This article is about a fictional subject in the Wild Cards universe that has a non-fiction inspiration. For an article on Wikipedia about the real world subject, see Wikipedia:House Un-American Activities Committee.
House Committee on Un-American Activities
Biographical Information
TypeInvestigative committee
Operational Information
Period Active1938 - 1975
First AppearanceWild Cards

The House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) is a fictional investigative committee in the Wild Cards anthology with an agenda to investigate any activity on U.S. soil that could be construed as damaging to American principles. The group was fiercely and publicly anti-communist.

Notable CampaignsEdit

The Hollywood TenEdit

HUAC went after Hollywood in 1947 with a group that came to be known as the "Hollywood Ten". Supposedly the committee were investigating Communist infiltration of the film industry, and the Ten were unfortunate enough to be current or former Communists at the time.

Basing their defence on the First Amendment rights of free speech and association they were routed by the committee and were given contempt-of-Congress citations for their refusal to cooperate.

The Four AcesEdit

After a lull in their activities the committee were looking to make their mark again and their new targets were the Four Aces and Dr. Tachyon in 1949. The aces and their nat leader, Archibald Holmes had come home to America disgraced after two debacles abroad. The former Communist ideologies held by Earl Sanderson and liberal political dispositions of Holmes and Jack Braun made them prime targets for the heavily right wing committee. The breaking of the aces proved to be a major catalyst in fanning the flames of anti-wild card hysteria. Tachyon was implicated as being personally responsible for the existence of the wild card.

Holmes was the first to be called to stand and despite never having committed any crime he was sentenced to prison for contempt of Congress. David Harstein turned the tables at his hearing when his pheromone influence caused the committee to agree with him, although his victory was only momentary. He was recalled and this time placed in a glass booth where his ace would have no effect. Tachyon ignored his council's advice to dress down and arrived in his usual flamboyant style. Accused of being responsible for the wild card he was treated as an undesirable illegal alien and later deported.

Jack Braun changed the nature of the proceedings somewhat when he agreed to testify as a friendly witness. While his words had no impact on the fates of Harstein and Holmes, he divulged information on Sanderson's extramarital affair and Blythe van Renssaeler's psychological absorption of Dr. Tachyon's memories. Sanderson, once a champion of the people, now stood accused of everything from communist spy connections, to being an ace, to adultery. Fed up and betrayed, he simply used his flight power to escape into self-exile in Europe. Not so lucky was van Renssaeler. Her stressed mind fractured under the strain of the hearings and she was soon committed to a sanatorium.

The HUAC trials of the Four Aces sparked a decade of anti-wild card sentiment that only broke after Robert F. Kennedy was elected to the presidency in 1960.

Known MembersEdit

  • John Parnell Thomas - Chairman, later imprisoned on corruption charges for salary fraud.
  • John Stephens Wood - Chairman
  • Bernard William Kearney
  • John Elliot Rankin
  • Richard Nixon - Junior member, later ascended to the U.S. presidency.


  • The HUAC of Wild Cards is a fictional analogy of a real world committee of the same name. Details of the real group can be found here.

Selected ReadingEdit

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