The Big List of Time Travel Adventures

 1940

   “Bombardment in Reverse”
by Norman L. Knight
First publication: Astounding, Feb 1940

Jamie Todd Rubin wrote about this story as part of his Vacation in the Golden Age, and I got a pdf copy on Thanksgiving Day in 2012. The story tells of two alien nations at war—a somewhat amateurish was by Martian or Terrestrial standards, but one in which time-traveling weapons target where the enemy was in the past.

 The Nyandrians are attacking Strofander with shells which traverse not only space, but time as well. 

[Nov 2012]



   Fawcett Comics (Anthologies)
First time travel: Slam-Bang Comics 1, Mar 1940

Apart from Captain Marvel Fawcett also had other comics, some with time travel, such as Atom Blake who met himself in time in Wow Comics 2 and Nyoka, the Jungle Girl who traveled to prehistoric times in issue 10.

The earliest that I know of (courtesy of Buddy Lortie) is the continuing story of Mark Swift, his teacher Mr. Kent, and the Time Retarder, which ran in all seven issues of Slam-Bang Comics and finished its run in Master Comics 7. Another continuing character was Dr. Voodoo who began life in the comics as a jungle doctor, but had an adventure in the past in Whiz Comics 18 through 34.

As I find more of those, I’ll list them on my time-travel comics page.

 Where are we going first, Mr. Kent? 

[circa 1970]

This mimeographed Futurian publication was probably printed on the same mimeograph machine as the first mimeo of
“The Final Men.”
   “The Final Men”
by H.G. Wells
First separate publication: Mar 1940 by Futurian Robert W. Lowndes

The first complete, published version of The Time Machine appeared as a five-part serial in the January through May 1895 issues of New Review, edited by William Ernest Henley. In the introduction to the 1924 edition, Wells wrote about the back-and-forth between himself and Henley, saying that “There was a slight struggle between the writer and W.E. Henley who wanted, he said, to put a little ‘writing’ into the tale.”

One piece of that writing was a short episode after the traveller leaves the Eloi and the Morlocks, just before visiting the red sun and the end of the world. This episode was deleted from both the American (Holt text) and the British (Heinemann text) published book editions of the novel, but it did appear as a 7-page mimeographed and stapled publication from American fan and Futurian Robert W. Lowndes in 1940, and it appeared in a number of other places, sometimes called “The Grey Man” and once called “The Missing Pages.”

 No doubt, too, the rain and snow had long since washed out the Morlock tunnels. A nipping breeze stung my hands and face. So far as I could see there were neither hills, nor trees, nor rivers: only an uneven stretch of cheerless plateau. 

[Jan 2013]

   Silver Streak Comics
by Jack Cole, et. al.
First time travel: Dickie Dean in Silver Streak 3, Mar 1940

Jack Cole, the Playboy cartoonist, must have been a little boy when he wrote the adventures of Boy Inventor Dickie Dean. Dickie’s inventions included a machine to capture conversations from the past (Silver Streak Comics 3), a time camera (probably in issue 10). You could argue that neither of these is real time travel, but never mind.

I’ll bet there was more time travel in various of the comics published by Lev Gleason, but I haven’t yet tracked them down.

 Without getting technical, this is a “time camera”! It is possible to reconstruct and photogaph scenes of the past with this machine! 

[Jun 2012]





   The Ghost
aka The Ghost Detective, aka The Green Ghost, aka The Ghost Super-Detective
comic book by August Froehlich and Richard Hughes
First publication: Thrilling Comics 4, May 1940

