Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters

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Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters
The cover to Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters #1, art by Patrick Parsons.
Publication information
PublisherCastle Comics 1986
Eclipse Comics 1986-1990
Parody Comics
Dynamite Entertainment
Publication dateJanuary 1986
No. of issues9 Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters
Main character(s)Bruce
Creative team
Created byDon Chin

Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters (often abbreviated to ARBBH) is a creator-owned American funny-animal parody comic book series created by Don Chin. It was one of a number of parodies of Mirage Studios' hit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, itself a parody of popular eighties comics such as Frank Miller's Daredevil and Ronin; others included Naive Inter-Dimensional Commando Koalas and Pre-Teen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos.[1]

Publication history[edit]

The series was first published by Eclipse Comics in 1986 as one of a number of black-and-white parodies on the market at the time.[2] The initial artist was Patrick Parsons (under the pseudonym Parsonavich). The book went on to be a regular series, running for 9 issues; from ARBBH #6 art duties were taken over by Sam Kieth. From #8 Mark Martin contributed back-up strips, including political satire Ronnie & Gorby and parody-of-a-parody-of-a-parody Adolescent Radioactive Big Butt Hamhocks.[3] The final issue included work by Kieth, Martin, Chuck Fiala and Ken Meyer, as well as a pin-up gallery.[4]

A four-issue 3D limited series[5] (featuring art by Ty Templeton)[6] and spin-off solo series Clint[7][8] soon followed. The ongoing success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a multimedia franchise extended the concept's life, with the one-shot The Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters Massacre the Japanese Invasion further parodying the influx of manga titles to America.[9] The Hamsters were also part of Eclipse's shared universe, appearing in the Target: Airboy special[10] and the crossover limited series Total Eclipse. The publisher would also collect the first four issues of the regular series in the trade paperback Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters - America the Beautiful.

Chin retained rights to ARBBH, and the characters' further adventures were subsequently published by Parody Press.[11] On March 30, 2007, it was announced that Dynamite Entertainment has the rights to reprint the comics, write new comics, and produce collectables based on the property.[12] It was written by Keith Champagne with art by Tom Nguyen, and the first four-part miniseries was published between January and June 2008.[13][14]


In 1977, NASA launched a probe containing four hamsters to destroy a mysterious mass of radioactive, gelatinous substance that was hovering around the Earth's atmosphere. Exposure to the substance mutated the hamsters into anthropomorphic creatures, whose vessel later crashed down near a Tibetan monastery. There, they were adopted by the monks and trained in the martial arts.


The four Hamsters were named after actors from action and kung fu movies - Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan.[15]

  • Bruce: -wielding expert fighter.
  • Chuck: quasi-pacifist.
  • Clint: fun-loving gun nut.
  • Jackie: young and not inclined towards heroics.


Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters has received largely negative reviews. Reviewing the first two issues of the 3-D series and the first issue of Clint for Amazing Heroes, Gerard Jones criticised Chin for his over-reliance on cheap pop culture references and felt the property "everything that's worst about the current comic book humor scene"[16] and would later use it as a negative comparison while positively reviewing Chin's fantasy series Enchanter.[17] Thomas Dean was similarly unimpressed with The Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters Massacre the Japanese Invasion, feeling the only positive was that it could potentially mean the end of the franchise.[18]

When Chin circulated a press release in 1990 looking for a new publisher for the series, Thomas Harrington took aim at the series in his Amazing Heroes editorial, calling the series as having a "one-half joke gimmick", while claiming that most of those who had bought the comics regretted their purchases and had merely done so as speculators rather than due to the quality of the work.[19]


  1. ^ Bob Hughes (June 1, 1988). "Enlarging the Penumbra". Amazing Heroes. No. 142. Fantagraphics Books.
  2. ^ "Newsflashes". Amazing Heroes. No. 83. Fantagraphics Books. October 29, 1985.
  3. ^ "Top of the News (advertisement)". Amazing Heroes. No. 128. Fantagraphics Books. November 1, 1987.
  4. ^ "Newsline". Amazing Heroes. No. 131. Fantagraphics Books. December 15, 1987.
  5. ^ Valentino (February 1, 1989). "An Index to 3-D Comics". Amazing Heroes. No. 158. Fantagraphics Books.
  6. ^ "Newsflashes". Amazing Heroes. No. 90. Fantagraphics Books. March 1, 1986.
  7. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Newsline". Amazing Heroes. No. 101. Fantagraphics Books. August 15, 1986.
  9. ^ "Top of the News (advertisement)". Amazing Heroes. No. 163. Fantagraphics Books. April 15, 1989.
  10. ^ John Wilcox (January 15, 1988). "Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters". Amazing Heroes. No. 133/Preview Special 6. Fantagraphics Books.
  11. ^ Becattini, Alberto (2019). "Super-Animals". American Funny Animal Comics in the 20th Century: Volume Two. Theme Park Press. ISBN 978-1683902218.
  12. ^ Dynamite Lands Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters License Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine, Newsarama, March 30, 2007
  13. ^ Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters Return, Comic Book Resources, October 11, 2007
  14. ^ Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters (2008) at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
  15. ^ ARBBH Fan Page and Forum Archived August 29, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ Gerard Jones (February 1, 1987). "Comics in Review". Amazing Heroes. No. 110. Fantagraphics Books.
  17. ^ Gerard Jones (August 1, 1987). "Comics in Review". Amazing Heroes. No. 122. Fantagraphics Books.
  18. ^ Thomas Dean (November 1989). "Comics in Review". Amazing Heroes. No. 173. Fantagraphics Books.
  19. ^ Thomas Harrington (May 1990). "Editorial". Amazing Heroes. No. 180. Fantagraphics Books.

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