Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Human Torch is kind of a wimp.

Fanboy Comics, the local comic shop down my way, is currently having an "alphabet sale" - every week, titles that begin with certain letters of the alphabet are 50% off. Since I am a sucker, I've spent quite a few dollars at the shop filling holes in my collection - one which, I'm sure, will never be complete (that's the nature of it, I guess).

Last week was the week for letters Q, R, S and T, and I picked up four old issues of Strange Tales. I'm trying to pick up issues 101 through 134, which feature the Human Torch and eventually the Thing (following through on my Fantastic Four obsession).

These are early issues - early 1960s - which means two things: they can get a little expensive, and they can get a little silly. Case in point, issue #113, which has the Human Torch versus the forgettable villain the Plant Man (who, I believe, is still around in current issues).

Now, it's just a fact that a super hero's powers tend to vary depending on the challenge he or she faces - Superman will be juggling planets in one issue and struggling to defeat the Prankster in the next - and the Human Torch is a great example of this. He goes from burning his flame at "nova" strength - as hot as a star, I guess - to getting doused by a wayward fire hydrant.

Nowhere more is this evident than on the cover to Strange Tales #113, where we see the mighty Human Torch kept at bay by...dew. Come on, Johnny Storm. Come on.

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