Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Thunderbolts' Customs Captain Atom Action Figure

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Dig this Mego-style custom of Captain Atom in his second, red blue & silver suit!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010 Captain Atom Custom Statue by ~JokerZombie

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I didn't want anyone accusing me of being an America-hating leftist fighting the War against Christmas, so here's a true patriot to stuff your stocking!

"Captain Atom, the man that in the future will explode and cause the nuclear holocaust!
This character has always been a secondary char to me and that doesn't seem to change, I don't know why....
But the sculpture is great"

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Atomic acCount for March, 2011

Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Continuing from ADVENTURE COMICS #521, it’s the conclusion to Ray Palmer’s acclaimed story “Nucleus” in an extra-sized issue! The terror group called The Colony hatches its last-ditch gambit to steal The Atom’s technology. Guest-starring Hawkman, Oracle and more!
One-shot • On sale MARCH 2 • 56 pg, FC, $4.99 US
Pro: Another Gary Frank Atom cover instead of a crappy little blurb on a Legion Adventure Comics issue. Con: This story sucks, and completists have to buy a $5 special when a $15 trade of the whole damned-damned thing is surely forthcoming.

JLA/THE 99 #6
The first-ever meeting between DC Comics’ JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and Teshkeel Comics’ THE 99 concludes…
The two disparate teams pull together to show what working side-by-side can accomplish on a global scale! The World’s Greatest Super Heroes and The World’s Newest Super Heroes defy the odds and triumph over the combined terror of Starro from beyond and the homegrown threat of Rughal!
On sale MARCH 30 • 6 of 6 • 32 pg, FC $2.99 US
So, anyone in the know care to tell me whether this is worth trade waiting?

1:10 Variant covers by IVAN REIS
As the end of BRIGHTEST DAY approaches, our returned heroes and villains begin converging in one area as the ultimate protector reveals itself against the ultimate menace!
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #21 on sale MARCH 2
Issue #22 on sale MARCH 16
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Captain Atom
Written by JUDD WINICK
Issue #21 art by AARON LOPRESTI
Issue #22 art by FERNANDO DAGNINO
1:10 Variant covers by KEVIN MAGUIRE
It’s the calm before the storm in issue #21. Beetle is dead, Max Lord has Checkmate and the hunt for Wonder Woman has begun. But Booster Gold has given up after losing another friend to Max Lord, and the JLI is left without a leader!
In issue #22, Max’s ultimate OMAC Project closes in on completion, and the JLI race to find Wonder Woman before Max finds her first. Along the way, Power Girl, Batman and one more former-JLI member will join the team – but will their combined efforts be enough?
Retailers please note: These issues will ship with two covers each. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
Issue #21 on sale MARCH 9
Issue #22 on sale MARCH 23
32 pg, FC, $2.99 US
If you're going to fake kill a team member, make sure it isn't the guy with a prospective live action TV series in the works...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2009 Golden Age Atom HeroesCon Sketch by Rod Whigham

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Here's Al Pratt in his second, more generic super-hero costume. I very much prefer the creepy masked wrestler togs, but this is still a nice piece.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Justice League of America #177-178 (April-May, 1980)

"Who would have thought you could get seasick in a briefcase? I hope my friend from the Science Institute reaches his destination soon, or I'm liable to do something we'll both regret..."

The Atom was hiding out among the file folders, pencils and bubblegum where kidnappers likely expected their ransom for Dr. Margavy's daughter would be. Instead, the briefcase opened to reveal six inches of density-altering whoop-ass. The doctor could hear his young child crying from within a locked closet, but it just so happened one of the Atom's specialties was lock-picking. The Mighty Mite worked the tumblers with his feet until the door was opened. "I wish all my cases were as cut and dried as this..." That was, until the kidnappers suddenly transformed into human-sized chess pawns.

