W – Wm

Waid, Mark

Born March 21, 1962 in Hueytown, Alabama, Mark Waid bought his first comic (Batman #180) at age four and has been hooked ever since.  Waid began freelance reporting for the comic book trade publications Amazing Heroes and Comic Buyer’s Guide in his early twenties.  This led to a brief staff position in the mid-1980s as editor of Amazing Heroes, followed by a longer editorial tenure at DC Comics (1987-1989), where he edited Legion of Super-Heroes, Secret Origins, Doom Patrol and a host of one-shot titles.  With writer Brian Augustyn, Waid co-created DC’s extremely successful franchise of “Elseworld” stories with Gotham By Gaslight, a tale of what Batman’s career might have been like had he been active during the days of Jack the Ripper.  Waid left the DC staff in 1989 to pursue a full-time freelance career.  Since then, he has written stories for every major comics publisher, including Marvel Comics (X-Men, Captain America), Archie Comics, Dark Horse Comics and DC Comics, under whose banner Waid produces most of his work.  Waid has written for major comics characters such as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and The Flash.  His award-winning DC graphic novel with artist Alex Ross, Kingdom Come, is one of the best-selling comics collections of all time. Nominated four times for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Writer, he won in 2012 for Best Writer (Irredeemable, Incorruptible and Daredevil), Best Single Issue (Daredevil # 7) and Best Continuing Series (Daredevil).  Waid also serves as DC Comics’ unofficial historian.  Currently, Waid lives outside Philadelphia.

 

Waitzkin, Josh

The only person to have won the National Primary, Elementary, Junior High School, High School, U.S. Cadet and U.S. Junior Closed chess championships in his career, American chess player, martial arts competitor, and author Josh Waitzkin was born December 4, 1976.  He first took up an interest in chess at only 6 years old when he first watched the regular local chess players at New York City’s Washington Square Park.  At the age of only seven, Josh began his classical study of the game with his first formal teacher, Bruce Pandolfini.  From age nine on, Josh dominated competitive chess, winning the National Primary Championship in 1986, the National Junior High Championship in 1988 (when he was only in the fifth grade), and the National Elementary Championship in 1989.  At the age of eleven, he played a game with World Champion Garry Kasparov in an exhibition game where Kasparov played simultaneously against 59 youngsters.  Waitzkin was one of only two young competitors to end their games with the champion in a draw.  At age 13, Josh earned the title of National Master.  He won the National Junior High Championship for the second time in 1990, and the Senior High Championship in 1991, as well as the U.S. Cadet Championship (under-sixteen).  Between the third and ninth grades, Josh also led New York City’s Dalton School to win six National team championships.  In 1993, Josh became an International Master and the U.S. Junior (Under-21) Co-Champion at 16.

Also in 1993, Paramount Pictures released the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, based on the highly acclaimed book by Josh’s father Fred Waitzkin, documenting Josh’s journey from discovering chess to winning his first National Championship.  In 1994, he won the U.S. Junior Chess Championship and placed fourth in the Under-18 World Championship.  Waitzkin published Attacking Chess: Aggressive Strategies, Inside Moves from the U.S. Junior Chess Champion in 1995.  Since 1997, Josh has been the architect of and the spokesperson for the Josh Waitzkin Academy and for Chessmaster, the largest computer chess tutorial program in the world.  At age 21, Josh began to transition away from his early career in chess and into the study of and competition in the Chinese martial art, Tai Chi Chuan.  He is currently focusing on his third art: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  In 2007, Josh released his second book, The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance, an autobiographical discussion of the learning process and performance psychology, drawn from Josh’s experiences in both chess and the martial arts.

Josh announced the formation of The JW foundation on April 8, 2008.  It is dedicated to helping teachers, parents and educational institutions nurture the unique potential of children and young adults.

 

Walking Dead, The (graphic novel series)

Created by Robert Kirkman and published by Image Comics, the graphic novel series The Walking Dead tells the story of an epidemic of apocalyptic proportions.  All around the globe, the dead rise to feed on the living, and in a matter of months, society has deteriorated.  Former small-town cop Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors, searching for his wife and son.  The ongoing series inspired the popular cable series of the same name.

 

Walking Dead, The (TV series)

Based on the Image Comics series written by Robert Kirkman and debuting in 2010, this ongoing AMC drama tells the story of former deputy sheriff Rick Grimes awakes from a coma to discover that the world has been ravaged by a zombie epidemic.  He makes it home to find that his wife and son are missing, and he heads for Atlanta to search for his family. Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the zombies on arrival in Atlanta, another survivor takes Rick to a camp outside the town and there, Rick finds his family, as well as his partner and best friend Shane, among the small group of survivors.  Together, the band fends off the undead and compete with other surviving groups who are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive.

 

Wallace and Gromit

For his graduation project at the National Film and Television School, Nick Park animated a couple of characters from his short stories: a man and his cat.  After doing a three-week stint at Elstree Film Studios to see how all the special effects were being created, Nick began to piece some ideas together.  His finished project, A Grand Day Out, aired on television on Christmas Eve 1990.  The iconic voice of Wallace was provided by Peter Sallis, who had helped Nick out as a favor during his time as a student.  A Grand Day Out, as well as another of Nick’s creations, Creature Comforts, were both nominated for Academy Awards.  In the end, Creature Comforts won for Short Animated Film, but it was Wallace and Gromit that captured the public’s heart.  Following the success of their first adventure, The Wrong Trousers was aired on the BBC on Boxing Day, December 26, 1993, following the Christmas Day airing of A Grand Day OutThe Wrong Trousers went on to win over forty top international awards, including an Academy Award, and has become one of the most successful animated short films ever made.

