Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Marvel History Post 17: Strange Tales # 101

Issue: Strange Tales # 101
Writer: Stan Lee
Artist: Jack Kirby
Publication Date: October 1962

Brief Summary:

Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, tries to live an ordinary life in Glenview. Meanwhile, some creep named the Destroyer plans to destroy a new amusement park. Johnny is happening past when a man goes off the rails while testing a roller coaster. Johnny turns into the Torch to save him, all while maintaining his secret identity. The Destroyer is sending notes to the newspaper that construction on the amusement park must stop, or he will strike again. The note is ignored, the Destroyer strikes again, and it's more Torch to the rescue. So, the Destroyer challenges Torch to a fight. The Thing shows up and offers to help, but Torch says he's got to handle this one himself. Torch goes, and the Destroyer traps him with liquid foam, but when some teenagers happen upon the spot, Destroyer heads for the hills. Torch puts his best detective skills to work to note that the Destroyer only went after the tall rides, and finds out it was to hide a submarine full of commies that would have been spotted! Turns out the Destroyer is actually the publisher of the town's newspaper. J. Jonah Jameson he isn't. The Destroyer goes to jail, and the Torch flies off.

Commentary:

The Human Torch's back story is touched upon here as he is placed in a starring role in these adventures. Apparently, the town knows that his sister is the Invisible Girl, but hasn't figured out that he's the Human Torch. Something tells me this won't last very long given that in Fan 4 Johnny's off smoozing with people in DC, and does not really maintain a costume conducive to a secret identity. Still, he's pretty set on maintaining that identity here. A lot of the adventures of heroes in these days rely so much on the maintenance of the secret identity. This will remain a prominent component of only a few of Marvel's heroes in later years, with Spider-Man being the most well known Marvel hero who maintains a secret identity.

Quick Thoughts:
  • The Human Torch is only appearing through the "courtesy" of the Fantastic Four magazine.
  • The Destroyer's costume looks a lot like that of the young kid Dave Lizewski, the lead in Mark Millar's Kick-Ass
  • Thing is still rockin sunglasses in a brief cameo
  • Torch can control any flame that's near him
Favorite Panel: ...and yet he doesn't get cancer. More benefits of being a super hero, I suppose.

Next: Tales to Astonish # 36