Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2011 Justice League of America - Sample Pages by Pablo Alcalde Fernández

It isn't unusual for an artist to put together sample pages of a story to show to publishers in hopes of getting work. The Justice League of America also offers an opportunity to juggle a variety of characters, power sets and locations. The uncommon tweak here is that the JLA consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart,) the Flash, Aquaman... and the Atom filling Martian Manhunter's usual seat in the Monitor Womb as Plastic Man pesters him. Pretty neat huh? It's only three pages, so you can click through them pretty swiftly...
I like this guy's stuff, and recommend the following artist spotlight tour...

Pablo Alcalde Fernández

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Bumblebee” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

Click To Enlarge

N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Bumblebee 10-14-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board...
Karen Beecher-Duncan was one of the heroes that joined Donna Troy on her mission during the Infinite Crisis. While away the heroes were caught in a Zeta beam that hit a spacial rift, the rift caused Karen's mass to transfer to Hawkgirl, making Hawkgirl giant and Karen 6 inches. With help from Victor Stone, her friend and fellow former Titan Hawkgirl and Karen were returned to their original statures, but the experience made Karen want to experiment. Karen using her team at S.TA.R. Labs one of which being Eddie Whit. The team developed nanite technology using dwarf star research from Ray Palmer, the Atom. Karen developed a set of nanites to resemble bees and when activated swarmed her body forming her costume including the two yellow streaks in her hair and allows her to mentally control her height changing abilities. Part of her new costume has armbands that Karen has outfited to emit sonnic blasts that she calls her Stingers. Karen and her husband Mal tend to stay behind the scenes but will not hesitate to suit up and join the fray. Karen is also a member of the extended Birds of Prey roster.
I snickered at Bumblebee in her original Teen Titans incarnation, but came to appreciate her as a tragic figure with a broken marriage following 52. I'd keep her status quo in and allegiance to the Giffen/Clark Doom Patrol, though I agree that incorporating nanites and more offensive capabilities would be a plus. I have reservations about bringing Ray Palmer in to invent stuff for her, since I think making him the "brains" both diminishes Karen and creates an Ant-Man/Wasp analogue. However, if Karen is stuck at sixish inches, it only makes sense that she might pursue Ray or the new Doll Man romantically. A possible extension would be for Karen to be jilted and become a resentful frienemy. Now that could be an interesting dynamic!

The Hawkman & The Atom Family mixer continues this week with Nephilim of Hawkworld @ Being Carter Hall

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2011 Silver Age Atom color art by Craig C. Cermak II

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Craig Cermak has a lot of love for the Atom and Charlton characters, so don't be surprised if he keeps turning up here. This one is really something! I'd love to see Cermak take on the Tiny Titan in an ongoing series.
"The Atom, or at least the Silver Age Atom… no idea what his new re-design will look like so I went with the classic look. Had fun working on this but it’s pretty late so I’m leaving it loose and incomplete for the time being.

-Craig Cermak"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Top 10 Peacemaker Covers

"A man who loves peace so much that he is willing to fight for it!" It's the sort of conflicting concept that seems to turn off readers. Leftists see a man packing a gun (a whole arsenal, actually) and recognize a hawk, while right-wingers could do without all that hippie talk getting in the way of explosions. Despite being a diplomat by day, Christopher Smith had the capacity to maintain a sunny grin while watching people burned alive in the usually more staid Silver Age that inspired the creation of the Comedian, so conservatives should have more readily embraced him. Instead, Peacemaker was ahead of his time at Charlton, then behind the times at DC, hopelessly goofy in his bucket helmet and jetpack. To make up for it, DC went the "mature" route of making the character a delusional homicidal maniac who heard the voice of his dead Nazi father (among others,) which even in the heyday of the anti-hero was laying the trauma on too thick to be entertaining. Smith ended up on the receiving end of a massacre perpetrated by Eclipso, then got replaced and retconned a few times, but to my knowledge has yet to find purchase in the New 52.

Honorable Mentions
Peacemaker #1 (1988)
Peacemaker #4 (1988)
Eclipso #13 (1993)

Dishonorable Discharges
Charlton Premiere #3 (1968)
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #17 (1986)
Checkmate #23 (1989)

10) The Peacemaker #4 (September, 1967)
Goofy and plainly off-brand in its amateurish composition, but not without a modest goofy charm.

9) The L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) #3 (November, 1999)
This was an attempt by two guys who started their careers at Charlton, Dick Giordano and Bob Layton, to give back to the Action Heroes. It was a firm flop, much too flat and retro for its own good. The best thing about Peacemaker is his unique look, so of course it was decided to bring out a new guy in brassy armor that resembled a henchman Iron Man would crumple up on his way toward a respectable opponent. If I remember correctly, this guy was a medic and more of a dove, which isn't what anyone honestly looks for from a guy in this racket. At least this spotlight cover was laid out well.

8) Vigilante #36 (December, 1986)
A blatant rip-off of the infamous Frank Miller cover where the Punisher plugs Daredevil, it's still cool and dramatic to see the anti-hero so thoroughly bust a cap in a straight-laced type less crazy-ass altruistic serial killer.

7) Showcase '93 #6 (June, 1993)
Mike Zeck excels at military hardass swagger, but is undone by the most boyish of fellow heroes and an unfortunate coloring choice.

6) The Peacemaker #2 (May, 1967)
It's a poor man's Blackhawk cover, and nobody wants a static headshot cover from Peacemaker, but it's alright amidst slim pickings.

5) Peacemaker #2 (February, 1988)
Half the covers in this mini-series were so miserably botched as to seem designed to repel audiences, Producers-style. This stock, serviceable image was fantastic by comparison, like pitting Jacob Zuma against Idi Amin in an election.

4) Eclipso #11 (September, 1993)
Audwynn Jermaine Newman isn't even anyone's favorite Bart Sears knock-off, but when you've had as few opportunities to strike a pose in full Chromium Age spectacle as Peacemaker, you cherish the ones you get.

3) The Peacemaker #5 (November, 1967)
Peacemaker is well suited for battling mutants in a dystopia, and it makes me wonder if that fauxhawk influenced OMAC.

