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Tales of Suspense 43

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND July 1963

"You Can't Change the Past!
Story: Stan Lee
Art: Steve Ditko

The handsome, blonde, pipesmoking Simon Stanley has, with his assistant Jukes, built the world's first time machine! Jukes, an unfortunate looking guy with a bad haircut, wants to be the first to use it. Stanley calls him a fool, as the slightest change in the past can change life in the present! No, now that he's built it, it's on to the new project. Jukes intends to use it anyway, though!

That night, Jukes breaks in, savoring the fame that will be his as the first traveler through time. Stanley tries to stop him, but Jukes activates the machine. Soon, he is in what appears to be the mid-1920s (golly...he went back an entire 40 years!). But, he realizes that his voice is fading and that he's becoming intangible: fate has made him a ghost, who can affect nothing. The end.

"I Was a Victim of Venus!"
Plot: Stan Lee
Script and art: Larry Lieber
Inks: Matt Fox

The year is 2005 and by now interplanetary hops are pretty routine! But when one of the space crew is secretly a ruthless criminal, that spells trouble! The only question is...for WHOM??

The three-man crew is here for a conference over new space shipping lanes, over which they expect an early agreement. The muscachio'd navigator, Dirk Morgan, couldn't be less interested. He's here to steal the brightest jewel in the galaxy, a diamond horn, which resembles a rhino horn and is about 4 feet long. It's so precious that the Venusians won't even touch it, but are content to flock to its pavillion to admire it. The earthman explodes some gas pellets and, protected by his own spacesuit, runs past the pilgrims and grabs the diamond horn. He hides it back in the ship, where he is soon joined by his unsuspecting fellows, and they head back to Earth.

Overnight, though, Dirk's head begins to throb and he becomes feverish. The next day at HQ, he becomes aware that the horn is loaded with Delta Radiation! Untreated, a dose of Delta kills within a couple of days! Only one doctor on Earth can treat it successfully, and cures don't come cheap! Dirk heads to the heart of town, waiting for a rich-looking person to come by so he can rob him! One such shows up, they struggle, and the rich man keels over from a heart attack! As Dirk rummages through his wallet, he sees that this was the very radiation specialist from whom he'd needed treatment. The end.

Overall, the Ditko art was adequate, in light of the fact he had nothing much to work with. And, the second story had nothing at all to do with Venus in any real or mythical sense. Klunk and klunk.

Tom Orzechowski