Solar held his own title from October, 1962 to April, 1969, for a total of 27 issues. The series was revived in the early 1980s, continuing the original numbering. Four issues appeared between April, 1981 and March, 1982. He had guest appearances in the Doctor Spektor series. But this was the extent of his use by the original publisher.
In the 1990s, Solar, followed by fellow Gold Key alumni Magnus Robot Fighter and later Turok, was licensed by Valiant Comics. Under Jim Shooter, Solar became the central superhero of the Valiant universe. Doctor Philip Seleski had read the Gold Key comic books as a child and his thoughts affected the reactor to copy the comic book character's origin. He wielded godlike power, re-created the universe during his origin, and was responsible for several Crisis Crossovers.
In 2010, Shooter restarted this title, as well as Turok and Magnus, Robot Fighter, for Dark Horse Comics, who licensed the characters directly from Gold Key using stories based on Gold Key elements (for instance, he's named Phil Solar again). The series quickly ended after a combination of unpopular art and Schedule Slip.
Solar has examples of:
- Atomic Superpower: Solar can control atomic and subatomic energy.
- Butt-Monkey: Erica Pierce.
- Erica Seleski to a degree as well, at least until she gets better control over her powers.
- Crossover Couple: He had a fling with Void from Wild CATS once. It didn't end so well.
- Expy: Of Captain Atom, who debuted two years before Solar. Captain Atom, in turn, influenced Dr. Manhattan of Watchmen and, in some ways, Solar is like an Expy of him.
- A God Am I: A recurring theme in the series.
- I Love Nuclear Power
- Legacy Character: In the Dynamite Comics revival, Solar becomes this when Phil dies and his daughter takes up the mantle.
- Literal Split Personality: For a while, during the Valiant Comics origin.
- Meaningful Name: In the original and Dark Horse versions, his surname is actually Solar.
- Meta Sequel: The Valiant reboot is set in a universe where the Gold Key series exists as a work of fiction, and Doctor Solar's persona is inspired by them, which lets it keep the bits that worked and poke fun at the bits that didn't.
- Not Wearing Tights: For his first couple of appearances, he did not wear a costume and did not have a codename (he just did his heroics surreptitiously).
- Phlebotinum du Jour: Shooter's series overview invokes black holes, magnetic monopoles, strange matter, transhumanism and nanotechnology.
- Power Incontinence: In his early appearances, Doc emitted low-level radiation all the time, and thus owned a lot of lead-lined clothes, spent most of his time in his lead-lined lab, and had to break up with his girl.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: It's a good thing he didn't get, say, ice powers.
- Averted in the Valiant and Dynamite versions of the characters, where his last name (and that of his daughter Erica, the second Solar) is Seleski.
- Superpower Lottery: Something later lampshaded in the Valiant reboot as Seleski comments on how ridiculously bad the writing was to have a man with absolute control over energy being dangerously radioactive.
- Telephone Teleport: Doctor Solar is capable of travelling like this.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In the Dark Horse imprint, after the Whitmore fiasco and after Moloch repeatedly rapes his perfect Tulpa-wife, Susan, she runs off at the first chance she gets and she's never seen again. For that matter, Whitmore's Tulpa powers are never resolved despite still being capable of conjuring destructive entities in his sleep.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Subverted in the Dark Horse era; Shooter has written that power doesn't corrupt, power magnifies and a good man with power would have more opportunity to do good.