Silver Age Tech Support: Better Living Through Alarmingly Violent Chemistry



Hello, and thank you for contacting the Will Magnus Institute of Super-Science, where we’re solving the complex death ray and robot-related problems of tomorrow… today! Here at the Institute, we’re dedicated to helping consumers with any minor issues they might have with our exciting line of super-scientific conveniences, including what we are legally required to refer to as “killer robots.” We understand that every problem is different, but our technicians are standing by to offer their expertise to help you get the most out of super-science. Keep in mind that trans-temporal calls may be monitored by the Linear Men for continuity assurance, and that Cosmic Treadmill delivery is only available Monday through Saturday. Space Taxi shipping is available on Sunday for a nominal fee.


PROBLEM: Attention, Caveman! You are receiving a transmission from… the future!

Specifically, I’m utilizing a trans-temporal communicator cobbled together from one of my spare time bubbles to reach you from what your limited perspective would identify as “the thirtieth century.” Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t bother with contacting a human, let alone a human that had barely discovered fire, as I possess a 12th-level intelligence that rarely requires any assistance. Still, I find myself in a unique situation into which you may be able to provide some limited insight.

In brief, the problem is thus: After perusing the experiments of one of my “peers” and finding them lacking, I advised him to reconsider a career in science in terms that I must confess may have come off a bit harsh.



In retribution for my actions–which I assure you were perfectly logical given the circumstances–this rogue science-criminal has set about poisoning the atmosphere of the homeworld of one of my colleagues with a chemical compound that you, with your childlike understanding of the workings of the universe, would most likely refer to as “smog.” Under normal circumstances I have no doubt that I would be able to counteract this misuse of science, but the planet in question is technologically stunted even by your standards.



Added to this is the fact that my laboratory equipment are not quite up to the standards with which I am comfortable.



Even with these somewhat major setbacks, I doubt the problem is insurmountable. I’ve already scavenged a bit of equipment from our ship, and thanks to the unique abilities of my colleagues–which include ocular radiation projection and magnetic field manipulation along with a working knowledge of the martial “arts” and the oh-so-useful bouncing–I can most likely replicate the effects of my laboratory equipment, though I still find myself stymied. Thus, I imagine that you, a “scientist” used to jabbing at things with sticks to explain why staring into the sun is an idea of considerably low merit, may be able to offer advice.

Querl Dox, alias Brainiac 5

Addendum: This question is not strictly based in the world of science, but do you have any advice on… er… the acquisition of and, ah, maintenance of good relations vis-a-vis personal interactions with… blondes? I ask not for myself, but for an acquaintance.


SOLUTION: So if I’m getting this right, “smog bad, science good” eh, QD?

Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as one of the most prolific roboticists of the 1960s, it’s that there’s no situation that can’t be improved with the addition of a good old-fashioned nuclear explosion!

As to generating one of those with the science of the middle ages, that’s a bit of a trickier problem, but if I may be allowed to quote the mission statement of the Thomas Wayne Memorial Criminology Scholarship, “the best friend of the scientist is karate.”

Simply outfit your martial artist with a standard Neutro-Glove (Product #AC362), bathe a few engine parts in radiation…



…and then have him smack them around with his Space-Karate until atomic fusion occurs.



After these simple steps, the rest of your solution should be fairly obvious. Plus, you’ll have introduce mankind’s deadliest weapon into a superstitious, pastoral community with no understanding whatsoever of science! Truly, it is the physicist’s greatest dream.

As to your “friend’s” question, Querl, my answer to that is simple. You like blondes? Just build yourself one! That’s what I did!

Regards to the future,
Dr. Will Magnus


For an in-depth transcript of this trouble ticket, please consult our archives.

Silver Age Tech Support: If Super-Strength Lasts For Four Hours, Consult Your Doctor



Hello, and thank you for contacting the Will Magnus Institute of Super-Science, where we’re solving the death ray and robot-related problems of tomorrow… today! We at the Institute are dedicated to ironing out the minor difficulties that can arise in our fast-paced world of atomic spacemen and gorillas with laser-vision, and while we understand that every situation is different, our troubleshooters are always glad to offer assistance. Please keep in mind that if you have requested your solution to be delivered remotely via Zeta Beam, there may be an additional charge.


PROBLEM: Hi Will, it’s me again.

Listen, like most grown men, I’ve struck up a strong friendship with a younger colleague (I’ll call him “Jim”) that I spend a lot of time with when I’m dodging the woman who is desperately in love with me. Our relationship’s usually great, but recently, my pal’s gotten his hands on your Hyperon™ Strength Formula, and ever since, he’s gotten a little…



…well, the word Pa always used was “uppity.”

Just to be clear, it’s not that I’m jealous or worried that he’s going to get more attention than me anything–not like the time I gained the ability to shoot a tiny version of myself out of my hand and people started to like it more than me–but is there any way I can get rid of his powers? For his own good, I mean. Not because I’m jealous.

Mild-Mannered in Metroplis

PS: Not jealous at all. Honest.


SOLUTION: Fortunately for you, M.M., the Hyperon™ Strength Formula is designed with the repeat customer in mind, which means that its effects should be wearing off in the next few days, with or without your intervention.

If I may be allowed to play amateur psychologist, however, it would seem that your problem stems not from the strength provided by the formula (which has now met FDA approval for sale in over eight states!), but rather, the irresponsible way in which “Jim” chooses to use it. Clearly, you need to teach your friend a lesson.

