All-Atomic Comics! Object of the Fortnight 27/03/2014
In the late 1970s a surge of creative underground comics emerged and were very popular. These comics were independently made and published, and featured a range of stories that reflected the culture of the time. While these comics often had wild stories, some held a key message or link to a moral dilemma relevant to the time.
This object of the fortnight is All-Atomic Comics, released in 1976 by Last Gasp Educomics. This is a satirical swipe at the nuclear power debate which was a very big issue at the time.
With new nuclear fission reactors being built to generate electricity, many people were sceptical about the risks they might bring. This comic took a very clear and negative stance on nuclear power, emphasising on encouraging action against it.
The front cover depicts a young boy asking “is nuclear power the answer?” and a rather menacing looking light bulb replying “kid, I’d bet your life on it!” The humour comes from its attention to detail, for example the light bulb is stood on a book entitled “Bigger is Better” This comic would most likely have been sold in comic book shops and some record stores. It may have also been sold in specialist newsagents.
This is a very humorous little comic which shows how cultural, social and political factors of the time are reflected upon in so many different ways even in comics. This comic takes a very firm and obvious stance against nuclear power and aims to educate people about it. The fact that it is also very funny helps too.
Comics like this are rare and difficult to find in good condition. Some copies are still sold in online auctions and digital copies are also available for download online.
Written by Max Coleman. Max joined the Peace Museum for a three week work placement in March as part of his B.Ed studies at Bradford College.