Over at the Comic Treadmill, Mag and H are celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas by each selecting their two favorite covers featuring a particular character. The series is such fun reading that I decided to play along over here. Well, that and not having anything else to talk about.
Day One: The Atom
I've never been a big fan of the Atom (get it? get it?), but he is a big (I kill me) part of the cover for one of my favorite silver-age Justice League of America stories, from #18. Our mite-sized heroes are attempting to get the Atom's attention before they shrink completely out of existence. This cover is by the masterful Murphy Anderson.
Of course, they do manage to do this, and he follows them under his own power to a microscopic world whose Protectors emit a radiation that is slowly killing their planet. But these android Protectors were created too well, and cannot surrender to their makers. They have summoned the Justice League so that they might defeat them and end the threat they pose.
Boy, that'd be a year's worth of story arc now. You young whippersnappers don't realize how good we had it way back then.
By the 80s, the Atom had been canceled a couple of times, and generally written off as an unworkable concept. Jan Strnad and Gil Kane got Jean (the bitch) engaged to another man, dumped Ray in an Amazonian forest, broke his size-controls, stuck him at six inches high, and let him stumble onto a lost six-inch-high civilization.
Sort of like if the Atom had been created by Edgar Rice Burroughs -- and I mean that as a compliment.
I never did get the logic of having him wear a loincloth over his tights, though.