I’ve mentioned before that Big Bang was born in Megaton #1. The original concept was that of a new generation of super heroes – Megaton, Ultragirl, Vanguard and others. Representing the old generation were Ultraman and the Crusader who were present to pass the torch in that first issue.
Initially, my designs for Ultraman were a bit more modern and dynamic. Eventually, I decided to use the blue and yellow design I had used a years earlier in junior high school in some comic books featuring myself and my friends. I think this was partially due to my liking those colors on the Ultragirl character.
I was even more sure after I somehow talked rising star Butch Guice into drawing the story. His first sketch of the character knocked my socks off, even though she looked a bit older than the girl in my story.
While the Crusader went through a number of changes before evolving into the Knight Watchman, Ultraman (rechristened later as Ultiman for Big Bang) was born fully formed and really hasn’t changed much over the years.
Col. Chris Kelly was an American hero, one of the original astronauts in the early 1960s and the second American to orbit the globe. His next trip into space was a national disaster, when his Gemini space capsule was struck by a radioactive meteor, bathing the compartment with nuclear energy.
His co-pilot died, but Kelly survived reentry and the country held its collective breath as the radiation poisoning consumed him, cell by cell. Yet miraculously, his body transformed on a subatomic level: healing, regenerating and evolving, absorbing the radiation and transforming it into energy. He was not only healed, but improved – – stronger and faster than a normal human being. His senses were elevated to astonishing levels and he was able to defy gravity and eventually, to fly.
Kelly, already famous as one of the original astronauts was now doubly so, his illness and miraculous recovery having played out on the TV. The press began to call him the “ultimate human being” and eventually Ultiman.
Eventually, his powers began to fade and he recharged them by exposing himself to the original meteor. This is where we meet him in MEGATON #1. His teen-aged daughter Christie stops in to say hi and to be on hand to nurse him through the ensuing radiation sickness. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong and the meteor explodes! When Christie wakes up, the place is a wreck, there’s no sign of her dad or the meteor and she is charged up with her father’s super powers!
The new Ultragirl flies off to tell her mom, who is not exactly pleased. When a news flash on the television tells of a hulking monster on a rampage, Christie flies off to try to fill in for Ultraman but discovers that the radioactive brute IS her father!
Unfortunately, that story wasn’t picked up and concluded until six issues and a few years later in MEGATON #7. I’ll try not to keep you waiting that long to talk about it in the next BANG!