The next feature, A Close Shave, turned out to be an entirely different production compared with the other two adventures.  It was more dramatic and had been shot with a bigger crew in a shorter time frame.  In fact, with more people to direct in this production, Nick Park hardly had any time to animate.  Premiering on December 24, 1995 on BBC Two, A Close Shave went on to win over 30 awards, including an Academy Award.  Cracking Contraptions took the form of a series of ten stop-motion animations varying from 1 to 3 minutes in length, which were released online in October 2002 and were also broadcast on BBC One throughout Christmas.  The Curse of the Were-Rabbit took five years to develop from concept to premiere and was shot entirely in Britain, but it seems like the hard work all paid off.  The movie was released in over 3,000 theatres worldwide on October 14, 2005 and remained number one at the box office worldwide for three weeks in a row. The final production featured an all-star cast: Peter Sallis (the voice of Wallace) was joined in the film by Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter.  The Curse of the Were-Rabbit has been a great success with public and press across the world. Along with many other prestigious awards, it earned Nick Park a fourth Oscar® and Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards®.

After the great success of their previous adventures, it was announced on October 3, 2007 that the famous duo would return to the small screen in a brand-new baking-themed adventure for Christmas 2008.  This time, Nick Park created a murder mystery.  A Matter of Loaf and Death premiered in Australia on December 3, 2008, aired in the UK on Christmas Day on BBC One, enthralling a record audience of 16.15 million.  It was nominated for an Oscar® in the Best Short Animated Film category and went on to win the BAFTA (The British version of the Academy Award) for Best Animated Short Film.  To date, every Wallace and Gromit adventure has won a BAFTA and been nominated for an Academy Award®.  In November 2010, Wallace and Gromit were immortalized on 600 million Christmas stamps in the UK.

In December 2010, Wallace and Gromit returned to TV in a brand new show.  World of Invention, a series of six episodes, was first broadcast on BBC One in the UK on November 3, 2010, before being distributed around the globe.  Following years of Wallace and Gromit-themed exhibits, charities and amusement park rides, in summer of 2015, wallaceandgromit.com got an overhaul, and the animated duo now have their very own dedicated YouTube channel, showcasing clips from their classic adventures.

 

Wallace, William

In The Birth of Britain, Vol. 1 of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Sir Winston Churchill wrote of Wallace: “Out of an unorganized mass of valiant fighting men, [Wallace] forged, in spite of cruel poverty and primitive administration, a stubborn, indomitable army, ready to fight at any odds and mock defeat.”

A hero of the Scottish struggle for independence from England, Wallace was born circa 1270 near Paisley, Renfrew, Scotland.  In 1296, King Edward I of England (known as “Edward the Longshanks” for his height) deposed and imprisoned Scottish king John de Balliol and declared himself ruler of Scotland.  This news was met with various uprisings throughout Scotland, including that of Wallace, who, with 30 others, burned the town of Lanark, killed its English sheriff, then attacked English strongholds in the area.  On September 11, 1297, Wallace’s small army enjoyed a strategic victory.  Positioning forced the English to cross the narrow Stirling Bridge over the River Forth a small number at a time.  Though vastly outnumbered, the Scots were able to defeat the thinned-out English forces using spears from a high ground position, and they successfully captured Stirling castle.  The following month, Wallace invaded England, taking Northumberland and Cumberland counties, and in December, he was knighted and declared guardian of the realm, ruling in Balliol’s name.  Three months later, Edward returned to England, and invaded Scotland in July 1298.  After being defeated by English forces at Falkirk, Wallace’s military reputation was ruined.  He resigned his guardianship, and was succeeded by Robert the Bruce (later King Robert I).

Wallace spent the years 1299-1304 as a diplomat in France, where he gained some support for Scottish independence, but lost it soon thereafter.  In 1304, Scotland’s leaders recognized the rule of Edward, but Wallace would not submit to him.  Edward’s forces pursued him throughout 1304-05 until, on August 5, 1305, upon his return from France, Wallace was captured near Glasgow and tried for treason.  Found guilty, he was subjected on August 23 to a traitor’s death: he was dragged naked through the streets, hanged until nearly dead, disemboweled, beheaded and quartered.  His head was tarred and piked on London Bridge as a warning to any other Scot rebels.  However, as a martyr to the Scots, Wallace’s execution strengthened efforts for his country’s independence, and in 1328, only 23 years after his execution, the Treaty of Edinburgh granted Scotland full independence from English rule.  A plaque honoring Wallace is displayed at his execution site.

In 1995, Mel Gibson directed and starred as Wallace in the big-screen adventure Braveheart.  Though many facts from his life were altered for the Oscar-winning film, it introduced the Scottish legend of William Wallace to many around the world.

