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Atom, The - Archives, VOL 01 [Hardcover]

Gardner Fox
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 2001 DC Archive Editions (Book 1)
The legend of the scientific super-hero, the Atom, is broughtback to life as it was originally presented in the 1960s. Reprinting theearliest adventures of Ray Palmer and his belt of White Dwarf Starmaterial, which allowed him to shrink his body in size, these classic talesshow the beginnings of one of the most well-known heroes of all time. Inthis collection of stories, the Atom must take on a tiny planet-hoppingthief, solve the mystery of a lingering curse from the ancient Salem WitchTrials, and capture a communist spy attempting to steal American defenseplans.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Room to Grow April 25 2002
As a child, I liked my superheroes to have a scientific bent, so the stories about physics grad student Ray (The Atom) Palmer adventuring not only on earth but also in time and other dimensional worlds appealed to me. Plus, kids can identify somewhat with a hero that the adult world towered over.
Comics from the '60s were all about gimmicks, and the Atom's was that he could shrink, varying from submicroscopic size to about a foot tall. That let stories develop from notions of putting the Atom in peril not only from normal-sized adults but also from various small objects, from the pointed hands of a watch to a Venus fly-trap to a draining sink (all represented here), which would then be drawn enticingly on the comic's cover.
Author Gardner Fox and artist Gil Kane had already gained some measure of fame for their work on Green Lantern, but they had yet to find their footing on The Atom. The Atom was never one of DC's most popular heroes, but I liked him, and this collection shows the two creators moving from the hero's origin to the establishment of recurring themes which would lead to The Atom's brief peak of popularity.
The collection includes the introduction of two villains who became favorites with DC Comics readers: Chronos the Time Thief (who used clock gimmicks) and Jason Woodrue the Plant-Master (not only a master gardener but also an exile from a dimension where dryads ruled). It also includes the first "Time Pool" stories, in which the Atom would use a wormhole in time (too small for normal humans) to make discoveries in the past. (Oddly, Chronos was never used in a Time Pool story, which would seem a natural combination.)
    This book reprints Atom stories from SHOWCASE #s 34-36 and THE ATOM #s 1-5, 1961-1963.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Atom shrinks with age: Great Artwork, Poor Writing April 15 2002
By JWA
I remember the Atom when he first came out, and I read a couple of these issues as a kid. I bought this volume on the strength of the art, which is excellent in my view, and relying on my enjoyment as a kid of these stories. There remains a lot of dynamism and solidity to the penciling in these stories, but not much else. Unfortunately the writing (and I am usually a fan of Gardner Fox)is lousy, and the plot twists, few as they are, lack believability. In retrospect, I wish I had not invested--it's not a volume I'll be looking at again any time soon.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but not great Silver Age Atom stories. April 5 2002
Fox wrote these stories around the same period of time he was writing for JUSTICE LEAGUE and HAWKMAN. But the Atom story ideas are never as creative or bizarre as those in JUSTICE LEAGUE, and the characters aren't as likeable as Hawkman and Hawkgirl. The Gil Kane / Murphy Anderson artwork is pretty impressive, however; and it's reproduced here well via the DC Archives "remastering" process.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Mite for All Seasons Oct. 3 2001
By Bob
The Atom was probably the most versatile superhero of the Silver Age of DC Comics. In this collection of stories from 1961, scientist Ray Palmer discovers the secret of controlling his size and weight and becomes the Atom. Rather than exploit his invention for prestige or commercial gain, he chooses to secretly aid lawyer Jean Loring, his fiancee, with her most difficult cases, in the hope that she will agree to marry him after achieving professional success on her own. His subsequent adventures run the gamut from science fiction to espionage to historic time-travel to light fantasy to criminal investigation. Far from invincible like Superman or Green Lantern, the six-inch Atom, embellished by the artwork of Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson at their best, promised and delivered the most fun and excitment (and, admittedly, at times, silliness) of just about all 1960s superhero comic books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Room to Grow April 25 2002
By Chris Jarocha-Ernst - Published on Amazon.com
As a child, I liked my superheroes to have a scientific bent, so the stories about physics grad student Ray (The Atom) Palmer adventuring not only on earth but also in time and other dimensional worlds appealed to me. Plus, kids can identify somewhat with a hero that the adult world towered over.
Comics from the '60s were all about gimmicks, and the Atom's was that he could shrink, varying from submicroscopic size to about a foot tall. That let stories develop from notions of putting the Atom in peril not only from normal-sized adults but also from various small objects, from the pointed hands of a watch to a Venus fly-trap to a draining sink (all represented here), which would then be drawn enticingly on the comic's cover.
Author Gardner Fox and artist Gil Kane had already gained some measure of fame for their work on Green Lantern, but they had yet to find their footing on The Atom. The Atom was never one of DC's most popular heroes, but I liked him, and this collection shows the two creators moving from the hero's origin to the establishment of recurring themes which would lead to The Atom's brief peak of popularity.
The collection includes the introduction of two villains who became favorites with DC Comics readers: Chronos the Time Thief (who used clock gimmicks) and Jason Woodrue the Plant-Master (not only a master gardener but also an exile from a dimension where dryads ruled). It also includes the first "Time Pool" stories, in which the Atom would use a wormhole in time (too small for normal humans) to make discoveries in the past. (Oddly, Chronos was never used in a Time Pool story, which would seem a natural combination.)
    This book reprints Atom stories from SHOWCASE #s 34-36 and THE ATOM #s 1-5, 1961-1963.
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mite for All Seasons Oct. 3 2001
By Bob - Published on Amazon.com
The Atom was probably the most versatile superhero of the Silver Age of DC Comics. In this collection of stories from 1961, scientist Ray Palmer discovers the secret of controlling his size and weight and becomes the Atom. Rather than exploit his invention for prestige or commercial gain, he chooses to secretly aid lawyer Jean Loring, his fiancee, with her most difficult cases, in the hope that she will agree to marry him after achieving professional success on her own. His subsequent adventures run the gamut from science fiction to espionage to historic time-travel to light fantasy to criminal investigation. Far from invincible like Superman or Green Lantern, the six-inch Atom, embellished by the artwork of Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson at their best, promised and delivered the most fun and excitment (and, admittedly, at times, silliness) of just about all 1960s superhero comic books.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite of the comic book heros of the silver age June 2 2005
By Hallstatt Prince - Published on Amazon.com
The silver age Atom (there was a slightly different "Atom" of golden age comics) was a fantastic comic. Perhaps the strongest thing about it was the art of Gil Kane.

