Saturday, November 06, 2004

Cosmic Rays

No, I'm not talking about the tunes of Charlie Parker--I mean the pesky stuff that created the Fantastic Four.

And now, without transition, here's an aside from Stan Lee from the Fantastic Four's first issue synopsis (July 1961). Virtually all Lee's heroes are born of some sort of radiation (gamma, radioactive spider, or unspecified "high energy" rays), and he needed an excuse to expose his protagonists to cosmic rays above the atmosphere. By using an "unauthorized" rocket mission to the moon as his vehicle, Lee bombarded Reed Richards, Ben Grimm, Susan and Johnny Storm with mysterious cosmic rays, granting them superhuman abilities. When Lee first proposed the comic, he didn't think the moon was a viable destination:

Note: At the rate the Communists are progressing in space, maybe we better make this a flight to the STARS, instead of just to Mars, because by the time this mag goes on sale, the Russians may have already MADE a flight to Mars!
Somehow Stan was talked down to the moon. Today, the thought of a successful Russian space mission seems even more outlandish than mere superpowers.

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