From: (Mean Mister Mustard)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.misc
Subject: The Annotated RADIOACTIVE MAN #1!
Date: 16 Jun 1994 06:26:03 GMT

Since you demanded it... (well, okay, since Dan proposed it as a joke and 
I took him seriously...)

Radioactive Man Issue #1

Compiled by Marc Singer (
Note:  RADIOACTIVE MAN is published by Bongo Entertainment Inc, 
and "Radioactive Man" is property of Fox TV.  These annotations are 
written without their permission.  Let's just keep them our little secret, 

A few general notes:  RADIOACTIVE MAN is a six-part limited series 
published in 1994.  However, the comic RADIOACTIVE MAN, which 
was first introduced on the TV show "The Simpsons," has supposedly 
been printed continuously since the 1950s.  The current series is 
maintaining that facade, by printing each issue as if it were written many 
years ago.  Thus, the first issue, which was supposedly written in 1952, is 
told in the style of a 1950s comic (complete with giant props!).  Issues 
are spaced as much as a decade apart:  the second issue is set in 1962, the 
third in 1972, etc.

In these annotations, I use the fictional numbering of the issues themselves.  
The second issue is called #88, the third is called #216, and so on...

RADIOACTIVE MAN #1, "Nov. 1952"

"The Origin of Radioactive Man"/"Dr. Crab's Commie Comics"

Steve Vance:  Script, layouts
Bill Morrison:  Finished art
Cindy Vance:  Co-plot, colors
Matt Groening:  Has his name splashed all over the place, and wrote a 
little blurb on the inside front cover, but otherwise just collecting a 
royalty check
Additional art assists by Ray Johnson, Abel Laxamana, Phil Ortiz, 
Dominic Polcino, and Mike Polcino

Page 2:  Claude Eane III (soon to become Radioactive Man) is a lazy 
playboy socialite, like many of the earlier heroes -- Ted (Starman) Knight 
springs to mind.  And those initials of his... CK... I think some other 
superhero has them, but I just can't remember who, by Rao...
	panel 2:  First appearance of Gloria Grand, the gal journalist who 
sets RM's heart aflutter.  Note the alliterative initials, like Superman's 
Lois Lane.  In fact, Gloria's rejection of Claude is similar to Lois's 
rejection of Clark... but Gloria really thinks Claude is an idiot.
	Also, check out Gloria's hairstyle.  It changes each issue; this time 
it's got a very fiftiesish look.

Pages 3-6:  Claude's stumbling through a test site is reminiscent of Rick 
Jones, sidekick to the Hulk.  Getting his powers by being ground zero at 
a bomb test evokes the Hulk himself.  Also, note that page 5, panels 5-6, 
and page 6 more or less copy the panels of the RADIOACTIVE MAN 
comic seen in the second-season "Simpsons" episode, "Three Men and a 
Comic Book," in which Bart and friends buy a copy of RADIOACTIVE 
MAN #1.  However, the TV comic didn't have so many big splash pages.

Page 4, panel 3:  A general, reminiscent of "Thunderbolt" Ross from the 
Hulk's origin.

Page 10, panel 6:  Claude's posing in front of a big window, trying to 
think of a disguise... I'm kind of surprised that he doesn't get inspired by 
seeing an atom come crashing through that window.  :)
"Nuclei are a cowardly, superstitious lot..."

Page 12, panel 1:  The first appearance of Dr. Crab, RM's archenemy and 
the guy who was indirectly responsible for his creation (see the 
ultrastereotypical commie spy's comments on page 3, panel 1).  Later, 
Crab will mutate into a more crustacean form, but now he looks a lot like 
Capt. Marvel's nemesis Dr. Sivana, don't he?

Page 13, panel 6:  "J. Westminster Fullbright" is a parody of R. 
Buckminster Fuller, the architect who invented the geodesic dome which 
RM just stole.

Page 14, panel 3:  Can anyone say "Fortress of Solitude"?

Page 15, panel 3:  "Hartley" is obviously Archie, America's favorite bland 
unfunny cartoon teenager.  J.J. Bellwether is presumably the publisher of 
Archie Comics... anyone know who that really was?
	A side note:  a "bellwether" is a term for someone who leads the 
flock, taken from the practice of belling the leader of a flock of sheep.  
J.J. Bellwether's name indicates that he's spinelessly and shamelessly 
trying to lead all his fellow publishers away from "controversial" comics.
	panel 5:  The big Z for WZEN towers over Zenith, evoking the 
Daily Planet globe's presence over Metropolis.

