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The Human Torch #2-35 (two #5) (Fall 1940 - March 1949) continued from Red Raven #1, Human Torch #36-38 (April-Aug. 1954) continued from its Timely Comics run, despite its numbering having been taken over by the Romance title Love Tales.
The Human Torch, also known as Jim Hammond, is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics-owned superhero. Created by writer-artist Carl Burgos, he first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct.1939), published by Marvel's predecessor, Timely Comics.
The "Human" Torch was actually an android created by scientist Phineas Horton. He possessed the ability to surround himself with fire and control flames. In his earliest appearances, he was portrayed as a science fiction monstrosity, but quickly became a hero.
The Human Torch was one of Timely Comics' three signature characters, along with Captain America and Namor the Sub-Mariner. Like many superheroes, the Human Torch fell into obscurity by the 1950s. In 1961, Marvel recycled his name and powers into a new, unrelated Human Torch, a member of the Fantastic Four (who actually was human). Unlike Captain America and the Sub-Mariner, the original Human Torch has had only a small presence in the post-1950s Marvel comic books and is closely associated with the Golden Age.
Following his debut in the hit Marvel Comics #1, the Human Torch proved popular enough that he soon became one of the first superheroes to headline a solo title. Through the 1940s, the Torch starred or was featured in Marvel Mystery Comics (the book's title beginning with issue #2), The Human Torch (premiering with issue #2, Fall 1940, having taken over the numbering of the defunct Red Raven Comics), and Captain America Comics #19, 21-67, 69, 76-77, as well as appearing in several issues of All Select Comics, All Winners Comics, Daring Comics, Mystic Comics, and Young Allies Comics.
Seeing a natural "fire and water" theme, Timely was responsible for comic books' first major crossover, with a two-issue battle between the Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner that spanned Marvel Mystery Comics #8-9 — telling the same story from the two characters' different perspectives.
Marvel Mystery Comics ended its run with #92 (June 1949), and The Human Torch with #35 (March 1949), as superheroes in general faded in popularity. Timely Comics publisher Martin Goodman — who by the early 1950s had transitioned the company to its next iteration, as Atlas Comics — attempted to revive superheroes with the anthology comic Young Men #24-28 (Dec. 1953 - June 1954), starring the Human Torch (art by Syd Shores and Dick Ayers, variously, with covers and initially some panels featuring the Torch redrawn by Burgos for style consistency), along with the Sub-Mariner and Captain America. The solo title The Human Torch returned for issues #36-38 (April-Aug. 1954) before again being canceled. The Torch also appeared in stories in the briefly revived Captain America Comics and Sub-Mariner Comics, and in the anthology Men's Adventures #28 (July 1954).
The original Human Torch debuted in present-day Marvel Comics continuity in Fantastic Four Annual #4 (Nov. 1966).
Carl Burgos (né Max Finkelstein, April 18, 1916, New York City, New York; died March 1984) was an American comic book and advertising artist best known for creating the original Human Torch in Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), during the period historians and fans call the Golden Age of comic books. He was inducted into comic books' Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1996.
Carl Burgos studied at the National Academy of Design in Manhattan. His earliest works include penciling and inking the six-page story "The Last Pirate", starring Count Rocco and his ship the Emerald Queen, in Centaur Publications' Star Comics vol. 2, #2 (March 1939); creating the features "Air-Sub DX", in Centaur's Amazing Mystery Funnies vol. 2, #4 (April 1939), and "Rocky Dawson"; and creating the robot hero the Iron Skull in Centaur's Amazing-Man Comics #5 (Sept. 1939). Burgos and others, including Centaur Publications writer-artist Bill Everett, then followed Centaur art director Lloyd Jacquet to Jacquet's own newly formed packager, Funnies, Inc.
Following an unsuccessful attempt at a promotional comic to be given away in movie theaters, Funnies, Inc.'s first sale was to publisher Martin Goodman's equally new Timely Comics, the predecessor of Marvel Comics, supplying the contents of Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939). That landmark issue included not only writer-artist Burgos' Human Torch but also Everett's hit character the Sub-Mariner. A painted cover by veteran science-fiction pulp artist Frank R. Paul featured the Torch.
