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In our silly lil game, we sometimes see things pop in that we have no clue as to their Origin. They seem familiar, but we just can’t pinpoint from where. So that is why we decided to make a fun lil reminder out of it. To let you know just Where did THAT Come From?
Hello, hello super friends! So the other day, I was writing the origin post for Fallout Boy and realized I had never actually gotten around to doing one for Radioactive Man in the game. By now, you know his character was re-released as a combo offer with Bartman but I decided to write an origin post before it came out so it’d be ready for my favorite tappers. You can’t write about “Jimminy Jillickers” boy without the Atom Knight. Of course, that post obviously includes info about Rad Man but there’s a lot more that can be shared with my favorite tappers. I left out some info that’s on the other post but since I compiled a ginormous list that wasn’t there, I figured a separate post was in order. Let’s dive in to the Best. Show. Ever. and see what we can find.
It didn’t take long at all for the writers of The Simpsons to introduce us to Radioactive Man. In “Bart the Genius” (S1:E2), he’s right there. I saw a nerd argue that he was meant to be in the very first episode since the Christmas Special wasn’t originally meant to be the first episode but sorry bub, that honor originally was meant for “Some Enchanted Evening.” Anyhoo… Bart switches aptitude tests with Martin Prince and is declared a genius with a 216 IQ… wowza. Bart is sent to a special school (The Enriched Learning Center for Gifted Children) and he is able to read anything he wants. No surprise to us now that he picks a Radioactive Man comic. RM looks way different here. The gifted teacher is surprised it found it’s way onto the bookshelves. The school used it as a prop in a play about illiteracy.
Poor Bart doesn’t fit in at all but at least he scored a comic. I think it’s curious how different RM looks originally.
I have to say, as a kiddo watching this episode, it seems the message was that comics might not be for smart kids like me. Thankfully I’ve since read countless stories about kiddos learning to read with the funny books I cherish. My kid will certainly not be kept away from comics. Wow… already straying from the topic. Go figure. Our next appearance is “Three Men and a Comic Book” (S2:E21). Radioactive Man finally takes the shape we’re used to. He always says cool things before punching bad guys and once was a corporate shill for Big Tobacco. The actor who played him on TV, Dirk Richter, was shot to death in a bordello. At the 12th Annual “Close Encounter of the Comic Book Kind” Convention, we see another kid dressed up as him, more proof of Radioactive Man’s popularity.
I love that we see other comics he was in like issue 72, “an imaginary tale where Radioactive Man marries Larva Girl. This episode marks the first appearance of my favorite character, Comic Book Guy, and he shows Bart Radioactive Man #1, the reason God put Bart on the Earth apparently.
Bart starts planning how to get the comic. He recycles, sells beer on the street, and performs odd jobs for Mrs. Glick and periodically gazes on the end goal for all this hard work. I love that this episode also brought us the Android’s Dungeon!
Poor Bart… lots of hard work and he still doesn’t have enough scratch for the hundred dollar price tag. You can’t buy much with two quarters. His total haul is 35 bucks. It might just be me but I seriously laugh that he’d made $34.50 doing the other stuff and then slaved away for the last two coins. 35 is short of the end goal of 100 but fortunately for him, he ends up splitting the cost with Milhouse and Martin to buy it. Unfortunately, they didn’t think about who would hold the physical copy.
The rest of the episode is the dilemma the three boys find themselves in and we also get the origin story for Radioactive Man.
I’ll hold off from sharing the complete story as I really think of this episode as a classic every Simpsons fan should watch. One of my favorite episodes of all time. Once we get Comic Book Guy and the Android’s Dungeon in the show, it’s pretty safe to say Radioactive Man appears frequently. I don’t have the time or energy right now to watch every Android’s Dungeon appearance so here’s some other appearances I felt like sharing or thought were important. Not to worry though, the Dungeon will probably show up here and there. This is not a comprehensive list but still fun IMHO. Definitely a long one though with a lot of appearances.
“Bart the Murderer” (S3:E4) – Gotta love an episode where Bart becomes a bartender for Fat Tony’s mob. While helping hide illegal cigarettes, we see Bart reading the Radioactive Man comic from when he was a genius. Funny considering the first appearance and the cigarette ad later. Also interesting that Season 2 gave us Radioactive Man as we know him today but this still called back to Season 1’s version. Little things like that make me happy.
“Bart’s Friend Falls in Love” (S3:E23) – Milhouse gets a girlfriend and when he brings her to Bart’s treehouse, I bet you can guess what comic Bart was reading. Bart recommends Radioactive Man vs the Swamp Hag for Samantha Stankey. The same comic (#8 if you’re wondering) is being read in “Boy Scoutz ‘N the Hood” (S5:E8) by one of the child customers of the Kwik-E-Mart when Bart and Milhouse order an all syrup squishee.
“Radioactive Man” (S7:E2) – It all starts with a discussion between Bart and Milhouse in the Android’s Dungeon… Radioactive Man v. Radiation Dude.
There’s also an amazingly campy 1970s TV show like the Batman one I love (actually watching the 1966 movie on Netflix as I write this… shark repellent, anyone? lol) and Rainier Wolfcastle playing Radioactive Man. Up and At Them! Also more Radioactive Man info that there were 814 issues of Radioactive Man at this time and one of them was “a special, limited-edition issue where he and Fallout Boy get killed on every page.”
“Marge Be Not Proud” (S7:E11) – we see a Radioactive Man poster in Milhouse’s bedroom. It’s not super clear but you can see it’s the Atomic Avenger behind the bed.
