Real Name: The Human Torch
Occupation: Adventurer; formerly Police officer
Affiliations: Golden Age Toro (sidekick), Sun Girl (sidekick), Sub-Mariner (sometimes enemy, often ally), All Winners Squad, Ka-Zar
Silver Age Invaders, Avengers (West Coast Branch), V-Battalion, Heroes for Hire
Enemies: Golden Age Sub-Mariner (sometimes enemy, often ally); Asbestos Lady (formerly Asbestos Girl), Asbestos Man, Blue Diamond, the Cobra, the Crime King, the Crimson Terror, the Devil's Double, the Devil's Mutineers, Dr. Manyac, Dr. Smart, the End, the Hag, Hyena, Killers Incorporated, the Laughing Sneak Thief, Madame Crime, the Masked Fiend, the Masked Horror, Master of Murder, Mr. Grim, Mother Goose, the Nazi Vultures, the Parrot, the Photo Phantom, the Purple Ghost, the Python, the Queen of Crime, the Rabbit, Rathia, Sardo, the Sons of Evil, the Terrorist of Time, the Underground Demons, the Un-Human, the Ventriloquist, the Walking Corpse, the Wolf of Gotham
Silver Age Mad Thinker, Battle-Axis, Super-Axis, Adam II
Known Relatives: Golden Age Professor Phineas Horton (creator, "father")
Silver Age Volton (created by Horton, "brother"), Adam II (created by Horton, "brother")
Aliases: Jim Hammond
Base of Operations: Mobile
First Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (Timely Comics, October 1939)
Powers/Abilities: Able to generate heat and flame, igniting the entire surface of his body - immune to same. Able to fly.
History: (Marvel Comics #1, ga) In 1939 scientist Phineas T. Horton created an android, "a synthetic man--an exact replica of a human being". An almost perfect duplicate of a human being, it only had one flaw - when exposed to oxygen, it's skin would burst into flame, though this fire didn't damage it. Horton called a conference to display his invention, but upon seeing it's fiery state, the onlookers dubbed it a Human Torch, and demanded it be destroyed lest it become a menace. Horton reluctantly agreed, but could not bring himself to destroy it; instead, he sealed it inside a concrete block. After a while air leaked in, and the Torch's ignition freed it from it's confinement. The confused android caused havoc as it ran through New York, but eventually it managed to put out it's flames by immersing itself in a swimming pool. The Human Torch (as he was now known), naive and innocent, briefly fell under the sway of the pool's owner, Sardo, a criminal, but swiftly realised Sardo was evil. The android returned to Horton, only to discover that he had visions of becoming rich by displaying the Torch like a sideshow freak. The Torch accidentally unleashed his flame on Horton, badly burning him, and for a long time he wrongly believed he had killed his creator (in the Golden Age he had, but this was retconned out for the Silver Age)). The Torch fled, promising himself "Ill be free and no one will ever use me for selfish gain-or crime."
(Marvel Mystery Comics #2-7, ga) The Torch gained control of his powers by using an oxygen dampener around his neck, then adopted the identity of Jim Hammond and got a job as a police officer.
(Marvel Mystery Comics #8-10, ga) The Human Torch faced the rogue superhuman known as the Sub-Mariner when he rampaged through New York. It would be the first of many battles.
(Marvel Mystery Comics #11-92, ga) No synopses available.
(Human Torch #1, ga) The Human Torch encountered a boy with a natural immunity to fire working in a circus. Discovering the boy, Toro, could also create flame in a similar manner to the Torch himself, the hero made Toro his sidekick.
(Human Torch #2-31, ga) No synopses available.
(Captain America #19, 21-67, 69, All-Select Comics #1-10, Mystic Comics II #1-2, Daring Comics #9-12, Sub-Mariner #23, 29, Young Men Comics #'s 24-28, ga) No synopses available.
(Giant-Size Invaders #1, Invaders I #1-41, Invaders Annual #1) The Human Torch joined the Invaders, a group of Allied heroes who were to take the fight to the Axis forces. Alongside them he battled the Red Skull, the Super-Axis, the Iron Cross and many more. At one point his type-neutral blood was used to give a life-saving blood transfusion to Lady Jacqueline Falsworth, with the side-effect of giving her superhuman powers, which she would use alongside the Invaders as Spitfire.
(Invaders II #1-4) The Invaders battled American heroes who had gone over the Nazi cause, the Battle-Axis. The Torch was shocked to discover one of the Battle-Axis, Volton, was another of Horton's androids.
