The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1939

   The Ship That Flew
by Hilda Lewis
First publication: 1939

Four children and a ship—a time traveling ship, that is, which takes Peter Grace and his three siblings back to the time of ancient Egypt, Robin Hood, Norse gods, and more.

 It was lovely in the magic ship, lovelier than any one could possibly have imagined. The wind sent their hair streaming backwards. Birds flew past with movements scarcely less graceful that those of the ship. The children sang for joy in the keen, fresh air. The song that they sang had no words, it just came out in trills and rhythms because they were so happy. 

[Jun 2016]

   A Traveller in Time
by Alison Uttley
First publication: 1939

While staying with her aunt in Derbyshire, sickly young Penelope Taberner Cameron is swept back to the sixteenth century where she is caught up in the Babington plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.

 I flung open the door, and I fell headlong down a flight of stairs. I had dropped into the corridor where I had seen the servants pass with their jugs and tankards. For some time I lay half-stunned with surprise, but unhurt, for I had fallen silently like a feather floating to the floor. I looked round at the door, but it had disappeared; I stared at the low whitewashed ceiling and the carved doorways, and I listened to the beating of my heart which was the only sound. Then life seemed to come to the world, distant shouts of men, the jingle of harness, and the lowing of cattle. A cock crew as if to wake the dead, and I sat up trying to remember . . . remember. . . . 

[Jun 2016]



   DC Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Dectective Comics 23, Jan 1939

Like all the other publishers, DC also published anthologies of weird stories (as opposed to continuing characters) in the 50s, but even before that, they had anthologies of adventure stories. The earliest time travel that I’ve found so far are from 1939: a two-part story of Slam Bradley and his sidekick traveling to the year two billion, A.D., in Detective Comics 23 and 24; and a five-part story, “A Playboy in King Arthur’s Court,” starting in in Adventure Comics 37. As for the 50s weird stories, the first one I found there was an H.L. Gold tale, “The Endless War,” in Strange Adventures 2. As I find others, I’ll list them in my time-travel comic books page.

 History runs wild when Columbus, Napolean, and Cleopatra journey through time from the past to the present! 

—from the cover of Strange Adventures 60

[Jun 2012]

   The Shadow
created by Walter B. Gibson
First time travel: 1 Jan 1939

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of time travelers? I found one time-travel episode of The Shadow: the Jan 1, 1939 NBC radio broadcast of “The Man Who Murdered Time”:

 My machine bends the staight track of time, curves it, curves it, so that the time track forms a perfect circle! 

[Jun 2011]



   Alley Oop
created by V.T. Hamlin
First time travel: 5 Apr 1939

The caveman’s first exposure to time travel was in the 5 April, 1939 daily strip, shortly before Dr. Wonmug brought the insignts of the boisterous Alley Oop to the 20th century and elsewhere in time.

The image to the left is from Alley Oop 12 from Standard’s 1947-49 run of nine comics (10-18) that reprinted strips. The first one had pre-time-travel strips, but all of the rest probably included some time travel. The time machine picture to the right is from Dragon Lady Press strip reprints in the 1980s.

I’ve also found one Alley Oop take-off called Irving Oops in an the EC comic Panic 8, May 1955—which makes me wonder whether that other Irving of the comics, Irving Forbush, ever time traveled.

 By golly, kid, I’d swear that thing wasn’t there a while ago! I’m gonna see what— 

—Alley Oop watching a camera from the future dissolve away, 5 Apr 1939

[Dec 2010]



   Fox Features Syndicate Comics
founded by Victor S. Fox
First time travel: Wonder Comics 2, Jun 1939

Fox Comics had one of the earliest lineups of anthology comic books with continuing characters. Their earliest time travel that I found was by the recurring character Don Quixote, who appeared in the second issue of Wonder Comics. (The first issue starred Will Eisner’s superhero, Wonder Man, but he was quashed by a DC lawsuit.)

My favorite Fox time traveler was the Sorceress of Zoom. She was a female anti-hero along the lines of the Submariner, but her realm was not in the sea, it was the cloud city of Zoom. She had at least one time travel adventure in Weird Comics 7 (Oct 1940) when she gets the best of Morgan Le Fay in Camelot.

As I find more, I’ll list each character’s first time travel here and the details will be on my time-travel comics page. (Sadly, I never spotted any time travel by Marga the Panther Woman, who appeared alongside Cosmic Carson in Science Comics.)
  1. Don Quixote (Jun 1939) Wonder Comics 2
  2. Flick Falcon (Dec 1939) Fantastic Comics 1
  3. Cosmic Carson (Jul 1940) Science Comics 6
  4. The Sorceress of Zoom (Oct 1940) Weird Comics 7

 Ill project the City of Zoom into the past where it will be safe for the time being! 