As it turned out, the Tiny Titan lucked out, since more advanced and dangerous chess pieces attacked Aquaman, Black Canary & Green Arrow, as well as Superman & Batman during their various cases. Zatanna saw the pattern forming from monitor duty aboard the Justice League Satellite, and called everyone home. Ray ran into the Sea King at the Metropolis transporter tube location, so they rode up together. They were met by everyone else who had been attacked. “How come everyone looks so glum?”

Aquaman replied, “I think ‘grim’ is a more appropriate word, Atom… and I expect your expressions reflect the reason for this emergency meeting!” Zatanna explained, “Isn’t it obvious what’s happening? You were in the opening gambit of some cosmic chess game, manipulated by some unseen force! A force that can attack again, at any moment, without warning!”

As if on cue, a bishop turned up to beat on Green Arrow, Superman and Batman. Black Canary tried to kick the bishop, which sounds like a naughty game, but nothing came of it. The Atom shrunk into Aquaman’s palm, then was tossed into the bishop’s featureless face for a two-fisted atomic punch. The bishop then showed the Mighty Mite the backswing of his pimp staff. Zatanna finally cast a spell to protect the remaining Leaguers as they smashed the chessman.

Ray Palmer studied the debris as his fellow heroes collected themselves in the aftermath of the attack. “Well, we can rule one thing out… This baby wasn’t made in Boise… or London… or Moscow… or Peking! It’s got an atomic structure that’s a physicist’s nightmare-- and I should know. As Ray Palmer, I am a physicist… and this thing gives me the creeps! You think that stuff’s solid? Guess again. It’s proto-nuclear material, which means each atom in its structure is independent of each atom. What happens to one part of that thing shouldn’t affect another part… It may come as a shock to our egos… but get this straight: That chesspiece was more powerful than all of us combined. It let us win… but don’t ask me why!” A silence fell over the room.

Zatanna had noticed that before the bishop was destroyed, it had managed to wipe out every file related to League members past and present... except one. Meanwhile, in a spaceship hovering over Mars II, Despero was playing the Martian Manhunter a deadly board game, with the Justice League and J'onn's people caught in the middle. Once Zee had pointed out the name on the sole remaining file, it was a simple matter to check Mars II and, upon recognizing the situation, magically transporting the team to Despero's ship.

Despero's chess pieces were in the shape of the Justice League members he had been manipulating, so he didn't notice when the Atom made a substitution. It came as a shock when the Tiny Titan talked back. “Haven’t you guessed fish-face? In chess terms, this is what they call the endgame!” The Mighty Mite sprang from the board to knock Despero back out of his chair.

“You… startled me… gained a momentary advantage! But only momentary! I still control this ship! And these animates, these chess pieces, will answer to my commands! However you came to be here-- you came here to die!” The League began fighting all of Despero’s pieces en masse, without the benefit of J’onzz’s benevolent guiding hand. The heroes began to falter, until the Atom called, “Superman! We’re in trouble-- but we’ve got maybe one small chance! And when I say small, I mean me! Remember I said these chess pieces were made up of independent atoms? Well, maybe I can knock those atoms into a series of chain collisions-- if I hit them small enough, and fast enough! I tried something similar with Aquaman-- but he didn’t have your speed!”

Superman feared the move might be suicidal, but went along, casting the Mighty Mite at another bishop. In a microcosmic game of billiards, the Atom managed to set off a reaction that destabilized all of the chessmen, causing them to explode. Despero called out no’s while Atom recited yeses at this turn of events. “Face facts, Despero, you’ve just been hustled-- courtesy of the master chessman of Mars!”

Under the moons of Mars II, Despero was escorted away in chains by two Martians in heavy blue robes, while J'onn J'onzz offered “a celebration at the palace of heroes… as my ever-honored guests!”

"The Graveyard Gambit" & "The Chess-Master of Mars" was by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin.

Monday, December 13, 2010

June 19, 2009 "I Found Ray Palmer" photo featuring VictoriaCosplay

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"There was an episode of Justice League Unlimited where Wonder Woman found The Atom on the ground injured so she placed him down her top. Dirty; I know. LOL My friends thought it would be funny (since my nickname is Diana, I LOVE Wonder Woman & was wearing a WW hat) if they put him down my top."