 

Ward, Burt

  

Born Bert John Gervis Jr. in Los Angeles on July 6, 1945, Ward graduated from Beverly Hills High School, and was studying theater arts at UCLA when he was discovered for the coveted role of Robin.  While still a student, he was discovered after a nationwide search by executive producer William Dozier, and due to the 20-year-old actor’s close resemblance to the 15-year-old hero in the comics, Ward was cast as Robin opposite Adam West’s Caped Crusader in the 1966 Batman TV series.  For his screen debut, Ward adopted his mother’s maiden name and changed the spelling of his first name to “Burt.”  Batman was an overnight success.  Its campy tone was personified by West’s deadpan delivery and Ward’s inexperience proved to be assets to their characters.  For three years, Ward was at the top of the pop culture heap.  A theatrical Batman movie in 1966 and countless promotional appearances kept him in the public eye, and he even attempted to capitalize on his newfound fame by recording a few songs, produced and written by Frank Zappa.  Unfortunately, as the ratings soared, so too did the cost of production, and in 1968, ABC shut down Batman, which in turn, closed the door on Ward’s acting career.  His lack of acting ability, which had been a positive on Batman, made it difficult for him to find other roles, so he resorted to joining West in promotional appearances, and voicing Robin in two animated series: The New Adventures of Batman (CBS, 1977) and Tarzan and the Super 7 (CBS, 1978-1980).  In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he began taking live-action roles in low-budget genre pictures like Robo-Chic (1990) and Virgin High (1991).  In 1995, Ward penned a memoir entitled Boy Wonder: My Life in Tights, which made headlines for claims of outrageous sexual hijinks that occurred during his time in the spotlight.  Some of the material from his book made its way into a 2003 CBS special, Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt.

In addition to his animal rescue business with his fourth wife, Tracey Posner, Gentle Giants Rescue and Adoptions, Inc., which rescued large breed dogs, and steady stream of promotional appearances at conventions, Ward also ran a special effects house, Logical Figments, which provided graphics and animation for films, television series and commercials.

 

Warehouse 13

After saving the life of the President, two Secret Service agents are abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13, a top-secret storage facility in South Dakota that houses every strange, mysterious and supernatural artifact object that the Regents, a mysterious authority above and outside of any government, have collected over the centuries.  The Warehouse’s caretaker charges the agents to chase down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity, in search of new objects to bring back to the warehouse for storage.  The 2009-14 SyFy Channel series starred Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly and Allison Scagliotti.

 

WarGames

High school student David Lightman unwittingly hacks into a military supercomputer while searching for new video games.  Unaware that he has accessed a U.S. military war scenario supercomputer, Lightman starts a game called “Global Thermonuclear War,” activating the nation’s nuclear arsenal in response to his simulated threat as the Soviet Union.  Once he realizes the situation, Lightman, with help from his girlfriend, must find a way to alert the authorities to stop the onset of World War III.  The successful 1983 film starred Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy.

 

Warm boot

Colloquial name for reloading the operating system by performing the Restart operation from the computer’s main menu while the computer is still turned on.  The warm boot does not involve turning the power off and back on, and does not clear the computer’s memory.

 

Warner, Dot

Although she goes by “Dot,” producer/writer Sherri Stoner came up with the full name of the Warner sister from the 1993-98 Animaniacs animated series: Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca III.  The self-centered mouse-dog-looking character Dot was voiced by Tress MacNeille, who had previously played Babs Bunny on Tiny Toons and Gadget on Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers.

 

Warner, Wakko

The middle sibling in the Warner family (with older brother Yakko Warner and younger sister Dot Warner) on Animaniacs, which ran from 1993-98, Wakko usually wears a red cap backwards and a sky-blue turtleneck, hangs his tongue out of his mouth, drives others crazy … and for some unknown reason, is the only Warner with a British accent!  Voiced by Jess Harnell, Wakko was also quite good at making a “gookie” with his face.

 

Warner, Yakko

Eldest of the Warner siblings on the 1993-98 animated series Animaniacs, Yakko was also the most talkative and arguably the “brains” of the family.  Voice by Rob Paulsen, he sang the countries of the world at rapid-fire speed, and was usually the first to blow a kiss at the camera and say “Good night, everybody!” whenever something a little “double-entendre-like” was said on the show (which was quite often).

 

Warp speed

In the pre-production days of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG), creator Gene Roddenberry decided that if the Enterprise-D traveled too fast, the galaxy would become a very small place, and the show’s plot potential would become very limited for the writing staff.  To accommodate this situation, Michael Okuda, the series special effects and art director, created a warp speed chart that could easily be used by the writers in the course of their episodic endeavors.  For many years, ardent fans of the original Star Trek series (TOS) had often used various non-canonical methods of calculating just how fast warp speed was.  The most popular method was the “warp-cubed” calculation.  Using this system of calculation, Warp 2 would be 8 times the speed of light (2 x 2 x 2 = 8), Warp 3 would be 27 times the speed of light, and so on.  This calculation fit so well into what had been described during the production of TOS, that the production staff at Paramount printed a chart for it in the Star Trek Encyclopedia.  (It is assumed by Paramount Studios and Star Trek fans alike that at some point between the last TOS movie’s (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) stardate and the first episode of TNG’s stardate, Federation physicists had made vital discoveries in quantum mechanics that necessitated a recalculation to the current warp factors scene in every series from TNG to DS-9 to Voyager.

