Gold Key produced the original Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. In an era when technology symbolized modernity, patriotism- and possible armageddon- the comic fused these elements together into a perfect time-capsule. In the story, an evil mastermind named Muro sent an agent to blow up a nuclear power plant. Unable to "duck and cover" effectively, Doctor Solar absorbed massive radiation, giving him the power to convert into pure atomic energy. Where the main character in the series was liberated by technology to become a hero, his arch-nemisis, Muro, eventually lost all humanity by transferring his mind into a Darth Vader-like robot. Solar also appeared in a series by Valiant Comics and Acclaim Comics in the 1990s and by Dark Horse in 2009. Dark Horse has also printed collections of the original Gold Key editions.
Dynamite's Solar will continue the basic origin story, and they plan to explore Solar's humanity as he struggles to maintain family within the fallout of his new powers. Will the stories take on Cold War themes? I don't know the answer, but one of the variant covers depicts Solar flying through a sky filled with ballistic missiles. From Dynamite: "'Flooded with experimental radiation that grants him unbelievable powers, the brilliant-and-obsessive Dr. Phil Seleski seeks to unlock the secrets of the universe, begrudgingly becoming a 'hero' along the way. But can a single man be trusted with near-limitless abilities? What will this mean to the ones he loves? And will his choices lead to utter chaos and destruction? Brilliant writer FRANK BARBIERE (Five Ghosts) and JOE BENNETT present the Man Of The Atom as you've NEVER imagined!" Wonderful cover art above from issue #1, shipping this April.
The original Six Million Dollar Man (1974-1979) featured the adventures of Steve Austin, an astronaut-turned-agent, who was rebuilt with atomic-powered technology after an accident (note the common theme with Solar). In a 40th anniversary comic series dubbed Season Six, the Cold War hero will return in stories by James Kuhoric with art by Juan Antonio Ramirez. Issue #3 covers include a variant photo of actor Lee Majors in a 007-style tux (see above). Speaking with Comic Vine, Kuhoric said, "The new SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN SEASON 6 comic is a direct continuation of the classic television series. We are picking up right after the last weekly episode and starting up a new 'season' of stories that follow the episodic adventures of Steve Austin. To do this we discounted the handful of reunion movies that were made (which is no big loss – those things were like the Galactica 1980 of bionics) and are going back to the time when kids were running in slow motion and pretending to be a cyborg on the playground. As a fan, I really enjoy Dynamite’s Bionic Man series, which is Kevin Smith’s modern day reboot of the franchise. But our SMDMS6 is the original groovy 1970s continuity." The character originally appeared in comics by Charlton between 1976-1978. He was rebuilt for a run by Kevin Smith and Dynamite between 2011-2012. Issue #1 of this new retro-style series arrives in stores this week! Dynamite page here.
Solar Gold Key panel below from Dial B For Blog. I've always loved the Pop Art style of his costume, with its Flash-like red, eye visor, and radiation symbol. If the members of DEVO ever became super heroes... Enjoy! Learn more: Gold Key collections by Dark Horse and Hermes Press. Doctor Solar spotlight here. Spy Vibe Posts: Cold War Comics, Win Scott Eckert Honey West Interview, Shane Glines Interview, William Maynard Fu Manchu Interview, Richard Sala Interview, Mod Tales Interview, Batman '66 and Andy Warhol, Spies: the World Around Us, Man From UNCLE pages, Six Million Dollar Man records and toys, SHIELD Artist Editions.
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