2) The Peacemaker #3 (July, 1967)
For once, the bucket helmet doesn't seem out of place, and you have to appreciate the subtext of the subhuman "other" threatening the provocatively attired white woman while waving his phallic knife obliviously into the scope of a gunfight. Freud called to point out that sometimes a comic book cover is totally not just a comic book cover.

1) The Peacemaker #1 (March, 1967)
Doubled as a superb house ad, and would have also made a fine euphemistic cutaway from a queer orgy scene. And the rockets' red glare...

Cornucopia of Top Comic Covers
The Top 10 Peacemaker Comic Book Covers

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Atom: Big Little Man

Doll Man was introduced in 1939, probably the first shrunken super-hero, and I suspect inspired by the 1936 Todd Browing horror flick The Devil-Doll. While never really an aspirational concept, Doll Man had visually interesting adventures. Coupled with the success of the 1957 sci-fi classic The Incredible Shrinking Man, it's easy to see where Julie Schwartz would get the idea to revamp the diminutive Golden Age DC hero the Atom as an even smaller scale Tiny Titan. Despite solid stories and fantastic art, the Atom never caught on in a big way. After a few years, he partnered with the similarly flailing Hawkman, until their shared book was cancelled not too terribly long after. Previously, the Atom had anticipated the creation of Marvel's Ant-Man, and both became more famous as insecure members of super-teams than as soloists. The Justice League of America was the Mighty Mite's primary vehicle in the 1970s, where he married Jean Loring, just as Hank Pym had Janet Van Dyne in the Avengers.

Recognizing that shrinking alone wasn't a marketable novelty anymore, creators had physicist Ray Palmer become trapped among a race of six inch tall alien barbarians in the early '80s, riding a wave of popularity in the sword and sorcery genre. When that faltered, DC tried to sell a hard-edged Post-Crisis revamp, but it lacked the talent and direction of contemporary efforts company marketing unfortunately directly compared it to. A positive step was made in making the Atom a spy, but there was little follow through. He was soon back to being the uptight old fogey Silver Ager, then de-aged to lead a lame Teen Titans relaunch. Re-aged, the Atom puttered around the periphery, until his suddenly murderous ex-wife Jean Loring turned him into a bit of a pariah. At least she was the one who was ruined as a character, as opposed to Hank Pym, who will forever be the wife-beater with emotional problems of the Marvel Universe.

Infinite Crisis launched a new Latino Blue Beetle, and chased that with an Asian Atom who was soon joined by a Latina Question. I've argued a number of times that a Chinese scientist with the power of shortness is a cluster of stereotypes just waiting to be mocked by general audiences, but Ryan Choi had a good-natured everyman charm that many responded to. His solo book only lasted two years, but given the state of the industry, that reads as more of a success than Ray Palmer's previous attempts at an ongoing. Still, Ryan Choi was killed off for shock value, giving Ray Palmer the chance to hanging out with all the white guys who were reclaiming their mantles (often from minorities) in the early '00s, like Hal Jordan, Barry Allen and Oliver Queen.

Despite running an Atom blog, I'm not especially interested in the premise. There are a bunch of other underwhelming shrinking characters in comics, and Ant-Man is far more relevant to the Marvel Universe than the Atom is to DC's. Al Pratt was rather dull, his legacy Damage was annoyingly emo, Atom Smasher was the poor man's Colossus, and Ryan Choi was just an Asian Peter Parker-- The Walking Dead if it starred Glenn. No, what I am is a fan of Ray Palmer, and specifically one take on the character. I hate it when Ray questions his value and place in the universe. The Atom of Gardner Fox and Gil Kane was an alpha male working to tame the one a-type gal worthy of his good looks, athletic prowess, and superior brain. His ego was quiet, but inversely proportionate to how small he could shrink. That guy vanished in the '70s, but resurfaced in the '80s through the Sword of the Atom. I love Ray Palmer for his convoluted history, his brutal effectiveness, and for being so intense for such a little guy.

Ray Palmer is everything that's supposed to be appealing about Hal Jordan, if Hal wasn't the flip-flopping, pandering, backstabbing Mitt Romney of comics. Speaking of which, I think comic books need a non-white Green Lantern, if only because Jamie Foxx can swagger in a way Ryan Reynolds can't and get a response from international audiences. I don't see the relevance of Barry Allen or Wally West as the Flash when the biggest Latino hero in the present DC Universe is Vibe. I would vastly prefer Connor Hawke as a zen archer than Oliver Queen and Clint Barton battling over which can be a more perfect duplicate of the other (or more often lately, how well Green Arrow can stand in for Batman on the CW.) On the other hand, like Aquaman, the Atom isn't an especially desirable role to play, and wouldn't even necessarily be recognizable as anything but a white dude. A female, Asian or not, begs immediate comparison to the Wasp. Latinos and Asians suffer enough short jokes without a hero to associate the jab with. I could see an East Indian, though that would be more fun with John Jones, since his Silver Age tales were constantly on the verge of breaking out into an outrageous Bollywood musical number. The best bet at pulling off a racial shift would be African-American, since that would run contrary to a lot of old cultural biases, and would be a damned sight finer than Cyborg's token role in the Justice League. A white Ray Palmer has already been introduced in the New 52, and while he need not become the Mighty Mite in this continuity, I hope he either wholly owns the role or is completely divorced from a truly All-New Atom of color who creates their own legacy without his assistance. I still want my type of Atom to be manifested, because there are far too many Shrinking Violets already. Regardless of race, if the Atom lacks punch and cannot truly separate from the packs of human dolls out there, he'll just repeat the same failures as the tired old one.

Post-Racial DC Comics?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Ant” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Ant 10-12-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board by reaching across the aisle...
"Bobby Whit had a hard life,his mother and father died in a drive-by from his father's connections to gangs when he was real young. Bobby was sent to live with his Uncle Eddie, who loved him a lot, and vowed to make sure he didn't leave hiim down the way he felt he had Bobby's father. As he got older Bobby realized he wasn't like everyone else he was getting stronger, his Uncle Eddie told him that his Grandfather was a Strongman in the circus and his Grandmother an acrobat. One day Eddie was kidnapped by the same gang boss that killed his father.