 

Washburne, Hoban “Wash”

When Hoban “Wash” Washburne, pilot of the Firefly-class transport ship Serenity, first came to the ship, Wash had, as ship’s captain Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds put it, “a list of recommendations as long as my leg.”  Reynolds’ second in command, Zoë Alleyne, disliked him when they first met, but that soon changed and the two eventually married.  Wash’s piloting is quite erratic, depending on the situation, and his behavior during flight ranges from calm to panicky.  Very laid back and almost childlike, Wash is loyal and, as he is no fighter, could be considered the comic relief on many occasions aboard Serenity.  Hoban Washburne was portrayed by Alan Tudyk in the short-lived Fox TV series Firefly and in its follow-up motion picture Serenity.

 

Watcher

A powerful ancient extraterrestrial race in the Marvel Comics universe that undertook the task of passively observing the phenomena of the universe, beginning millennia ago.  Their homeworld is an unnamed planet in an unknown solar system in a galaxy other outside of our own Milky Way, however none of the Watchers live on their homeworld anymore, having taken up permanent residence in various other parts of the solar systems which they have elected to quietly observe.  The age of the race is unknown, and since the Watchers are scattered across the universe, it is impossible to determine how many of them exist.  Ruled under their leader, called The One, the Watchers possess advanced technology existing billions of years before most other species. They used their advanced technology to create temporary dwellings which they disassemble after use. They also possess technology to observe alternate realities.  The Watcher that “hosts” the series What If…? is called Uatu, and he first appeared in Fantastic Four #13 (1963).  The Watchers as species were first discussed in Strange Tales #53 (1964).

 

Watchmen

Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, this Hugo Award-winning 1986-87 DC Comics publication is widely considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium.  The storyline chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all-too-human failings.

 

Wayne, Bruce, Jr.

One of the so-called “Super Sons” from the DC Comics series of stories in the 1970s, Bruce Wayne Jr. appeared alongside Clark Kent Jr. in an encapsulated run of adventures.  Both sons were presented as spoiled and bored, which worked well in the post-hippie “Me Generation” atmosphere of the early 1970s.  Both sons donned costumes identical to their fathers’ Batman and Superman outfits, and attempted to make names for themselves as crimefighters.  What generally happened in these adventures, however, was that the boys’ fathers ended up helping out, either overtly or covertly.  The stories featuring Bruce Wayne Jr. (whose mother was shown in scenes but never named) were published in World’s Finest Comics (issues #215-216, 221-222, 224, 228, 230, 231, 233, 238, 242, 263) between January 1973 and July 1980, plus these issues were printed together in Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1 (August 1999), and again later (due to the removal of one story over a controversial scene) as Saga of the Super Sons (January 2007).  Written by Bob Haney, with art by Dick Dillin, Murphy Anderson, Vince Colletta and others, the tales were said to be canonical by some, but denied by others.  The controversy was settled later by the claim that the superheroes’ sons were actually computer simulations.

 

Web server

As opposed to an application server, which hosts business logic and processes and with which developers can create, test, and execute application components, a web server is designed to create and deploy a website on the internet, serving up computer content (utilizing hypertext transfer protocol, also known as “http”) moreso than applications.

 

Web-based seminar

See Webinar.

 

Webcomic

A comic strip or cartoon presented on the internet, especially one created originally for online presentation.

 

Webinar

A live online educational presentation or conference which allows participants in different geographical locations to see and hear the presenter/host, ask questions, make comments participate in discussions, and/or answer polls.  Webinars use internet technologies, particularly Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) connections.

 

Weezer

Since coming together in Los Angeles on February 14, 1992, the members of the band of “nerd rock pioneers” have gone from writing music and playing local clubs to recording at the famed Electric Lady Studios under producer Ric Ocasek (lead singer of The Cars).  The band’s self-titled debut album, more commonly known as “the blue album,” was released on May 10, 1994, and was a hit from the start, spawning three singles: “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Buddy Holly” and “Say It Ain’t So.”  “Buddy Holly” won several MTV awards in 1995, and Weezer eventually went double-platinum.  After several tours around the U.S. and abroad, Weezer returned to the studio in the early winter of 1995 and the summer of 1996, producing their second album themselves.  On September 24, 1996, Pinkerton was released, and the album produced three singles: “El Scorcho,” “The Good Life” and “Pink Triangle.”  Since the release of Pinkerton, the band personnel has changed, but they have put out several successful albums, including their 2014 release Everything Will Be Alright In The End.

 

Weird Tales

The popular vehicle for fiction, poetry and non-fiction on topics ranging from ghost stories to alien invasions to the occult debuted in March 1923, under the control of Jacob Clark Hennenberger and J. M. Lansinger, founders of Rural Publications.  Edwin Baird was hired as the initial editor, and Hennenberger envisioned Weird Tales as an outlet for stories that did not fit the conventions of existing pulps.  However, after only thirteen issues, Weird Tales fell into financial difficulties. Hennenberger and Lansinger parted ways with Hennenberger devoting his time and money to Weird Tales.  In November 1924, the first issue of Weird Tales published by Hennenberger’s new imprint, Popular Fiction Publishing, and edited by Farnsworth Wright appeared. With this issue, Weird Tales entered its most important era.  Wright continued to publish work by H.P. Lovecraft, who sold his first professional story to Baird, and acquired debut stories by Robert E. Howard, Robert Bloch and Frank Belknap Long, among others.  Into this mix, Weird Tales added reprints of works from an eclectic mix of established writers: Edgar Allan Poe, Mary and Percy Shelley, Nathanael Hawthorne, Bram Stoker, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, John Keats, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Paul Verlaine and Charles Baudelaire.  Margaret Brundage’s cover illustrations added to Weird Tales’ popularity.

