In Which A Mouse, A Rabbit, And A Cat, Become Atomic Superheroes


During the 1950s Charlton Comics was just one of the many small, unremarkable comic book publishers. They had a reputation for low-budget production and the extremely low page rates they payed to their artists and writers. The first and most successful superhero series from Charlton Comics was a pioneer of the funny animal comic genre, Atomic Mouse. Atomic Mouse was created by the then in-house editor Al Fago – the first issue was released in March, 1953.

Following the relative success of Atomic Mouse, Fago introduced Atomic Rabbit in 1955. In 1957, the third of Charlton’s atomic animals was introduced named Atom The Cat. This character was morphed in issue #9 of the series Tom Cat after Tom mutated from exposure to radiation emitted out of a nuclear reactor. Maurice Whitman is the artist who brought Atom to life.

All three atomic animal comics are considered children’s classics. They are interesting examples of the atomic era – while all the characters are mutations from exposure to nuclear materials, their fates are not marred by horror but rather they become superheroes with superpowers. This must have been a comforting message to the children who enjoyed the adventures of these charming little creatures.

Atomic Mouse v1 #1- March 1953

Atomic Mouse  v1 #1 – Charlton Comics, March 1953 (Illustrator: Al Fago)

Atomic Mouse took magic pills called U-235 given to him by by Professor Invento. The pills granted him super powers such as super strength, speed, and flight which he used to protect the citizens of Mouseville. His arch enemy was Count Gatto (Gatto is Spanish for cat) and his inept sidekick, Shadow.

Graphic via CB+ – Entire issue available to read and download here.

Atomic Rabbit v1 #3 - March 1956

Atomic Rabbit  v1 #3 – Charlton Comics, March 1956 (Illustrator: Al Fago)

The Atomic Rabbit/Bunny gained superpowers when he ate U-235 carrots. His powers include flight and super strength which he used to protect the citizens of Rabbitville from Atomic Rabbit’s nemesis, the evil Sly Fox and his two kids.

Graphic via CB+ – Entire issue available to read and download here.

Atom the Cat v1 #9 - October 1957

Atom the Cat  v1 #9 – Charlton Comics, October 1957 (Illustrator: Maurice Whitman)

Originally started as a regular guy called Tom Cat. When the titular character absorbed atomic rays from a nuclear reactor, he was mutated and acquired super powers. The scientists responsible for the reactor gave him a cape and convinced Tom to work for his country and the world, becoming the superhero Atom the Cat. Atom the Cat maintains his powers by eating fresh fish.

Graphic via CB+ – Entire issue available to read and download here.

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