Eddie worked at STAR Labs and the boss wanted a project he was working on, but Eddie refused. Bobby found the message the gang had left behind and in anger he grabbed a statue to throw it and a secret door opened up. In the door was old costume, and a type of watch. Bobby looked at the the watch and accidently activated it when he did a swarm of ant nanites covered his body in a hard nanite net costume. Eddie was amazed by this, the nanites were powered by a dwarf star that allowed Bobby to shrink and return to his normal height at will. Bobby found his uncle but by the time he got there it was too late, his Uncle Eddie severly injured. Bobby brought the gang down, finally putting the man responsible for his parent's deaths behind bars.

Back home Eddie told Bobby about his brief stint as Ant and how he planned on using the nanite tech to become the Ant again, but now the nanites had bonded with Bobby's neural net, which had effectively become like the Queen Ant and controled the nanites by thought, and his leg was too damaged. Eddie agreed to train Bobby and allow him to become the Ant, and would lend him support from their headquarters which they dubbed the Ant Hill."

"Hard life?" "Parents killed in a "drive-by?" Raised by Uncle Eddie? Excuse my race-sense tingling, but I'm interpreting that to mean that when the mask comes off, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are going to be shocked to find Cuba Gooding Jr. at their dinner table. The origin recalls elements of Cyborg and the Jason Rusch Firestorm, but the costume absolutely screams Irredeemable Ant-Man. Might as well create a talking anthropomorphic mouse to hang out with Swamp Thing at the Corridor of Continuities. It also bugs me (*pun*) that Eddie was just sitting on this technology, which the stumble bum Bobby inherits by virtue of an immature display of anger. Maybe if Eddie was already injured, and had developed Ant with Bobby's father, so that it was more of an inheritance? I do think incorporating nanites into the shrinking mechanism is cute, as it forces tiny things to become tinier in order to shrink a second party, which is amusingly comic-booky in its logical illogic.

The Hawkman & The Atom Family mixer continues this week with Zauriel of Hawkworld @ Being Carter Hall

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Atom Special #1 (1993)

Professor Alpheus V. Hyatt created the Time Pool, a portal to the past "the size of a medium pizza." Ray Palmer was a natural choice to explore the potential of the diminutive doorway, and had in many Silver Age adventures. Unfortunately, Hyatt was never able to expand the size of the Time Pool, and instead busied himself with miniaturizing the hardware that produced it. Hyatt had it down to the size of a VCR when one day, a hand holding an old fashioned alarm clock appeared out of the Time Pool. The numbers and hands fired out of the clock and into Hyatt's face, leaving him bleeding and unconscious.

The Loaded Dice Mob had supposedly given "the Justice Society a very small amount of trouble back in '43," but the geriatric precursors to the Royal Flush Gang were down to knocking over a local fast food joint. The Atom stealthily showed up to unleash a grease trap on one, swat guns away from others, and straight up deck the last old man standing. At one point he did almost get swatted by a spatula into a deep fryer, but he adjusted his weight to coast on heat fumes and recover. The cause of this brief slip in aptitude was a vision of Laethwen burning to death on a gas range. "He can't see her. He can't hear her. But he can still smell her flesh cooking. That was no hallucination. Was it?"

In the aftermath, a rude cop ribbed the Atom about his tell-all memoir, his lack of friends afterward, and news of Hyatt's hospitalization. "Officer... don't take this the wrong way, but... shut your big mouth before I float inside and rip your molars out." The Atom traveled by phone line to Ivytown General's Intensive Care Unit, only to find Jean Loring and Norm Brawler waiting in the lobby. Norm had gotten into an argument with Hyatt's doctor over his unwillingness to even attempt to remove the intricate time bomb attached to Hyatt's face, while the physician pointed out that this was all the fault of their association with the Atom. Brawler shrank away from the point. "Hyatt needs a hero... and the only one we know ratted out on us." Brawler wanted to kick Ray's butt for making "noble speeches" about it being to dangerous for him to stay in Ivytown, then leaving his friends in the lurch. "He's just too immature to stay around and clean up his own messes!" Proving the point, Ray tied Norm's shoelaces together and knocked him over.

Ray had a discussion about microsurgery with the doctor, and then went in to Hyatt's room to visit his cantankerous friend. In his place, Ray saw his father on his deathbed, began crying, and then screamed in a panic "I need a doctor! Now! He's dying" Everyone rushed in to find Hyatt wondering what all the fuss was about. The doctor politely told the Atom not to worry about performing that surgery after all, while quietly wondering about the effects of all that size changing on the brain. Ray's best friend Norm and ex-wife Jean then left Palmer to join Paul Hoben at a bar to bitch about Palmer behind his back. In a book heavy with exposition related to the Mighty Mite's continuity, this was where the levee broke. Ray's origin was retold... His turning his back on civilization to live with a six inch barbarian culture in the Amazon, including his lover Princess Laethwen... the fire set by the C.I.A. to smoke Palmer out that destroyed this new life... Ray's revenge of shrinking the rogue unit down and trapping them... Paul was as usual a jerk, especially when his affair with Jean that broke up her marriage to Ray came up. Palmer, who had been spying the whole time, finally revealed himself by dousing Paul with his brew. Ray then discussed his short time living a normal life as "Professor Don Shuffler," his setting up Adam Cray as a new Atom serving the Suicide Squad, and Cray's murder as a result. Palmer was filled with self-pity and regret, which Norm brusquely attempt to snap him out of. However, Ray stated "I'm going to help Hyatt. Then I'm getting out of your lives for good."

Outside the bar, Ray was confronted by the image of the rainy night he caught Jean and Paul making out in a car. Ray shook it off, then tried to get an operator to connect him to the Hanesworth Estate. The Atom had to show up on her desk, spouting about his (expired) JLA membership to finally get through. Ray figured all of his circumstances added up to his archenemy Chronos, including apparitions of Adam Cray getting stabbed through the back with a nail in the estate's shag carpeting. While distracted, a cat swiped its claws across the Atom's back, so he sent it flying with a judo maneuver. That move kind of blew his cover, and one of Chronos' men escorted Ray to his master. However, the Gene Bomb set off by the Dominators during an alien invasion of Earth had left Chronos in a coma.

