Professor Carter Nichols

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Professor Carter Nichols
Professor Carter Nichols from Batman #36
artist Bob Kane
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman #24,
(August 1944)
Created by Joe Samachson (writer)
Dick Sprang (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego Carter Nichols
Supporting character of Batman
Abilities trained historian, psychologist, hypnotist, engineer, physicist and polymath

Professor Carter Nichols is a fictional character, a comic book scientist published by DC Comics.

Publication history[edit]

He first appeared in Batman #24 (August 1944), and was created by Joe Samachson and Dick Sprang.

Professor Nichols was a useful character to lend some sci-fi "color" to Batman stories from the late 1940s to the 1960s where he made numerous appearances in the pages of both Batman and World's Finest Comics, when more conventional superhero tales were out of favor and most remaining books of the genre drifted into sci-fi and related genres.[1]

In the mid-1970s the character was reintroduced in the comic book Super Friends continuity as a mentor for the Wonder Twins, who lived with him in their civil identities of John and Joanna Flemming.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Carter Nichols is a childhood friend of Thomas Wayne. His appearances nearly always involved some form of time travel, based around his particular specialty referred to as "time travel hypnosis", a process that simulated time travel. The stories themselves are less than clear on this respect. At some point, he develops a "Time-Ray Machine" which he used to both displace and track objects through time. Professor Carter Nichols used his "time travel hypnosis" when he does therapy sessions with Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. Their first session with Carter Nichols started when Carter hypnotized Bruce into ending up in Ancient Rome where he saves a man from being beaten up in the streets by some men. When Batman ends up in trouble in the past where he is caught by soldiers working for Publius Malchio, Dick Grayson has Carter hypnotize him as well so that he can save him. Dick saves him and the court jester where they beat Publius in a chariot race and exile him from Rome. Afterwards, Bruce and Dick are brought out of their hypnotic spell and return to the present.[2]

Carter hypnotizes Bruce and Dick where they end up 300 years in the past where they meet D'Artagnan and The Three Musketeers. When D'Artagnan ends up injured in a fight with Cardinal Richelieu's guards, Batman takes his place and prevents Lady Constance from being poisoned as history stated. After that mission, Batman sheds his disguise and returns to the present with Dick.[3]

Carter hypnotizes Bruce and Dick where they end up back in time at Camelot to discover the secret of Sir Hardi Le Noir. They start by protecting Merlin's niece Aline from Sir Mordred and his men which leads to Batman and being brought before King Arthur. Batman bests Sir Mordred in combat. Batman, Robin, Lancelot, and Aline then try to rescue Merlin who is a prisoner of Morgan Le Fay. Batman's modern science is thought to be wizardry, and he completes the mission, though Morgan Le Fay escapes. Afterwards, King Arthur awards Batman a knighthood naming him Sir Hardi Le Noir (translated as the Bold Black Knight).[4]

Carter hypnotizes Bruce and Dick where they end up back in time to witness the first Olympic Games. Batman befriends several of the athletes as a group of Persians try to disrupt the Olympic Games in order to start a civil war. Batman and Robin help the athletes defeat the Persians, take the place of the injured athletes in the Olympic Games, and return to the present.[5]

When Bruce is confounded by the mystery of his ancestor Silas Wayne (who was a silversmith and suspected highwayman), he has Carter hypnotize him where he arrives in 1787 to learn the truth about his ancestor. Batman and Robin stop a group of highwaymen where they are soon suspected of the crime themselves. Luckily for them, Benjamin Franklin was able to vouch for them as Batman concludes that Silas was framed as the highwaymen's leader. The real identity of the highwaymen leader is Henry, a former Tory. Silas Wayne loves Henry's sister Martha and agrees to take the blame as the highwayman to protect Martha's mother. Benjamin Franklin gives Silas Wayne a letter which proves his innocence to be used after Martha's mother dies. However, Silas dies first. Bruce later finds the letter hidden inside Silas Wayne 's portrait and Silas is finally cleared one hundred years later.[6]

Carter hypnotizes Bruce and Dick where they end up five centuries in the past to investigate the sighting of a Batman in Milan. They end up meeting Leonardo da Vinci who shows them his great works and learn that he is at odds with a dictator named Gian Trivulao. Batman helps Leonardo da Vinci to publicly humiliate Gian Trivulao. In the process, Leonardo uses a flying machine of his own invention. Men who see him believe they see a "Batman" who uses magic. With Leonardo safely away to Florence, Bruce and Dick return to their own time with an explanation for the "Batman" existing in Milan.[7]

Carter Nichols sends himself back in time to meet the real Baron Frankenstein. Carter sees Baron Frankenstein's experiments and meets his giant assistant Ivan. When Ivan is accidentally electrocuted, Carter revives him with adrenaline. However, Ivan is left in a trance like state. Frankenstein's cousin Count Mettern then orders Ivan to kill Baron Frankenstein. Carter summons Batman and Robin from the future. They battle Ivan who rampages through the nearby village. Count Mettern then attempts to make Batman his slave too. Batman is not affected like Ivan was. He is then able to revive Ivan fully. However, the villagers are angry at Baron Frankenstein and Ivan. When they storm the castle, Batman must calm them down. Ivan then takes revenge upon Count Mettern. Both men die when the castle explodes. Mary Shelley writes about the events, but fictionalizes the story for fear that it would never be believed.[8]

