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Solar (comics) facts for kids

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Solar
DarkHorseDoctorSolar.jpg
Michael Komarck's cover art for
Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 (July 2010)
from Dark Horse Comics
Publication information
Publisher Gold Key Comics
Valiant Comics
Acclaim Comics
Dark Horse Comics
Dynamite Entertainment
First appearance Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom #1 (Oct. 1962)
Created by Paul S. Newman (writer, concept co-creator)
Matt Murphy (editor, concept co-creator),
Bob Fujitani (artist)
In-story information
Alter ego (Dr.) Raymond Solar
Phil Seleski
Frank and Helena Seleski
Philip Solar
Notable aliases Doctor Solar
Man of the Atom
Abilities Super-Genius Level Intelligence
Since the accident that turned him into a godlike being whose body was transformed into pure energy, Solar gained a vast array of powers including:
  • Energy manipulation in all its forms, and can also generate, absorb, and convert energy and fire energy blasts
  • Atomic and subatomic manipulation
  • Invulnerability
  • Immortality
  • Superhuman strength, speed and endurance
  • Teleportation
  • Flight

Solar is an American fictional comic book superhero created by writer Paul S. Newman, editor Matt Murphy, and artist Bob Fujitani. The character first appeared in Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom #1 in 1962 by Gold Key Comics and has since appeared in other incarnations in books published by Valiant Comics in the 1990s, Dark Horse Comics in the 2000s, and Dynamite Entertainment in the 2010s.

Fictional character biography

Gold Key Comics

The original Doctor Solar was a physicist named Dr. Phillip Solar who attempted to assist fellow worker Dr. Bently avert an imminent meltdown of the nuclear power plant where they worked. It had been sabotaged by Dr. Rasp, agent of an evil mastermind named Nuro. Bently lost his life trying to prevent the meltdown, while Solar absorbed a massive amount of radiation in the process. He survived and discovered that he had gained the ability to convert his body into any kind of nuclear energy. Using his new powers, Solar began searching for Nuro, who would become his nemesis. Nuro used a robot double of himself called Orun and later transferred his mind into it, calling himself King Cybernoid.

The character was initially envisioned as a "post-modern superhero" who didn't wear a traditional superhero outfit, but readers wrote in and demanded a costume. In the fifth issue, Doctor Solar donned a superhero costume, and became known as "The Man of the Atom". In addition, his skin turned green whenever he used his powers. At about that same time, in an "Ask Doctor Solar" column, Gold Key Comics changed Solar's first name from Phillip to Raymond.

Valiant Comics

This version, known simply as Solar, was a physicist named Phil Seleski. Seleski was a fan of the Gold Key line, especially the adventures of Doctor Solar. One day, Seleski and his colleagues were testing a new type of fusion reactor located in the town of Muskogee. When an accidental breach threatened to obliterate the entire city, Seleski rushed to shut down the reactor. He succeeded, but he was exposed to lethal doses of radiation in the process. However, this did not prove to be fatal, but rather, gave him the ability to manipulate all forms of matter and energy. Seleski tried to use his powers for the good of mankind by attempting to destroy the world's supply of nuclear weapons. The U.S. government attempted to stop him and their efforts caused Seleski to lose control of his powers, which in turn caused Earth to fall into a giant black hole.

Seleski was thrown several weeks back in time. The guilt over his role in the destruction of his world caused him to split into two beings: Doctor Solar, who believed himself to be Seleski's childhood hero; and Phil Seleski, who retained all the memories of the original. Seleski sought to prevent the accident that gave him his powers from taking place. His efforts were complicated by the presence of Doctor Solar, who was convinced that Seleski was a dangerous criminal. Eventually, Seleski convinced his alter-ego that they needed to work together, and the two of them fused with the past version of Seleski and prevented the accident. In the process, they discovered that Seleski's fusion reactor was actually a "wish machine" that allowed anyone in close proximity to change the universe in any way they saw fit. Before the original accident, Seleski wished that he could become his childhood superhero. As a result, the reactor simulated the events that gave the original Doctor Solar his powers. Seleski also found out that he did not travel to the past but instead recreated his universe after falling into the black hole. However, this universe was now populated by a large number of super-powered beings. The revelations inspired Seleski to take up the mantle of his childhood hero, becoming known as Solar, Man of the Atom.