Within the speck upon a fork, the Atom built a home away from home out of molecules where he could hide from the world. Still, even on a bit of food debris, a man's got to eat. Ray grew off the fork into Hyatt's dining room, then raided his fridge. Norm began to knock on the front door, and when Ray tried to ignore him, beat down the door. Once inside, Brawler phantoms of Ray's dad in the deathbed with tiny Adam Cray getting impaled on the sheets and the Princess was cooking on the stove while Jean and Paul made out on the couch. Norm was flabbergasted, but once Palmer got over the shock, he was thrilled to learn the ghosts were not figments of a delusion as he had feared. "You saw them? You saw them, too? All right... all right... we're going to figure this out." If someone could make the Atom's fears manifest, they could surely fake Chronos in a coma (I know, I know, it's serious...)

The physicist deduced that Chronos had used the clunky old Time Pool generator to find and steal the portable new one. The original filled the better part of Hyatt's office, so it remained accessible to Palmer, who figured out how to use it to connect to the location of the current model. The Atom thanked Norm for saving his mind, then dived into the Time Pool. Meanwhile, Norm was drugged and kidnapped by a henchman. Chronos had set a trap for the Tiny Titan as well, involving "weird temporal/spatial advances" that knocked him out. Ray Palmer woke up at six inches tall and stripped down to his boxers. Chronos had his costume, and joked about spicing the drab thing up with pinstripes. See, Chronos really was in a coma, but his younger self had managed to travel through time to reverse his fate. He'd used the Time Pool to steal itself, but Chronos had to learn how to use Atom's size altering belt before he could exploit it. Threatened with the possible execution of Norm, Ray relented to giving Chronos what he wanted... seemingly.

Norm's head had been shoved into the Time Pool, and while Chronos and his men were distracted extracting it, Palmer used a metal stirrer to pole vault to the compact generator. Activating it, Ray tossed the device through the Time Pool it created. Chronos objected, but was stabbed through the hand. The device landed on a vanity table in 15th century France. Chronos blindly reached into the pool to try retrieving it, but instead knocked it off the tabletop. The device broke as it hit the floor, the Time Pool immediately dried up, and Chronos' severed right arm landed on the vanity. His wristwatch was still in fine working order though, so the French made the best of this unexpected treat. "Henri! Pour me a brandy and dispose of the arm!"

Chronos was screaming bloody murder and going into shock, but while the Mighty Mite was trying to save his life, Chronos was still ordering his henchmen to attack. The mobile lab everyone was in was somehow contained in a limousine, so Brawler performed a running headbutt on the driver, who skidded into a tree. Everyone ended up at the hospital, and while police congratulated Norm as a hero, he acknowledged being heartened by the Tiny Titan proving his own heroism once again. The Atom payed Hyatt a visit, and against the objections of his doctor, cockily performed successful microsurgery. The Atom returned to his cabin on the fork, and kicked it down, recognizing that he could no longer hide from his problems. "Goodbye, Laethwen, Adam, Dad. Rest in peace. Please." Ray Palmer grew up, tossed the fork in the garbage, and joined a homecoming party in his honor. Enrica Negrini worked in a cameo.

"Shrinking From The Past" was by Tom Peyer and Steve Dillon. I read this a year or two after it was released, when I was actively exploring the greater DC Universe after abandoning Marvel Comics and moving beyond Batman/Superman/New Titans. This came out during the death and rebirth of Superman, which was noted by Jean during the exposition fest. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the weird winding course of the Atom's travels for the first time. I knew the character from cartoons and team books, but had no idea he'd gotten up to such shenanigans, and the material covered here was mostly just late Bronze Age. It was much darker and more violent than I expected, and unlike the deconstructed icons of the Chromium Age, that suited the Atom. Compared to DC's other Silver Age revivals, The Atom was definitely the most action oriented book, as if a pint-sized hero took the edge off all those brutal blows in a time of speed tricks and lantern constructs. Sword of the Atom was gory as hell, which made sense for a quasi-barbarian saga, and it was only natural for Ray to take some of the jungle with him back to the States. I like how Peyer used ambitions of a mental breakdown to regress Palmer back to his insecure days in the '70s Justice League, only to work him over to the smug fighting form of his earliest adventures by the end of the tale. I absolutely love Steve Dillon's art on this, as his thoughtful faces and bursts of savagery are well suited to the character, and I can't think of a single super-hero he's ever nailed so fully (Punisher included.) Dillon was unquestionably better off on Hellblazer, but it's still a shame this creative team never made it to series. As a more knowledgeable Atom fan, this comic doesn't hold up that great, but it's still an ideal primer for neophytes.

Join the Spooktacular Samhain Celebration at this coven of blogs!


  1. "Bough Breaks" @ Batman: Gotham Knights Online
  2. "Haunts" @ The Flash: Speed Force
  3. "Dead Calm" @ The Aquaman Shrine
  4. "The Distance Gone" @ Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman
  5. "Ghosts' - The Corpse Corps!" @ Green Lantern: Corps Conjecture
  6. "The Death Sentence" @ Superman: Great Krypton!
  7. "Heart's Afire" @ Martian Manhunter: The Idol-Head of Diabolu
  8. "Life Itself" @ The Captain's JLA Homepage


Thursday, October 25, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Smidgen” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Smidgen 10-10-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board by employing "Sword of the Atom" as anatomical allusion...
"After he and Jean split up, Ray went to live among the Katharthans, and fell in love with Laethwen, their beautiful Katarthan princess. The Katarthans and their village were soon believed to be wiped out by a horrible fire and the Atom returned to Ivy Town. What Ray didn't know was that the Princess as well as some others had escaped just before the fire was set. Laethwen was told that Ray had returned and perished in the fire. Laethwen returned home and gave birth to the daughter Ray never knew he had. On the day of her coranation Laethwen told their daughter, the new Princess Raeanna about her father Ray Palmer, The Atom of the Planet Earth. Raeanna always knew she was different, her skin was a different color, but was told that it was just a pigment disorder. Raeanna also had a natural ability to grow and shrink at will.

During the Infinite Crisis Ray had went MIA traveling the Multiverse, as Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and Jason Todd set out to find him, they discovered the Katarthans and Raeanna, hearing that her father was still alive Raeanna asked for her mother's permission to join these 3 in their search for her father, and Laethwen granted it to her and presented her with a costume much like the one that her father had worn while living with them.

