This Used to Be the Future: The Comet Peril!

Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and 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!

Today’s episode takes us to the distant future of the past, where we go back to look ahead to 1986. Some of you may be too young to remember that year. Whitney Houston told us about the greatest love of all, Ferris Bueller was taking a day off, and New York’s traffic problem was finally solved!

Yes, the whole world is enjoying “the new era of peace and progress” the Pax Reagana brought us. In fact, we’re all so happy and untroubled in 1986 that the biggest issue on the “tele-news” is the return of Halley’s Comet. We still talk about how that object blazed majestically across the heavens, inspiring awe and human sacrifices to appease the sky dragon. But scientists couldn’t care less. They were more interested in sunspots.

The comet comes and then departs, and we all go back to being blissfully happy and listening to Mr. Mister. But something isn’t right. It turns out the Earth and the Moon are being pulled from their orbits, following Halley’s Comet.

It’s discovered that some sort of magnetic beam emanating from Halley’s Comet has grabbed the Earth at the North Pole, and that’s what’s pulling the planet out of its orbit. The scientists take this news to the United Nations, and soon they’re flying in a UN-sponsored rocket plane along with the world’s greatest scientific minds to try and disrupt the tow-beam.

At the north pole they find the tow-beam, but before they can somehow sever it, they’re caught in it, and find themselves being pulled towards the comet. Only a last-minute wiggling of the joystick and pressing the red button saves them

They discover on the comet a city built of “force, not matter!” and the “comet-folk”, who are glowing balls of electrical energy, come out to meet the scientists, who greet them.

The comet-folk herd the scientists into a cage with an electric field as bars. Dr. Stanton and his science ascot make a “peace sign”, also known as a “our weapons don’t seem to work on you sign”, and the aliens escort him away from the others, towards the ray machine. When he fails to wreck the device, the world’s greatest scientific minds assume he’s turned against his home planet.

The world’s greatest scientific minds break out of the electrical prison by suddenly remembering the concept of insulation and make a run for the tractor beam controls, but Stanton blocks them. He’s pushed aside and falls from the top of the platform, but it’s too late. The comet-folk arrive, preventing the machine from being tampered with. Surrounded by the glowing balls, the scientists retreat and instead look after their mortally wounded colleague.

The scientists look up and see an amazing sight: the sun…goes nova! It grows enormously in size at once, and they realize that the aliens were trying to help and have actually pulled Earth to safety! The sun, now brighter and hotter, will once again light and warm Earth! This is great for Earth, but still there is tragedy.

The comet-folk reverse their beam just long enough to send the rocket-plane back to Earth, where Dr. Stanton is given a hero’s burial.

Or left behind on a space rock, whatever.

And that, dear readers, is the story of Christmas.

“The Comet Peril!”
Mystery in Space #2 (DC, June-July 1951)
Writer: Edmond Hamilton
Penciler: John Giunta
Inker: John Giunta
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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