Weird Tales never had a large circulation and often struggled to make a profit. In the late 1930s, Weird Tales faced additional challenges.  Howard, whose tales of Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, and Bran Mak More were a major selling point for subscribers, killed himself in 1936, and Lovecraft died a year later.  Howard’s death was a bigger blow to the magazine, however, since Lovecraft had left behind such a stock of manuscripts that the magazine ended up publishing more of his work posthumously than when he was alive.  Between 1938 and 1940, Weird Tales underwent a series of format changes, expanding from 144 pages to 160 in an effort to court new subscribers, then dropping to 128 pages and slashing the cover price from twenty-five to fifteen cents.  In January 1940, the magazine switched from a monthly to a bi-monthly schedule.  Throughout the 1940s and ‘50s, Weird Tales published stories by Fritz Leiber, Ray Bradbury and Theodore Sturgeon, to name a few, but the magazine continued to struggle financially, however; and the final issue was published in September 1954.

In successive years, Weird Tales would earn the moniker “The Magazine That Never Dies.”  It was revived briefly in 1973-74 under the editorship of Sam Moskowitz, and again in 1984-85 under Gordan M. D. Garb.  A more successful revival began in 1988, when Weird Tales was reborn yet again as a quarterly publication, edited by Darrell Schweitzer in collaboration with George H. Scithers and John Betancourt.  In 2007, Ann VanderMeer became editor, during which time Weird Tales was nominated for three Hugo awards, winning one.  In 2011, Nth Dimension Media purchased the magazine.

 

Wells, H.G.

Herbert George Wells, born September 21, 1866 in Bromley, England, is considered by many today to be “the father of science fiction.”  At the age of seven, he was bedridden for several months, during which he became an avid reader.  At 18, he won a scholarship to the Normal School of Science, where he studied physics and biology, as well as chemistry, astronomy and other subjects.  During college, he published a short story entitled “The Chronic Argonauts.”  Graduating in 1888, Wells worked as a science teacher before undergoing a period of ill health and financial worries.  His 1891 marriage to his cousin Isabel Mary Wells was not successful, and in 1894, Wells ran off with former pupil Amy Catherine “Jane” Robbins, who became his second wife in 1895.  The pair had two sons, George Philip and Frank.  He would later have a daughter, Anna-Jane, with Amber Reeves in 1909, and a son, Anthony, with feminist writer Rebecca West.

Wells’ first published book was Textbook of Biology in 1893, but he became an overnight literary sensation with the 1895 publication of The Time Machine, one of the earliest examples of science fiction.  The success of this novel was followed in quick succession by The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), The War of the Worlds (1898), The First Men in the Moon (1901), and The Food of the Gods (1904).  In addition to his fiction, Wells wrote many essays, articles and nonfiction books.  In The World Set Free (1914), he foresaw the splitting of the atom and the creation of atomic bombs.

During the first decade of 20th Century, the author abandoned his science fiction efforts in favor of comic novels about the lower middle-class life.  About this time, he became an active socialist, and in 1903, he joined the Fabian Society, though he soon began to criticize its methods.  World War I shook Wells’ faith in even short-term human progress, and in subsequent works, he modified his conception of social evolution, putting forward the view that man could only progress if he would adapt himself to changing circumstances through knowledge and education.  Wells ran for Parliament as a Labour Party candidate in 1922 and 1923, but was never elected.  He branched out into the film industry in the 1930s, and traveled to Hollywood, where he adapted his 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come into a script for the big screen.  The resulting film, Things to Come, took audiences on a journey from the next world war into the distant future.  Around this same time, Wells also worked on the film version of one of his short stories, “The Man Who Could Work Miracles.”

On Halloween night of 1938, one of Wells’ novels was broadcast as a radio play, the famous Orson Welles adaptation of The War of the Worlds.

On average, Wells wrote three books a year for a time, with each of his works going through several drafts before publication.  Wells remained productive until the very end of his life, but his attitude seemed to darken in his final days. Among his last works was 1945’s “Mind at the End of Its Tether,” in which Wells depicts a bleak vision of a world in which Nature itself has rejected and is destroying humankind. Some critics speculated that Wells’ declining health shaped this prediction of a future without hope.

H.G. Wells died in London on August 13, 1946; however, so many of his predictions for the future came true in the ensuing years, he is sometimes called “the father of futurism.”  Wells’ fantastical tales continue to fascinate audiences, and several of his works have returned to the big screen in recent years.

 

West, Adam

Born William West Anderson on September 19, 1928 in Seattle, Washington, actor Adam West was raised on a family-owned farm.  During his college years, West worked as a radio disc jockey and helped launch a military television station.  In 1955, a college acquaintance offered West a role as a sidekick on a Hawaiian children’s program, The Kini Popo Show.  Accepting the offer, West moved to Hawaii, where he became a local celebrity among children and adults.  Supplementing his income by working as an island tour guide, West caught the attention of a vacationing Hollywood agent, who invited him to screen test for Warner Bros. Studios.  He was signed to a contract and moved to Hollywood.  He adopted the stage name Adam West before making his feature film debut in a small but memorable part in the 1959 Paul Newman drama The Young Philadelphians.  Throughout the 1960s, West enjoyed a steady stream of supporting parts in television and film.  In 1961, he landed a recurring role as Sgt. Steve Nelson on the hit TV series The Detectives.  His most notable film project was as the straight man to The Three Stooges in the Western spoof The Outlaws is Coming (1965).  Later that year, West traveled to Italy, where he starred in the spaghetti Western The Relentless Four.

