Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Reading Room: NOT WHO YOU THINK Atlas "Man of Might" Conclusion

Cover art by Ross Andru and Mike Esposito
When he fails to stop his girlfriend's little brother from being beaten by a gang of juvenile delinquents, Jim Randall is visited by the spirit of the Greek deity Atlas, who gives him The Secret of Strength, a list of exercises to build his body.
(Why Atlas didn't just zap Jim the way the Golden Age Thor did, is never explained!)
After the prerequisite montage, a newly-bulked up Jim visits his girlfriend Linda and discovers her brother is now a member of the juvie gang!
The Greek Titan reappears before Jim, gives him a costume, and tells him to  "Use your powers in my name and go forth and war on evil!"
Though the art appears to have been done sometime in the late 1940s-early 1950s, the tale wasn't published until 1964 by IW/Super Comics, a company noted for buying up defunct companies' printing plates, doing new covers, and reprinting the inside stories exactly as they originally appeared.
The resultant comics were bagged randomly in sets of three and sold in drugstores, toy stores, and five-and-dime shops, thereby bypassing the Comics Code.
IW published over three hundred issues of various titles ranging from Algie to Ziggy Pig, including The Spirit, Plastic Man, The Avenger, Doll Man, and Space Detective.
This story's pedigree is near-impossible to verify.
It's obviously intended for a book called Atlas Comics (though for which publisher is unknown), and the character's origin was (equally-obviously) based on the Charles Atlas method of using isometric exercises to improve the body.
Perhaps it was done as a potential licensed property which wasn't approved?
And, should we classify it as a Golden Age (when it was created) or Silver Age (when it was finally published) tale?
I'm listing it as both until new information is unearthed...
Since this was the only issue published, we, unlike Atlas, will never learn all the Secrets  of Super-Strength.

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1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a super coverup to me. Not unlike magicians who give up their secrets to the masses are ostracized by his fellow magicians. Atlas got nixed because he gave away those super strength secrets.

    I'm starting my super strength regiment as we speak,