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Gen III

The History Collection is a series of comic books about the adventures of TJ and Jason as they travel through time using a time machine Nik built. Their journeys lead them to WW2 Bulgaria, Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped and the Challenger disaster. Three issues of History Collection were released until the series was cancelled as part of the move to Generation IV.

Despite calling itself an informative series, the History Collection is ripe with historical inaccuracies and physically impossible anomalies.

Background

Following the release of Evil Invasion of the Monster Droids, there was a dramatic change in WG storytelling, partly due to the imminent end to the school year and the creator's graduation. The History Collection came about as an idea to 'teach readers' more about history with a 'fun, childish twist.' The idea for the series came after its creators had finished a week of history commemorating New Zealand's actions in World War I, namely the Gallipoli campaign.

Rather than using Nik and Jay, the creators decided to create new characters in order to expand the universe. Jason was created by J Francis and was a young prankster-type figure, while TJ was created by N Shcheglov, and was rash and intelligent, yet short tempered. TJ's infamous 'Pickelhaube hat' was created specially for the History Collection and has remained a staple part of his character. It was also decided that the History Collection would be episodic, allowing the creators to explore different periods of time.

Work on the first issue began around July of 2008, with its setting being World War 2.

Issues

Since its inception, only three issues of the History Collection have been made, with the most recent one being about the 1986 Challenger disaster.

Issue #1: Teleporting to Bulgaria[1]

The first issue was released in the middle of 2008 after the release of the Evil Invasion of the Monster Droids. It starts with TJ and Jason, Nik and Jay's respective cousins, swimming and playing around in a swimming pool. Suddenly a helicopter appears and drops a large odd looking device with two piston-like arms extending out of it. Curious, the boys enter the machine and mistake it for a video game, oblivious to the fact that it is a time machine. After selecting what TJ describes as "level one," the two are sent back to Germany in the year 1945.[2] They end up however ending up in what looks like a desert. They embark on a long trek in which they pass the ruins of a fighter plane. Meanwhile in the present day, Nik is talking to an unknown figure on the phone, showing sadness that an "invention" of his has not yet arrived. After he puts down the phone Nik flicks through a book labelled "my inventions" while a robotic claw lowers blueprints of the time machine.

Back in the past, TJ and Jason arrive in Berlin, which has not been destroyed as it should have in 1945. A silhouette of a figure, presumably meant to be Hitler, can be seen in Berlin's non-existant 'capital building' with a speech bubble exclaiming "This means war!"[3] The sky is filled with barrage balloons and a tank can be seen.

Suddenly an explosion rocks the city, and everything catches fire as bombers that look similar to Lancaster planes devastate the city. Frightened, TJ and Jason flee the city towards the time machine with a bomber in hot pursuit. Just as they arrive the bomber is destroyed by a modern ballistic missile of unknown origin.[4] The machine activates and they jump to Hiroshima, Japan in the same year. The comic ends with Jason saying that he 'has a bad feeling.'

Issue #2 Off to Hiroshima

The second issue was released a few days after the first and takes place immediately after TJ and Jason arrive in Hiroshima. It starts with TJ and Jason looking at a racist depiction of a Japanese person with robes and a very tall pointy hat. The comic then skips to a plane, which is meant to be Enola Gay but is drawn as a DC-10 aircraft. It shows a drawing of a man wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette dropping the Little Boy atomic bomb over the city of Hiroshima. The bomb detonates over the city resulting in a mushroom cloud. TJ and Jason survive the blast by hiding behind a building and escape the ruins as the mushroom cloud begins to form above.

When they return to the machine they realise that it has been taken, and it skips to a picture of a rather large helicopter carrying the time machine away. Jason uses his rocket boots to fly towards what is now the Enola Gay flying away from the blast.[5] They enter the plane through its bombing bay and sneak past a sleeping pilot.The next page shows Jason cutting wires in a panel labelled "Thrusters: DO NOT TOUCH!" Suddenly in the cockpit the pilot exclaims that the engines have shut down and have set to automatic self destruct mode. TJ and Jason jump out of the plane as it explodes over their heads. As they tumble to the earth TJ uses his watch to teleport back into the time machine, ending the comic on an abrupt note.

Issue #3 Challenger Disaster

The third issue was released the following year in 2009. It was inspired by a documentary that N Shcheglov watched. The comic starts with a dedication to the seven astronauts that died in the incident with a drawing of the infamous explosion cloud that formed following the Challenger's demise.

Taking off where Issue 2 ended, the time machine arrives in the Kennedy Space Center in 1986.[6]TJ and Jason disembark the machine when they are arrested by a man wearing American football garb, with a man with a NASA shirt pointing at them saying "Come here!" After an unexplained jump TJ and Jason find themselves on the Challenger as it is about to launch.[7] As the space shuttle is in its final countdown TJ and Jason try to break free of their safety harness. As the rocket launches the two escape from their seat and escape towards the emergency door. The next page shows the space shuttle with a fire billowing around its right rocket booster and a caption stating '66 seconds.' The next page shows TJ and Jason about to jump out of the shuttle 75 seconds into the shuttle's flight. They jump just as the shuttle obliterates above them. The comic ends with the two parachuting down as the smoking nose of the Challenger tumbles past them.

Legacy

After Generation III the History Collection has since been forgotten. TJ, Jason and the time machine were originally planned to make appearances in the Cold Dream video game.

Despite its historical innaccuracy, the History Collection is regarded as one of the most memorable parts of Generation III.

Trivia

  1. Originally they were meant to go to Bulgaria, however one of the creators decided to move the setting to Germany without telling the other, resulting in this consistency issue.
  2. Although Germany is set as the destination, the map is set east of Germany, to an undisclosed nation bordering the Soviet Union, presumably Bulgaria.
  3. This is a historical innaccuracy, which likely stems from the creator's then-lack of knowledge on World War 2.
  4. It most likely originated from a satellite orbiting the Earth, which is linked with the time machine and travels back in time with it.
  5. J Francis took over the second half of the comic, and due to no communication with N Shcheglov resulted in this inconsistency error.
  6. In the comic it is written as "Kennedy Space Station." An amusing mistake.
  7. Although it is unexplained why they were put on the space shuttle, the widely accepted idea is that they were mistaken as last-minute replacements to two astronauts who were unable to embark on the journey.

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