Although West enjoyed moderate success in films, his big break came when he was chosen to play the crime-fighting superhero Batman in the 1966 TV series.  The show’s producers, who sought to bring a touch of satire to the comic book character (and his stuffier alter ego Bruce Wayne), felt that West’s flair for tongue-in-cheek comedy made him the perfect candidate for the role.  West was cast alongside Burt Ward as Robin, and Batman premiered in 1966 to high ratings and equally impressive critical acclaim.  Originally, the series aired twice a week: On Wednesdays, the episodes would end in a cliffhanger, with one or both of the heroes in peril, and on Thursdays, they would inevitably escape.  In the summer of 1966, West starred in the full-length feature film Batman.  The theatrical version pitted the superhero against an all-star cast of villains, including Frank Gorshin’s Riddler, Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, and Cesar Romero’s Joker.  After two successful seasons, escalating production costs and flagging ratings caused ABC to cancel the Batman series in 1968.

Mass recognition as TV’s Batman brought West’s acting career to a grinding halt (a similar fate previously suffered by George Reeves, who had played another DC Comics hero on TV’s Adventures of Superman).  Over the next few years, West took whatever work he was offered, ranging from low-budget embarrassments like The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington (1977) to quality projects like the action-laced Burt Reynolds comedy Hooper (1978).  During the 1980s, he was featured in a slew of forgettable projects, including the motorcycle film Hellriders (1984) and the amateur horror movie Zombie Nightmares (1986).  In 1989, West enjoyed a resurgence of popularity with the highly anticipated release of Tim Burton’s Batman, featuring Michael Keaton in the title role.  To coincide with the film, the original Batman series returned to airwaves around the world.  Most recently, West made appearances or has done voiceover work on many of America’s most popular TV shows, including 30 Rock, Politically Incorrect, and semi-regular appearances … as Mayor Adam West! … on Family Guy.  Sadly, West passed away on June 9, 2017.

 

West, Wally

         

The nephew of Barry “The Flash” Allen’s fiancé Iris West (who was unaware of Allen’s alter-ego at the time), Wally dreamed of one day meeting his hero, The Flash.  One summer, Iris introduced Wally to Barry, whom Wally thought was dull and uninteresting until Barry offered to “introduce” Wally to the Flash.  Barry used some simple super-speed tricks to pull off the double identity, and gave Wally the surprise of his life.  Later, Barry revealed his dual identity to Wally and a new partnership was forged: Wally became Flash’s sidekick, Kid Flash.  A few years later, Wally met fellow heroes Robin and Aqualad, they joined together to stop the menace of Mr. Twister, notably without the help of their individual mentor heroes.  Their second meeting was more eventful: Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad, now joined by Wonder Girl, fought against their mentors, who had been possessed by the evil Antithesis. At this second meeting, the four youngsters decided to become a team and the Teen Titans were born, with Robin becoming the leader of the team. The sidekicks would continue to operate with their mentors, as well as spending time with their peers in the Titans.  Kid Flash eventually left the Teen Titans, as Wally wanted to focus on school, while continuing a part-time solo career and partnership with the Flash on a handful of cases. Wonder Girl eventually persuaded him to rejoin the team, but after a case involving Titans West, this incarnation of the team disbanded and Wally returned to Blue Valley to continue his college career.  Some months later, Raven banded together a group of New Teen Titans, but Wally grew increasingly unsure of his decision to continue as a member of the Titans. His discomfort with Raven and Frances’ encouragement led him to leave the team and return to school in Blue Valley.

Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86) brought Wally out of retirement, and the death of Barry Allen gave him a new sense of purpose. Despite the risk, he took the name and costume of The Flash, and was determined to live up to the example that Barry Allen had set for the world.  Wally West appears as the Flash in Kingdom Come (1996), in which he joins Superman’s new Justice League of America.  He is one of the few heroes who survive a nuclear blast.  During the Infinite Crisis (2005-06), Wally disappeared while trying to force Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force.  Before vanishing entirely, he was able to appear to Linda in order to say goodbye.  Linda refused to be separated from him, and she and the twins joined him in the Speed Force.  When Orion is murdered in Final Crisis (2008), Wally gets involved in the investigation, alongside Barry Allen.

Following the reboot of the DC Universe dubbed “The New 52,” Wally made his first appearance in The Flash #30, and his full debut in The Flash Annual #3, appearing as a 12-year old who is caught by Barry Allen spray painting a wall.  Five years later, Wally learns The Flash’s identity when he encounters the future Flash, who reveals himself to be Barry Allen 15 years in the future.  However, after learning the goals of the future Flash, he absorbs a part of the speed force during an explosion while Barry of the present timeline fights the future Flash turning Wally into the new speedster.  The adventure as the new speedster however is short-lived as Wally sacrificed himself to absorb the energy that’s supposedly consuming Barry Allen of the present timeline in order to fix the wound of the Speed Force.

