, pan3 (Derek Welles in 3050 AD, mistakenly believing that he's in the past)
Tales to Astonish I#11/3, p5, pan7 (in 3050 AD, rock with engraved parting message from future Earth inhabitants)

Tales to Astonish I#11/3 (September, 1960) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), Larry Lieber (script), Jack Kirby (pencils), Steve Ditko (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)

First Posted: 08/28/2021
Last updated: 08/28/2021

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