Day One: The Whiz Wagon!

The Whiz Wagon is the super-cool, silver-coated, flying (sporting vertical-takeoff capability), TV camera-mounted “Miracle Car” designed by Newsboy Legionnaire Big-Words and piloted by Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen for much of Jack’s run on the title [#133-139, 141-148]. It sure looks like the “Hot Wheels” vehicle of the dreams of many a kid… Remember, Jack made up his own real version out of Matchbox toys for use in the photo collages in subsequent issues of JO.

The comics creator is firing on all cylinders with his futuristic vehicle, finally giving the non-super-hero cub reporter some stylish wheels, which we learn in this issue is financed by the suspicious new owner of The Daily Planet, media mogul Morgan Edge (who is also — gasp! — an agent for the evil Darkseid, dastardly ruler of Apokolips), with a nefarious intention!

Let’s hear from the creator himself, in the JO #134 text page essay, “The Whiz Wagons Are Coming!” excerpt following:

“…The age of the multi-purpose vehicle is rapidly ‘fleshing out’ — and not even the sky can be termed as the limit. Add enough accessories to the average car and it would take you anywhere, to the submerged canyons off the Continental Shelf or outwards to the ‘deeps’ of space. This would take heaps of money to accomplish, at present, fanatical dedication on temper-tantrum level, and the readiness of universal acceptance.

“Nobody owns a Whiz Wagon yet. But we’ve got a proxy model at National Periodicals [DC Comics] and it’s being tested by young, enthusiastic superstars like Jimmy Olsen and the Newsboy Legion. The ‘miracle’ car is real in their realm and they’re having a wild, wild whirl at it. It’s an experience in true projection. Each successive story situation becomes another hurdle for the Whiz Wagon to overcome its spectacular drive towards eventual reality. It is bound to enrich us in some manner, whether we wreck the consarn multi-gadget or refine it to function in the most extreme conditions. The idea is to theorize, analyze, explore and modify, accept or reject a variety of materials, create the schematics and fluid designs which change in many intricate ways to satisfy our individual vision of what a Whiz Wagon should be.

“After all, it is part of man’s dream to do whatever he lawfully wishes, to go wherever his fancy takes him, to enjoy an unfettered freedom he cannot yet experience.

“We invite your involvement with the Whiz Wagon. What the heck, the professional engineers will produce it in time, but it won’t look as groovy as ours. Not if we have a kind of ‘Create-In,’ take what we know about anything which is relative to the subject, pour it into practical channels, and zero in on the developing image.

“At worst, the results will certainly separate the pragmatists from the visionaries. At best, there will be something in your effort that the next individual can use. something he didn’t think about, something which could open up newer, wider, constructive avenues.

“At present, the Whiz Wagon is no more than life in search of stimulating ZONK and ZAP. It may be its happiest stage. There are no standard models. Each individual has the opportunity to ‘roll his own.’

“National’s Whiz Wagon was designed by myself, put through some wild initial paces on a ‘Hairie’ Zoomway specifically created for that purpose. […]

“But the point is that with each successive test of the National Whiz Wagon, a newer and greater experience for the reader must materialize from it. It’s a kind of ‘Kirby’s Law,’ if you will: label it best as the ‘Super-bonus Effect.’ In real life, the principle would still hold. The multi-purpose vehicle must produce the multi-effectual experience. If you have a car which can tunnel its way to the center of the Earth, the Super-bonus Effect must ensue. The trip will far from parallel a drive through Main Street.

“At this junction, we must eternally pause, for the eternal wiseacre to counter with the quixotic: ‘After the Whiz Wagon, — what?’ And the answer is, ‘That’s all there is’ — unless you find the roads you can’t see — listen for the traffic you can’t hear — and take all the turns not shown on the map. Take a positive step in any of these directions — and you’ve got a brand new Whiz Wagon!”

Seats six and is equipped with magnetic repulsion and the GPS-like Computi-Pilot, but I’m betting the mileage is awful… and, please, no trying to “roll your own” while driving, as you need to stay alert and keep your eyes on the Zoomway!

Tomorrow: The “New” Newsboy Legion!

3 thoughts on “Day One: The Whiz Wagon!

  1. patrick ford

    Ever wonder if Kirby created the two page splash where we first saw the Whiz Wagon, and then thought to himself, “Oh, no…I’ve created a monster. Now I’ll have to draw this complex thing from 50 different angles.”

    That thought alone would give a lot of artists pause, but Kirby seemed to enjoy drawing the Wagon from the rear where most of the complexity was.

    Were those four “bumps” over the wheel wells extra cockpits?

  2. Pingback: Day Two: The “New” Newsboy Legion | 365 Days of Jack Kirby's Fourth World

  3. Pingback: Day Four: The Wild Area! | 365 Days of Jack Kirby's Fourth World

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