Solar went on to have several adventures, fighting a wide variety of threats such as the Spider Aliens, malevolent Harbingers and Mothergod. He survived for several centuries and blew himself up in 4000 A.D. in an effort to stop the Spider Alien invasion of Earth.

Acclaim Comics

The Seleski twins, Frank and Helena, were transformed into the Acclaim Universe's Solar after Phil Seleski left them a portion of his powers.

Powers and abilities

Dr. Solar is a trained scientist, specializing in nuclear physics. Because he has been irradiated, he is now, in effect, a living nuclear battery. No longer dependent on food and water – in fact, no longer having either a heartbeat or a human metabolism – he obtains the energy he needs by exposing himself to nuclear radiation. After absorbing this radiation, especially in large amounts, his skin turns green. It is often several hours before his skin color returns to normal, especially if he has absorbed a larger amount of energy than normal. As a result, he has to wear clothing impregnated with cadmium and lead, and wear specially made dark glasses to protect his co-workers from radiation poisoning. The uniform he later adopts is also lined with cadmium and lead. A visor shields his eyes. On his belt there is almost always a small pouch containing radioisotopes, in pill or capsule form, which he can swallow to boost his energy level in an emergency.

As with any battery, Solar becomes weaker as he draws upon his stored-up energy for various purposes. If too much energy is expended, however, Solar weakens rapidly. More than once, he has nearly died when his energy reserves were depleted too rapidly or too greatly. In some cases, Solar has absorbed so much energy that he has grown to an enormous size, only to shrink back to normal dimensions once the excess energy has been expended. In one case, he absorbed energy from a pile of nuclear waste that his arch-enemy, Nuro, was using to power a gold accumulator in the Pacific Ocean. Fearing that he would lose so much energy that he would not be able to maintain control over his own atomic structure, Solar was forced to retreat. He later resolved this problem, and then returned to destroy the accumulator, thereby foiling Nuro's plot.

Solar can draw upon his stored-up energy at will, releasing and directing it into virtually any form he chooses. He can also use it to defy gravity, thus giving him the power of flight. He can also produce a "heat exchange" effect to reduce an object's temperature to absolute zero in a matter of seconds. He can also manipulate matter at the atomic and sub-atomic level, although the energy cost is usually quite high. In one instance, Solar was able to change a huge iron meteorite into titanium through a form of neutron bombardment called "transmutation", although his nuclear reserves were almost fatally depleted in the process (he was able to restore his energy by flying a small satellite rocket into the Van Allen radiation belt). Finally, if his energy level is high enough, he can travel through time, and has done so on several occasions.

As a scientist at a government nuclear research facility known as "Atom Valley", Solar is constantly engaged in nuclear and nuclear-related research. His unique powers enable him to work without the need for lead shielding, since he can absorb radiation and store it up for his own use. In addition, in his secret identity of "The Man of the Atom", Solar is always ready to use his powers to aid the public when the need arises.

Collected editions

Valiant Comics
  • Alpha and Omega hardcover slipcase (March 1994) - collects # 1–10 (back-up stories); written by Jim Shooter; art by Barry Windsor-Smith and Bob Layton
  • Alpha and Omega trade paperback format edition (March 1994)
  • Second Death trade paperback (September 1994) - collects # 1–4 (lead stories); written by Jim Shooter; art by Don Perlin and Bob Layton
Dark Horse
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (reprints #1–7)
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (reprints #8–14)
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (reprints #15–22)
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom (reprints #23–31, The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor #14)
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom Volume 1 (reprints Free Comic Book Day: Doctor Solar: Man of the Atom/Magnus, Robot Fighter and issues #1-4 of the Dark Horse Comics series Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom)
  • Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom Volume 2 (reprints issues #5-8 of the Dark Horse Comics Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom series)
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