The Ghost, aka George Chance, was a magician trained in India who used his legerdemain and mystic knowledge to enhance his detective work, convincing his nemeses that he was an actual ghost. He first appeared in Jan 1940 in the pulp fiction magazines as the title character of The Ghost Super-Detective, a series that lasted for seven issues with two renamings (The Ghost Detective with the fourth issue in Fall 1940, followed by Green Ghost Detective for the fifth issue in early 1941). Later, he had additional stories in Thrilling Mystery, but no time travel. But when George Chance made the leap to comic books, his second story (“The Ghost Strikes Again” in Thrilling Comics 4, May 1940) introduced the evil Professor Fenton and his time machine. From then until Thrilling Comics 52 (Feb 1946) had regular adventures, mostly with Fenton:
  1. Thrilling Comics 3 (Apr 1940) no Fenton or time travel
  2. Thrilling Comics 4 (May 1940) first Fenton time travel
  3. Thrilling Comics 5 (Jun 1940) Merlin
  4. Thrilling Comics 6 (Jun 1940) Oliver Cromwell
  5. Thrilling Comics 7 (Aug 1940) Columbus
  6. Thrilling Comics 8 (Sep 1940) Nero
  7. Thrilling Comics 9 (Oct 1940) George Washington
  8. Thrilling Comics 10 (Nov 1940) King Rasamis
  9. Thrilling Comics 11 (Dec 1940) to 1759
  10. Thrilling Comics 12 (Jan 1941) Abraham Lincoln
  11. Thrilling Comics 13 (Feb 1941) 18th century
  12. Thrilling Comics 14 (Mar 1941) dinosaurs and cavemen
  13. Thrilling Comics 15 (Apr 1941) California Gold Rush
  14. Thrilling Comics 16 (May 1941) Blackbeard
  15. Thrilling Comics 17 (Jun 1941) to Mars, no time travel
  16. Thrilling Comics 18 (Jul 1941) King Magnus
  17. Thrilling Comics 19 (Aug 1941) 1st-century Wales
  18. Thrilling Comics 20 (Sep 1941) in 1848
  19. Thrilling Comics 21 (Oct 1941) Roger Bacon
  20. Thrilling Comics 22 (Nov 1941) King Midas
  21. Thrilling Comics 23 (Dec 1941) Lost City of Angkor
  22. Thrilling Comics 24 (Jan 1942) [?]
  23. Thrilling Comics 25 (Feb 1942) Jewels of Kapore
  24. Thrilling Comics 26 (Mar 1942) ancient Atlantis
  25. Thrilling Comics 27 (May 1942) ahead 1000 years
  26. Thrilling Comics 28 (Jun 1942) stop time
  27. Thrilling Comics 29 (Aug 1942) Pharaoh Ikhnaton
  28. Thrilling Comics 30 (Oct 1942) Genghis Khan
  29. Thrilling Comics 31 (Nov 1942) [?]
  30. Thrilling Comics 32 (Jan 1943) Nostradamus [?]
  31. Thrilling Comics 33 (Feb 1943) Attila the Hun
  32. Thrilling Comics 34 (Mar 1943) King John
  33. Thrilling Comics 35 (May 1943) to end of time
  34. Thrilling Comics 36 (Jul 1943) Merlin
  35. Thrilling Comics 37 (Aug 1943) Diana
  36. Thrilling Comics 38 (Oct 1943) Sevastopol Siege
  37. Thrilling Comics 39 (Dec 1943) no Fenton or time travel
  38. Thrilling Comics 40 (Feb 1944) no Fenton or time travel
  39. America’s Best 9 (Apr 1944) no Fenton or time travel
  40. Black Terror 7 (Aug 1944) no Fenton or time travel
  41. Thrilling Comics 46 (Feb 1945) no Fenton or time travel
  42. Thrilling Comics 47 (Apr 1945) ancient Mt. Olympus
  43. Thrilling Comics 48-50 no Fenton or time travel
  44. Thrilling Comics 51 (Dec 1945) ancient Orient
  45. Thrilling Comics 52 (Feb 1946) no Fenton or time travel

 This machine can send you back in time to any age since the world began! Thus I have disposed of Americas Greatest men! Later I shall take over control of the entire nation and bring them back through time to serve as my slaves! 

[Feb 2016]

   “Hindsight”
by Jack Williamson
First publication: Astounding, May 1940

Years ago, engineer Bill Webster abandoned Earth for the employ of the piratical Astrarch; now the Astrarch is aiming the final blow at a defeated Earth, and Bill wonders whether the gunsites that he invented can site—and change!—events in the past.

 He didnt like to be called the Renegade. 

[Jun 2011]



list of correct respondents to the story contest
   “The Time-Wise Guy”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, May 1940

The kindly Professor Tyrrell invites his most worthy student, football player George Worthey, to his house after class to debate over the feasibility of time travel, all the time knowing that he can prove that time travel is possible (modulo certain forbidden treks) by sending George far into the future and instructing him to return a short time later.

