Tom Tot undergoes his amazing transformation. Artist: probably Ernie Hart.


Medium: Comic books
Published by: Quality Comics
First Appeared: 1946
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A majority of the dozens if not hundreds of the superheroes from 1940s U.S. comic books are virtually unknown to today's comic book readers. Exceptions include those of Marvel and DC Comics, such as The Thin Man and Mr. America, respectively, which tend to be still in use. By extension, the DC characters include those of Quality Comics (The Ray,The Human Bomb) and Fawcett (Mr. Scarlet, Commando Yank), whose properties DC now owns. Thus, Quality's …

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… superheroes, even ones that seemed gone after the early '40s, such as Uncle Sam and Firebrand, are now familiar as minor DC superheroes.

But here's a Quality Comics superhero remembered by practically nobody. Atomictot appeared only in the back pages, never so much as a cover, of Quality's All Humor Comics, which ran 17 issues dated Spring, 1946 through December, 1949. Not a major title, and certainly not a meticulously documented one, but it's still surprising to find a genuine superhero from that company that's even less well-known than Bozo the Robot (remembered as the star of the first comic book with a robot on the cover) or Madam Fatal (remembered as the first transvestite superhero).

Even tho he was a funny guy appearing in a comic book full of funny guys, Atomictot was a sure-fire superhero. He had a secret identity (Tom Tot, a tot), costume (he slung what looked like a leopard skin over a shoulder, like many circus strongmen), and super powers (generic, and they came from a wide variety of vitamins he ingested). He had adventures, usually lightweight and never serious. And he was known all over town as the enemy of evildoers everywhere.

There's some controversy over who created Atomictot, at least to the extent anything as dramatic as controversy could accrue to a guy nobody ever heard of or cares about. Some sources say he was created by cartoonist Ernie Hart, whose other credits include Super Rabbit and Marmaduke Mouse. Others attribute him to Quality stalwart Gill Fox, who at various times drew such features as Death Patrol and The Black Condor for them. Our guess is, Hart probably created Atomictot but Fox later replaced him, as he did Bill Ward on Torchy, and his work was extrapolated back.

Whatever the case. Atomictot never was adapted into other media, didn't appear in other comic books, even as a guest star, and was gone for good before 1950.


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