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Atomic Power for all!

The readings this week, especially in Comic Book Nation, have been particularly fascinating. Of all the readings we have done the one that stays with me was the story of the failed comic series "Atoman." I appreciate the message of Atoman saying that atomic power is too dangerous to be owned by an individual, group, or nation of people, but rather it belongs to the entire world. It just grinds my gears knowing that Atoman was a commercial flop, lasting a embarrassing two issues. Why don't Americans like facing these global-crisis issues? Did the Americans back then not want to talk about the elephant in the room? Why were senseless, violent crime comics blockbusters selling well when comics like Atoman with profound messages did not?

However, I am pleased a more commercially successful comic, Captain Marvel, was able to get the message out there. Apparently in one issue Captain Marvel encounters a force more destructive than the atomic bomb -- the proton bomb! Interesting to note that Comic Book Nation says this proton bomb was built by a "mad Asian scientists" (71). Is this a commentary on the Asian community in America? Was this a Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, or Korean scientist? Regardless, Captain Marvel is unsuccessful in preventing the proton bomb from exploding and as a result the world blows up. Luckily, Captain Marvel appears and says to the comic readers this awful event occurred elsewhere on a different planet, not on Earth.

Even though I am not a fan of Captain Marvel (my heart belongs to the X-Men) I applaud the efforts of that particular issue, appropriately titled, "Captain Marvel and the End of the World." I believe the issue of atomic and nuclear war is still a major issue today. I am not sure what comics are doing to address these serious social issues but I image it is not like how it used to be. Reading about these comics in Comic Book Nation make me wonder how some of the publishers and artists got away with have the stuff that they did. Maybe I've been living under a shell for too long to notice what comics are capable of portraying.


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