Radioactive Man Repository Volume 1

Radioactive Man Repository Vol. 1Radioactive Man: Radioactive Repository Volume 1
Written and illustrated by: Various
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Hardcover, 7 x 10, 288 pages, Full Color, $25.99
ISBN: 978-0-06208-992-2

I cannot count the number of times I laughed out loud while reading Radioactive Man: Radioactive Repository. I also couldn’t help but shake my head, and think "Why isn't this in every bookstore, every classroom, and every home library of every single comic book lover?"

[Note to reader, of which the writer will deny due to sudden amnesia at the end of this sentence: Every single comic book lover includes myself, for previous to this review I did not own this comic book].

"So what makes this comic book such a treasure?"

The most destructive and ignorant assumption about comic books stems from the 1954 publication of Frederic Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent. Over fifty years after its publication most Americans are still distrustful of comic books and their validity as literary level texts. Why? Assuming that Americans would unconsciously buy his flawed research on comic books and their supposed-direct link to juvenile delinquency, Wertham's study interviewed mid 20th century juvenile delinquents living in juvenile detention centers. During a time in American history when over ninety percent of all young adults were reading comic books the residents in the juvenile delinquent facilities of course said "Yes" when asked if they read comic books. Equivalent to asking today's young adults if they watch television, Wertham's overwhelming results that these juveniles were indeed reading comic books and that such reading related to their juvenile delinquency is ridiculous. Of course they were. But Wertham's assertion that their reading of comic books landed them in juvenile detention facilities is simply laughable. Virtually every young adult was reading comic books, an overwhelming majority of which never even visited a juvenile delinquency.  

With a hilarious demystification of Wertham's ridiculous assertions and a unique superhero spirit Radioactive Man will do more than just save the day. He'll educate and inspire readers to see just how literary and just how superior super hero comic book readers can be.

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Radioactive Man – a secret well to-do son of a famous physicist Dr. Claude Kane II – Claude Kane III seems like an aimless, shiftless rich boy without a care in the world. That is, until, one of his father's experiments accidentally empowers him to be more than what everyone assumes.   

Setting: the city of Zenith, Blather labs, various socialite events

Major Characters: Radioactive Man (aka: Claude Kane III), Dr. Claude Kane II, reporter Gloria Grand, Dr. Crab, Dr. Crab's henchmen

Themes: Problem-solving, Relationships, Identity, Good and Evil

Traditional and Contemporary Literary Pairing Suggestions: any Simpsons comic book, Mark Twain's Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer, Jeff Smith's Bone, any Star Wars comic book, various superhero comic books (especially those published by Marvel and DC)

Some Teaching Recommendations
For Young Adult Readers*

Key Ideas and Details
    2.  Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
    3.  Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
*Aligned to the Common Core Standards (www.corestandards.org).

Lesson Plan Idea for Young Adult Readers

The relationships between superhero characters and their friends, family, and/or foes is often complicated. Sometimes the other characters know both the real-life and the superhero identities of the protagonists. Sometimes they do not.

For that reason, the following lesson plan idea for young adult readers focuses on analyzing how and why individuals, events, and ideas progress throughout the storyline.  

Directions: Please use the following chart to help decipher each key character's relationship to the hero / protagonist in the story (Radioactive Man). As you read each mini comic book in this collection – like chapters – please add information to the chart. When you are done reading the collection you will turn in your chart for a grade.  


Character's Name

"This character's relationship to Radioactive Man is _______________________________"

Events, details, and/or ideas that provide evidence of the relationship stated in the previous column.

Gloria Grand











Dr. Claude Kane II











Dr. Crab











Dr. Crab's Henchmen












Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.