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A taboo topic?

[Editor's note: It seems that nobody's discussing anything these days other than "THE TOPIC," and I've already vowed not to write another word about that. The problem is, there's precious little else to blog! Fine, so be it. I'll make shit up to write about....]

Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk all owe their very diverse super powers to radiation. Indeed, it seems that in the Marvel universe of the 1960's, almost everyone who got zapped ended up with the ability to perform some cool new trick. Hell, even sitting too long under the dentist's X-ray machine was probably enough to give you "zeta-ray" vision, or adamantine cuticles or something back in those days.

You've gotta wonder how many poor schlubs in Marvel-land intentionally irradiated themselves in a bid to gain some cool new power. I don't remember this topic ever being dealt with in the comics, but you know it must have gone on! I just wonder how widespread the practice was and what the consequences were.


Well, I can't say that I ever considered this topic (boys are so weird), but I guess there probably were a few and those people wound up with iridescent snot or something equally yeuchy and useless. But that's just a guess.

Thankfully, the hazards of radiation were pretty well understood by the time I was old enough for the comic scene. No more fluoroscopes in the shoe stores, etc.

And it's a good thing, too - I'd probably have been one of the high school dorks collecting Americium-241 from old smoke detectors in hopes of getting the power to see through the girls' locker room walls.

C'mon...you gotta admit, it would've been cool.

I think there were a few Hulk enemies who intentionally blasted themselves with radiation to try and get his level of power, like The Leader and The Abomination. (gamma rays apparently also add capitalized indicators to the front of your villain name)

I remember a really sad Fantastic Four comic where The Human Torch (Another "The"!) meets a kid who set himself on fire because he wanted to be just like his hero. I believe The Human Torch was replaced by Herbie the Robot in the cartoon because the producers were concerned about some kid actually doing this.

Good God, I'd forgotten about H.E.R.B.I.E. (Hey, remember what that stands for? I don't.)

I seem to recall some rights issue there, like someone had bought the license to the Human Torch character, for a movie that never actually got made or something. Anyway, H.E.R.B.I.E. may have been the most annoying cartoon sidekick ever, right up there with Scrappy Doo, or Gadzooky, whom I can scarce bring myself to mention.

Still, your explanation sounds more plausible. I wonder why the producers didn't worry about kids gluing orange rocks all over themselves, or stretching themselves between two pickup trucks.

I bet there were kids with tanning lamps all across middle America that are going to have REALLY wrinkly skin when they hit 40. If they haven't already, that is.

An interesting development with Marvel superheroes in the movies is that they've slightly altered these origin tales to keep up with the times.
Spiderman is still bit by a spider, but it's now the Spiders DNA that fuses with his own - and the webbing is created naturally by his body instead of being the product of his scientific genius and chemicals.
In a similar fashion the Hulk is also the result of genetic manipulation - not just Gamma radiation.

Given the hazards of radiation, I recommend that all superheroes and superhero wannabes draw up a living will ASAP.

Please, Spider-Man. Don't make this one of your secrets. Spare Mary Jane future anguish by seeing a lawyer today.

While everyone in the U.S. was obsessing over "THE TOPIC", the folks in Kyrgyzstan were kicking the bastards out.
Freedom has become epidemic.
Oh yeah, Spiderman was a bit after my time. Anyone out there remember Captain Marvel?

I do, Paul. Wasn't one of his enemies a green worm with a radio around his neck?

Better watch it, Barry, or Henry Waxman will call Toby McGuire to appear before congress!

Fortunately, none of my comic heroes, Little Lulu, Archie, Donald, Scrooge, Huey, Dewey or Louie Duck have ever been implicated regarding iradiation.

I sleep well at nights.

BTW, Lance Bannon, the REAL Hobgoblin despite Marvel's evolving rewriting of their comic history, is pooh-poohed as well because he did not have super powers.

You are missed, Lance.

About Spider-Man's webbing in the movie: that was a change that fixed what I always saw as a big hole in the comic - Peter Parker could invent this amazing web fluid, but still couldn't figure out a way to help Aunt May pay her bills every month. He was one patent application away from Fat City.

However, in the movie, the webbing shot out of Peter's hands. His hands? Why not have it shoot out the way a spider does it? I'm sure Sam Raimi pushed for this and was shot down.

Zilla, you're probably the only one who will appreciate this, but I was talking with Shusuke Kaneko and asking him how he would do a Spider-Man movie. He said, "I would answer the question, 'Who else did that spider bite?'"

^ that was me (in case you couldn't tell)

Good point about Peter Parker's patented inventions. I'd thought about that myself. Still, ya gotta understand that the competition out there was fiercer than you might imagine. There was Tony Stark and Reed Richards... and I think *every* villain was automatically a genius inventor, from Otto Octavius to Victor von Doom. A Silly String-shooter isn't quite as cool in that jaded world as it would be to us.

Good post Rog - and I had a hunch it was you.

Speaking of altering the comic histories, I heard that in the new Fantastic Four movie Victor Von Doom is disfigured in the same cosmic accident that transforms the Fantastic Four. His armor is to hide this disfigurement. That's a departure from the original plot as well.

And of couese the new movie Constantine (which I have to see) is a major departure from the character of John Constantine in the comics. In the comic Constantine is a blonde moody brit modeled after Sting wearing a trenchcoat. In the movie it's Keanu wearing black living in LA instead of London.

But I hear the movie is good despite the changes.

Now if they can pull off a decent Green Lantern movie or Silver Surfer flick without it being total cheese - then I'll be happy.

sounds like Doom's origins in the movie is a lot like ultimate FF. Actually, being 18, you more experienced readers might actually expect me to love the Ultimate universe. Actually, other thatn the Ultimates, I hate it. I'm a DC man anyway. Green Lantern rules. But, like I said, I do like The Ultimates. Also, I like the revamping of Squadron Supreme, aka, Supreme Power. Fantastic series.

That guy, so you're a DC man? I started out that way myself. As a Green Lantern fan, hat did you think of the way they did Hal Jordan in the whole "Emerald Twilight" series? Or was that before your time? ;-)

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