Tuesday, November 25, 2014


The Second Man in Space Arrives! 

Before Mr. A, before The Hawk & the Dove, even before Spider-Man — the first series character Steve Ditko was ever involved in the creation of, was Captain Atom. This was exciting to me, since I was just getting into comic books.

It's hard to believe that Charlton Comics' Captain Atom began in 1960! The superhero began in Space Adventures #33 and continued in two other series before getting his own comic book. It was written by Joe Gill and drawn by Steve Ditko and Rocco Mastroserio. Cover images were taken from interior stories.


The Charlton Comics version of Captain Atom was Allen Adam. The character's origin had Adam working as a technician in a special experimental rocket when it accidentally launched with him trapped inside. Adam was atomized when the rocket exploded while entering the upper atmosphere. However, he somehow gained superpowers that included the ability to reform his body safely on the ground. 

Captain Atom #83
"Finally Falls the Mighty"
Captain Atom loses his powers.
"The New Blue Beetle"
The New Blue Beetle begins by Steve Ditko. 

Terrific splash page with new costume!
 Captain Atom #84
"After the Fall, A New Beginning"
Limited powers return. New costume for Captain Atom. 
"Wanted for Murder"
Blue Beetle feature.

Captain Atom #85
"Strings of Punch and Jewelee"
Captain Atom & Nightshade vs. Punch & Jewelee.
"Fights a Submarine"
Blue Beetle feature.

Captain Atom #86
"The Fury of the Faceless Foe"
Captain Atom Faces The Ghost.
"The Masked Marauder"
Blue Beetle feature. 

Captain Atom #87
"The Menace of the Fiery-Icer"
Captain Atom battles the Fiery-Icer.
"The Image's Idyl"
Nightshade Origin feature begins by David Kaler & Jim Aparo. 

Captain Atom #88
"The Ravage of Ranthor"
Captain Atom feature. 
"Poetry of Peril"
Nightshade Origin feature continues. 

Captain Atom #89 
The Ghost returns as Captain Atom faces the menace of Thirteen. 
"Masque of Mirrors"
Nightshade feature.

Charlton Bullseye #1 & #2 presented what was to be Captain Atom #90
"Showdown in Sunuria"
Captain Atom versus the Ghost, with Nightshade.
D.C. Glanzman & Roger Stern (as Jon G. Michels) wrote the script. Plot & pencils were done by Steve Ditko with inking by a young John Byrne (who went on to bring us Doomsday +1, Rog & Space:1999!) Dynamic cover by Al Milgrom.

This story, left unfinished by Steve Ditko after the inking stage, was finished by Roger Stern & John Byrne. The story was published, in 2 installments, in the first 2 issues of the fanzine.

Captain Atom #83-#85 were reprinted under the Modern Comics imprint in the late seventies. These were produced to be sold specifically in comic 3-packs.

Another great splash page from Steve Ditko!
Ultimately, all these Captain Atom issues were reprinted in The Action Heroes Archives Vol. 2 from DC Comics. It's a highly recommended hardback edition covering Captain Atom, Blue Beetle and The Question

Steve Ditko was the man to me in the sixties, when I first got into comics. Not only did he draw Spider-Man #38, my first comic book, he had already illustrated Captain Atom! And then came his reinvention of Captain Atom & Blue Beetle and created The Question for a back-up in Blue Beetle & a full story in Mysterious Suspense #1.

These were exciting time for the newly comic book initiated!

Live Large My Friends!

Thank You!

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