Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Atomic Spotlight 1970's - Firestorm!


With little doubt Gerry Conway's most significant contribution to the DC Comics universe is Firestorm the Nuclear Man. The very "Marvelesque" hero was created by Conway and Al Milgrom when Conway drifted over to DC for a few months when Marvel office politics were not going his way. He was ushered into DC with great gusto with the announcement of "Conway's Corner", a subset of the larger DCU for books written and edited by Conway. We got such wonderful work as the Justice Society's return in a revived All-Star Comics (featuring the debut of Power Girl), a revived Swamp Thing, and Hercules "unbound" in the Great Disaster.





Firestorm was very much a hero of the 70's, from his colorful costume with its fluffy arms to his wild noggin of flickering flame. The Ronnie Raymond identity which had to share mental and spiritual space with the more sedate attitudes of Professor Martin Stein made for a raucous interplay unlike few other heroes on the stands. It was similar in some respects to the Captain Marvel and Rick Jones dynamic, but weirder since Stein had no true physical form of his own. To read his origin story go here.


Firestorm lasted a mere five issues with a sixth finding purchase in the famous low-distribution Cancelled Comic Cavalcade.

Then Ronnie Raymond took up residence as a back up in The Flash. Also Firestorm became one of the most memorable additions to the Justice League of America.







Firestorm simmered for many years, never quite disappearing and finding revival after revival through many editorial changes at DC over the decades. Other people have filled the role, but the name and general look have remained the same. Firestorm seems to have been the rarest of things, a lasting creation from the Bronze Age of Comics. A colorful and evocative character, there always seems to be a place for "The Nuclear Man" in the halls of DC.


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5 comments:

  1. So many of Conway's creations were knockoffs with the seams still showing. I thought the character design was good, but even the name disappeared among similar names. There was a time when you could sound hebephrenic by rattling off the names Firestar, Starfire, Firestorm and Storm, all concurrently published.

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    1. "Hebephrenic" is a new word for me. Thanks for adding to my vocabulary. Superhero names do get odd.

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  2. 100% agree Russ. I was thinking along the same lines. I would add Sunfire to your list (a Marvel mutant with a better designed costume, origin, and established character traits in my opinion.)

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    1. Loved cranky old Sunfire! Firestorm is more successful, but Sunfire is a fun character.

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  3. It is always weird to me when a DC comic takes place in NYC. To me, that's Marvel's town :)

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