(All-Winners Comics #1-13, 17-18, ga) No synopses available.
(What If? I #4) As the war in Europe was coming to an end, the Torch and Toro invaded Berlin itself, where they entered Hitler's bunker. When Hitler attempted to set off a bomb which could have destroyed much of the city, the Torch incinerated the dictator.
Later the Torch returned to America, where he was summoned to the White House. There he and some of his fellow heroes were informed of the apparent deaths of Captain America and Bucky, and introduced to those heroes successors.
(Captain America Annual #6) At the end of the war, the Invaders travelled to Japan to destroy and solar-powered prototype tank.
(What If? I #4) After the end of the war, the Invaders agreed to stay together at the request of the President, but changed their name to the All-Winners Squad.
(All-Winners Comics #19, ga) The All-Winners Squad defeated Isbisa, possibly the first nuclear terrorist.
(What If? I #4) The Torch was present when the android Adam II attempted to assassinate a young and up-coming politician, a fight in which one Captain America lost his life (the Spirit of '76), and another took up the mantle (the Patriot).
(All-Winners Comics #21, ga) The All-Winners Squad battled the Future Man and Madame Death.
(She-Hulk II #22) The All-Winners Squad encountered the She-Hulk, a heroine who had travelled back in time, while trying to recover a stolen nuclear weapon.
(Human Torch #32-35, ga) With Toro caring for his sick foster mother, the Torch spent an unspecified period working alongside Sun Girl.
(Men's Adventures #27, ga, bts) Toro returned to working with the Torch.
(Citizen V and the V-Battalion #1) Alongside the rest of the All-Winners Squad, the Torch met with the Destroyer, who suggested forming an organisation to hunt down Nazi war criminals and prevent another dictator like Hitler from gaining power. Some of the Squad supported the idea, but the Torch was wary of what such an agency might develop into.
(bts) In 1949 the All-Winners Squad disbanded.
(Men's Adventures #27-28; Human Torch Comics #36-38, ga) The Torch and Toro were ambushed by criminals using a chemical supplied by the Soviet Union. The chemical left them powerless, and paralysed the Torch. Believing him dead, the crooks buried him in the desert, then handed Toro over to the Communists as payment, who brainwashed him. In December 1953 an atomic bomb test near where the Torch was buried revived the android, and boosted his powers to a new level. He tracked down the criminals, found out what had happened to Toro, and rescued his sidekick. For a couple of years, they adventured together again.
(Fantastic Four Annual #4) By 1955 the Torch's powers were overloading thanks to the radiation he had absorbed. Rather than become a threat to mankind, he said his farewells, and went out into the desert where he tried to commit suicide by releasing all his flame in one gigantic explosion. Instead of dying, he was once more left inert.
His body was eventually found by the Mad Thinker, who reactivated him under his control, then sent him to fight a new Human Torch, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four, a man mutated by cosmic rays. The android Torch battled his successor, but eventually broke free of the Thinker's control. By the end of the battle, he was once more believed dead, though this time he received a proper burial. Some time afterwards it was believed that his corpse was used as the basis for creating a new artificial human, the Vision (complicated story).
(Avengers West Coast #50-54, 56-58, 63-65, Avengers West Coast Annual #4, 5, Avengers Spotlight #30) Having come to doubt the origins of the Vision, the Avengers' west coast branch checked the Human Torch's grave. They discovered the Torch within, and successfully reawoke him.
(Avengers West Coast #83) The Torch lost his powers.
(Namor #9-12, Namor Annual #1) Jim Hammond went to work for his oldest friend (and oldest foe), Namor the Sub-Mariner, taking over the day to day running of Oracle, Inc., his surface world business empire.
(Citizen V and the V-Battalion: Everlasting #4) Jim Hammond assumed control of the V-Battalion, taking over from the Destroyer.
(Invaders III #1-on) The Thin Man recruited the Torch, his powers gradually returning, to his newest team of Invaders.
Comments: Created by Carl Burgos.
Thanks to Jess Nevins for allowing me to use information from his excellent Golden Age Heroes Directory and his Guide to Golden Age Marvel Characters. Thanks also to Richard Boucher & Darrin Wiltshire @ PR-Publications for permission to use information from their equally brilliant collection of Golden Age Sites, PR Publications. Their knowledge of Golden Age characters far outstrips my own.
Thanks to Brad Newman for permission to use images from his Comic Book Cover Quest site on this page.
CLARIFICATIONS: Not to be confused with
The Human Torch, Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four.
Any Additions/Corrections? Please let me know.
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