Muscle Sport Magazine

Comic Relief: Our First Exposure to Physical Culture Came With Charles Atlas

For the majority of us out there – especially the ones that fit into the ‘baby boomer’ category – our first exposure to the world of muscle came with a full page ad in the comic books of the time. Whether you were holding DC’s “The Brave and the Bold” or Marvel’s “The Fantastic Four,” without a doubt you found yourself rooting for Mac as he became ‘Hero of the Beach.’


Known as “The World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man,” Atlas told the readers how he was once a “97-pound runt” and his ‘Dynamic-Tension’ course was the secret to becoming a “strong and handsome man.”

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In today’s standards this may seem a little hokey, but it definitely made an impact on the public. The company has been going strong for 80 years and counting, even though Atlas himself passed away back in 1972.


Born Angelo Siciliano in 1892 in Acri, Italy, Atlas took the new moniker – changed legally in 1922 – after a friend observed a likeness in him to a statue of Atlas atop a Coney Island hotel. In those early years, Bernarr McFadden promoted bodybuilding contests held at Madison Square Garden that Atlas easily won and he instantly made a mark on the fledging sport. A few years later, the company was born and physical culture would never be the same.

Along with the Charles Atlas courses, his legacy is upheld in a line of supplements, t-shirts, posters and DVDs. Generations of bodybuilders were spawn from the original Atlas ads and still are today.


So the next time you kick sand in that scrawny guy’s face on the beach, better hope that he didn’t follow the same course as Mac did!


 Ad Courtesy of Charles Atlas, LTD



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