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Role in The SimpsonsEdit
Within the Simpsons universe, Radioactive Man was created by Morty Mann. He has been portrayed in many media since his debut in "Radioactive Man" #1 in 1952. In addition to comic books, he was featured in at least one 1950s era black-and-white serial, sponsored by Laramie Cigarettes. The serials featured fictional actor Dirk Richter — a parody of Adam West and George Reeves — as Radioactive Man, and Buddy Hodges played Fallout Boy. Richter, reportedly born in 1922 (he was said to be "72 years old and … dead" in 1995), was apparently shot to death in a bordello sometime in the 1960s (a reference to the mysterious death of George Reeves, the first actor to portray Superman on television). There was also a campy early 1970s TV series suspiciously resembling the Batman TV series, and boasted the appearance of an extremely "flamboyant" supervillain called "The Scoutmaster", who resembled Paul Lynde. Sometime in the 80s Troy McClure portrayed Radioactive Man in a Radioactive Man movie trilogy. Radioactive Man III featured Krusty the Clown as Krusto the Evil Clown (a parody of the Joker) and featured Buddy Hodges as Fallout Boy's great grandfather. The trilogy consisted of:
- "Radioactive Man"
- "Radioactive Man II: Bring On The Sequel"
- "Radioactive Man III: Oh God, Not Again"
In 1995, a Hollywood studio attempted to film a Radioactive Man movie in Springfield. The movie starred Rainier Wolfcastle (Springfield's answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger), as Radioactive Man. The role of Fallout Boy was cast from local children. Bart Simpson, a huge Radioactive Man fan, tried out for the part, but it went to his pal, Milhouse Van Houten, due to Bart being an inch too short. The origin of Fallout Boy was changed for the movie: Rod Runtledge acquires superpowers after getting run over by an x-ray truck and blasted in the face by the x-ray machine it was transporting. Still trapped under the truck, he meets Radioactive Man when the superhero arrives on the scene to lift it off him. Krusty the Clown was cast as villains Dr. Clownius and Silly Sailor. The movie was never completed due to budget overruns caused by constant price-gouging by Springfield vendors, and Milhouse snapping from the pressure of the role, and refusing to continue to portray Fallout Boy - former child actor Mickey Rooney attempted to take over the role, with predictably miserable results. The unfinished project was presumably shelved.
In the episode "Husbands and Knives", it is revealed that comic writer Alan Moore (who voiced himself in the episode) had written several issues of Radioactive Man. He turned the character into a heroin-addicted jazz critic who had no superpowers.
The Bongo Comic Edit
Radioactive Man also appears in a real comic book intermittently published by Bongo Comics, which has also published, since 1994, a number of comics featuring Bart Simpson, the Simpson family, and other characters from the television show.
Issue #1 of the Bongo comic differs from RM #1 as seen in Simpsons episode "Three Men and a Comic Book". While featuring a similar scenario and accident (Claude getting his trousers caught on barbed wire just before a mega-bomb explodes. This is a parody of Bruce Banner getting caught by the Gamma Bomb in Incredible Hulk #1), the Bongo series' Claude was not wearing tattered clothes. In the books, Claude's survival is due in part to a large thunderbolt-shaped shard of metal embedded in his head by the explosion. Claude would attempt to remove the bolt throughout the book series, but each attempt has nasty consequences which results in it being put back in his scalp again; subsequent stories have established that the bolt is required to moderate the level of his powers, with its removal causing Radioactive Man to increase in power to the extent that he could potentially explode, the increased power level sometimes affecting his mind and turning him against his heroic intentions. Additionally, the bolt's presence would save his life numerous times in increasingly bizarre ways.
Maintaining the satirical standards of the television show, these comics often parody genre comic books, and the reader can follow the evolution of Radioactive Man from a 1950s irradiated hero through the politically reactionary or radical years of the 1960s and 1970s, and the dark, troubled years of the 1980s and 1990s comic book hero. Indeed, one comic displays a startling similarity to Alan Moore's Watchmen, with Radioactive Man taking the part of state-supported hero Doctor Manhattan. The comics are published as if they were the actual Simpsons universe's Radioactive Man comics; a "1970s"-published comic features a letter written by a ten-year-old Marge Bouvier, for instance.
Within the Bongo Comics, Radioactive Man is secretly Claude Kane III, a millionaire playboy whose personality was well-intentioned, but bumbling and not overly bright. In addition (which became a recurring storyline element), Claude's personality was permanently stuck in a conservative 1950s outlook on everything, no matter what the time era in question was. A running gag is that in order to preserve his secret identity, Claude is constantly wearing various types of hats, in order to conceal the lightning bolt-shaped shrapnel sticking out of his head, with varying success (He once tried wearing a backwards baseball cap that was just slightly too small to effectively conceal the bolt). His sidekick is Rod, AKA Fallout Boy, a young boy whom he rescued from a particle accelerator ray that was about to fall on them, the ray emitting energy that was filtered into Rod's body through Claude, causing him to develop a variation of Radioactive Man's powers.
Simpsons Super Spectacular is a series published by Bongo Comics. It was first released in June 2006, containing 5 stories. The series acts as a continuation of Radioactive Man comics with the inclusion of the Springfield-universe superheroes including Homer as Pieman and Bart as Bartman, as well as Stretch Dude and Clobber Girl from Treehouse of Horror X. One of the stories has Bartman and his sidekick Milhouse meet their almost exact equals in Shelbyville.
