Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fire, Fire, Burning Bright...

Super heroes and Himalayan monasteries seem to go hand-in-hand.
In the Golden Age, next to exposure to something radioactive, being raised from childhood or trained after you crash-landed as an adult by Tibetan lamas was the primary factor in the creation of superheroes (and more than a few supervillains)!
Look at The Shadow, Amazing-Man, The Green Lama, etc, and later; Iron Fist, The Shroud, Dr Strange, and Dr Doom. (Even The Batman and Doc Savage visited lamaseries during their teens to train!)

Baby orphan Gary Preston was raised by a group of mystic priests to be an example of the pinnacle of human mental and physical development.
In addition, they trained him to control any fire in his immediate vicinity as well as regulate his own body temperature from normal to just short of bursting into flame himself! (He eventually learned how to do that, too!)
He was armed with a technologically-advanced pistol-sized flamethrower with a self-renewing fuel supply, since he couldn't create fire, just manipulate it.
And, as a final gift, he was taught how to enter flames without harm, then teleport himself to anywhere else in the world there was a fire, and appear, unharmed, from within it!
Thus armed and outfitted in a yellow and red costume, Gary returned to the Outside World as...The Flame!
(And before you ask, he arrived on the comics scene several months before The Human Torch debuted in Marvel Comics #1!)

His first appearance (and origin recounted above) was in WonderWorld Comics #3, created by writer / artist Will Eisner (The Spirit) and artist Lou Fine, who also did most of the covers!

The Flame went on to become one of Fox's top three superhero stars, as evidenced by his starring role in all seven issues of the anthology comic Big 3, which he shared with The Blue Beetle, Samson, and later, V-Man.
He also had his own title for eight issues.
He remained the lead feature in WonderWorld Comics until #33, the final issue, in 1942.

There was a brief revival in the 1950s, then he disappeared, not to be seen, except in comics reference books, until 2007 when Alex Ross revived him as one of the many Golden Age characters returned to action in the new Project SuperPowers mini-series!

Of course, we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ have revived The Flame as part of our Lost Heroes of the Golden Age of Comics™ line, including six of his best 1940s covers, including his first appearance, on t-shirts, messenger bags, mugs and other kool kollectibles!
And, there'll be a The Flame 2010 12-Month Calendar with a dozen dynamic covers on sale this August!

This summer, don't let your cash burn a hole in your wallet!
Put it to good use; The Flame collectibles for you or your pop-culture collecting loved one!

And catch The Flame in fantastic, fiery action in Project SuperPowers Vol 2, on sale NOW!

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