“22 Short Films About Springfield ” (S7:E21) – I think I included this one just because I love the episode and hope for people to watch it. Radioactive Man is seen during the Milhouse and Comic Book Guy short.
“Treehouse of Horror X” (S11:E4) – Whenever I think of this episode, my first joke is “Guess I forgot to put the fog lights on” a la Homer and the Sugar Crisp jingle but in the “Desperately Xeeking Xena” segment, Milhouse is seen wearing a cheesy Radioactive Man costume. Not completely original though since we saw Milhouse wearing one as far back as “Treehouse of Horror III“ (S4:E5). I wrote all about both of these in this post.
“Worst Episode Ever” (S12:E11) – Comic Book Guy gets his first major role in an episode, and to boot we get Tom Savini and Radioactive Man #1000. A comic so cool it is “in perma-mint condition”, costs $25 bucks and repels fluids.
“Marge’s Son Poisoning” (S17:E5) – In this episode, Bart and Marge ride a tandem bike, do tea time together, and Marge seals all of Bart’s comics in mylar for protection. I guess we know now that Radioactive Man enjoyed soccer (no I will not call it football) once with Pele versus an alien. In “Homer’s Paternity Coot” (S17:E10), the commercial for the Smoke Damage Outlet Store advertises “action figure puddle” as one of their bargains. Poor Rad Man.
“Postcards From the Wedge” (S21:E14) – Just another comic. Looks like Fallout Boy is underage drinking in Radioactive Man #8.
It shouldn’t be surprising that merchandising is a thing with Radioactive Man. I own quite a bit of geek paraphernalia. In “Donnie Fatso” (S22:E9), we see Comic Book Guy wearing a RM sweater as he seeks to liberate the ice cream cone Homer left in his cup holder.
“Beware My Cheating Bart” (S23:E18), there’s a Radioactive Man figurine on the shelf of CBG’s geek haberdashery. “Think of this as your personal Asgard.” There’s also a comic with Libby on the shelf, Radioactive Man vs. Muhammad Ali, and Radioactive Man # 1 on the counter.
The comic appearances continue in “Dark Knight Court” (S24:E16). Like I said before, it really should come as no surprise to see lots of Radioactive Man comics in the Android’s Dungeon. Too bad Burns burned them all in the episode. I really liked the one with the Starland Vocal Band.
Also interesting that in “Mom’s I’d Like to Forget” (S22:E10), the first appearance of Radioactive Man’s in Interesting Stories #27 was postulated as a rare comic yet in the Fruitbat Man episode, CBG now has multiple copies all over the store as well as issues that have appeared elsewhere. I’m guessing these are re-prints just to satisfy my continuity and nerd-dom requirements.
It seems like it’d be time for a physical appearance in the show and we need look no further than “Steal This Episode” (S25:E9). Took a while aka 18 seasons but oh well. Homer is at work but trying to avoid spoilers about the new Radioactive Man sequel, err, reboot, err, deboot. We learn from Lenny & Carl’s water cooler conversation that in the new movie, Radioactive Man gets his powers from his suit but that the suit is slowly killing him and if he doesn’t wear it, he’ll die. Other plant workers are talking about RM erasing his memory so he won’t be tortured by his past when he was born in the future. Krusty Burger has toys with spoilers too. Even Reverend Lovejoy works in details from the film into his sermon like Radioactive Man having “to kill his own antimatter twin with a blast of time particles from a chrono-tube and in doing so mortally wounding his girlfriend…”. Oh the spoilers and I’m sort of the problem! I hate it when movies are ruined even when they sound awful. I wonder if his mom’s name is Martha?
Anyhoo… Homer finally goes to see Radioactive Man Re-Rises so he can join in the convo. It only cost 72 bucks for the 3D show for his family and Grampa.
Homer didn’t splurge for the HFR VRV (Hobbit Frame Rate Virtual Reality Vision) but he does see the movie, well sort of. All we see is the Ask Body Spray commercial before the movie and then Homer gets himself kicked out.
Thankfully Bart shows his dad the joys of illegal downloading. We still don’t see the movie but Homer does and in Homer’s list of 10 things he liked, #10 was “when whats-his-name did that stuff with those dudes.” Next up, “Married to the Blob” (S25:E10). Wow… back to back Radioactive Man episodes. The set-up for this episode is Radioactive Man dying in the comics. Just like real-life comics, he returns in a new #1 issue.
There’s a whole animated segment too of Radioactive Man vs. the Fossil Fuel Four. Check out this post for images from that.
“Opposites A-Frack” (S26:E5) – nothing says comic book legend like more action figures. These ones are all from the Radioactive Man Re-Rises movie.
Mihouse is seen reading a Rad Man comic in “Blazed and Confused” (S26:E7). In “The Musk Who Fell To Earth” (S26:E12), Bart must have bought the figurine from CBG because it’s now on his shelf when Homer is fighting Squawky the bald eagle.
Radioactive Man also features heavily in Bongo Comics. There have been quite a few physical comics written about the Atom Knight. For giggles, I bought a compendium of them just to read and share with all of you. Of course, then I got the 272 page beauty that is the Radioactive Repository Volume 1 and realized this post was already long enough. I’m thinking about writing a whole seperate post for this goodness. Suffice to say it is awesome and parodies comics so nicely.
If you’re interested in a bigger list of all of the Bongo Comics, check out this site. So there you go super amigos. A plethora of appearances of Radioactive Man in the Best. Show. Ever. What do you think of them? Did you buy the combo to add him to you town or have him from the first Superheroes event? Ever read the Bongo Comics? Got an appearance or comic that you love that I didn’t mention? Want me to write about the Repository? Sound off in the comments and happy super tapping.
TTFN… Wookiee out!