MEGATON MANMedium: Comic books
Published by: Kitchen Sink Press
First appeared: 1984
Creator: Don Simpson
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The word "megaton" connotes awesome power, tremendous destructive force, but as far as brains go — things which are measured in megatons are inanimate objects, and therefore understood not to have any. Metaphorically associated with human beings, therefore, it calls to mind strength, bombast and stupidity, and is therefore a very apt word to use in a superhero parody. It was clearly for
this reason that cartoonist Don Simpson (who later adapted the movie King Kong, little or no relation, into comic books) called his own superhero parody Megaton Man.
Simpson's creation debuted in Megaton Man #1, dated December, 1984, and published by Kitchen Sink Press (Steve Canyon, The Spirit). His secret identity was Trent Phloog, but exactly how he got super-powered was never made entirely clear. Supposed origin stories include being bitten by a radioactive frog (like Spider-Man with his spider) and being experimented on by military scientists (like Captain America) while too young to give valid informed consent. However he got powered up, he, with other members of The Megatropolis Quartet (which has points of similarity with Marvel's Fantastic Four), used to fight a never-ending battle to protect their home town, Megatropolis from super villains and other forms of evil, until it ended with the team's dissolution. (It was succeeded by The VW Gang, which gets around on its superheroic missions in a decrepit old Volkswagen mini-bus.)
Like many superheroes (e.g., The Flash, The Human Torch) he has a 1940s counterpart, Golden-Age Megaton Man (who happens to be his uncle, calling into question the notion that he got to be Megaton Man either of those ways, as opposed to it being a family, or generational thing). He also, like many (e.g., The Blue Beetle, Green Lantern), has a '60s counterpart, Silver-Age Megaton Man, who also has a family connection — his daughter, Miss Megaton Man, was once married to Trent. Megaton Man's current wife is Stella Starlight, aka Earth Mother (formerly See-Thru Girl), also a member of The Megatropolis Quartet and mother of Megaton Man's son. His occasional sidekick is X-Ray Boy. His equivalent of Superboy's Krypto was Plutonium Pup, whom he hung around with when he was a mere Megaton Lad.
Megaton Man blundered through a landscape populated by parodies of The X-Men, Teen Titans and more, for ten issues, ending in 1986. He was next seen in Don Simpson's Bizarre Heroes, published for 17 issues by Fiasco Comics (Simpson's own self-publishing imprint) from May, 1990 through September, 1999. Then Image Comics (Savage Dragon, The Maxx) put out a couple of Megaton Man mini-series in 1999.
Currently, reprints of Megaton Man and his pals, such as Cowboy Gorilla, Phantom Jungle Girl and Yarn Man, can be read daily on the Internet.