The ATOM #27 - Funny Little Guy

0
Chuck Gower

660 views

The ATOM #27 - Funny Little Guy

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman survived the disappearance of Superheroes through most of the 50's, but DC's power was so strong during this period, that in July 1956 a re-vamped Flash hit the scene, followed by the Green Lantern 3 years later. 

TWO YEARS after that (man things moved slowly back then), The Atom appeared in Showcase #34, an Atomic Age type of hero, firmly landing in the Silver Age of Comics. Culled from the concept of the Golden Age Character, this was a new Atom (Ray Palmer), created by Editor Julius Schwartz, Writer Gardner Fox, and Artist Gil Kane.

Here we have a random issue, #27 featuring the same creative team that started it (those were the days), 5 years and almost 30 stories into it.

Atom027a.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - cover art by Gil Kane)

 

It's not surprising that Gil Kane's cover is action packed - that's what he did best. What's surprising here is how uncluttered it is... and I use that term in the context of Gil Kane in a GOOD way, as his covers with Marvel were always so cluttered with so MUCH going on! Here it's on a plain green background.

I might suspect this is some DC Editorial weirdness, but upon further investigation, Gil was doing a brisk amount of work at DC during this time. Of the DC books that came out for Octiber/November 1966, and his side work with Tower over the same time period, it looks like he did 80+ pages and 5 covers!

 

Atom027b.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

Again I think the splash page is far superior to the cover in this DC comic. What is up with this? I think each one of these DC books I've reviewed had the same situation. Now my radar is up for this...

 

Atom027c.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

What suprised me about this comic... and to be quite honest I can't remember ever reading an Atom comic from this era before, or maybe ANY era, so I had nothing to base it upon - is the playful sense of humor and open fun they seem to be having with this story. 

Obviously this is taken somewhat from Marvel Comics of the day, who in 1966 were gaining ground and causing some conflicting emotions at DC Comics. The 1966 sales numbers show that Amazing Spider-man and Fantastic Four were selling as well as the Flash and OUTSELLING the Atom and Green Lantern.

For the numbers available, the Atom had peaked in 1964 as the #20 top selling book (265,304), but had fallen to #34 (255,254) in 1965. That's only 10,000 copies (at COVER price, about $1200), but DC knew exactly where those lost sales were going to.

By 1966, it lost even more ground (#55 - 232,850) and by 1967 (#70 - 184,100) it was on it's way to eventually becoming 'The Atom and Hawkman' for it's last few issues in 1968/69 before being cancelled half way through 1969.

 

Atom027d.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

Here we're a few years away from that and the Atom and it's Writer/Artist team are excited with the idea of trying to spice up the book and they do so with a classic scenario of the nerd in love with an unknowing beauty - and how his unaware photo taking of her (we call that stalking and invasion of privacy these days), will lead to some bad guys and crime and the Atom.

It's not lost upon me, the sexuality in that above panel... though I do find it a bit surprising in a mainstream 60's DC Superhero comic. Kane was never... someone I thought of as drawing beautiful women (especially compared to issue vs issue with Romita on ASM), but here he renders the female posterior in a way that is neither dirty or offensive and yet somehow still... very well done in it's 'message'.

 

 

Atom027e.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

'A Real Cool Picture, Cats!' 

Stan Lee had to be chuckling to himself...

 

Atom027f.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

Kane's strength is of course his action and when the book has it, it's well done. Here, the Atom gets swatted like a baseball. Now THAT'S a 'real cool picture, Cats!' Gil is somewhat forgotten these days, but he was a great within the business and a wonderful interview if you ever get a chance to read one.

Below that is an Ad for Batman in your Daily Newspaper! 

Comic Books made me so happy when I first discovered them. It was like a whole new world. And seeing the ads in the them made me realize there were endless amounts of stories and art out there waiting to be discovered. 

 

Atom027g.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

MmHmm. 

 

Atom027h.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

As I was reading this I began to wonder... was the Atom always written like this? Above is an example of slapstick humor - which really surprised me. I've read a great deal of Gil Kane interviews over the years and he had a very.... educated sense of humor, though certainly not above using slapstick in the proper context - and now I may go back and read some of his specific discussion regarding his work on the Atom.

 

Atom027i.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

 

"...some Billing and Cooing of my own."

Maybe not as hip as they think...

 

Atom027j.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966 - art by Gil Kane)

Wow! Now there's an ad!

I want them both!

 

Atom027k.jpeg

(THE ATOM #27 - Cover Dated Oct/Nov 1966 - on Newsstands August 4th, 1966)

 

Ok, so here's my answer! Apparently the new writing style started in Issue #25 and the fans have spoken:

'It's lousy' - 'Lets see more of this tyle of writing' - 'absolutely unnecessary' - 'the humorous footnotes improved the -script immensely' - 'one firm vote against' - 'more' - 'Keep up the good gags' - 'This is terrible'.

 

Well it certainly got a response!

 

 

0


0 Comments


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now