Radioactive Man 80 pg. Colossal
Bongo Comics Group (1995)
Remember those 80 page giants DC used to do in the Silver Age? This is quite obviously a parody of those comics, where they would show one story from a multi-story comic and collect them for readers who missed those issues. I’ve covered a few here at the Spotlight that had Millennium Edition replicas. This one contains five stories and some bonus features.
To Betroth A Foe (Radioactive Man #72: January, 1961)
WRITER: Bill Morrison | PENCILER: Christian Romano | INKER: Tim Harkins | COLORIST: Nathan Kane | LETTERING: Comicraft
Larva Girl comes up with a way to make Radioactive Man fall in love with and marry her. This being a Silver Age parody of course it means going to another planet whose sun affects his unique molecular structure and causes him to fall in love with the first woman he sees. The sad part is I could totally see that plot happening in the Silver Age. It’s a fun story that definitely couldn’t have been padded out into a full story. I think that’s the theme of this comic: short stories featuring Radioactive Man and the rest of the Superior Squad and Zenith City cast.
Radioactive Man: Teen Idol (Radioactive Man #84: January, 1962)
WRITER; Bill Morrison | PENCILER: Stephanie Gladden | INKER: John Adam | COLORIST: Nathan Kane | LETTERING: Comicraft
Larceny Lass comes up with a ray that works on sunlight (the fiend) that can hurt our irradiated crusaders. Using her hatred of rock music, Radioactive Man comes up with a plan for them to destroy the ray and take down the bad girl and her flunkies. Does every woman in this comic want to marry Radioactive Man? Is it the mask? The lightning bolt in his head? What am I doing wrong? Fun story otherwise.
The 1,001 Faces Of Radioactive Ape (Radioactive Man #37: July, 1957–and yes these collections did skip around time)
WRITER/PENCILER: Scott Shawl | INKER: Phil Ortiz | COLORIST: Nathan Kane | LETTERERS: Bill Morrison & Mike Sakamoto
Ah, the obligatory crazy transformation story. However, it’s Radioactive Man’s super-intelligent ape pal, Grrk-Grrk the Radioactive Ape who suddenly undergoes wacky transformations just as Radioactive Man comes for a visit. With the ape out of action Radioactive Man has to disguise himself as his friend and continue his dual identity until they find a solution. This is a story that somehow manages to parody the 90s aesthetic, the whole “gay Batman and Robin” stupidity, and create an ape version of Zenith City, complete with ape versions of Gloria Grand and Gretchen Grille. This is the kind of crazy that came out of the Silver Age. I’m more of a Bronze Age man but I can dig this story.
Gloria Grand: Radioactive Girl (Radioactive Man’s Girlfriend Gloria Grand #10: August, 1959)
WRITER: Kayre Morrison | ARTIST: Bill Morrison | COLORIST: Nathan Kane | LETTERERS: Bill Morrison & Mike Sakamoto
Because of course the Lois Lane stand-in also had her own comic. When Gloria gains super powers in the most ridiculous way a Silver Age comic could come up with she not only joins Radioactive Man in crimefighting but now she’s safe enough for Radioactive Man to finally marry her. At least until Dr. Crab ruins everything. So two stopped weddings in one comic? Did this influence Tom King? And apparently every woman, good and evil alike, does want to marry Radioactive Man. Geez. Being a Silver Age parody I’ll allow it and I did enjoy it, but there has to be one weakest in an anthology like this and here it is.
The Radioactive Man Of 1995 (Radioactive Man #22: August, 1955)
WRITER: Bill Morrison | PENCILER: Sharon Bridgeman | INKER: Abel Laxamana | COLORING: Electric Crayon | LETTERING: Comicraft
It also wouldn’t be Silver Age without…time travel. When an alien attacks Zenith City, Gloria accidentally activates the ship’s time-travel function and ends up in the far-off year of 1995, where Fallout Boy is the new Radioactive Man and her future counterpart is a brainwashed KGB leader. That last part doesn’t come into play but this was probably the best of the parodies.
The comic also contains the origin of Glowy the Radioactive Dog (who is actually a mutated…turtle?), A parody of drawing tutorials with one for Radioactive Man (although there is a good tip or two in there anyway), and the obligatory (last time, folks) cutaway of the hero headquarters, namely Radioactive Man’s “Fortress Of Solitude” the Containment Dome.
The whole book is fun to read though. If you like Silver Age parodies, or even just the Silver Age, you should track this one down.