Monday, November 07, 2005
When I Was Graduated from High School...
they published Fury of Firestorm #1 (because you DEMANDED it!).
Firestorm's heyday, brief and flickering like the candle he resembles, fell smack dab in the middle of the period during which I wasn't reading comics. You know, "adolescence", that period when you can no longer take childish delight in comic books but aren't ready to enjoy them in the layered way an adult does.
During adolescence, without the icons of DC to guide them, many people lose their moral compass and fall into various evils: sloth, dissipation, rebellion, wantonness, emotional overindulgence, Marvel Comics (9 out of 10 Kirby Cultists are lost to us during their teen years). Fortunately, I avoided all those evils until I was an adult (when I could really afford them).
As a result, I was spared Ronnie Raymond, the Peter Parker of the Post-Atomic Era. Ronnie, who skipped the spider-bite part and went straight for a huge dose of radioactivity. Check out that cover: classic Marvel ghost-heads of supporting characters from your private life. To me, Firestorm is the personification of DC's rejection of What It Does Best in an attempt to Ape The Competition.
Ronnie was the anti-Peter: stupid, handsome, stupid, athletic, stupid, and popular. Are the kinds of kids who want to read about a physics-powered hero really able to identify with a guy like that?
I think that's the secret behind whatever popularity Firestorm had (has?): readers didn't want to be Firestorm. They wanted to be Ronnie Raymond....