When the curator of the Gotham Museum buys a treasure map that belongs to Henry Morgan, Bruce Wayne finds his handwriting on it and has Carter hypnotize Bruce and Dick into sending them back in time to investigate. They end up captured by Henry Morgan even when Batman manages to injure him. Batman reluctantly draws a treasure map to Henry Morgan's treasure in Florida. Batman changes some of the numbers so that Henry Morgan is never able to recover his treasure. When Bruce returns to his own time, the treasure is still where it was originally buried. The recovered treasure is then given to the Gotham Museum.[9]

When Bruce Wayne finds an Arabian rug on auction with a picture that resembles Joker on it, Carter hypnotizes Bruce and Dick where they end up in ancient Bagdad which is being terrorized by the Crier (a crying villain who resembles Joker). Batman and Robin apprehend Crier and prevent a mass-panic where Crier claimed that the nearby volcano was going to erupt. Batman eventually finds the rug (the same one that was at the auction) which turned out to have been in Crier's possession.[10]

When a carving found by archaeologists traces back to the Age of Viking and has a carving of Bruce Wayne on it, Bruce decides to investigate where he has Carter send him back in time. Bruce and Dick arrive in the Age of Vikings where he is recognized by the townspeople as a coward. Bruce becomes Batman and discovers that his look-a-like is Olaf Erickson who was disgraced in battle and is now a prisoner. Batman rescues Olaf Erickson. He then faces several challenges posing as Olaf which help prove his courage. Olaf then leads an explanation to America where Batman's scientific knowledge saves the Vikings from an Indian attack. Olaf redeems himself in the process. The Vikings then honor him with the carving.[11]

Carter hypnotizes Bruce where they are sent back in time to 1854 in order to discover what really happened to the treasure of Rex Spears (who was the ancestor of one of Bruce Wayne's friends). They discover that Spears and young orphan Lorenzo Bagg are transporting the money by stagecoach. Bandits attack the coach forcing Spears to retreat into a canyon. The former prospector is fatally bitten by a rattlesnake. Before dying, he buried the treasure in the canyon. Batman and Robin then see an avalanche which covers the area. When Bruce and Dick return to their own time, they are able to remember the location of the treasure. They then aid the ancestors of Rex Spears and Lorenzo Bagg to uncover the money and the will of Rex Spears.[12]

Carter sends Batman and Robin into the future where they accidentally prevent the apprehension of the space pirate Zarro since the police chief looks like Joker. To make up for the mistake, Batman offers to help stop the space pirates that have been looting space ships. Batman takes a job at the Milman space ship factory where he suspects the pirates are being tipped off. With Batman's help, Zarro is apprehended. A saboteur damages Milman's best ship, so Batman enters a specially-constructed Bat-Ship in a race around the Solar System. The saboteur strikes again, but Batman wins the race anyway. Batman then fingers the engineer Erkham and the saboteur who was working for a rival company.[13]

Bruce Wayne discovers a 13th Century Chinese rocket that displays Batman's picture. Carter Nichols sends him and Dick back in time to meet Marco Polo and discover the secret of the rocket. They save Polo's life, but they are unable to stop his rival Bahung from taking over Polo's territory and troops with a deceitful trick. Batman and Robin then ride to warn Kubla Khan about Bahung's invasion. To earn Kubla Khan's trust, Batman and Robin perform circus tricks. They then expose a traitor named Wong Tso who had conspired with Bahung. With the warning, Kubla Khan is able to prepare by using newly invented gunpowder to create rockets. He uses Batman's face to scare off the attackers. The Dynamic Duo then return to their own time period.[14]

He was depicted as an older man still assisting Bruce Wayne with his "time travel hypnosis" where his latest one has Batman teaming up with Scalphunter when Batman was placed in 1862 to learn the secret of the Bat-Emblem in a Civil War campaign patch.[15]

In 2010, the character reappeared in the Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne storyline where the Black Glove (lead by the mysterious Doctor Simon Hurt) attempted to convince Carter to help aid them in sacrificing an amnesiac victim to the bat god Barbatos in exchange for funding for his time-travel experiments. Carter Nichols rejects the offer when he refused to participate in the sacrifice which enabled the amnesiac victim (who turned out to be Bruce Wayne) to escape through time. Simon Hurt arranged for Carter Nichols to not be taken seriously as a scientist.[16] At some earlier point in Batman's history, Joker, Riddler, Catwoman, Scarecrow, and the Imposter Mad Hatter trap Batman and Robin in a torture device that they had Carter Nichols make. In the present, Batman (Dick Grayson) and Robin investigate Carter Nichols' lab and find him dead. Although Dick notices that Carter Nichols is in his eighties, he states that he should be in his sixties. At some point in the future, Damian Wayne as Batman is investigating on how Carter Nichols died.[17]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Professor Alpheus V. Hyatt - An Atom supporting character who fulfills a similar role by means of his Time Pool.
  • Rip Hunter - A time traveling adventurer currently associated with Booster Gold.
  • Cosmic Treadmill - A device that the Flash used in similar stories

References[edit]

  1. ^ As seen in Batman vol. 1 #24 (August 1944)
  2. ^ Batman #24
  3. ^ Batman #32
  4. ^ Batman #36
  5. ^ Batman #38
  6. ^ Batman #44
  7. ^ Batman #46
  8. ^ Detective Comics #135
  9. ^ Detective Comics #136
  10. ^ Batman #49
  11. ^ Batman #52
  12. ^ Batman #58
  13. ^ Batman #59
  14. ^ World's Finest Comics #42
  15. ^ The Brave and the Bold #171 (Feb. 1981)
  16. ^ Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #5
  17. ^ Batman #700

External links[edit]