Monday, March 23, 2009

From the Dust Bin: Atoman & Atomic Thunderbolt (Spark Publ./Regor Co.; 1946)

Atoman was created by Jerry Robinson for Spark Publications in 1946. Barry Dale was an atomic scientist who claimed that his body was "geared" as a result of working on radium and uranium at the Atomic Institute, so that he gained super-human strength, flight, speed, invulnerability, "atomic vision" and the ability to melt metal with his hands. However, these "powers of the atom" didn't really make much of an impact with comics fans of the golden age. Atoman's self-titled series only lasted for two issues.


The Atomic Thunderbolt was another one-shot comic published in 1946 by the Regor Company. Professor Josiah Rhonne was working on a way to alter the atomic structure of people in order to make them immune to radiation from nuclear explosions. Requiring a volunteer for experimentation, Rhonne recruited William Burns (a.k.a. Willy the Wharf Rat), a shell-shocked, combat veteran who had suffered brain damage from a Nazi torpedo during the war. Sadly, the Professor inadvertently caused an unexpected explosion in his lab, which transformed Willy into the Atomic Thunderbolt, with the ability to fly and fire bolts of atomic energy.Given a second chance in his new persona, Willy became a crime-fighter.
Note: Artist James Ritchey is the illustrator of the Atomic Thunderbolt piece above (lower right). James has done some work for AC Comics.

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