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Captain Atom

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J writes...

Youve said before that Captian Atom has metal alloy skin, not a shell. So is he as anatomically correct as a Ken doll or something?
And shouldnt he be wearing some pants? If all the silver is his skin, it lloks like all he is wearing are boots, gloves, and a symbol on his chest, which leave NOTHING to the imagionation...exept what happened to his genitalia.
Can he even have any more kids if he wanted to?

Greg responds...

The metal covers his private parts and his toes by subconscious choice. The not-a-shell statement was in response to being asked if he was a Wildfire-style energy being beneath a metal shell. He's not. He's a fully organic human being beneath an alien metal coating.

Response recorded on May 02, 2013

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Pimping John Wells

John Wells, as many of you may have noticed on the credit lists I've posted for Young Justice, has provided invaluable research on the DC Universe for those of us working on the YOUNG JUSTICE comic and television series.

He's written a book: American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-1964, and he's recently been interviewed by KC Carlson about the book, his secret origins and the work he's done in and for the industry. (Coincidentally, KC was - once upon a time - my associate editor on CAPTAIN ATOM.)

Anyway, here are links to the three-part interview:


Check 'em out! And congratulations, John!

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Clark Cradic writes...

It says on you wiki page that you came up with the plot for an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Powerless!, but didn't actually write the script itself. My question is how your version of the story would have differed from what we received, though I'm guessing Captain Atom wasn't an arrogant git to people without superpowers.

Greg responds...

My story idea was based on an issue of Captain Atom that I wrote (with Cary Bates) back in the late 80s, where Cap lost his powers and went to Batman for some... career advice. Or that was the jumping off point, anyway. I did have Major Force in the premise I pitched.

Response recorded on December 04, 2012

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btgr writes...

In YJ did you based Wade Eiling on disgraced US Marine Lieutenant Colonel "Oliver North"?

Greg responds...

No. We based him on Wade Eiling from the Captain Atom comic book that Cary Bates and I wrote in the 80s and early 90s. And Eiling was loosely modeled on Captain Kirk.

Response recorded on November 19, 2012

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Tup writes...

It appears my last post was deleted in light of your new no-long-lists policy (I have to say I agree, though this time around, my list was only three questions.) So, I resubmit one question, and come up with two new ones (all sort of Captain Atom-y related). I hope it gets through.

1. In the whole JLA/I/E/Extreme Justice era of the 90s, Captain Atom did not get along with Wonder Woman. Green Arrow and Hawkman were never big friends, and Batman seems to detest anything that glows green. Are there any "fights" or rivalries in the League in YJ, or are they all big super friends?

2. Seeing as how the Vietnam War is now over 40 years ago, and not 20 as it was when you and Cary wrote the Captain Atom comics, how does it influence characters? Rako was made a kid (and around 50 now?), but how old are Rois and Eiling? They both have to be well over sixty, or even seventy.

3. Which Captain Atom-derived character is your favorite, Major Force or Bombshell?

Greg responds...

1. Without going into details, they all get along professionally, but some are better friends than others.

2. Yep. It's an issue that I've largely avoided dealing with so far. But eventually. The main shift that through me so far, was how old I had to make Peggy Adams Eiling.

3. I'm not that familiar with Bombshell, and I co-created Major Force, so... take a guess.

Response recorded on August 31, 2012

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Gothic-Cowboy writes...

Mr. Weisman, forgive me if this has been previously established, but, where was Nathaniel Adams born?

Greg responds...

I haven't thought about it.

Response recorded on February 23, 2012

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Laura 'ad astra' Sack writes...

I was wondering your opinion on the New 52. Not the execution, I have a hunch you don't have the time to read much of any of it, but the idea of it.

Although I have found a few books I really like, in general I object to heaving aside continuity and trying to rejam the history back into a too short time frame while wiping out character development. The idea of accessibility is a red herring because if they were capable of sticking to self contain arc inviting to new readers they wouldn't need a reboot to do so. Then again, I came into comics after Crisis on Infinite Earths and am conditioned into thinking it was necessary.

Greg responds...

As you noted, I have NOT had the time to read the New 52, so I will not comment on that specifically. Whether or not it works creatively depends more than anything else on execution. Since I haven't seen the execution, I can't respond to how it works creatively. But I KNOW that commercially it's been a HUGE hit. I like to believe that it wouldn't have done quite so well, if it wasn't executed well too.

But generally, on the idea of reboots, I do have a handful of thoughts:

1. I don't want to be a hypocrite. When we started Spectacular Spider-Man and again on Young Justice, we were effectively doing a continuity reboot. I feel when adapting something to a new media, that's essential, but it doesn't change the fact that (a) we did it and (b) I was relieved to be able to do it. Relieved to be able to jettison elements that I felt didn't work or were redundant or confusing, etc. Our goal, particularly on Spider-Man, was to come up with something Classic, Cohesive, Coherent, Contemporary and Iconic. So how can I object if the comics themselves want to do this?

2. In the end, whether or not either SpecSpidey or YJ was/is successful depends on our execution of our ideas, additions and cullings. I like to think both shows are successful, but that's a judgement each individual viewer would have to make for him or herself.

3. I was working on staff at DC Comics during the publication of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. In fact, during my very first editorial meeting, I raised the question as to why we weren't starting ALL our books over (with the numerical exceptions of Detective and Action Comics) with issue #1. I remember very clearly a collective groan rising up from the conference room table. (They had dealt with this question for months before my arrival.) On the one hand, they wanted Crisis to be a real sea-change, a true reboot (before we knew that term). On the other hand, if you truly reboot Batman, then Robin doesn't exist yet. No Robin, no other sidekicks either. So no Teen Titans. And at the time, the New Teen Titans was the company's best selling book.