When Ray had returned to Earth he discovered he had a daughter, Raeanna. Rae took a name that her mother had given her ever since she was a baby, Smidgen. Smidgen fights along her father's side and is getting to know not just him, but her new home, Earth."

I like this better as an Elseworlds than canon, since it's pretty convoluted and ages the hell out of Ray Palmer. The costume is a genderbent kick.

Get Familiar

Thursday, October 18, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Molecule” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Molecule 10-08-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board with teen team spirit...
"Tony Johns lived his life quietly always blending in to a crowd almost disappearing. Tony never knew about his true parentage until the Silver Lantern Argent and the Teen Titans East approached him. They revealved to Tony that he is really half H'San Ntall, a alien race who impregnated 9 woman and sent 8 of them back to Earth to give birth to them so upon their 16th birthdays their powers will kick in and they will be better able to invade Earth. Upon hearing about this Tony wanted to run disappear, anything, but what he did shocked him, he shrunk. He eventually returned to his original size and after talking to Argent Tony decided to join the Teen Titans East and become Molecule. Argent presented Molecule with a costume that resembled the one that The Atom wore when he was a Teen Titan with her. Molecule and Argent grew close and the two have begun dating."

I think Molecule was one of the legions of icon derivations Geoff Johns came up with for Teen Titans in the wake of 52/One Year Later. His biography at Titans Tower.com consists of "The super-shrinking adventurer known as Molecule joined the Teen Titans for a short time after the events of Infinite Crisis. Molecule was later murdered by the Terror Titans." Seems N:TAS elaborated here, and I like how he tied the character into Dan Jurgens' run. The costume is distinctly Molecule's own, and I think this is one of the better extensions of "The Atoms' Family."

Get Familiar

Thursday, October 11, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Damage” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Damage 10-06-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board by resurrecting a spirit of the '90s...
"Grant Emerson life has changed a lot during the Infinite Crisis. His father returned and has been helping him to control his powers. He also became close to Jesse and Rex Tyler, even joining them as members of the JSI. Grant has finally found the family and friends he has always longed for."

Good for Grant! He was always such a whiny little bitch, giving him some happy could only be an improvement. One of these days, I need to cover my partial run of Damage from when I collected the title on the monthly. He had a pretty great set of costumes, and while this one apes his lesser Sins of Youth gear, that unusual color scheme remains oddly effective.

Get Familiar

Thursday, October 4, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Micron” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Micron 10-04-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board with a retcon flavor...
"Adam Cray was once known as the Atom, the first man to take up Ray Palmer's hero identity while he was believed to be dead. Ray recruited Adam to pose as The Atom while he took a spot of a fallen member of the Micro Squad. Adam joined Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad, and found out that fellow member Deadshot was the man who killed his dad, and Deadshot told him he can have one free shot at him. While on a mission Adam saved the life of Amanda Waller, something she did not forget. On another mission the Micro Squad member Blacksnake impaled Adam through his heart believing him to be Ray Palmer. Amanda Waller not forgetting her debt to Adam took a DNA sample and used her Checkmate and Cadmus connections to have him put in a regeneration chamber using cloned tissue to heal him. After he was revived Adam took up the name Micron and joined Ray Palmer's growing family of pint sized superheros."

That's a lot of road to travel just to get to Adam Cray. Maybe he could have had a brother or something? It's kind of cool that Cray gets to reclaim his mantle as the poor fashion standard bearer in the Atom family (influencing '90s Teen Titans Ray Palmer, sadly,) but I'd have taken this opportunity to hue closer to the Justice League Beyond Micron's creepier duds.

Get Familiar

Sunday, September 30, 2012

2008 Captain Atom commission by Marcio Takara

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Marcio Takara

Thursday, September 27, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Atom Smasher” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Atom Smasher 10-02-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board with a disgruntled former employee of Infinity Incorporated...
"Al Rothenstein finally lived his dream when he was recruited into the JSA, but his mother's death at the hands of Kobra haunted him. When he joined Black Adam and saved his mother from her fate Al lost a part of who he was, and his time in Khandaq with Black Adam allowed him to see his path is not with Black Adam, but with the JSA and was invited back when he helped the JSA defeat Black Adam at the request of his Godfather Al Pratt."

I didn't read that JSA crossover, but isn't that basically just a synopsis? How about a line where Rothstein has some sort of reunion with Pratt? September was kind of a "no duh" month for this fanfic, aside from reviving Al, but things get will start to twist in October, and November should be completely nuts.

Get Familiar

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

2012 “JLA by George Perez” Atom Commission

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Aric Shapiro is a comic art collector with the good taste to pursue a series of Justice League of America member spotlight commissions in their full Satellite Era glory by George Pérez...
"The JLA ranks continue with Ray Palmer--the real Atom! One of the fiirst characters outside of the Original Seven. GP really knows how to draw the guy!"
Pérez is one of the Tiny Titan's finest artists, even if it is sad to note that his longest run with the character was inking Dan Jurgens on Teen Titans back when he looked like Marty McFly. My favorite parts of this piece are the chiaroscuro phone and quasi-panels that allow the Mighty Mite to really pop.

2012 “JLA by George Perez” Commissions

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Atom Al Pratt” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Atom Al Pratt 9-30-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board with the O.G. Atom...
"Al Pratt was a member of the Justice Society during War War II, and was thought to have perished at the hands of Monarch during the Zero Hour, but what no one knew was that they didn't die, the original mystery men we sent into a Nexus, what some call The Bleed, a place outside of time and space dividing the Multiverse. During the Infinite Crisis the Bleed opened and the JSAers finally escaped and returned to New Earth. Between the Zero Hour, their time in the Bleed and the Infinite Crisis the members were deaged some now in the prime of his life the Mighty Mite is ready to teach the New Generation of heros training them, while joining them occassionaly."

Um, okay, but he's still a short guy with a solid build and anger issues. How about another "Atomic Punch" or something? I also really miss the girdle. I like to think of Al getting so pissed off that he overexerts himself and needs the support to prevent hernias and stuff. The good thing about bringing Al back and maybe having Damage around is that they can bring the self-doubt/pity/inferiority issues so that Ray Palmer can be the Silver Age egotist I prefer!

