Tales of Suspense volume 1 #40 was published in 1963. Iron Man had made his debut in the previous issue.
Back then the book had a main feature plus two featurettes. The short stories usually were a sci-fi or horror-but-not-too-much tale with a twiiiiist at the end.
These weren’t integrated in the nascent Marvel Universe. It was more of a legacy of how anthology comic books had worked in the 1950s.
But I find such characters useful. Especially if they have some cachet from having been created by major Marvel creators (in this case, Steve Ditko ).
And this specific one is a time traveller, so he could pop up in just any story.
The “prophet” is a renegade time traveller from thousands of years in the future. Though his culture is highly civilised, he was different and wanted to lord over others.
He thus travelled to the XXth century. Though he found it drab and primitive, he had a plan.
He *could* approach world leaders, share detailed historical predictions with them, and thus trick them into launching nuclear missiles. His knowledge of the future would prove that he was a time traveller, making his lies credible.
The plan was that he would approach the United Nations in secret. Then demand hundreds of millions of dollars in order *not* to contact Cold War powers. This would spare the Earth and let him live like a king.
And it would have worked too…
But the UN man then revealed that he too was from the future.
There was a secret network of watchers through the century, to prevent such antisocial tampering with the past.
He arrested the would-be prophet of doom.
Powers & Abilities
The “prophet” has a time machine built into his belt. It can also be used to shift him slightly out of phase, making him invisible.
He could easily pick door locks open, since they were so primitive compared to those of the future.
Our game stats assume that, in a similar manner, he could speak any language, drive any vehicle, understand any science, etc. as they were so simple by his standards. It’s a recurrent motif in sci-fi comics of this era.
He also had detailed historical knowledge, plus charisma stemming from an immense sense of superiority.
See illustrations. Wearing a hat is still common practice, so hiding his funky little antennae is easy while outdoors.
Power-hungry, smug as fudge, and dismissive of those stupid primitives.
“So this is the primitive twentieth century ! How drab and uncivilised ! No wonder none of my own century would ever bother to visit it ! This is why I’ll be safe here ! I can play with their puny lives like a god ! I can command — I can rule them all !”
Marvel Universe History
It can be interesting to ponder how very-early-Marvel and proto-Marvel time travellers (such as this guy or the Future Man) interact with Kang the Conqueror.
DC Universe History
It might simply have been an early ploy by Abra Kadabra.
Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG
“Prophet of doom”
|Dex: 04||Str: 08||Bod: 08||Motivation: Power|
|Int: 03||Wil: 04||Min: 03||Occupation: Adventurer|
|Inf: 05||Aur: 04||Spi: 02||Wealth: N.A..|
|Init: 012||HP: 015|
Gadgetry: 06, Medicine: 06, Military science (Demo, crypto): 06, Scientist: 08, Thief: 07, Vehicles: 06, Weaponry: 06
Genius, Scholar (History).
Distinct Appearance, Exile (Voluntary), MIA toward Smugness.
TIME TRAVEL BELT [BODY 06, Time travel: 35, Invisibility: 07].
I’m using blocky, aggressive, highballed Silver Age-style statting here.
It’s based on the convention of far-future people having impossible amounts of knowledge and finding primitive existence trivial to master.
Source of Character: ToS Vol. 1 #40.
Writeup completed on the 15th of January, 2020.