Post by Christian Weisgerber Post by Kevrob
The Feds visited DC Comics, and had them suppress a story where
Luthor attacks Superman with a hand-grenade-sized "atomic bomb."
"Battle of The Atoms," was eventually published in SUPERMAN V1 #38,
Jan-Feb 194, released in October `45.
In _Captain Future's Challenge_, originally published in 1940,
somewhere on the first few pages, the solar shield of the gravium
A black space-cruiser was diving down out of the brassy sky.
It roared over the "halo"-shrouded mine, and a small black object
dropped from the cruiser toward the "halo" radiator.
Next moment, with a roar and flash of white fire, the big radiator
mechanism flew to fragments.
"An atomic bomb!" yelled the Mercurian. "This means death for-"
Even as he realized the imminence of death, he died. The fearful
solar heat, striking the little mine-settlement as its screen of
protective vibrations was destroyed, reduced that young Mercurian's
body to a charred black cinder instantaneously.
(Quoted from a Google Books partial view of an e-book version.)
I guess it's possible that this was only added in a later edition,
but the text above makes me think it was written by somebody who
thought an "atomic" bomb sounded cool and did not yet know how
destructive they would turn out to be.
The "radio-active" bomb blast in "The Time Valve" (Breuer, July 1930)
anticipates both the destructive power and the radioactive half-life of
an atomic bomb. Repost of an excerpt:
Soon they were among low, rounded mounds of sand. There were
long rows of these mounds, and aisles between them, intersecting
each other at right angles. Here and there were larger mounds or
empty spaces that interrupted the symmetry. Streets between mounds
of sand! Eventually it struck Wendelin that he was on the site of
Chicago. And only that evening did the full power of the
realization strike him. Chicago! There was nothing left of it but
low mounds of sand.
The little cavalcade stopped among the mounds and the priests
would go no further. The God of Light would burn off their
hands and feet and all their hair would fall out and they
would go blind, they said. But they were willing to wait right
here until night, and watch the beam of colors, from pale-violet
to deep red, spreading upwards toward the zenith. At this
distance there was a steady rumbling, roaring, rushing sound,
and a trembling of the earth, that kept up day and night.
Wendelin lay there that night, and solved the question in his
mind. Thousands of years ago, Chicago had been destroyed by a
radio-active bomb, which was still exploding. He had heard of
continuous explosives; radioactive materials which, once set
exploding, would continue to explode; and in ten thousand
years would be only half destroyed; in the the next ten
thousand, half the remainder would be exploded, and so on.
There must have been some terrific warfare in that part of
Time which he had bridged. The wars had left behind only
mounds of sand and savages, and a bomb that after thousands
of years was still destroying itself.