Get Familiar

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Atomic acCount for December, 2012

Captain Atom
Written by DAN JURGENS
Art and cover by DAN JURGENS and RAY McCARTHY
On sale JANUARY 2 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

• Firestorm vs. Captain Atom!
• Two of the most powerful heroes in the universe go head to head, and things are going to EXPLODE!
• Don’t miss this issue’s shocking conclusion as the first hints of a disturbing new force in the DCU are seen!
Seeing Captain Atom classically drawn by Jurgens really brings home what a stupid Zippy the Pinhead redesign Freddie Williams gave him. What just occurred to me as well was the redundancy of the Captain being a white male in a universe in desperate need of diversity. Linking these two characters is a fun bit of nostalgia, but especially with Ronnie Raymond at the wheel, it seems like nothing much has changed in the quarter century since they began sparring. Natalie Adam and Jason Rusch would have worked far better.
Art and cover by CHRISTOPHER JONES
On sale DECEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E

• Batgirl takes on Match—alone!
• Alpha Squad infiltrates Brainiac’s ship as it hovers above Metropolis!
• Superboy and the Justice League battle their captor, Kylstar!

On sale JANUARY 2 • 48 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T

• The first time in print for these digital-first adventures!
• The Joker King’s assault on Gotham City takes a dark, sinister twist…can Bruce Wayne and Batman thwart his evil plan?
• The origin of Justice League Beyond member Micron is revealed, illustrated by the Eisner-nominated Fiona Staples, artist on the best-selling series Saga.
• The shocking motivations of Superman’s new enemies are revealed — followed by the Beyond Universe debut of one of DC’s most beloved characters!
Truncated back-ups is an Atom-ic sort of place, isn't it?

The Atom
Written by LEN WEIN, DENNIS O’NEIL, CARY BATES and others Art by DICK DILLIN and others Cover by NICK CARDY On sale JANUARY 23 • 528 pg, B&W, $19.99 US • In this new, value-priced collection of stories from the 1970s, the JLA faces foes including Felix Faust, the Shaggy Man, Eclipso, Amazo, the Injustice Society and more. • Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #107-132.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dragon*Con 2012 The Atom Cosplay Gallery by Shag Matthews

Atlanta, Georgia's premier comic convention was held on August 30th-September 2nd, and as ever, the Irredeemable Shag was on the scene to record the festivities. The biggest cosplay con in the dirty south saw the induction of the Atom into The Box Hero Corps.

What the hell are "Box Heroes" you ask? Well, you know how people like Lego figures, and then other companies started doing blocky miniature figures like Legos? Well now people dress like those things, and make their costumes out of cardboard. Maybe it's a statement against the growing expense of cosplay in a harsh economic environment. Also, it might be a reaction to cosplayers with gross bodies, or maybe they get tired of seeing the outlines of geeks' peen. I know I sure do! Is there some sort of Poindexter ethical code against stopping by Academy for a jock strap? Anyway, note how I failed to use "box" as a double entendre, as though I selectively enlarge key photographs in search of camel toes? Oh, you did notice that, huh? Yeah, I might be a little bit gender biased when it comes to wardrobe malfunctions.

Speaking of genitalia, why does the Tiny Titan have a tinier pee hole prominently poking out of his crotch? Somebody took the time to carefully craft a six inch (so he claims) Atom figurine, drew facial expressions, detailed the ears coming out of his skullcap, colored the costume, and then put a dot in his bikini zone. There are plainly abs there, so there's no passing the Mitey Meatus off as a bellybutton! Who would do such a thing?

This guy. Right here. The one scoping out the Palmer Posterior. This guy drew a pee hole on the Tiny Titan's tiny titan, or an agent in service to this fellow. Add his name to your neighborhood watch list. File under "Premeditation" and "Aberrant Ideation." Query: Why such large hands and feet?

"It... it wasn't me! It was Ray Palmer! He's always whispering in my ear... telling me to do things... bad things. Please, help me. Stop me before I kill again..." Seriously though, this picture is terrifying, like the ventriloquist's dummy from Magic or the big reveal at the end of Sleepaway Camp.

Oh dear Gods... it's like one of those holographic Jesus pictures whose eyes follow you across a room. Hell, it changes expressions. I think I've made it angry. Ackgrglghhhh!?!?!?...

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Thwap! It's a living, breathing, human Atom cosplayer to the rescue! Take that, you Shipping Box Servant of Satan!

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Not only that, but he's brought the fleshy Martian Manhunter cosplayer to take out the cardboard one. I believe this exact same duo ran together in Shag's pictures from 2010, although the quality of those Atom shots had me wondering if the Mighty Mite's appearance wasn't a trick of the light, like a Sasquatch sighting. I could count dozens of Batman, but 2010 Atom was a true urban legend. This year's shots of the Tiny Titan were much better, not requiring the services of F.B.I. facial recognition software or anything.

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Back when Damian Maffei was still running The Tiny Titan Blog that was directly responsible for my dumb ass decision to carry on its legacy here, we talked about how we liked one another's characters, and thought it a shame that then as now they had virtually dick to do with one another after decades of DC Comics. Here I have two cosplay sets pairing the Alien Atlas with the Mighty Mite at the same convention. I suspect the primary factors in this equation are that Hawkman cosplayers already have enough trouble with the wings and helmet to add a facsimile Atom to their gear, and Aquaman is finally too popular to get stuck standing next to J'Onn J'Onzz anymore. They're pals because no one else will have them, the true forge of modern relationships built on diminished expectations!

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Shag wanted to make sure that we all thanked the Superhero Costuming Forum for setting up these photo shoots every year, and you might also check out the Irredeemable One's gallery of nearly 700 pictures. If that prospect feels a bit imposing, you might also sample one of these lovely blogs for more fine tuned targeting of demographics...