Friday, December 10, 2010

Albert Explains It All

The story of Mayfairstivus is pretty straightforward. This blog's author had been bogged down throughout October with school work and a self-imposed deadline to complete a yearlong project examining in great detail the foes of the Martian Manhunter. Burnt out but needing material for five regularly published blogs, the author grabbed his copy of the 1993 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Role-Playing Game Third Edition and scanned various entries as filler material for his blogs. The posts ran in early November, and prompted reader/contributor Tom Hartley to offer the author a boxed set of the 1989 Mayfair DC Heroes game for a reasonable price. The author was hesitant, but after being sent a zipped folder with scans of for thirty of the 75 character cards in the set, he relented. Tom shipped the set off for $25 total, packaged exquisitely and in remarkably good condition for a twenty-one year old package. The author had so many great cards, he decided to make a ton of brand new scans and offer them to his blogging buddies as a crossover event. He erroneously thought this would be very little work, but correctly predicted it would be fun and fill a whole slew of days. Since Chanukah happened to begin on December 1st, he co-opted the Seinfeld make believe holiday of Festivus and exploited it as a part of the Mayfair theme.

The Jewish people follow a lunar calender, which isn't as consistent as the more common Gregorian calendar that follows the Earth's orbit around the sun. There's an eleven day difference between the two systems, necessitating the use of an additional winter "leap month" called Adar Aleph seven times every nineteen years. Also, Jewish "days" begin when the first star is visible in the night sky. Therefore, while Chanukah began on December 1st according to a regular calender, it technically didn't commence until that night and would therefore continue until nightfall on December 9th. Since Mayfairstivus roughly approximated Chanukah, this initial offering ran nine days, with an optional tenth for stragglers and after party cleanup. If there is a second Mayfairstivus, it will not follow Chanukah, since nobody would want to deal with a lengthy crossover on December 20-28, 2011.

These days, most people know the story of Chanukah-- about how the Maccabees retook the temple in ancient times, and manged to make one day's worth of consecrated oil last the eight required to make more. Since the story and holiday are so familiar, a lot of folks assume it's the Jewish celebration of the year. Actually, it was something of a lesser and irregularly observed holiday until all the gentile kids started getting all those presents relatively recently (late 19th-early 20th century.) Sukkot (sort of our Thanksgiving, but involving camping outdoors for a week,) and Purim (our Halloween,) were bigger for longer, but Rosh Hashanah (New Year's,) Yom Kippur (spiritual tax filing/accounting,) and Pesach (Passover, or Easter without the Jesus) are the really important observances each year.

Finally, punk rock was an anti-commercial, low-fi musical form whose heyday was from in the mid-to-late '70s. The aggressive mohawk hairstyle survived the movement into New Wave, which is where it landed on my head in 1983.

Any more questions?

At nightfall on the first day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:

At nightfall on the second day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:

At nightfall on the third day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
At nightfall on the fourth day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
At nightfall on the fifth day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
At nightfall on the sixth day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
At nightfall on the seventh day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
At nightfall on the eighth day of Mayfairstivus, these candles were lit:
As Mayfairstivus drew to a close, these final gifts were presented:
As Mayfairstivus drew to a close, these final gifts were presented:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

1990 The Atlas of the DC Universe: Ivy Town, Connecticut

Paul Kupperberg wrote this directory of DC Comics locales in the past, present, and future as a supplement to the Mayfair Games roleplaying line. I always want to call it "Ivytown," the name used in the early stories, but somewhere down the line it seems to have been broken into two words. By either name, this is Ray Palmer's home town, and its description in the atlas was drawn heavily from Roger Stern's then-recent work on Power of the Atom

Monday, December 6, 2010

1989 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Captain Atom Character Card

Right off the bat, what were they thinking with that pose? Is he supposed to be doing the Batusi? Mashed potato? The swim? Shake ya tail feather!