You might balk at this responsibility, but keep in mind that this is a bold Silver Age in which we live, full of new technologies and complex problems that can only be solved by being a massive tool to your best friends. And you, with all your power, have a responsibility to be the biggest jackass of them all, for their own good.

Here’s what I suggest, and keep in mind: I am a doctor:

Simply dress up as the man’s employer and make him believe that he has committed murder.



Then, once he’s thoroughly convinced that he’s taken the life of one of his closest friends, have him thrown in jail, preferably with criminals that he’s had a hand in locking it up:



After a few days on Death Row being bought and sold by other inmates for a handful of cigarettes and a crumpled-up picture of his stewardess girlfriend, your friend will learn the value of leaving the super-strength to those who came by it honestly: By being born with it.

And even if he later discovers your ruse…



…he’s sure to recognize that you had his best interests in mind and forgive you.

And even if he doesn’t, why bother with human friends at all, when we here at the institute can build one for you out of the element of your choice, such as noble gold, trustworthy iron, or even platinum!

Sweet, obedient platinum…

Dr. Will Magnus

Silver Age Tech Support: Chief Concerns



Hello, and thank you for contacting the Will Magnus Institute of Super-Science, the world’s foremost source for information on Shrink, Freeze, Death, and other assorted rays. We at the Institute are dedicated to providing you with the advice you need to deal with the problems you face in the fast-paced and exciting world of sentient computers and gurgling chemical monstrosities, and we understand that each problem is unique. Please be advised that for an additional fee, a solution can be delivered via Cosmic Treadmill before your problem arises.


PROBLEM: Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t bother to contact your organization, since Magnus is a third-rate roboticist who had one–one–good idea in his entire career, but a problem seems to have arisen with my mechano-man.

Due to an unforseen flaw in his design–which I assure you is far more durable than your silly “elementobots” or whatever it is you’re calling them these days–an old foe of mine has been able to use radio waves to override his command circuits, and now…



And to make matters worse, said foe has attached what appears to be a Colecovision controller to a small explosive charge just below my automaton’s brain, dipped him in lead to prevent me from regaining control with my own radio signal, and forced him to dig for lost Sumerian treasure.



Clearly, the situation has me vexed.



So much so, in fact, that I’m willing to consider the advice from the technological marvel who thought giving the Periodic Table breasts and a nurse’s cap was the culmination of his life’s work rather than a weekend diversion.


Dr. Niles Caulder, Midway City


SOLUTION: Always a pleasure to hear from you, Niles! Apologies for not responding sooner, but I was enjoying my afternoon walk when your letter arrived. Ah, the simple pleasure of walking. Such an incredible joy.

Regardless, the solution to your dilemma presents itself in a fairly obvious manner when one is not distracted by the maintenance of a truly ludicrous beard. How was Burning Man this year, “Chief?”

Still, one cannot fault you for missing such a straightforward solution, as it, like so many other things you have a hard time understanding, involves a woman. Simply arm that lovely actress of yours and dispatch her to the problem area to separate enemy from control switch.



Should this fail–and let’s be honest here, Niles, given your track record, it will–then it should at least distract your opponent long enough for you to ready something to intercept the detonation signal before it reaches your Robot-Man. Ideally, such an operation would be performed with a more reliable agent, like the Magnus Industries Hg-9000–the only robot that remains liquid at room temperature–but given your reliance on substandard parts that tend to tend to burn out after the first minute, I suppose your creatively named “Negative Man” would work almost as well.



Problem solved. And do give Rita my number, won’t you?


More simple solutions to complex problems can be found in The Doom Patrol Archives v.1, wherein Robotman is destroyed at a rate of once every eight or so pages.

Silver Age Tech Support: Troubleshooting Your Ultivac



Hello, and thank you for contacting the Will Magnus Institute of Super-Science! Over the course of your career as a costumed crimefighter, you may (or rather, definitely will) encounter situations that appear to be significantly out of the realm of accepted probability.

Don’t worry! This is completely normal.

In an effort to help, the Institute has compiled a list of common solutions to these extraordinary problems in an effort to provide you with technical support during your various metaheroic crises.


PROBLEM: I was recently for a calculating machine and settled on an Ultivac model that I acquired from a former Nazi scientist. Unfortunately, this particular model was constructed under the orders of a notorious bank robber while in prison, and after gaining sentience somehow, it attempted to murder me. Now…



…and my Very Important Calculations are left undone. Other problems exhibited by the Ultivac Unit include:







And a tendency to smash through walls during plot expositions:



I attempted to consult the expert recommended by the manufacturer, but as it turns out, she was a woman and therefore ill-suited to work of such a highly scientific nature.


SOLUTION: Like most of the problems associated with former Nazi technology, the issues with Ultivac are highly destructive but deceptively easy to fix. In fact, the key to the solution lies in the problems mentioned above: That scourge of the modern world, Pacifism!

Although it’s hatred for walls and structures can lead to an initial outbreak of violence, a self-aware Ultivac wants nothing more than to help:



Thus, it’s a simple matter to set up a meeting to hear what fantastic gifts your gigantic telepathic robot can offer humanity, and then take care of matters with one of our widely-available Atomic Death Rays:



And next time, use a good old-fashioned American Terrordroid 9000 for all your calculating needs!


More complex solutions to relatively simple problems can be found in the pages of Showcase Presents Challengers of the Unknown v.1.