Dragon*Con 2012 Cosplay Galleries by Shag Matthews

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Atom Ryan Choi” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Atom Ryan Choi 9-28-10

"NightwingTAS" continues his Atom animated series concept cavalcade from the Super Buddies message board with the All New Atom...
Ryan Choi was a student of Ray Palmer's before he went on his tour of the Multiverse. Ryan found his notes and his belt, and decided the world needed an Atom and took up his mentor's role while he was gone. When Ray returned to New Earth, he found things had changed and that he now was more than just him and his science that he had inspired others, and resumed his role as the Atom, along side of Ryan. Ryan was recruited by Jason Todd to join the Outsiders.
Yeah, that was pretty much just a pre-Final Crisis recap. These get better, folks...

Get Familiar

Sunday, September 9, 2012

2005 Justice League of America #60 cover recreation by Arthur “Art” Adams

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David Mandel commissioned Art Adams to recreate a classic 1968 cover by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson featuring the Atom, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, the Flash, Superman, and most prominently, Batgirl versus Queen Bee. While a swingin' piece in its time, the original composition was a bit clumsy and simple, so Adams wisely chose to deviate in ways that improved upon the source piece. I love the tiny winged heroes emerging from the hive, their full figures intact. Aside from the extra lift, it was just another day at the office for the Tiny Titan. Art Adams rarely draws the Mighty Mite, but he does it so well that I wish I could afford to get him to do it again. I did get a lovely piece for my Martian Manhunter blog this year though, linked below...

Arthur "Art" Adams

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2010 “The Atom's Family: Atom” animation-style fan fiction by N:TAS

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N:TAS DCU: The Atom's Family: Atom 9-26-10

"NightwingTAS" is a fan of the modern DC Animated Universe spearheaded by Bruce Timm since the early '90s launch of Batman: The Animated Series and continuing through the original cartoon movie currently being released several times a year. I think Young Justice marks a separate continuity, but I'm not at all certain of it. Anyway, NTAS has devoted a lengthy thread at the Super Buddies message board to building "families" of supporting players around second tier DC heroes, should they ever stumble into their own series. God bless him, but there's an Atom treatment that starts like this...
My DCU veers off from the DCU on New Earth as of Infinite Crisis...

Ray Palmer faced his own crisis of fate when his ex wife was possessed by the entity known as Eclipso. Having traveled the Multiverse Ray finally found away to bring back the woman he loves. Through out his journey Ray was aided by those he has known as friends and those he has mentored who took his example and followed in his steps. Giving him his own family.
Nothing revolutionary here, as it's basically the Timm Atom design from Justice League coupled with DC Comics continuity as of 2010. Things get weirder and more imaginative as he goes on though, which we'll be looking at for weeks to come...

See Also

Friday, August 24, 2012

Green Lantern / Atom #1 (October, 2000)

A new villain called Oblivion began causing trouble, including kidnapping the JLA. Strangely, the bad guy looked exactly like a doodle Kyle Rayner had come up with as a kid. Even weirder, the last Green Lantern was next joined by a small corps of same, supposedly from various times, and none familiar except for Kyle's undead ex-girlfriend Alexandra DeWitt. Rayner paired off these new Green Lanterns with other heroes who would supervise their actions until the JLA could be found and Oblivion dealt with.

While the other strike teams were away, the Atom remained at the JLA Watchtower to coordinate their activities. Two members of a futuristic Teen Lantern Corps, Hunter and Forrest, whined about being stuck with him while wasting their powers and experience.

"HEY! What did I tell you, Forrest? I don't want to hear anything about my future! Period! Just having you two here upsets the space-time continuum significantly more than I'm comfortable with." Besides, "I'm not leading any more Teen Titans, thanks. Besides, you two don't even have your own power rings." Hunter and Forrest were supposedly descendants of Rayner's, the only people who could wield his ring, and thus had to time-share it. Still, Ray had been young once or "Twice, actually," so they managed to convince Palmer to take more direct action.

"In the real world, comic book characters don't just come to life. There has to be a logical answer to this villain's existence, and Ockham's Razor tells us that the simplest solution is almost always the correct one." Palmer's theory was that a known super-villain capable of reading Kyle Rayner's mind had manifested Oblivion, so he complied a list of suspects from the JLA computer banks. After eliminating the least likely possibilities based on their current circumstances, the Atom came up with four worth leaving the Watchtower to investigate.

First up was Batman's foe the Scarecrow, which made no damned sense, given his lack of telepathy, interaction with Rayner, or ability to manifest anything but pity over being a second rate Gotham nutjob. So of course he got the drop on the trio, at least for the cold opening of the book before a flashback and fast-forward. The Tiny Titan shrank until fear gas no longer affected him, then saved the boy Forest from being electrocuted when his ring was left near the third rail of a subway track. The Mighty Mite used his rubber soles to collect and fling the ring, which Forest wielded to instill fear in Dr. Crane by creating a Batman construct.

Suspect #2 was found at Barnard College. "Don't underestimate Doctor Psycho... He may be small, but he's taken down Wonder Woman... Psycho is high on our list of suspects because he has the ability to give shape to ectoplasm that he's drawn from a human medium's imagination. Creating Oblivion doesn't necessarily fit his modus operandi, a psychotic hatred of all women, but..." Forest tried to take Psycho out with a flock of cherubs, but the Doctor turned it around... partially. "Young man, prepare to be ripped apart by your own thoughts... How...? Your mind... just an illusion! It's... it's nothing but lies!" No matter, as Psycho culled a giant black Schrödinger's cat from Ray's gray matter. That left the power ring and salvation to "the weaker sex," as Hunter subdued Psycho by beating the midget with constructs from out of the book Little Women.

Suspect the third was found in an abandoned warehouse. "I'm disappointed, Professor Ivo... Honestly, I expected something a bit more imaginative from someone as brilliant as Amazo's creator." Ivo was up for snaps. "Well, well, well... It looks as if the Microscopic Man has found a new children's crusade to run into the ground." Large robots were activated, and Ivo assumed Atom was a "wee coward" who "shriveled off to the subatomic realm" while the Green Lanterns fended for themselves. Instead, the Mighty Mite was literally inside the immortal Ivo's head. "Who said anything about killing? In another thirty seconds, I'm going to start rearranging synapses... and you can spend eternity with an IQ of four." Atom tortured a confession of non-involvement out of Professor Ivo. "Please... please don't hurt my precious brain."

