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Wilson. Wilson appeared in over 250 stories in Wizard, Hotspur, and Hornet from 1943 to at least 1963, possibly beginning with “The Truth About Wilson” (Wizard, July 24 1943).

Wilson is a Superhuman. He is a mysterious teenage athlete. He always dresses in a black Victorian bathing suit. He wears this suit when he races, and he wins every race he enters and is the holder of every world running record. Wilson’s first sighting is at the British Summer Championships held at Stamford Bridge, London in 1939. He appears from nowhere, leaps over the barrier on to the track, and then wins the race by running a three-minute mile. It is eventually revealed that Wilson was born in 1806 in Yorkshire, and still lives there, in a cave on Amberfide Moor. The secret to his long life and eternally-preserved youth is a series of special breathing exercises and his diet of gruel, nuts, berries, and wild roots, which he collects daily from the Yorkshire moors. This give him superhuman stamina and speed, although he collapses after every race and needs time to recover. But when he recovers he is as energetic as always and is ready to confound the world with his athletic prowess. As Benny Green wrote in the Spectator on 26 Dec. 1970:

In one episode he takes a giant leap and breaks the world long jump record while in the act of running a three-minute mile...His most tangible legacy is a parlour game still played occasionally by grown men of my own vintage who ought to know better. The game is called 'Wilsonisms' and its aim is to arrive at the ultimate absurdity in physical achievement:

1st player: Wilson climbed Mount Everest.

2nd player: At night.

3rd player: Barefoot.

4th player: Without oxygen.

1st player: With a twelve-stone man on his back.

2nd player: In fifteen minutes.

3rd player: Backwards.

4th player: With a tray of drinks in each hand.

* I'm including the Wilson stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because they're fun. Everything about them is fun: the focus on winning ever-more-incredible races and games, the gloriously over-the-top ways in which Wilson wins those games and races, and especially the game of Wilsonisms, which can be a lot of fun to play after a couple of drinks. The author(s) of the Wilson stories told them in a dry deadpan that makes the humor in them even more amusing, and the art is always at least adquate and often good. Big fun! 

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