Atomic Comics: Cartoonists Confront the Nuclear World by Ferenc Morton Szasz

By Ferenc Morton Szasz

The introduction of the Atomic Age challenged purveyors of pop culture to provide an explanation for to most of the people the advanced medical and social problems with atomic strength. Atomic Comics examines how comedian books, comedian strips, and different caricature media represented the Atomic Age from the early Twenties to the current. in the course of the exploits of superhero figures reminiscent of Atomic guy and Spiderman, in addition to an array of nuclear adversaries and atomic-themed adventures, the general public obtained a brand new medical vocabulary and chanced on the key controversies surrounding nuclear technological know-how. Ferenc Morton Szasz’s considerate research of the topics, content material, and imagery of rankings of comics that seemed principally within the usa and Japan bargains a desirable point of view at the means pop culture formed American comprehension of the fissioned atom for greater than 3 generations.

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12 Although human nature remained essentially the same, twenty-fifthcentury technology had produced an authentic new world. Inertron— an antigravity synthetic element—fell away from Earth just as gravity attracted objects to it, and this allowed people to fly. Rogers’s rocket pistols, as well as the even more lethal rocket guns, could instantly destroy an area up to two miles in diameter. 13 An integral part of America’s popular culture for thirty-eight years, Buck Rogers’s science-based adventures soon spread out to other forms of popular media.

By 1935, the country boasted about 135 other syndicates as well. 22 One can never completely separate the various ways by which the preHiroshima American public learned about the subatomic world, of course, but a good case can be made that (in reverse order) the sciencefiction pulp magazines; the novels and stories of H. G. Wells and lesserknown authors; the professional science writers; and (especially) the Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon phenomena provided the basic framework of popular understanding of the probable wonders of a nuclear-powered future.

In December 1941, Byron Price, the executive director of the Associated Press, moved to Washington, DC, to establish the US Office of Censorship, which would eventually employ ten thousand people. At his urging, the nation’s major editors, syndicated news services, and radio leaders agreed to a voluntary honor system regarding all potentially sensitive matters. In June 1943, essentially the same month that Los Alamos began operation, the Office of Censorship asked the press and radio to not even mention any wartime experi- c o m i c s a n d t h e f i s s i o n e d a t o m â•… ^â•… 31 ments involving atoms.

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