4. So the end result was that some things got rebooted and some did not.

5. This was complicated by the fact that certain creators came late to the party, and certain characters got reboots too long AFTER Crisis.

6. And so, as a READER, I couldn't help feeling that - rather than simplifying the continuity - Crisis made it more complicated. This will happen in general, naturally, as time passes and more and more comics are produced by a variety of creators and editors, but Crisis seemed to exacerbate the problem for me personally.

7. In part this was because, I really liked the DC Multiverse. I agree that it was abused to the point of confusion. (And I think it was nuts that Earth TWO had the forties heroes and Earth ONE had the sixties heroes. Just the odd backwards numbering itself created additional unnecessary confusion.) But if limits had been placed on the number of parallel earth stories and crossovers, I think it could have been fine.

8. ESPECIALLY, if they had created a new Earth-THREE, starting over with heroes of the eighties, with Superman and Batman (being new to the hero thing but) remaining relatively constant. But with a new Green Lantern (for example) as different from Hal Jordan as Jordan was from Alan Scott.

9. But that didn't happen. And in fact, though I've read very few comics since 1996, my understanding is that reboots have hit over and over at both DC and Marvel. That negates reader trust in the worth and weight of the stories they're reading. It's more insidious than obvious. And you risk alienating old readers, even as you may or may not attract new ones. You'll always get a short term gain off of a reboot, because everyone wants to check it out. But long term...

10. And going back to my first point - which is that most everything depends on execution - I personally didn't love the execution of some of the post-Crisis rebooting. Some people may have loved it. And that's totally legit. But some of the rethinking on certain individual characters didn't work too well for me.

11. Though personally I think the Bates-Weisman-Broderick reboot on Captain Atom from his Charlton incarnation was brilliant. ;)

12. So, personally, my feeling on reboots in general is that you either do them or you don't. You've got to be thorough and ruthless about it, or don't bother, because otherwise - long term - you're creating more problems than you're solving.

13. And still and all, ultimately, it all depends on execution.

Response recorded on February 15, 2012

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Tupka writes...

Two questions about the comic #10 - a lovely twist on the old series, by the way:
* Captain Atom can revert to a human form. Since "Nathaniel Adams" has been dead for 43 years, does he use another alias (Cameron Scott?).
* Cap is technically 71, but had (through some NO COMMENT event) in 1968. Does he age, or is "Cameron Scott" 28 for the rest of his life?
* The issue mentions "to be continued" at the end, but the solicits for the upcoming issues (#11-#13) make no reference to this storyline. Will this be dealt with in the comics after #14 or in the TV series? I can understand if this is NO COMMENT territory, just curious.

Greg responds...

1. Candidly, yes. Though nothing is canon until or unless it's established in the show or the comic.

2. Captain Atom is chronologically 70 in the year that the series is set. Whether or not he ages, is as yet unclear. He hasn't been back long enough to be sure.

3. We will eventually come back to this storyline in the comics...

Response recorded on February 13, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

How old is Captain Atom? and what kind of powers does he have in this show?

Greg responds...

Captain Atom is 70 years old (though he doesn't look a day over 28).

Cap is connected to the quantum field via his silver skin, which allows him to access clean (NOT RADIOACTIVE) energy and fire off bolts of energy. That same energy can also be used to power his flight and even to enhance his strength. His skin also makes him largely invulnerable. And he can even survive in deep space without a pressure suit of any kind, as long as he has oxygen. (He still needs to breathe.)

Cap can also ABSORB energy and redirect it back to the quantum field. But there's a limit as to how much energy he can absorb and how quickly. If he takes in too much energy at once, the excess will be used as fuel for a one-way trip into the future. The more he absorbs the further into the future he'll jump.

Response recorded on February 09, 2012

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Tupka writes...

Long time reader, first time asker. It's been a great week. I don't know which had me more thrilled, issue 9 or Humanity.

1) Probably asked before by now, but I couldn't find it in unanswered: Can you "translate" Zatanna's spells? I only got the second one, which appears to be "Time to try out a new look". Does Zatara speak backwards too?
2) I noticed the gender swap on Red Inferno and Red Torpedo in Homefront, though I gave it no second thought. However, now with the reveal of the "human" identities in Humanity, was the swap deliberate so you could use the golden age hero James Lockhart/Red Torpedo?
3) In issue #9, you used the name "Nathaniel Adams" as opposed to "Nathaniel Adam". I noticed you used the name before in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Powerless!"; the "Adams" version was, IIRC, introduced in Justice League Unlimited. Did DC ask you to use this name, or do you prefer it over "Adam"?

Greg responds...


1a. Yes.

2. ASKED AND ANSWERED, but yes. Except, I'm not the one who did the gender swap. When I wrote the original Red Tornado mini-series, Inferno was female and Torpedo was male because Torpedo has ALWAYS been male. Of course, they didn't publish my version. So whomever wrote the version they DID publish is the one who did the gender swap. I just went back to the original.

3. I actually do prefer "Adams" over "Adam". I'm sure in this great big world, there's someone out there with the last name "Adam," but even back in the 80s when I first started writing Captain Atom with Cary Bates, I always thought that the last name "Adam" felt artificial. "Adams" always felt more natural to me.

Response recorded on January 26, 2012

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