Natthew A.P. Tarte

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Natthew A.P. Tarte is an ID Comics character created by Jack Cohen and Mark Hulings, who first appeared in Amazing! Tales and Stories in January of 1938. A diminutive 19th-century "mad scientist" with humorously large sideburns, Dr. Tarte was one of Industrial Comics' (later ID) most morally ambiguous characters. While in some stories he served as a helpful hero (as in Amazing! Tales in Stories 15, where he provided the Union army with the steam-powered robot soldiers needed to break Confederate lines), in others he was amoral (not bothering to free Sicarii from his chrono chamber) or even caused harm in the name of science (using his "Hypno-Spectacles" to memsmerize President Lincoln into believing he was General Robert E. Lee). Dr. Tarte, while never as popular as ID's forefront characters, retained a faithful following. In 1944 Dr. Tarte was brought into the present by his Time-Coach, and used a mind-altering music box to revert a Nazi platoon to mental babies. Tarte remained in the present, providing both help and harm to heros, seemingly with neither rhyme nor reason. His solo series 'Natthew A.P. Tarte's Adventures in Science!' was filled with increasingly trite and repetitive stories throughout the late fifties and early sixties.

With his popularity at an all time low, Tarte was turned over to newcomer author John Davenport. Davenport was a social activist and a member of the Counter Culture community; stances that were reflected in his work. Tarte slowly moved away from Victorian Culture, and into the Counterculture. His primary influence shifted from Dr. Nikola Tesla to Dr. Timothy Leary; his mind-altering Hypno-Spectacles replaced with "Psychotropic Specs", his Time-Coach became a bus named "Speed Freak", which was powered by "the harnesed forces of human kindness." As ever, Tarte's morals were ambiguous. While helping the poor and the downtrodden, he also used chemically altered Army Rations to make soldiers think they were rabbits. 'Natthew A.P. Tarte's Adventures in Science!' was one of many ID comics to come under fire from Congress in the mid-seventies, and the series was later discontinued. However, 'Adventures in Science!' has recently been relaunched, featuring a techno-shamanistic Tarte who combines the old and new of the character.