The story ends with a challenge to the reader with a total of $50 in cash prizes for the best answers! The answer to the challenge was given in the June issue. Somehow in the answer, George Worthey’s name changed to Sherwin, but I think that was just an editorial mistake. I didn’t much care for Farley’s “correct” answer, although I did spot Isaac Asimov’s name listed among the 112 correct respondents in the July issue. The contest winner was Albert F. Lopez from East Boston, Mass.

 This contest is one any of our readers can win. It’s extremely simple. You don’t need to know anything about writing. You don’t have to write a story. You aren’t expected to know a great deal of science. All you must do is read the entertaining story “The Time-Wise Guy,” on page 6, and then, in your own words, in a short letter, tell the editors what you think happened to the hero of the story. In other words, how does the story end?

Your answer should be based on the facts of time travel and its rules, as stated in the story by Professor Tyrrell. Your editors suspect that the correct answer would also shed light on the fate of the Professor’s friend in Holland—rather FROM Holland. But of course, there is a little of George Worthey in all of us, and you may not believe this. Editors don’t know it all, either—

Except that Ralph Milne Farley has kindly supplied us with the answer, and we know it and believe it. We’ll give it to you in the next issue, what’s more, and they you’ll believe it too.
 

[Aug 2015]

   Twice in Time
by Manley Wade Wellman
First publication: Startling Stories, May 1940

Inventor Leo Thrasher, perhaps the last modern-day Renaissance man, builds a machine to throw him back to Renaissance Italy, where he plans to leave his mark as a painter. Once there, he’s taken under the wing of Guaracco who views him as a potential rival, but still sees a use for the time traveler. When Leo’s memory of future wonders begins to fade, Guaracco pulls 20th-century memories from Leo’s subconscious via hypnotic interviews, somehow even managing to pull out (among other more mundane things) a working pair of wings for Leo to fly over 15th-century Florence.

 But suppose this me is taken completely out of Twentieth Century existence—dematerialized, recreated in another epoch. That makes twice in time, doesnt it? 

[Jun 2015]

   “The Mosaic”
by J.B. Ryan
First publication: Astounding, Jul 1940

Emir Ismail (a soldier and scientist in a Muslim-led 20th century) travels back to the crucial Battle of Tours in 732 A.D.

This is the first story that I read via electronic interlibrary loan with the help of the University of Colorado librarians.

 History is built event by incident—and each is a brick in its structure. If one small piece should slip— 

—John W. Campbell’s introductory blurb for the story

[Aug 2011]

   “Murder in the Time World”
by Malcolm Jameson
First publication: Amazing, Aug 1940

Karl Tarig plans to murder his kindly cousin, Dr. Claude Morrison, who took Karl in when nobody else would. Then he'll toss cousin Claude’s body into the time machine that Claude built. Lastly, he’ll sell all of Claude’s valuables and run away with the winsome Ellen Warren. The perfect crime!

 To hell with the law! For he had thought out the perfect crime. There could be no dangerous consequences. You cant hang a man for murder with a body—a corpus delicti. For the first time in the history of crime, a murderer had at his disposal the sure means of ridding himself of his corpse. 

[Aug 2015]

   “Who’s Cribbing”
by Todd Thromberry
First publication: Macabre Adventures, Aug 1940

 Dear Mr. Gates,
. . . Please write and tell me what you think of my theory.
Respectfully,
Jack Lewis
 


The story also appeared in this 1970 anthology.   “The Day Time Stopped”
by Bradner Buckner
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1940

After pulling the trigger to commit suicide, Dave Miller finds that time has stopped for nearly the whole world. Only Dave, a dog, and Dr. Erickson remain animate—which would be a time stoppage story instead of time travel story except for that possible small jump at the end when the trio figure out how to break the spell.

 The only way for us to try to get the machine working and topple ourselves one way or the other. If we fall back, we will all live. If we fall into the present—we may die. 

[Sep 2015]

   “Rescue into the Past”
by Ralph Milne Farley
First publication: Amazing, Oct 1940

Physicist Barney Baker, now a lawyer, uses his time machine to go back to the sacking of Fort Randolph in 1776 where he hopes to find evidence for an important legal case. He does find that along with attacking Redcoats and Indians and a beautiful young woman who instantly captures his heart, but alas, he can save nothing and no one—or can he?

 Go back there again to 1776, and this time do things right. Go back to just before Carolines death, and this time rescue her. Why not! 

