The Atom And Hawkman #43
"Buzzin', Buzzin' -- Who's Got The Buzzin'?"
June - July, 1969
Story: Denny O'Neil
Art: Dick Dillin & Sid Greene
Within the faculty room at Ivy Town University, Ray Palmer is going over
his figures regarding the energy-ratio of brain-electricity with that of
the Earth's magnetic field, but one of the professors sees his findings
as science fiction... not science fact. When the assistant professor
tries to get on with his demonstration, Professor Horace McByrd sees all
of this as a bluff for a promotion. Ray tries to keep his temper, but
points out that McByrd hasn't seen a good idea in twenty years. As head
of the department, the professor doesn't take this too kindly, and is
reined in by a fellow professor. McByrd consents to listen to more of
Ray Palmer's daydreams.
ZZZZ ZZZZZZZ The assistant professor is suddenly unable to recall what
he was going to say, and is dismissed. Minutes pass, with Ray Palmer
angered by being made a fool of, and wanting to get rid of this sudden
mood. He wants a fight, but as a super-hero, and not a teacher. The
invisible controls in the palms of his hands are touched, and the
assistant professor begins to shrink down... down... and becomes the
Atom. The Mighty Mite must learn... "Buzzin', Buzzin' -- Who's Got The
Now in a sub-atomic world with many monsters for company, the Atom is
ready for some sparring. He pretends that the tentacled terror before
him is McByrd, even though it's far better-looking. FWONK His
frustrations are soon gone after delivering some blows to "Clyde." KLOP
Since it has no pain center, the creature is completely unharmed, and the
Mighty Mite gets his exercise.
With the fight over, the Atom tries to recall the equations, and finds
that he remembers them clearly. He wonders how his costumed alter-ego
can remember while the assistant professor couldn't. Since his "atomic"
brain is now compressed, his memory loss grows as he changes size. The
Atom remembers hearing a buzzing sound right before the memory loss
occurred. In the month of December, flying insects are scarce in Ivy
Town. Now back in his office, the Mighty Mite sees that someone's trying
to get at Ray Palmer's research notes.
In order to keep up appearance, it is the assistant professor who
confronts his visitor. Hap Coogan says that he wants to find the
evidence which will prove that Ray Palmer is a traitor. When he starts
to ask the University's star pass-receiver what he meant, KWOMP... he is
shoved backwards into the filing cabinet. Although he could turn to the
Atom, Ray decides to show the football player some judo from his college
Hap Coogan is soon swept off his feet, and is asked by the assistant
professor about his accusation. The football player believes that Ray
Palmer is working for an enemy government, and works at Ivy Town
University in order to steal atomic secrets. The papers which Hap
considers to be the proof are nothing more than some of Ray's own
theories on paper.
BZZZZ ZZZZZZZ As Hap starts to tell him the identity of his accuser, he
hears the buzzing sound, and loses his memory. When he asks the
assistant professor what he's doing in his office, Ray tells him that he
just came to say hi. The football player smiles and says that he hopes
to see him at Saturday's game. Someone had sent Coogan to take his
research papers, but Ray does know that the buzzing device is the work of
a keen intelligence. BZZZZZZZ Before he can succumb to the buzzing
sound, the assistant professor changes his size, and the Mighty Mite
disappears from view.
The Atom rides on an updraft, where he gets a closer look at the
radio-controlled machine. The physicist sees this as a fine example of
applied miniaturization at work. With the buzzer returning to its roost,
the Mighty Mite hitches a ride on its broadcast antenna. The sphere
makes its way across the campus -- to a cottage nearby, and a place which
is very familiar to Ray Palmer. Professor McByrd is surprised to see
that the Atom has come along for a ride to his humble home.
When he confronts the professor about the amnesia-inducing spheres,
McByrd refuses to sing at first, but admits that he made them as a way to
stop Ray Palmer. He felt that his position and reputation at the
university was threatened. Horace McByrd is no longer a young man, and
he knows that he may not be the scientist that the younger generation
are. Having seen the intricate detail of the sphere, the Mighty Mite
doesn't see what the professor is worried about. McByrd admits that they
are the result of one of Ray Palmer's many theories. As the Atom
recognizes his own electro-field theory, the professor turns a dial.