 

Westworld

Written and directed by Michael Crichton and released in 1973, Westworld takes place in a theme park populated by androids that interact with customers who live out fantasies in Ancient Rome, Medieval Europe and American Old West settings, until the robots begin to refuse to perform and start killing their human guests.  The movie spawned the 1976 sequel Futureworld and the 1980 television series Beyond Westworld.

 

What If…?

Created by Stan Lee as a way to tell radically alternative stories outside of the interconnected reality of the Marvel Comics storylines, the What If? series is narrated by a nearly omniscient Watcher, who presents each story as being set in an alternate reality where these alternate events actually happen.  Up until the crucial altered pivotal moment of the original tale, however, the original history applies.

 

Whedon, Joss

The versatile writer, director and producer was born Joseph Hill Whedon on June 23, 1964 in New York City, and grew up well versed in the world of television.  He has been called “the world’s first third-generation TV writer,” as his father Tom Whedon was a screenwriter for The Electric CompanyThe Golden Girls and Benson, and his grandfather John Whedon wrote for The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Donna Reed Show.  Whedon spent time as a teenager in a boarding school in England—where he became a fan of comic books—before graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut with a degree in Film Studies.  Whedon headed for Hollywood in 1988 and after a few false starts, he found a steady position working as a staff writer on Roseanne.  He also worked as a script doctor for several movies, including Alien: ResurrectionWaterworld and the Oscar-nominated Toy Story, but he disliked the work.  Whedon’s first produced film script, for the 1992 movie Buffy the Vampire Slayer, seemed a good opportunity to reach his personal dream of creating a female hero, but he lost control of his screenplay during the production process, and disliked the broad comedy it was turned into.  Luckily, several years later, he was given the opportunity to turn the film’s concept into a television show, and he loved the “high school as a horror movie” idea.  Buffy, which aired from 1997 to 2003, jump-started Whedon’s career as creator, writer and director of cult-classic television series.  A spinoff series, Angel, ran from 1999 to 2004.  During these years, Whedon wrote and directed hundreds of episodes for both shows, winning Emmy and Hugo nominations.

After reading Michael Shaara’s Civil War novel The Killer Angels while on vacation from Buffy, Whedon was inspired.  He conceived the “sci-fi western” series Firefly, which debuted in 2002.  It quickly became a critical and cult success, but was canceled during its first season due to low ratings. The show’s abandoned plotlines were later picked up in the 2005 movie, Serenity, which Whedon both wrote and directed.

After Serenity, Whedon spent a period of time writing comic books based on his own creations Buffy and Firefly, as well as other established properties (RunawaysThe Astonishing X-Men).  During the 2007-08 Writer’s Guild strike, Joss Whedon collaborated with Maurissa Tanchareon and his brothers Jed and Zack Whedon to create an original musical, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  Starring Neil Patrick Harris and Firefly alum Nathan Fillion, it was filmed just after the strike ended and was released online for free that summer, where it became so popular that the server couldn’t handle the demand, and crashed.  Dr. Horrible went on to win two Emmy Awards, and Whedon returned to broadcast television with the 2009-10 television show Dollhouse, which ran for two seasons on Fox.  Whedon next joined the Marvel Comics universe as the writer and director of the 2012 box office hit The Avengers.  Three years later, Whedon wrote and directed the sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron.  On the small screen, Whedon has also entered the Marvel universe, creating the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which debuted in 2013.

Joss Whedon lives in Los Angeles with his wife Kai Cole and their two children.

 

White hat hacker
Synonymous with “ethical hacker,” a white hat hacker is someone who breaks into protected  computer systems and networks to test and assess their security.  White hat hackers use their skills to improve security by finding weak spots in a company’s network before malicious hackers can detect and exploit the weaknesses.  White hat hackers typically have prior permission by the organization in question to attempt to hack its system.

 

White Lantern Corps, The

 

Formed when Green Lantern Hal Jordan merged with The Entity to combat Nekron and his Black Lantern Corps to end the Blackest Night, the members of the White Lantern Corps are composed of heroes Nekron commanded to die, each resurrected to accomplish an individual mission.  If any White Lanterns accomplished their individual missions, they were granted life as a reward.  In the DC Comics Brightest Day story arc (written by Geoff Johns and Peter J. Tomasi, with art by Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Ardian Syaf, among others).  Those who were “recruited” into the White Lantern Corps included Abin Sur, Alanna Strange, Animal Man, Aquaman, Barbara Gordon, Barry Allen, Bart Allen, Batman, Captain Boomerang, Carrie Kelley, Deadman, Donna Troy, Exeter, Firestorm, Firestorm (Rusch), Green Arrow, Hal Jordan, Hank Hall, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Ice, Jade, Jesse Chambers, J’onn J’onzz (The Martian Manhunter), Kyle Rayner, Maxwell Lord IV, Mogo, Natasha Irons, Osiris, Professor Zoom, Romgan Shay, Saysoran, Simon Baz, Sinestro, Superboy, Supergirl, Superman, Swamp Thing, Tallahe, Telos Usr and Woman Woman.

 

White, Perry

The character of Perry White was first brought to literary life by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1940.  Known for his constant phrases “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” and “Don’t call me chief,” the editor of The Daily Planet began his career working for a Chicago newspaper, and he worked a stint at the Gotham Gazette.  He made his way to Metropolis’ Daily Planet as a reporter and earned a Pulitzer Prize for a piece on Superboy.  He became the editor when his predecessor George Taylor resigned.

