Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and each Wednesday I’ll be taking you on an exciting and educational journey into the time to come! Sit back, pull up a cosmo chair, pour a space drink, and enjoy!
I’m sure you all remember the excitement that led up to January 1, 2000! Today’s story, written 43 years before, predicts all sorts of amazing things, including a future in which pedantic trolls don’t go around saying, “Um, actually the new century doesn’t start until 2001.”
Welcome to Times Square!
We are mere hours away from a new year, century, and millennium, and let me tell you, everyone is excited! You can barely hear anything over the sound of cheering and atomic noisemakers.
Before we say hello to this brave new century, Space Dick Clark will look at the amazing space-related achievements of the last one!
We had the “first release of atomic power” in 1945, for starters. Oh, and the second release not long afterwards, which for some reason a bunch of Japanese folks weren’t around to appreciate. Then, in 1957, came the launch of the first space-satellite.
Twelve years and many releases of atomic power later, we helped the Martians overthrow their cruel dictators by having a woman run in and throw a hammer at a viewscreen, earning their eternal friendship.
As a sign of this friendship, the Martians have sent us a giant bell with which to ring in the new year! But wait, someone’s causing trouble at the site of the bell. It’s Dr. Allan Ralston, a scientist, and he’s screaming about the bell being booby-trapped!
Ralston just got back from Mars, where he’s been working with Martian scientists on a way to “make their thin atmosphere more dense”, since apparently the beings that evolved there would prefer if it were better suited for Earthlings.
The officials point out that the bell was test-rung on Mars to no ill effect, but Ralston insists that his dead Martian friend was telling the truth. They examine the bell thoroughly but find no evidence of wrongdoing, so the plans to ring it at midnight stay in place.
Ralston, still convinced that the bell tolls for he, uses the fireworks as a distraction. He climbs up to the bell and cuts away a tiny piece with his pocket atomic torch. Racing to his lab in “a rented rocket-car”, he is thwarted by all the New Year’s traffic, so he loses valuable time taking the moving sidewalks.
Once in his lab, Ralston desperately peers through his microscope at the small piece of metal, hoping to find a clue as to the nature of his dead Martian friend’s dire warning. Outside, the oblivious sheeple continue their celebrations.
The clock is ticking, but Ralston’s research reveals nothing! In frustration he hurls the metal sample at the floor, and is shocked at the results.
Ralston now knows the exact nature of the threat and hurries to stop the Doom Bell before it rings destruction upon the Earth! Despite all his problems getting from the bell to the lab, he gets back to the site only “moments later”. With no time to lose trying to convince the authorities of the danger, he climbs up the scaffolding and cuts the clapper away.
As it falls it barely grazes the side of the bell, but even that tiny amount of contact produces an ear-splitting explosion of sound.
Ralston explains that the thin air of Mars would have muted the sound considerably, but on Earth…why, if it had been rung for reals…
Thankfully, Ralston has prevented the giant bong from doing any harm!
It turns out that the Martian tyrants who were deposed in 1984 had tampered with the metal in an attempt to regain power on Mars by wrecking Earth! I guess that only Earth had the gumption, know-how, and atomic power to keep them from taking over again.
With the clanging chimes of doom neutralized, the new century is rung in with plain old normal bells, and everyone starts looking forward to a new year of happiness and peace with their Martian friends. Unfortunately, they have no idea that George W. Bush is in store for them.
And with that, I’ll Auld Lang Syne off!
“The New Year’s Eve of 2000 A.D.!”
Mystery in Space #38 (DC Comics, June-July 1957)
Writer: Edmond Hamilton
Penciler: Sid Greene
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz