Jetboy is a fictional character from the Wild Cards book series. He appeared in the short story "Thirty Minutes Over Broadway!" by Howard Waldrop, but is referenced throughout the Wild Cards series. Jetboy is based on pulp magazine and Golden Age "air ace" characters, particularly Airboy. The title of his story is based on Thirty Seconds over Tokyo.
Robert Tomlin was an orphan who always wanted to fly, more than anything else. After running away from an orphanage to an airfield, he was hired by a scientist named Professor Silverberg, who was working on a prototype Jet aircraft called the JB-1, and somehow convinced the Professor to let him pilot it. When the Professor was murdered by Nazi spies, Tomlin used the JB-1 to shoot up their getaway car. Unfortunately, the spies had diplomatic immunity, and he was forced to flee the country. Once in Canada, he joined the RCAF, and later fought in the Battle of Britain, and later flew alongside the Flying Tigers in China. In 1945, just before the end of World War II, Jetboy became stranded on a Pacific island for several months. By the time he was rescued, the now 19 year old Tomlin found that the war was over, and having spent most of his childhood as a fighter pilot, he found it very difficult fitting back in to civilian life. He took to watching motion pictures to fill his now-abundant free time.
Meanwhile Jetboy's arch-enemy, scar-faced crimelord and Nazi sympathizer Dr. Tod, had found the wreck of an "unusual airplane" with a strange pressurized canister inside, and when something leaked out and melted one of his henchmen, Tod believed it to be a germ warfare device left over from the war. In fact the downed craft was an alien spacecraft, and the strange canister he'd found contained the Wild Card virus.
Tod decided to use this 'germ-bomb' to perform blackmail on a massive scale; he obtained a multi-gasbag blimp and flew over New York City, announcing by radio that if he did not receive 20 million dollars, he would drop the device (wired with explosives) onto Manhattan.
On September 15, 1946, Jetboy was once more called into action, along with a squadron of fighters from the United States Army Air Corps. With the only plane able to reach the proper altitude, Jetboy crashed the JB-1 into the gondola, and confronted Dr. Tod faceplate-to-faceplate (both were wearing high-altitude gear). Both men reached for the bomb fuse...
Jetboy's Tomb is a major tourist attraction in Manhattan. The statue of Robert Tomlin out front is made from the metal from crashed aircraft. The plaque on the front is engraved with his last words--