FWAMP BZZZZZZZ The buzzer has been activated, pinning the Mighty Mite
to the table, and about to crush him like a bug.
BZZZZZ THUP Professor McByrd uses a pair of tweezers to lift up his
device, but has lost sight of the Tiny Titan. The Atom has shrunk in
size, and has hidden himself in the table's wood grain. The buzzer's
barrage was too close for comfort, but the Mighty Mite owes his colleague
a tap on the chin.
Before he is turned over to the authorities, Horace McByrd is told how he
has been a paranoid, and not recognizing his own achievements. Although
he is not much of a researcher, the professor is more of a technician,
and applied Ray Palmer's theory to the test. With his skill, brains, and
ingenuity, the spheres became a reality. As he is lead to the door by
the Atom, Professor McByrd hopes that he'll be able to make something out
of his life, after he has served his time.
University life is filled with as much excitement as the stories which
take place in Metropolis and Gotham City.
Denny O'Neil has Ray Palmer, assistant professor and Horace McByrd,
professor participating in the generation gap.
In this story, Ray catches the buzz, and loses some of his memories. For
the assistant professor, nothing made sense, and in the next three
decades, this would continue to be the case.
The Atom is seen as a release for Ray Palmer's frustrations, and his
size-changing powers provide the entry into sub-atomic worlds unseen by
Inside The Atom - Hawkman Letters Page, Klaus Janson of Bridgeport, Conn
Man, Mr. Schwartz, are you rotten through and through! Today is Monday
and all my tests, quizzes, and reports have been returned to me from the
past week, and I have nothing to release my sadistic emotions on.
Atom/Hawkman #41 had very little to pick on, so I must inhibit my
emotions and perhaps sleep on them. That is why I say you're mean,
really, really mean... sir.
For the first time in Schwartz-editing history (or as long back as I
recall) you offer us a divided cover. Not only is this the rarest of DC
covers, but they also usually turn out completely... er... bad. But
seriously and honestly communicating here, this cover is the first
divided one I liked! I'm pretty sure it's because there was no white
panel line down the middle, and the fact that each scene was at different
angles. This made them each particular scenes in themselves, yet sorta
incorporated them into one big cover.
Strangely enough, whenever I write to A/H, I can never force myself to
write anything about The Atom. It seems as though the stories
continually fall flat on their faces and just do not have enough pep to
interest me. I promised myself I would read the entire Atom adventure in
this issue, but after about page 7 of "Return of the 7-Year Dead Man", I
just glanced through it. Art is not so much of a problem as stories.
Dick Dillin is certainly a good-enough penciller, but I think Sid Greene
should be replaced by someone who doesn't have so much of a "neat" style.
Hawkman has no difficulties at all. It's superbly drawn, wonderfully
inked and greatly scripted. I still think with a Fox/Kubert/Anderson
combination, Hawkman would surprise everyone at DC with sales (well, if
they go down, they'll still surprise everyone no....?)."
The Editor replies:
"(When you called us "mean", you don't realize how much you mean it! The
art-change on Atom that you pumped for, hasn't materialized; but the
highly acclaimed team on Hawkman has undergone a change! Incidentally,
the Gentleman Ghost that haunts Hawkman in this issue is an updated,
considerably revised version by Bob Kanigher of a "running" villain that
he originated for the Golden Age Hawkman of more than 20 years ago! A
younger Joe Kubert drew the Ghost then - which Murphy Anderson has
faithfully followed. - Editor)"
Martin Pasko of Clifton, N.J. writes:
It seems that Gardner Fox has taken a simple, hackneyed idea such as a
man "returning from the dead" after a long period of amnesia and has
turned it into a simple, hackneyed plot. Every once in a while GF writes
a story that is all action (such as "Return of the 7-Year Dead Man") and
no clues, no mystery, no deduction, and no thought. Strangely, such
stories, despite all their punching, hitting, screaming, yelling, jumping
around, and stuff-like-that-there are incredibly dull."
"Review, Review -- Who's Got The Review?"