Moving right along, Mayfair was clearly damned impressed with Captain Atom. There must have been a meeting to figure out somebody who could give Superman's insane stats some challenge in this game, and Nathaniel Adam became one of those proud few. I don't recall raw physical strength being a major concern in the contemporaneous series that revised the character, and yet he's assigned a 22, making him two tiers above Martian Manhunter/Lobo/Wonder Woman, one above Captain Atom, and one below the Man of Steel. By contrast, his Body is rather low, considering part of his origin involved getting nuked.

I don't have any major concerns with these numbers beyond that. Captain Atom has enough juice to hassle a Green Lantern or take on Firestorm, his nearest rival. The nutzo strength is impressive, but Captain Marvel's speed largely negates it, while Martian Manhunter has better Body. Atom would have a tough time hitting Wonder Woman, and Superman would still obliterate him. Captain Atom's good, but not excessively so.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The World's Smallest Jewish Super-Hero?

There's been some confusion regarding religion and the Atom, so to set my own head straight, I figured now would be a good time to explore the matter.

I don't believe the faith (or lack thereof) of Al Pratt has ever been dwelt upon. The name Pratt is Dutch, and the Netherlands were good for Jews until the Nazi occupation, but nothing in his personality strongly indicates a specific religious background.

Ray Palmer's mother was Jewish, which makes Ray one by birth. "Half-Jewish" is kind of a wonky term, because according to Jewish law, you either are or are not one. You can lay secular claim to being half-Jewish through your father, but since it's passed through the mother, Talmud would designate Ray as fully Jewish. Obviously, stated/practiced faith and communal acceptance would come into play. However, Susan Palmer was almost certainly non-practicing, as her adult son claimed ignorance of the Hanukkah story. Ray married Jean Loring in a church (not that she wouldn't have insisted,) and has expressed atheistic sentiment (unceasingly favoring science over the supernatural.) Despite my own occasional claims and others I've heard (including my recent accidental and stomach-turning visits to two white supremacist message boards,) Ray Palmer is likely only Jewish by the broadest standard.

Albert Rothstein is pretty unambiguously Jewish. For starters, his name is Albert Rothstein. Al has popped up in a Hanukkah-centric story or two, and turned down a relationship with Beatriz (Fire) da Costa because she wasn't of the faith (also: trampy.)

I don't recall Grant Emerson ever being remotely religious.

I'm open to correction here, but I thought I remembered Ryan Choi being an atheist.

So okay, we've established that despite popular misconception, none of the Atoms are especially Jewish, but Atom-Smasher is. I'm kind of bummed about that, but there you go.

Friday, December 3, 2010

1989 Mayfair Games DC Heroes The Atom Character Card

Kind of an awkward pose, and I feel skullcap > open hair, but I like this card. Ray looks bright and handsome, even if he needs his pants back. If you follow his stats, you'll note that he's an exceptional (mostly) human combatant with solid dexterity and martial numbers followed by a hell of a strong punch. Those intellectual skills are pretty awesome, too.

Belated thanks to Tom Hartley, whose offering of a batch of about 30 character card scans was the taste I needed to seek more. He then sold his box set for a very reasonable price to a poor student to facilitate this crossover, because I just had to scan them all for myself.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

1989 Mayfair Games DC Heroes Doctor Light Character Card

I don't know what's going on with the contorted pose and the resting of all the villain's weight on that one double-jointed pinky, but I'm pretty sure it's a deviant sex thing. Arthur Light is a creep like that. You can tell by the utterly gratuitous pudding stabber on his chinny-chin-chin. That white splatter from his crotch to his chest? Not a firework.

