“That’s right, I left a cake in the oven.”

Radioactive Man #1

Bongo Comics (November, 1952–or sometime in 1993)

“The Origin Of Radioactive Man” and “Dr. Crab’s Commie Comics”


FINISHED ART: Bill Morrison


The first story features the origin of Radioactive Man. Claude Kane III is a layabout playboy living off his father’s money and failing to win the love of his life, radio reporter Gloria Grand. While heading to his father’s lab he is accidentally caught in the explosion of his father’s “Mega-Bomb”, which foreign scientists want to steal the secrets of. Granted amazing powers he ends up saving his father, Gloria, and the unnamed assistants but decides to protect his identity (not easy when you have a jagged piece of shrapnel shaped like a lighting bolt jammed into your skull) to protect the people he cares about. He also decides to use these new powers to fight even with the clean power of Radioactive Man!

The origin comic here differs from the version seen in an episode of The Simpsons where he was first introduced as Bart’s favorite superhero. However the story itself is quite good, giving Radioactive Man a weaker version of the powers seen in later stories, like in the early Superman adventures. For example he’s still bulletproof but the bullets still hurt when he’s hit. Overall it’s a good story.

The second story (with art assists by Ray Johnson, Abel Lazamana, Phil Ortiz, Dominic Polcino, and Mike Policino…why so many) is a send up of the whole brouhaha over comics by Fredrick Wertham and how publishers used it to try to squash rivals. Dr. Crab is in town causing trouble with his atom smasher ray, but Radioactive Man manages to beat him. Meanwhile, Gloria tries to get Claude to be a positive role model for her neighbor’s grandson, Rod Runtledge (the future Fallout Boy), who is mixed up with crooks (lucky Radioactive Man is too dense to recognize that part) but he has to turn it down to answer Crab’s challenge. Eventually a version of the Comics Code is put in place when Radioactive Man finds crime and horror comics in Crab’s headquarters, a trick by a rival publisher to frame the publisher as subversive. It’s both funny and frustrating for the same reason: because parts of it are actually true.

There’s also a funny bit that parodies both the old Charles Atlas advertisements and Batman’s origin.

Overall this is a fun little comic, done out of love for superheroes and comics. It’s worth a read if you can get it.


About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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