Monday, March 27, 2017


Obscurity of the Day: Wings of Tomorrow - The Story of Aviation

Wings of Tomorrow - The Story of Aviation is a closed-end NEA strip that really stretches the bounds of the definition of comic strip. Vast seas of type hanging at the bottom of each 'strip', and pictures that merely served to illustrate the blah-blah-blah should have led me to the conclusion that it didn't merit listing in my book. However, I was impressed enough at the quality of the illustrations that somehow I managed to make a case to myself for its inclusion. What can I say? If it offend thee, get thine magic marker and strike it out of your copy.

After the end of World War II, which saw huge strides in aircraft technology, people were asking, "So what next?" Well, here was aviaton expert Charles Tracy to tell those inquisitive folks, ably assisted on the visual end by Vic Donahue. The series ran two weeks, from October 28 to November 9 1946 (your mileage, er, newspaper, may vary as is typical with these NEA offerings). After a dull recap of aviation history that took up the first week, Tracy cut loose with the predictions. As is to be expected, he got some right, and others very wrong. He predicted burgeoning passenger air traffic, moon landings and even the automated parcel delivery that is just now starting to look feasible*. On the other hand, he envisioned an "air-car" in every garage, and he was pretty darn sure that most airplanes would soon be propelled by either rockets or atomic power. Have to hit the buzzer on those, fella.

* can anyone tell me just how the heck drones are supposed to safely leave a package at their destination? Are they going to drop it like a bomb from the sky? Or are they going to go the Yule route and drop the packages down the chimney? Or will they gingerly deposit it in the yard where some neighborhood tough will immediately recognize the opportuinity to abscond with some Amazonian treasure? You can't tell me they're going to hover at the front door, press the door bell and wait patiently for the hausfrau to appear and sign for the package.


NEA did a lot of these topical news short-run series, many by R. J. Scott. Check out some here:

And some from A. J. Buescher:


I forgot to say, Central Press and KFS offered some of these news topic stories too, and that's where these Scott and Buescher strips come from..
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