Powers and abilities Edit
Throughout most of The Simpsons TV series, very few references to Radioactive Man's actual super powers have been made. As a result, the extent of his powers are not known. It can be inferred that Radioactive Man has some level of superhuman strength and invulnerability. In one Simpsons episode, Bart shows Lisa a comic where Radioactive Man is seen throwing a villain into the sun and quipping, "Hot enough for you?". In the planned Radioactive Man movie, a stunt was filmed in which he easily lifts a car off the future Fallout Boy. The Bongo comics expanded on his powers, giving him several which parodied those of Superman including super speed, flight, and the power to fire beams of "clean, nuclear heat" from his eyes. He is also bulletproof.
Comic bibliography Edit
A list of the issues published so far, plus all other known appearances of Radioactive Man (organized by order released):
- Simpsons Comics & Stories #1: Features a page from Radioactive Man #418.
- Bartman and Radioactive Man #1: This comic book was an ashcan comic included in an issue of "Hero Illustrated", in 1994. It contains a mini poster of Bartman and Radioactive Man.
Volume 1 Edit
- Radioactive Man #1 ("1952"): The first appearance and origin of Radioactive Man; a parody of Golden Age comics. Specifically parodying early issues of the Incredible Hulk.
- Radioactive Man #88 ("1962"): features a "retelling" of the origin of Fallout Boy; a parody of Silver Age Marvel comics.
- Radioactive Man #216 ("1972"): a parody of the "relevant" age of 1970s comics, Radioactive Man discovered that Fallout Boy was a hippie spoofing issue #85 of Green Lantern/Green Arrow in which Green Arrow discovered his sidekick Speedy was a heroin addict
- Radioactive Man #412 ("1980"): a parody of the "Dark Phoenix" storyline in the X-Men comics.
- Radioactive Man #679 ("1986"): a parody of several 1980s comic storylines, particularly Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.
- Radioactive Man #1000 ("1995"): a parody of 1990s comics, including Image Comics' Spawn.
- Radioactive Man 80-Page Colossal: a "reprint" of various "previous" Radioactive Man stories; a parody of various Silver Age DC Comics stories, as well as DC's 80 Page Giants, a series of 80-page-long reprints of previous material that DC published in the 1960s.
Between volumes Edit
- Simpsons Comics #36-39 / Radioactive Man #160 ("1968"): the flip-sides from all four issues form a parody of Jim Steranko's Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. comics. Features Purple Haze, a character who parodies Luke Cage's affinity for Ebonics.
- Simpsons Comics #50 / Radioactive Man #99 ("1963"): features a one-page ad parodying the old comic advertisements for Hostess confections; also a backup story, "Planet of the Strange-O's," spoofing Bizarro from Superman's comics.
Volume 2 Edit
Written by Batton Lash; publishing started 2001.
- Radioactive Man #100 ("1963")
- Radioactive Man #222 ("1973"): a parody of the early 1970s Marvel Comics, the cover parodies the Iron Man #45 cover.
- Radioactive Man #136 ("1966"): a parody of Archie Comics's Mighty Comics line.
- Radioactive Man #4 ("1953"): a parody of Marvel Comics science-fiction comics.
- Radioactive Man #575 ("1984"): a parody of various independent 1980s comics, particularly Howard Chaykin's American Flagg (Chaykin drew the cover for this issue).
- Radioactive Man #106 ("1963"): a parody of Gold Key Comics
- Bongo Super-Heroes #7
- Radioactive Man Movie Special: the "official" comic book adaptation of the Radioactive Man movie (as seen in the Simpsons episode "Radioactive Man")
- Radioactive Man #197 ("1971"): a parody of the New Gods comics created by Jack Kirby.
Despite winning an Eisner, volume 2 was cancelled, and Batton Lash and Radioactive Man were moved into writing smaller stories alongside Bartman stories and other miscellaneous Simpsons vignettes as part of Simpsons Super Spectacular.
Post-Volume 2 Edit
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #1: Flip side of comic has Radioactive Man in a parody of Charlton Comics's Captain Atom. Three stories are all based on early 1960s Captain Atom stories, as is the cover.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #2: "Bongos" a parody of Kurt Busiek/Alex Ross's Marvels.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #3: Lure Lass and Weasel Woman team-up adventure, battling the Crazy Cat Lady. Radioactive Man makes a short appearance at the end. Also Features "The Coming of Gastritus", a parody of Marvel Comics's Galactus.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #4: Radioactive Man battles the Cane Gang. After a run-in with them, he becomes deathly afraid of radioactivity, an obstacle he overcomes by the end of the issue.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #5: Radioactive Man battles Mufelatto, the Aliment Man in an homage to Metamorpho the Element Man drawn by Ramona Fradon.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #6: "Interminable Crises: The Extreme Alternate Edition" A parody of DC "Crisis" events
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #7: "The House of Westinger" A parody of Mort Weisinger era DC Superman comics.
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #8: Radioactive Man tells Fallout Boy, "The True Origin of Radioactive Man"
- Simpsons Comics #155: First part of a crossover
- Bart Simpson #48: Second part
- Simpsons Super Spectacular #9: "The Best Radioactive Man Event ever! Part 3"
- Radioactive Man #711: Produced exclusively for sale at 7-Eleven stores (hence the issue number) in concert with the release of The Simpsons Movie.  The issue itself gives a brief (8 page) retcon of Radioactive Man's origin, followed by reprints of #4 and Simpsons Comics #50.
- ↑ Mentioned in The Simpsons episode "Three Men and a Comic Book".
- ↑ Advertised on the back cover of Radioactive Man #412.
- ↑ "SUPERSIMPSONS.COM: Bartman, Radioactive Man, & More!". Supersimpsons.com. http://www.supersimpsons.com/. Retrieved 2008-10-06.
- ↑ http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=004181 Accessed: 17 Mar 2007
- Radioactive Man Comics Guide
- When Bongos Collide - A website that includes guides to comic book appearances of Radioactive Man.
- Radioactive Man at International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Radioactive Man Database
- Radioactive Man #711
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