Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Top 20 Atom Covers of the 1960s

This was easily one of the toughest decade countdowns I've done, because how do you choose between three dozen Gil Kane covers, a half dozen Joe Kuberts, and that's just on his main title. This was the Tiny Titan's greatest decade, so I hope you enjoy the eye candy!

Honorary Mentions:
The Atom #1 (June-July, 1962)
The Brave and The Bold #53 (May, 1964)
The Atom #24 (April-May, 1966)
The Atom #35 (February-March, 1968)

20) The Atom #34 (January, 1968)

Outstanding image to look at, but that perspective is wretched if you think about it, and who fires a gun at their own palm?

19) The Atom #17 (March, 1965)

They came up with some pretty creative perils for the Mighty Mite, but probably too many for his own good. It's tough to get excited about a hero vs. Goodyear match-up.

18) Justice League of America #69 (February, 1969)

How low have you sank when a fellow hero at the approximate size and location of your penis is condemning you with a thumb's down? No wonder Ollie developed a complex.

17) The Atom #18 (May, 1965)

The hero leaps out of the safe to bludgeon the bad guy! It's novel, see. Because he's small. And the hood has a domino mask, so you know he's not just some random schmuck. Right?

16) The Atom and Hawkman #45 (October-November, 1969)

This one loses points because Ray's at normal scale and Jean wasn't yet his ex-wife. Fool actually married her after this.

15) Justice League of America #15 (November, 1962)

Probably the first "shrinking hero fired on an arrowhead" cover, but not the best, I'm afraid.

14) The Atom and Hawkman #39 (October-November, 1968)

It isn't bad enough to be riding the bobcat that's attacking his crime-fighting partner-- Ray's got to clock him in the puss with a stone eagle ornament besides! Never stop being a SONOFABITCH, Ray!

13) Showcase #34 (October, 1961)

Sometimes, you've just got to play it safe and go with the classic. A debut appearance under Gil Kane's pen never hurts, but aside from the pop bottle and grass, where does size come into play. Little + little = the same, and in fact the proportions on the villain are kind of outta whack.

12) The Atom #31 (July, 1967)

Not as cool as a bow shaft, but much better drawn, plus Hawkman looks a little sissified in his slingshot stance. Shouldn't he have a David-style strap-sling instead?

11) Justice League of America #14 (September, 1962)

"The Menace Of The Atom Bomb!" The Tiny Titan's induction into the JLA, but first he'll bowl them over like pins!

10) The Atom #32 (September, 1967)

When a hero has an established m.o., it's always fun to flip to the opposite extreme, especially when it's this well rendered.

9) The Brave and The Bold #77 (May, 1968)

No matter how much you love the Atom, you still kind of want to see what happens when that cannon fires. Will his little appendages still dangle off the sides, do you think?

8) Showcase #36 (February, 1962)

I only did a top ten Aquaman cover list for the 1960s, because I only had the stomach to see him play the dude in distress so many times. The Atom is more of a natural in that type of role, and he likely played it as often, but he always seemed to have more fight in him.

7) The Atom #29 (February-March, 1967)

The first of two fantastic Golden Age Atom beat down team-ups on this list. Talk as much trash as you want about the Thinker, but using one hero's body to bludgeon another's is hard core.

6) The Atom and Hawkman #40 (January, 1969)

Gil Kane was bound to dominate this list, but if you need a runner-up legend, Joe Kubert's probably your man. The Winged Wonder may be the star of this piece, and the weight of the left hand is surely lighter than the right, but the Atom helps make this a powerfully affective image.

5) The Atom #36 (May, 1968)

Six inches of Ray Palmer is more man than six five feet of Al Pratt! How powerful is that punch when it knocks a guy clear through the friggin' comic?

4) The Atom #10 (January, 1964)

One mark of a great cover is when only the titular hero could carry the concept, and that's entirely the case here.

3) Showcase #35 (December, 1961)

A boy firing a super-hero from his slingshot into a hail of fire. Once again, if you're going to do a miniature hero, this is the way. Even under the circumstances, check Ray's regal bearing. That's what separates the Tiny Titans from the Ant-Men.

2) The Atom #28 (January, 1967)

Probably the most imitated Atom cover. Chronos laughing maniacally as a saw bears down on our hero is the sort of greatness only comics can deliver effectively. There's even go-go checks and a corner box icon!

1) The Atom #20 (August/September, 1965)

The tie pin pimp slap! I love this! The acrobatics of a Daredevil, but on a scale only a Mighty Mite could manage. This was a tough decision and likely bucks convention, but this image to me sums up much of the appeal of the character. He's too small to catch or shoot, but agile and tough enough to take on men ten times his size. The spirit of adventure and daring-do is here, without any crap size-specific menaces like a house cat or wild bird.

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