Finally, the group checked on Dr. Light, "one of Kyle's greatest foes" who could have potentially created Oblivion as a living hologram. Ray had his own history with Arthur Light, but a search of Kyle's apartment found the villain still safely tucked away inside a power battery. "I don't believe it. My... my logic was flawed. I've failed..." Hunter consoled the egotist that the adventure had led to the apprehension of three dangerous felons. Forrest made the discovery that Emerald Knight, another Green Lantern off on a mission with Power Girl, had also been sketched by Kyle as a kid. What that meant would have to wait, as Atom, the kids, and the other teams were all being paged to Oa by Kyle...

"Unusual Suspects" was by Brian H. Vaughan, Trevor McCarthy and Tyson McAdoo. The whole premise of the crossover was dumb, and the character selection seemed geared more toward protecting trademarks than offering a spotlight for underappreciated heroes. Vaughan wrote two of the six one-shots and the bookends, dropping a lot of hints toward the conclusion of the story in this issue. I don't know if they paid off, because this is the only one I've read, and it was too lousy to make me want to sample any more. The Teen Lantern Corps members present were as annoying as their seeming models, the Wonder Twins. The villain selection was illogical and underwhelming. The resolutions to the various battles were too clever by half, smugly grating. The jokes were painful groaners, and the art ugly as sin. This came out in that time period after the publishers forced everyone to switch to paying more for glossy paper stock, only to temporarily try to revert to a cheaper rough and dull stock that made the coloring look wretched. Bad stuff.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

2012 Capstone DC Super-Pets! advertisement

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I found this spiffy piece in the Free Comic Book Day offering The Incredible Rockhead & Zinc Alloy 2-For-None! The Ray Palmer Atom is standing on the shoulder of a giant, Apache Chief. Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Elongated Man are appropriately all to his left. Ryan Choi's pseudo-girlfriend Giganta is on the opposite side of the page. At the bottom left is Ray's dog Spot, because of course it is.

"Cut along the doted line" dashes were provided for easy posterfication, but my scan was slightly lopsided, so I cropped them out.

New 52's Day

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2005 DC Direct Superman/Batman Series 1: Public Enemies: Captain Atom Action Figure

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Based on the art of Ed McGuinness! The atomically powered Captain Atom reluctantly confronts the World's Finest team on the order of his evil Commander-in-Chief. This figure features multiple points of articulation and includes a Superman/Batman logo base. Packaged in a 4-color deluxe blister.

Advance-solicited; on sale August 17 o Action Figure o 6.75" H o PI
If I ever catch this for a good price, I'll buy it. He's a bit bulky for my taste, but it captures a lot of the spirit of the character's Post-Crisis high point.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2011 Marvel Two-in-One: The Lost Issues: The Thing and Tiny Titans

I haven't checked out Ross' Brave and the Bold: The Lost Issues for this blog since 2010, and thought it was about time I revisited his fan fantasy team-ups with this blog's subjects, especially since it switched leads to the ever lovin' blue eyed Thing. Ross credits his unrequited desire to see a classic pairing with two of his favorite super-heroes for inspiring the hundreds of faux team-ups he's created for his blog. You can read more about it here, and should know you haven't lived until you read the story of Batman running the Fonz out of town, so do peruse the blog while you're there. In fact, let me offer a helping hand, as Ross has run through a number of Atom-related pieces that don't quite rate their own spotlight posts...

...More Lost Team-Up Issues...

Friday, July 20, 2012

2009 NYCC Firestorm & the Atom commission by Rob Reilly

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Firestorm Fan had nothing to do with this post, and yet, why not link to it, given the co-subject?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Atom in DC Special Series #1 (September, 1977)

At Ivy College, Professor Werner fretted to his friend and colleague Ray Palmer over discovering a display of Alexander Graham Bell's telephone prototype on loan from the Smithsonian had been replaced by a contemporaneous fake. Palmer passed through the office of his preoccupied associate Professor Alpheus Hyatt ("Chuckle... Knowing the Professor, he's already forgotten I'm here!") to access his Time Pool as the Atom.

Traveling to 1876, the Mighty Mite saved Bell from an alleyway assault by Elisha Gray, a murderous nutcase who claimed Bell had stolen the patent on the telephone from him. Palmer thought he'd stumbled onto a major lead in his own case, and followed Bell to the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. The Atom spotted Gray and his thugs, but lost them in a crowd of a quarter million after almost getting stepped on my President Ulysses S. Grant's size thirteen shoe.

The Tiny Titan located Bell and his partner Mr. Watson tied up under some dangerous looking machinery, but opted to trip Elisha Gray and cause him to smash his head on the ground. Gray had intended to plant the phony phone to discredit Bell, which explained its existence and the Smithsonian's later possession. However, the Tiny Titan had forgotten that the President was about to activate Machinery Hall with the Corliss Engine, whose pistons would flatten Bell and Watson. The Atom swiftly untied them, then returned to the present to ease Professor Werner's worries about the phony phone, since he'd gotten it from the Smithsonian. Ray figured, "with some searching, I should be able to find the real phone in Philadelphia when I get back to me own time.

"The Telephone Tangle" was by Paul Kupperberg, Steve Stiles & Bob McLeod. It was not only a textbook terrible Atom story, but also an example to damn all of Western literature. The Ray Palmer Atom spent most of his solo series battling the sort of plainclothes, unexceptional crooks abandoned by most super-heroes during the Golden Age, except his were often even more boring and pathetic. Here, he travels through time with thin motivation, only to engage in a defamatory duel with a real life scientist. Worse, Elisha Gray probably did invent the telephone, only to be screwed by Bell. Demonizing an historical figure because his true life deviated from what schoolchildren had been taught for generations as fact about Bell is fairly sickening. We've got Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil using Bell's phone at the end of the story, so why didn't it turn up at the Smithsonian? Did he steal it? The Atom's so busy fighting Elisha Gray that he forgets the whole point of taking the trip through time, which is written off with a bit of unconvincing monologue in the final panel.

The art in the story is better than it deserves to be, but it still suffers from drawing based on the Atom's weaknesses instead of his strengths. The splash page captures the hero from an ass view, and he's typically drawn in action as a small figure amidst average goons, rather than showing the world from Ray's perspective. He's just beating up schmucks from hiding and his greatest struggle is against a shoe and a knot!