Burgos' character proved a hit, and quickly went on to headline one of comics' first single-character titles, The Human Torch (premiering fall 1940 with no cover date and as issue #2, having taken over the numbering from the single-issue Red Raven). He next created the superhero character the White Streak in Novelty Press' Target Comics #1 (Feb. 1940), and, with writer John Compton, the superhero the Thunderer in Timely's Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941). Burgos left for World War II military service in 1942, starting in the U.S. Air Force, for which he took infantry ranger training and was sent overseas as a rifleman before being transferred to the Signal Corps and then to an engineer division.
Following his return from the war, Burgos attended City College of New York to study advertising, and drew a small number of stories for Timely, including anthological crime dramas in Official True Crime Cases Comics #24 (Fall 1947), and Complete Mystery #3-4 (Dec. 1948 - Feb. 1949). Other work included penciling a Captain America story in Marvel Mystery Comics #92 (June 1949), and inking fellow Timely mainstays Mike Sekowsky and Syd Shores on, respectively, at least one story each starring Sun Girl and the Blonde Phantom (both in Marvel Mystery Comics #89, Dec. 1948). Segueing out of full-time comics work, Burgos eased into a career in advertising and commercial art while freelancing frequently for Atlas Comics, the 1950s iteration of Marvel, primarily as a cover artist across all genres from jungle-girl to war comics, though fellow Atlas artist Stan Goldberg, who joined the company in 1949, recalled in 2002 that "Burgos was on staff most of the time I was there".
His most prominent comics work during this time came during Atlas' mid-1950s attempt at reviving the dormant superhero field with Timely stars the Human Torch, the Sub-Mariner, and Captain America, with Burgos drawing the Human Torch stories in Young Men #25-28 (Feb.- June 1954), as well as the covers of Young Men #24-25 (Dec. 1953 - Feb. 1954) and of the short-lived relaunch Human Torch #36-38 (April-Aug. 1954); he also redrew at least the Human Torch figure in the first panel of artist Russ Heath's nine-page story "The Return Of The Human Torch" in Young Men #24. Burgos during the '50s also contributed to the Atlas humor comics Crazy, Wild, and Riot; the Western comic Annie Oakley; and science-fiction/horror anthologies, including Astonishing, Journey Into Unknown Worlds, Strange Stories of Suspense and Strange Tales of the Unusual, among many others. His last credited Atlas story was the five-page "Dateline - Iwo Jima" in Battle #70 (June 1960).
He did humor for Pierce Publishing's Frantic, Satire Publications' Loco, and Major Magazines' Cracked during 1958 and 1959, as well as layout art for the MLJ/Archie Comics series The Adventures of The Fly and The Double Life of Private Strong. Burgos also provided illustrations for Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's 1950s pulp magazines, including Marvel Science Stories and Western Magazine.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Burgos worked for the Pro-Art Company and later for the Belwin Company.
In the mid-1960s, during the era fans and historians call the Silver Age of comic books, Burgos pursued a lawsuit against Marvel to assert ownership of the Human Torch, whose name and superpowers had been used for the Fantastic Four's Johnny Storm since 1961. Little, if anything, came of this legal action. Burgos nonetheless contributed art to a Johnny Storm Human Torch story in Strange Tales #123 (Aug. 1964), as well as to three Giant-Man stories in Tales to Astonish #62-64 (Dec. 1964-Feb. 1965).
Marvel eventually revived Burgos' original Human Torch for present-day stories, starting with The Fantastic Four Annual #4 (Nov. 1966). That same year, Burgos created a short-lived character called Captain Marvel (no relation to either the old Fawcett Comics superhero or to Marvel's Captain Marvel) for Myron Fass' M. F. Enterprises. His last recorded comics art was the cover of Captain Marvel #4 (Nov. 1966). From 1971 to 1975, Burgos served as an editor for Fass' Eerie Publications line of black-and-white horror-comic magazines, including Horror Tales, Weird, Tales from the Tomb, Tales of Voodoo, Terror Tales, Weird, and Witches Tales. He would later edit various magazines for Harris Publications before his death from colon cancer.
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