Atom & Jean

In the early days of the Silver Age, most of the superheroes had significant others who supposedly were unaware that their beau was the costumed super person who occasionally showed up and was never in the same room as their guy (or gal, in the case of Diana Prince and Steve Trevor).

Some girlfriends turned bad and went rogue, for example, Carol Ferris becomes Star Sapphire. There was one exception to the clueless rule of course, and that was Shayera “Hawkgirl” Hol, the wife of Katar “Hawkman” Hol.

Ray Palmer, The Atom had a girlfriend named Jean Loring. She appeared in the first The Atom story which debuted in Showcase # 34 (October 1961). She was described as the “lovely lady lawyer”.

On the page that I have highlighted below, Ray has apparently been asking Jean to marry him for a long time before the series started but she insists that they cannot marry until she proves herself as a successful lawyer. Ray also must prove himself as a successful research scientist. Jean is apparently very smart and very ambitious. It seems as though Ray asked Jean to marry him in almost every story of the Atom series that ran for 39 issues from July 1962 to October 1969. In the last seven issues, The Atom series and the Hawkman series were combined and the series was retitled “The Atom and Hawkman”.

Showcase #34 (October 1961)

The story “Birth of Atom” was written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Gil Kane. Murphy Anderson, who would later draw the Hawkman series, was the inker for this first Atom story.

The Atom first appeared in the Showcase series for three consecutive issues in 1961/62 starting with issue #34.

Things did not work out well for Ray and Jean. Towards the end of the series run, Jean broke up with Ray and in the last issue of the combined Adam and Hawkman series she began her descent into insanity in a story titled “Queen Jean, Why Must We Die?”

The Atom and Hawkman series ended abruptly November 1969 with issue #45. It was forty-one years later that an issue #46 came out in 2010. Here it was revealed that they broke up because Jean cheated on Ray.

This one-shot book was a tie-in to the Blackest Night series (2010).

Before this sad and tragic ending, it was in the Identity Crisis series that Jean suffered another mental breakdown. She shrunk herself using one of Palmer’s old costumes and tried to give Sue Dibny, wife of Elongated Man, a minor stroke. She hoped that the incident would cause the heroes to become closer to their loved ones and in the process drive Palmer back to her. Unfortunately, Jean killed Sue. [see Identity Crisis #1 (August 2004)]