Perry suspects that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person, but he has never been able to confide in anyone about it.

The first appearance of Perry White in visual media was in the animated Superman series from 1941 to 1943.  His appearances in these animated shorts closely mirrored his comic book character, though in the animated series he was at best a minor character.  He was voiced by Jackson Beck.  White’s next appearance was in Columbia Pictures’ 1948 serial Superman (and the subsequent 1950 return of the serial, Atom Man vs. Superman). This 15-episode serial included Pierre Watkin as Perry. Television’s Adventures of Superman series, starring George Reeves as Clark Kent/Superman, ran from 1952 to 1958, with the inimitable John Hamilton playing the part of Perry White.  Perry would return to animated form for The New Adventures of Superman in 1966, which ran for one season.  White was voiced by actor Ted Knight.  In 1978, the first of four Superman films came out that would star former child star Jackie Cooper (of the “Our Gang”/“Little Rascals” series of shorts) as Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s boss.  Lane Smith played a more personable, Southern-tinged, though still demanding Perry White in ABC’s Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman from 1993 to 1997.  The most recent incarnation of Perry White on the small screen was on Smallville, where it should be noted that in keeping with the prequel nature of the entire series, Michael McKean played a younger Perry.  The editor was played by Frank Langella in 2006’s Superman Returns, where we almost see a return to the kinder, gentler Perry, then in 2013, Perry White was played by Laurence Fishburne in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

 

Who’s Who in the DC Universe

A 16-issue series of DC Comics “encyclopedias,” with each issue focusing on a different area of the DC universe, rather than a section of the alphabet.

 

Whole number

See Integer.

 

Whole Wide World, The

Based on the 1986 memoir One Who Walked Alone by Novalyne Price Ellis, the film follows the true rocky relationship between a young Texas school teacher (Ellis) and Robert E. Howard, creator of such now-classic characters as Conan and Kull.  An early film in the careers of both Renee Zellwegger and Vincent D’Onofrio, the 1996 biopic was written by Michael Scott Myers and directed by Dan Ireland.

 

Wide area network (WAN)

A long-distance computer network that spans a relatively large geographical area and usually consists of two or more local area networks (LANs) and/or metro area networks (MANs).  This ensures that computers and users in one location can communicate with computers and users in other locations within the network.  Typically, transmission control protocol/internet protocol (TCP/IP) is the protocol used for a WAN, in combination with devices such as routers, switches, firewalls and modems.  The largest WAN in existence is the internet.

 

Widget
See Gadget.

 

WiFi

A networking technology that allows computers and other devices to communicate via wireless radio frequency (RF) technology through high-speed network and internet connections.  Since Wi-Fi is a wireless networking standard, any device with a “Wi-Fi Certified” wireless card should be recognized by any “Wi-Fi Certified” access point, and vice-versa.  However, wireless routers can only be configured to work with the 802.11 standard developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and adopted by the Wi-Fi Alliance, which may prevent older equipment from communicating with a router.  Most mobile devices, video game systems and other stand-alone devices also support Wi-Fi, enabling them to connect to wireless networks.  The name “Wi-Fi” looks and sounds similar to “Hi-Fi,” which is short for “High Fidelity,” but contrary to popular believe, “Wi-Fi” is not short for “Wireless Fidelity,” but is simply a sound-alike name chosen by the Wi-Fi Alliance, and isn’t short for anything.  The Wi-Fi Alliance, the organization that owns the trademarked “Wi-Fi” term, specifically defines it as “wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) 802.11 standards.”

 

“Wii elbow”

Similar to tennis elbow, “Wii elbow” is a repetitive motion pain in the arm (particularly around the elbow), caused by playing too much Wii Tennis or other active games on the Wii system.

 

Wild Wild West (TV series)

In this clever 1965-69 CBS series, James West and Artemus Gordon are two agents of President Grant’s Secret Service, who have been given care of a weapon-filled private train.  Using elements of both science fiction and Western genres, Artemus (who designed disguises and gadgets) and James (the lover/fighter) traveled through the West fighting evil geniuses and threats to the security of the United States.  The lighthearted adventure series, which inspired several TV reunion movies and one theatrical film, starred Robert Conrad and Ross Martin.

 

“Wireless fidelity”

See WiFi.

 

Wizards of the Coast

Beginning with only seven employees in a basement, Wizards of the Coast was founded in 1990 by Peter Adkison, a systems analyst at Boeing.  is now an international leader in the adventure game industry and is perhaps best known as the publisher of the world’s best-selling trading card game, Magic: The Gathering.  Adkison asked Richard Garfield, a game aficionado with a B.S. in Computer Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Combinational Mathematics, to design a card game that was fun, portable, and could be played in under an hour. Garfield, who had been designing his own games since age 15, and George Skaff Elias, another graduate student in mathematics, went away and worked on it.  In August 1993, WotC released the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.  The game, set in the imaginary realm of Dominia, featured wizards challenging one another for control of the land.  Players use cards representing fantastic creatures and spells to reduce their opponents’ score from 20 to 0 and win the game.  The new game became one of the most popular games in history, shocking industry experts by outselling Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit at one point.