I've been trying to figure out if Dr. Light is more of an Atom or Martian Manhunter villain. Let me take a quick look:

In that silly '90s retro crossover The Silver Age, Dr. Light swapped bodies with the Martian Manhunter and wrecked havoc in Robby Reed's town. Light also represented J'Onn J'Onzz's devoted villain there, as the Atom was represented by Chronos. This likely riffed off a 1968 cover where Martian Manhunter was hemispherically conjoined to Dr. Light (the Atom with Jason Woodrue.) The Alien Atlas also fought Light in the doctor's first appearance with the JLofA two issues before the Atom joined. Most importantly, Light helped kill the Martian Manhunter in Final Night, and was himself executed by the Spectre as punishment for his involvement.

The Atom fought Dr. Light in his eighth issue in 1963. The following year Light fought Hal Jordan in Green Lantern. I never read the '90s Circle of Fire special with Green Lantern & the Atom, but I'll award them each a point, just in case. Dr. Light also fought Hal in an issue of Wanted: The World's Most Dangerous Villains. Say, Dr. Light fought Hal Jordan several times in the Bronze Age, and then he fought Kyle Rayner a bunch of times in the Chromium Age, including a 3D special. Heck, Light was even Green Lantern's parallel villain in the JLA epic Rock of Ages.

Come to think of it, Dr. Light fought the Titans a bunch of times, and most of his early appearances were against the JLofA. I'm sure Elongated Man would consider Light an archnemesis, with that whole wife raping thing. Heck, nobody but Green Arrow has ever fought Light for a storyline extending six straight issues.

You know what? I don't think anybody can really claim Dr. Light as "theirs." He's been a free agent pretty much since the beginning, and there are a bunch of characters who have a way stronger claim than the Atom. I guess Dr. Light's lighting a candle for this day of "Mayfairstivus" also marks his official departure from the Atom blog. It's a shame, because the Atom, and this is a truly sorry statement, needs a rogues gallery even more than Martian Manhunter or Green Arrow. That poor little bastard.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Super-Hanukkah Song

Repurposed lyrics by Adam Sandler:

Put on your yarmulka, here comes Hanukkah
It's so much fun-akkah to celebrate Hanukkah,

Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

But when you're the only kid in town without a Christmas tree,
here's a list of people who are Jewish,
just like you and me:

Aline Kominsky-Crumb lights the menorrah,
So do the Thing, Colossal Boy, and Team Youngblood's Masada

Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli,
Brian Michael Bendis, and Mad Magazine's Al Jaffee.

Bobby and Kitty from "X-Men" say the Chanukah blessing.
So does their foe Magneto, not one to be messing.

Scarlet Witch is half Jewish,
Wesley Dodds is half too
Put them together
What a knockout Wiccan Jew

Moon Knight and Ragman throw blows with such precision.
But the one thing they couldn't fight their way out of?
Painful circumcision.

Joe Simon and Trina Robbins never mixed meat with dairy.
Nor did Maus' Art Spiegelman or pervert animator Ralph Bakshi

You don't need to Deck the Halls or Rock Around the Christmas Tree
Cause you can spin a dreidl with Jack "King" Kirby and Stan "the Man" Lee--both Jewish!

Green Lantern-- not a Jew!
But guess who is... Bill Finger, Mart Nodell, Gil Kane and Julie too!

People thinking Lex Luthor's a Hebrew really hurts,
Well, he's not, but guess who is: All three Kuberts!

Marv Wolfman, Mort Weisinger and Art Spiegelman attended shul.
Shuster & Siegel invented Superman
But first came Hebrew school.

Prime from Malibu Comics was a Jew
and we hope someday to have him back,
Rā's al Ghūl's other daughter is half-Jewish
'Cause we're pretty good in the sack.

So many Jews are in the comic biz--
Bruce Banner isn't, but I heard Doc Samson is.

Tell your friend Volcana, it's time to celebrate Hanukkah
I hope I get an Absorbasconicah, On this joyful, toyful Chanukah

So visit Bizarro World-icah, and jerk off to Howard Chaykin-a-kah,
But I Digressikah, Have a happy, happy, happy, happy