Weird Comics 7

[Jun 2015]

   Pete Manx and the Time Chair Stories
by Henry Kuttner and Arthur K. Barnes (as by Kelvin Kent)
First story: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Aug 1939

Captain Marvel’s time chair got scooped by Dr. Horation Mayhem who sent Pete Manx into dangerous hijinks in the past in the pages of Thrilling Wonder Stories.
  1. Roman Holiday (Aug 1939) Kuttner and Barnes
  2. World’s Pharaoh (Dec 1939) Kuttner
  3. Science is Golden (Apr 1940) Kuttner and Barnes
  4. Knight Must Fall (Jun 1940) Barnes
  5. The Comedy of Eras (Sep 1940) Kuttner
  6. Man about Time (Oct 1940) Kuttner
  7. The Greeks Had a War for It (Jan 1941) Barnes
  8. Hercules Muscles In (Feb 1941) Kuttner
  9. Dames Is Poison (Jun 1942) Kuttner
  10. De Wolfe of Wall Street (Feb 1943) Barnes
  11. Grief of Bagdad (Jun 1943) Barnes
  12. Swing Your Lady (Winter 1944) Kuttner

 “Yes, my boy. I understand your aversion to making any more trips into the historical Past. You have been a—um—lodestone for violent trouble . . .”
“Something always happens to me!” exclaimed Pete. “What if I shd get bumped off in the Past? Nix. No more o that stuff for me.”
“Quite right, my son. And yet—” Mayhems benign tone and dreamy stare at the ceiling were pure ham. “I would never have invited you here again, Pete, knowing it to be a place of strange memories, except that occassionally in our lives there arise demands that transcend all selfish personal considerations. Do you follow me?”
 

—“Grief of Bagdad”

[Aug 2015]

   Arch Oboler’s Plays
by Arch Oboler
First time travel: 9 Sep 1939

Arch Oboler was a prolific radio playright from the mid-1930s, starting with NBC’s Lights Out radio show. One of the stories in the 1939 Arch Obolers Plays series was “And Adam Begot,” which told the story of two men and a woman thrown back into prehistoric times. The story appear in print in a 1944 anthology, was reprised for the 1951 Lights Out tv show, and formed the basis for a 1953 Steve Ditko story in the Black Magic comic book.

 The young dramalist expects to face his biggest casting problem in filling the roles of the two Neanderthal men which he has written into “And Adam Begot.” He wants a voice, he explains, which will instantly suggest a cave-man to the radio listener. With that in mind, he conducted a survey of what people expect in a Neanderthal voice. “A cross-section of the answers,” Oboler says, “suggests a bass voiced prizefighter, talking double talk with his mouth full of hot potatoes.” 

—The Lima News, 9 Sep 1939

[May 2015]

   All-American Comics
aka “A Thousand Years a Minute”
by Carl H. Claudy
First time travel: All-American Comics 8, Nov 1939

Before being bought by DC, All-American Publications had a 102-issue run with All-American Comics, which among other things introduced the Green Lantern and had an adaptation of Carl H. Claudy’s A Thousand Years a Minute in issues 7 through 12. However, the episode in #7 was actually more the wrapping up of an earlier serial (also by Claudy and under the umbrella of Adventures in the Unknown) called “The Mystery Men of Mars,” and the actual time-traveling began until issue 8.

 If you stepped off this platform youd be cut in two just as if you stepped off a fast moving train! You cant be in two different “times” any more than you can be in two difference places at the same moment! 

All-American Comics 9

[Jan 2016]

   Lest Darkness Fall
by L. Sprague de Camp
First published as complete novel: Unknown, Dec 1939

During a thunderstorm, archaeologist Martin Padway is thrown back to Rome of 535 A.D., whereupon he sets out to stop the coming Dark Ages.

 Padway feared a mob of religious enthusiasts more than anything on earth, no doubt because their mental processes were so utterly alien to his own. 

[May 2012]

   Top-Notch Comics
by Otto Binder and Jack Binder
First publication: Dec 1939

The first two issues of Top-Notch Comics had a feature called “Scott Rand in the Worlds of Time” written by science fiction staple Otto Binder and drawn by his older brother, Jack (rather than Earl). Rand first drove his time car back to Rome in 200 A.D. where he picked up Thor. In the second episode, they went to New York in 2000 A.D. Jack Binder continued the episodes of Rand and Thor in Top-Notch 3, heading to Mars of the future, but I don’t yet know whether there were any other stories.

This title morphed into Top-Notch Laugh Comics, and was then acquired by Archie Comics. I don’t know whether there were any further adventures in time by Rand or others during the Top-Notch run.

 The time car is working perfectly! We can go anywhere . . . the past or the future! 

—Dr. Meade in Top-Notch Comics 1

[Jun 2012]
 

Additional Adventures (without Time Travel)

I often see potential time-travel stories that, alas, have no time travel. I track them, so that I don’t process these same chronotypical stories over and over in a time loop of my very own.
1939

 These arent the droids youre looking for . . . move along. 


 1939
“City of the Corporate Mind” by Nat Schachner [long sleep]

“City of the Cosmic Rays” by Nat Schachner [long sleep]

“The Gnarly Man” by L. Sprague de Camp [immortality]

“Greater Than Gods” by C.L. Moore [visions of possible futures]

The Hidden Universe by Ralph Milne Farley [differing time rates]

“Into Another Dimension” by Maurice Duclos [parallel universes]

“Lightship, Ho!” by Nelson S. Bond [FTL]

“Stolen Centuries” by Otis Adelbert Kline [long sleep]

“Life-Line” by Robert A. Heinlein [predictions]


20 items are in the time-travel list for these search settings.
Thanks for visiting my time-travel page, and thanks to the many sources that provided stories and more (see the Links and Credits in the menu at the top). —Michael (
main@colorado.edu)