From: (Mean Mister Mustard)
Newsgroups: rec.arts.comics.misc
Subject: The Annotated RADIOACTIVE MAN #4!
Date: 17 Jun 1994 02:51:09 GMT

The annotations that are constantly saving a world that fears them...

Radioactive Man Issue #412 (fourth issue of the limited series)

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 fourth issue of the limited series is called "issue #412," and was 
supposedly written in 1980.  It's told in the style of the Chris Claremont 
UNCANNY X-MEN comics of the early 1980s, which revitalized and 
redefined the concept of the super-hero team.  In fact, the issue is heavily 
based on the landmark "Dark Phoenix" storyline that Claremont and John 
Byrne did in X-MEN.

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 #412, "Oct. 1980"

"In Ze Clutches of Dr Crab!" (cover calls it "Dark Radioactive Man," 
which makes a bit more sense)

Steve Vance:  Script, pencils
Bill Morrison:  Finished art
Tim Bavington:  Additional inks
Cindy Vance:  Colors
Matt Groening:  Told Vance that by God, Radioactive Man had to be 
punished for blowing up that sun... oh, no, that was the other company.

Cover:  A nice reversal of the "Dead Sidekick Syndrome" that's infested 
comics since the 1980s.  I still laugh every time I see little Fallout Boy 
carrying big RM...
	Anyone know the exact cover this is parodying?  I think it's X-
MEN #137, which had Cyclops holding Phoenix.  By extension, it parodies 
the LSH cover that had Rokk Krinn holding his dad (?) and the CRISIS #7 
cover of Superman holding Supergirl.

Page 1:  Dr. Crab has mutated since his last appearance.  According to the 
non-Bongo SIMPSONS COMICS AND STORIES #1 (which was 
produced by the Vances and Morrison), Dr. Crab mutated sometime during 
or immediately after RADIOACTIVE MAN #27.

Page 3, panel 3:  The Crab-bots have a vaguely John Byrnish look about 
them.  Compare them to, say the Mandroids in UXM #118.
	panel 6:  Chris Claremont gave Magneto, the archenemy of the X-
Men, an asteroid headquarters known as "Asteroid M."

Page 4, panel 3:  Gloria Grand is now sporting an early-eighties hairstyle.  
And Claude Kane's clothes aren't any more hideous than some of the stuff 
the X-Men used to wear.  Poor Scott Summers was always stuck in 
bellbottoms.  And don't get me started on Logan.  That guy might have 
been the worst there was at picking clothes -- and what he picked wasn't 
	panel 6:  The bald man is William Casey, Ronald Reagan's 
campaign manager in the 1980 election (and later head of the CIA).  A few 
years ago, there were rumors that Casey helped fix the 1980 election; and 
one of the ways he allegedly did so was by stealing one of then-President 
Jimmy Carter's debate briefing books.

Page 5, panel 1:  Could it be a performance of _Carmen_?

Page 10, panels 1-4:  Jean (Marvel Girl) Grey "died" while piloting a falling 
spaceship to safety; here, RM is dead on a spacecraft that is rapidly falling 
in flames.  And just as Jean returned as Phoenix, so will RM come back...
	This is a good place to note that, in the current Marvel continuity, 
just about everything I'm going to type about Jean Grey/Phoenix has been 
revealed as false.  I'm not even going to worry about all the retconning of 
Phoenix, I'll just refer to events in the X-books as they were originally 
written, since it's those old X-books that RADIOACTIVE MAN is 
parodying, not the current continuity.

Page 12, panel 1:  The "Bonfire Club" is a parody of the Hellfire Club, the 
secret cabal that opposed the X-Men for many years.  Dr. Crab is in a 
position very similar to that of Mastermind, the old X-Men foe who tried 
to "audition" for membership in the Hellfire Club by corrupting Jean Grey.  
Mastermind only succeeded in accelerating Jean's descent into madness, 
and Jean repaid him by driving him insane.

Page 13, panel 3:  Check out the Captain America-shaped memorial.

Page 14, panel 4:  Weasel Woman (who has gotten a new look and attitude 
since we last saw her in RM #88) has now become a parody of Wolverine, 
who became immensely popular under Claremont's writing; WW now has 
nails that go "SNAK!" (rather than claws going "SNIKT!"), an aggressive 
demeanor, and Wolverine's tough-guy dialogue (she even says "bub" on 
page 15, panel 1).
	Also, the Superior Squad is constantly bickering, a far cry from 
their relatively friendly camaraderie in RM #88.  This is also a parody of 
the direction that Claremont's X-MEN gave to super-teams; in trying to 
make them more human and more family-like, the teams were often filled 
with arguments (to be fair, Claremont didn't invent this; the Fantastic Four 
argued a lot, and the Avengers' second lineup was extremely bitchy).  
Fallout Boy's comment about an argument among a super-team being 
"unimaginable" should be read as having a _lot_ of smileys implied by the 

Page 17, panel 2:  "Rigidium polymer nails":  let's be honest, this isn't 
_that_ much sillier than Wolverine's adamantium skeleton and claws.
	panel 4:  Could Plasmo now be required to rhyme in order to cast a 
spell?  He wasn't in RM #88, but powers can change.  The Demon started 
speaking solely in rhyme in the early 1980s, and Zatanna was initially 
required to speak backwards in order to cast a spell.

Page 19, panel 2:  Radioactive Man's pose echoes the one Jean Grey struck 
when she first emerged from the waters of Jamaica Bay as Phoenix (in 
UXM #101).  Also, his costume has changed color, just as Jean's changed 
from green to dark red when she became Dark Phoenix.

Page 20, panel 2:  The bald man, once again, is William Casey; the other 
man is George Bush.  They are obviously in Paris, which is another 
reference to the alleged fixing of the 1980 Presidential election.  Casey and 
Bush reportedly visited Iranian representatives in Paris, to guarantee that 
the American hostages in Iran wouldn't be released until after the election; 
they didn't want the release to boost Carter's popularity before Election 
	This conspiracy to fix the 1980 election has been referred to as the 
"October Surprise"; perhaps RM #412's cover date of October 1980 is 
intended to be another reference.
	panel 4:  The obligatory Nixon appearance for this issue; he's the 
leader of the Bonfire Club, and he's apparently arranged "that yahoo's" 
election so that even _he_ will look like a good President by comparison. :)

Page 23, panel 5:  In X-MEN, Jean Grey became the evil Dark Phoenix, 
and battled and defeated the X-Men.  Yes, I'm a regular Sherlock Holmes.

Page 25, panel 1:  Once again, victory is achieved through Fallout Boy and 
That Darn Lightning Bolt.  Poor Claude, as usual, has nothing to do with 

Back cover:  A parody of ads for the truly abominable "Superman III."  
Just as that terrible super-movie had washed-out comic Richard Pryor, this 
one has the washed-out Krusty.  The stuff about a token cameo by the 
original Fallout Boy is a reference to Noel Neill, the 50s TV Lois Lane, 
playing a small role as Lois's mom in the first Superman movie.  Also, note 
the cheap-looking costume (you can see the stitching), and -- is it my 
imagination? -- or is RM just a little chubby?  Christopher Reeve syndrome, 

Thus concludes another RM annotation... any corrections, additions, or 
whatever can be sent to me at, or posted here at 
rec.arts.comics.misc.  Hope you enjoyed them... it'll be about a month 
before the next issue (and hence, the next new annotations) comes out.

Battle on, Bongo Bandwagoners!  Excalibur!  (And Ex-Force, Ex-Treme, 
Generation Ex...)