Monday, December 3, 2018

OSR Atomic Campaign Commentary "This Shall Not Come To Pass" Revisiting The Free Downloads Of Issue #1 Of Atomic War & Issue #1 World War III

"Look upon the pictures of our giant cities hundred of years in the building, smashed by the atom-bomb, and say: this shall not come to pass! More than ever today, only a strong America can prevent this from becoming a reality!" 

Yeah its been a couple of years since I revisited one of my favorite Post Golden Age comic book series. I've been looking to go into a public domain resource for post apocalyptic science fantasy gaming, both Atomic War  & its sister title World War III by Ace Magazines are perfect gaming resources.


According to the wiki source entry;
"A comic series that lasted four issues and published by Ace Comics from November, 1952 to February, 1953. According to Bradford W. Wright, in Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America (ISBN: 0801874505)
“Published during the time of U.S. participation in the Korean War, Junior Books’ Atomic War! Speculated on the possibilities of World War III. Despite the series’ stated purpose to warn against the horrors of atomic warfare, it did just the opposite. In its stories, U.S. forces employing tactical and strategic nuclear weapons triumphed repeatedly over the Communists.”
According to Scott Shaw at Oddball Comics: “This is one of many comics that reflected our national paranoia during the Cold War of the 1950s and early 1960s. The cover depicts the atomic destruction of Manhattan (note the crumbling Empire State and Chrysler Buildings.) Here's a quote from the issue's first story, "Sneak Attack."
"Look upon the pictures of our giant cities hundred of years in the building, smashed by the atom-bomb, and say: this shall not come to pass! More than ever today, only a strong America can prevent this from becoming a reality!"
Ace Comics was a publisher of comic books during the 1940's through mid-1950's. Like many comic book publishers of the day, the earlier series included costumed superheroes. As trends in the comic book market changed, the focus shifted more to other genres, such as crime horror and romance. The company ceased publishing comic books in 1956.
These comics are in the public domain and various publishers and creators have used them since."

Now let's start out with the fact that this isn't our world of 1960 at all, this is the Pulp world of the Fallout video games & 1950's monster movies especially the Toho films. The military technological axiom is much higher then normal. These folks have atomic powered planes, weird tech military armament,  pin point atomic bombs, etc. & in the first issue New York becomes a solid loot zone right out. Post World War II Berlin is next on the map in Berlin Powder keg  & boy does it get hit. The place becomes a block by block warzone between Allied & Soviet forces.

Atomic War is so straight up & over the top that it reminds me of the Fallout video games & how the comic book tries really hard. America was deep into the Korean war at the time of the publication of Atomic War. The military hardware & weaponry was post WWII boom era & the middle story Operation Haystack bares this out. The last story in this issue Counter Attack takes place around an Arctic military bomber base & a Russian inside sabotage jobber & agent.

The comic book gives three possible loot zones & military style weaponry that the PC's might find. During the late Seventies & early Eighties I'd frequently hear about Atomic War in whispered tones among certain comic book fans. Most of us older comic book fans who knew about the 1950's Seduction of the Innocent hearings laughed our behinds off & some of these folks were also a part of the Eighties D&D Satanic panic;
"A number of Ace stories were used as examples of violent and gruesome imagery in the 1950s U.S Congressional inquiries into the influence of comic books on juvenile delinquency that led to the Comics Code Authority, namely Challenge of the Unknown #6, Crime Must Pay the Penalty #3 and Web of Mystery #19. Western Adventures Comics #3 was used as an example in Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent, and in the United Kingdom Atomic War #4, Beyond #18 and World War III #2 were cited as examples by Geoffrey Wagner's 1954 book on the same subject, Parade of Pleasure — A Study of Popular Iconography in the U.S.A. "

 In New York City comic book shops I'd hear about Ace Comics among Gamma World & post apocalyptic fans with enthusiasm & gusto as the source for their campaigns.  That's sort of where I'd love to head with the comic book series for my own purposes. But I would combined the events of Atomic War issue one  with World War III. The gullible Americans & Allies of the United Nations are caught by a surprise Soviet attack.

World War III #1 - 1953 Ace Cold War Atomic Explosion

The World War III events of both of these comicbooks are very George Pal & even remind me of the his film "When Worlds Collide". They'd be perfect fodder for a Mutant Future game but what about a traditional Dungeons & Dragons game? Well that's where things get very interesting. The Earth of this place might have its dimensional doors ripped open by the atomic bombs. Not only could it be the spawning ground for all kinds of folks with powers. But for a traditional Dungeons & Dragons party of adventurers it might be the perfect opportunity to loot some of the national treasuries of a wide variety of countries!

There is lots of gold, treasure, & possibility a huge number of magic items just waiting for a group of adventurers to go looting across a any number of US or European cities. Simply watch out for that radiation spawn mutations lurking around just about every corner.

Atomic War Issue #1 (Ace Comics) is available right here for free download

Now when it comes to using any of the Ace Comics in my own campaigns I'm looking to get this material right into the background of my own on going Amazing Adventures! rpg sessions. This is where the Amazing Adventures Companion comes in hot & heavy because 90% of the Korean War era hardware is already statted out making the Ace comics material  a super easy slide in.

The future 1960 Atomic War Plane Prime is a side branch of the normal Pulp prime of my campaign world where the factions of the mutant & super powered are taking hold when the bombs fell. The weird science of the world is cranked up to eleven & things get really heated with the increased radioactive & weird science radiations of this world. Castles & Crusades will be playing its part coming up but that's not till our next blog entry.

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