[Feb 2015]



   Startling Comics
aka Ace Buckley
created by Max Plaisted
First publication: Startling Comics 3, Oct 1940

For eight issues of Startling Stories, Ace Buckley and his sidekick Toni Stark (no, not that Tony Stark) plied centuries past in Ace’s rocket-shaped time machine.
  1. Startling Comics 3 (Oct 1940) Vikings/Incas
  2. Startling Comics 4 (Dec 1940) shores of Tripoli
  3. Startling Comics 5 (Feb 1941) Elizabethan times
  4. Startling Comics 6 (Apr 1941) the Crusades
  5. Startling Comics 7 (May 1941) Jamestown
  6. Startling Comics 8 (Jul 1941) Blackbeard
  7. Startling Comics 9 (Aug 1941) Battle of Marathon
  8. Startling Comics 10 (Sep 1941) Simon Bolivar

 The machine vibrated dizzily. In just a few seconds we found ourselves back in time, a thousand years ago, half buried in sand. 

[Jan 2016]

   “Sunspot Purge”
by Clifford D. Simak
First publication: Astounding, Nov 1940

“Read the News Before It Happens!” That’s the slogan that reporter Mike Hamilton proposes when the Globe buys a time machine. But when Mike goes onto the future beat, it’s more than just the stock market and the Minnesota-Wisconsin football game that he runs into—it’s the world of 2450 with only scattered population.

 Think of the opportunities a time machine offers a newspaper. The other papers can tell them what has happened and what is happening, but, by Godrey, theyll have to read the Globe to know what is going to happen. 

[Aug 2011]

   “The Blonde, the Time Machine and Johnny Bell”
by Kenneth L. Harrison
First publication: Thrilling Wonder Stories, Dec 1940

Johnny Bell, a reporter for the Clarion, expected to get a story out of Pop Keller’s Curiosity Shop. What he didn’t expect to find were a blonde who looks like Betty Grable who cons him into buying a used time machine.

This was a $25 contest winner story, but Harrison, 23 at the time and living in Portland, Oregon, never published another story.

 But the strangest thing he had ever seen was the queer-looking mechanical apparatus in the center of the window. Johnny Bells gray eyes narrowed in perplexity as he read the advertising card atop it:

TIME MACHINE
FOR SALE—CHEAP

 

[Aug 2015]

Norris’s first and last Power Nelson cover for Prize Comics 6   Power Nelson, Futureman
by Dick Sprang (issues 1-6?) and Paul Norris (as by Roy Paul)
First time travel: Prize Comics 7, 12 Dec 1940

From the first issue of Prize Comics, Power Nelson, aka Futureman, used his superpowers to fight the evil Mongol horde that conquered all of civilization in the far-future year 1982. I’ve read many of the escapades of the red-and-yellow champion of democracy (through Prize Comics 23), but I haven’t yet found issue #7 and the story “Journey to 1940.” (The issue is highly prized, being identified as the first horror comic because of its modern Frankenstein story; it also has the first Simon and Kirby Black Owl story.) Later issues do have Power Nelson fighting Nazis and fifth columnists who are attempting to undermine America, but I’m unclear on whether they are World War II Nazis or 1982 cohorts of the horde.

Wikipedia cites Paul Norris (the Brick Bradford strip artist) as the creator of Power Nelson, but the Grand Comics Database gives a tentative identification of Dick Sprang as the artist for the first six stories, with Norris’s first works being the cover of Prize Comics 6 and the “Journey to 1940” story in issue 7. His first signed work, as by Roy Paul, is the Power Nelson story in issue 13.

 Ill do something about this! 

—splash page of “Power Nelson, Man of the Future” in Prize Comics 1

[Jan 2016]

   “Trouble in Time”
by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth (as by S.D. Gottesman)
First publication: Astonishing Stories, Dec 1940

I enjoyed this early effort from the two young Futurians, especially the beginning where chemical engineer Mabel Evans of Colchester, Vermont, goes to visit the newly arrived mad scientist who offers her ethyl alcohol and a trip to the future.

 That was approximately what Stephen had said, so I supposed that he was. “Right as rarebits,” I said. 

[Dec 2013]
 

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.
1940

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


 1940
“The Wheels of If” by L. Sprague de Camp [alternate timelines]


19 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)