Why is Captain Atom my favorite super hero? What is it about Nathaniel Adam that appeals to me? Just who is this Captain Atom guy? And who am I for that matter?
Well, the last question is the easiest. My name is Jay. I live in the state of Georgia in the United States of America. I am, at this writing, a “young” (middle-aged) father of four with a lousy job and a thinning hairline. I have been collecting comics – on and off – for about 25 years. I am primarily a DC man but have discovered recently some Marvel titles I really like. The list below is my current pull list:
- Deadpool (Marvel – NOW)
- Earth 2 (DC)
- FF (Marvel – NOW)
- Green Lantern (DC)
- Hawkeye (Marvel)
- Judge Dredd (IDW)
- Phantom Stranger (DC)
- The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man (DC)
- The Walking Dead (Image)
Now, I’ll admit, I jumped on The Walking Dead bandwagon AFTER the TV series started. And I didn’t pick up my first Hawkeye book until after I saw Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie. So, you got me. I’m a poser. I wasn’t in the trenches with the fanboys in 2003 clutching their Walking Dead number ones in their sweaty palms. I casually picked it up with issue 100 on a whim. I did read some issues of Marvel’s Solo Avengers (1987-1989) featuring Hawkeye so I knew who he was before the film. But in my mind he was “Marvel’s Green Arrow.” I used to read many more comics but that was when I was single and living in my mother’s basement (yes, I was that guy).
The first comic I ever bought was a Marvel title. It was Doctor Who #8 (1985). I picked it up because a friend who was really into Dr. Who loaned me some of his comics and I wanted some for myself. But I did not consider myself a comic book guy. Yet.
Another friend of mine, a life-long fan of Firestorm and comic book geek (Roy) took me comic shopping with him one day in the Winter of 1987. In those days, comic shopping was going to the local Quick Stop and seeing what they had on the spinner rack. I picked up Hex #18 (DC) and was intrigued. I couldn’t follow the story because I couldn’t tell what Keith Giffen’s art was supposed to represent (I was 15 and naive and did not appreciate it for what it was). But I was intrigued by this man Jonah Hex, a cowboy transported to a post-apocalyptic future. Sadly, it was the last issue. So next time I went shopping with Roy I got The Green Lantern Corps #210.
Here was when I became a full-on Comic Nerd. Green Lantern was the most awesome thing I had ever seen. He was a space cop, made out with cute alien girls, hung around with weird looking other space cops, and had a magic ring that could construct anything he could imagine. As I’ve gotten older and my tastes have changed, I have never lost my love of the Green Lantern.
But around the same time I became aware of Green Lantern, I discovered another wonderful hero. He was Captain Atom. I knew none of the history behind the character, that he had been created by Steve Ditko in the 1960s (I was a novice, I didn’t know who the hell Ditko was). I didn’t know he had been on the fringe of the DC universe since he was purchased from Charlton Comics. I didn’t know he was the inspiration for Dr. Manhattan in this new Watchmen book I kept seeing ads for. I just knew he incorporated one of my most favorite sci-fi devices: time travel. Plus his skin was indestructible metal and he could shoot energy blasts out of his hands! I was hooked from issue one. And hooked on the character of Captain Atom for life.
In retrospect, the 1987-1991 Captain Atom series was not DC’s finest work. More than one plot thread was left dangling throughout the series’ life. Sometimes the artwork was not the greatest. The science was a bit hacky and the character really didn’t grow much. But I was fifteen years old when it hit me and I loved every issue. And that is the reason for this blog.
It is my goal to read every appearance of Captain Atom from 1960 to today and review each and every comic. I imagine at times it will be difficult (some of these old Silver Age books are hard to come by). It may be a bit costly. But dammit, I have to have a goal. I need to have a purpose. And I need to open the eyes of the public to how freaking awesome this character was and could have been.
So I will go, issue by issue, atom by atom (if you’ll pardon the pun), over all the Captain Atom goodness I can find. I hope that at the end, you will have the same appreciation for Captain Atom that I do.
Oh, I also do a podcast with the aforementioned Roy and my buddies Marcus and Michael. We talk about nerdy geek things that tickle our fancies. Also I have been told I bring up Captain Atom too often. Check us out.