Page 16, panel 1:  Gretchen Grille, society reporter, sbems to be a rival 
for Ms. Grand (although neither one really likes Claude).  She's the Lana 
Lang to Gloria's Lois -- and they have the same "GG" initials, just as all 
of Superman's women had the initials LL.

Page 17, panel 2:  First appearance (in a photograph) of Rod Runtledge, 
who will later become RM's sidekick, Fallout Boy.
	panel 6:  "Finger's House of Giant Props" pays homage to Bill 
Finger, the Batman writer who wrote all the stories that had giant 
typewriters, pens, etc. (much like the ones contained in the warehouse) 
dotring Gotham City's skyline.

Page 18, panel 4:  "Frankie Costanza" = Frank Sinatra?

Page 19, panel 6:  The "SPRANG!" sound effect is, of course, a tribute 
to Dick Sprang, the Batman artist who drew many of those giant-prop 

Page 22, panel 3:  I'm ashamed to say that I didn't get the joke behind 
Rod having an "Aunt June" until I read RM #88 and realized that Rod is 
patterned after Peter Parker... groan...

Page 23:  Obviously a poke at the lurid EC comics of the 1950s.  The 
"MC" logo resembles EC's, with the M presumably standing for publisher 
"William G. Maimes" (a parody name for EC's publisher, William C. 

Page 24, panel 3:  "Dr. Hedrick Hertzmann": a parody of Dr. Frederic 
Wertham, the "authority" who condemned comics for allegedly 
corrupting children in his now-infamous book _Seduction of the 

Page 26, panel 2:  Note that Radioactive Man only wins through dumb 
luck (both here and at the prop warehouse).  This is the start of a trend... 
most of RM's "victories" are only attributable to a) Dumb Luck, b) That 
Darg Lightning Bolt in His Head, or c) Fallout Boy, or any combination 
	panel 4:  Crab's escape rocket bears a suspicious resemblance to 
the pre-Crisis rendition of the rocket that carried Superman to Earth.

Page 27, panel 3:  The first appearance of Richard Nixon, who has been 
seen in every RM issue so far.  In real life, Nixon was indeed on the 
House Un-American Activities Committee, which led the anti-Communist 
witch hunts even before Joe McCarthy.  In fact, Nixon got his political 
career started by pandering to thb public's fear of Communism.  His 
presence here, while a parody, isn't that much of a stretch.

Page 28, panel 1:  Maimes is getting dragged off to jail.  In real life, the 
anti-comics furor (which was fanned by Dr. Wertham) resulted in most of 
William Gaines' EC comics getting discontinued, because they were too 
"corrupting."  The only Gaines book that survived was MAD magazine.  
And the now-toothless Comics Code Authority was established; for many 
years, the CCA strictly regulated what comics could and could not print.  
Many of dts provisions were specifically targeted at EC Comics:  I believe 
it forbade any comic from using the word "Crypt" in its title, for instance.
	You have to wonder what people were drinking back then to 
make them act so crazy.  Hmmm, maybe it *was* the fluoride... :)
	panel 2:  Of course, we all know about Nixon and his taping 
system, don't we? :)  

Page 29, panel 2:  Note the acronym for the Cartoon Conduct Code 
Program (a parody name for the CCA), which was ostensibly established 
to oppose totalitarian ideas...

Ad at bottgm of page:  DC used to run ads for other titles on the bottom 
third of the final pages of their stories, space permitting.  And note that 
Simpsons Comics #1 has a cover parodying Fantastic Four #1.

Back cover:  A parody of those old Charles Atlas ads.  Atlas advertised 
"dynamic tension," not "dramatic tension."  (I wonder if there will ever be 
an Atlasman/Flex Mentallo crossover?)  And little Mac finds himself in a 
situation very similar to that of young Bruce Wayne... 

Well, that's it for now.  You can send any additions, corrections, 
clarifications, comments, or vehement tirades to me at, or just post them to rec.arts.comics.misc.  Let me 
know if you want to see more of these.

I'm currently planning to annotate the rest of the series, unless of course I 
get a torrent of angry letters telling me to never publish them again.  In 
which case, I'll send extra copies of the annotations to those people's 

Thanks for reading, Bongo Believers!  Exacerbate!!!