Kane's renderings are true works of art, some times surreal some times psychedelic, that are time capsule of our fears at the height of the cold war. In a word Kane's work in "The Atom" gives a strong feeling of the apocalyptic.

It was a science based comic book which I found very appealing when I discovered it as a child. For a comic book some of themes, characters and dialogue are actually fairly sophisticated.

This volume reproduces pages of the first and probably best issues of the comic.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tiny Dancer June 22 2013
By Jonathan Stover - Published on Amazon.com
The Atom Archives Volume 1: written by Gardner Fox; illustrated by Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson, and Mike Sekowsky (1961-63; collected 2005): When the great DC editor Julius Schwartz decided to reboot the humdrum Golden-Age Atom for DC's ascendant Silver Age, he wisely gave the character actual powers. The Golden-Age Atom had been a short guy who was pretty good in a fight. The Silver-Age Atom was a scientist who figured out how to shrink himself while also controlling his mass.

This latter ability -- which allowed the Atom to be light as a feather or to weigh his full 180 pounds when he was six inches tall -- really could have been dangerous, as he could conceivably have been the first superhero to be constantly in peril of collapsing into a black hole. But apparently the Atom kept good track of his mass-to-size ratio and avoided this terrible fate.

This new Atom allowed for Gardner Fox and Schwartz to play with size and perspective within a quasi-scientific framework. The explanation for how the Atom could travel down phonelines required a half-page of text, and actually explained to me how the sound of a voice or what-have-you supplied power to analog phone lines. Science!

The elegant and dynamic Gil Kane and the detailed Murphy Anderson made a really nice art team on these early adventures. As with most Silver Age reboots, the Atom eschews a cape. And Kane makes the little fellow quite balletic and acrobatic, just as he did the Silver Age Green Lantern. A lot more fun and engaging than I expected. Recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars atomic gil kane art lives on. May 27 2010
By Michael Dobey - Published on Amazon.com
Gardner Fox was a great writer who wrote a ton of comics from the golden age to the silver age and lots of books as well. With this character he is as usual very literate and he often focuses on the current science of the day. These aren't his best stories; but they are entertaining. These stories often feature non-custumed villians , but they do have the origin of Kronos in here though. Interestingly he has pattern baldness! now that's a first perhaps as far as super=-villians go. (he's not completely bald). These type of stories are not slambuster type of superhero stuff but they are well thought out and fun to read.this is not as good as what Fox had done in the Justice League; but it's not that bad. Todays readers are too much bombarded with supervillians to realize that you can also have stories that have nothing to do with them and still be entertained. These are cold war era early sixties stories and the late Great Gil Kane does his usual great art stylings and he even gets the excellent murphy anderson to ink him! This archive is remastered like d.c. used to do before they went insane and started scanning old comics and putting that out as a expensive archives . So you get your moneys worth with this one.
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