Fire-Man. Artist: Martin Filchock.


Medium: Comic Books
Published by: Centaur Publications
First Appeared: 1941
Creator: Martin Filchock
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Comic books of the early 1940s were replete with superheroes whose powers were related to fire — The Human Torch, The Flame, Fireball, Wildfire, etc. Of all these, the one with the most prosaic superhero monicker was without a doubt the entry from Centaur Comics, whose other heroes …

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… included the equally imaginatively-named Amazing-Man and The Arrow. Theirs was called Fire-Man.

Fire-Man debuted in Liberty Scouts Comics #2 (June, 1941), alongside the similarly imaginative Vapo-Man (whose super powers included turning into "living vapor" and back again, just like Hydroman's equally useful ability to turn into a puddle of water) and a war-themed superhero, a man of war called Man of War (no relation). He was created by cartoonist Martin Filchock, whose only other adventure character was another of those uniquely-named guys, Mighty Man.

Even Fire-Man's secret identity doesn't seem to have taken a lot of thought. He was just Jim, with not even a last name to distinguish him from Jim Harper, Jim Barr or Jim Corrigan. His origin story wasn't startlingly original. A mad scientist was setting forest fires, and kidnapping the fire fighters so he could experiment on them. That's how he got Jim, who developed his power to control fire as a result of the experiment.

Still, he became a regular in Liberty Scouts (no relation). But that's not saying a lot, because the title ended with its third issue. Most of its characters, including Jim What's-his-name, moved over to a new title, Man of War Comics. But that one, too, was short-lived. It lasted two issues, and they weren't rescued that way again. Their final appearances were dated January, 1942. It was the last comic book Centaur published.

But even that wasn't quite the end of them. Four years later, The Chicago Mail Order Company reprinted Man of War #1, with the cover of the first issue of Liberty Scouts, and called it Liberty Guards. And as recently as 2000, AC Comics (Femforce) reprinted one of his four adventures.

But that, finally was his last hurrah.


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Text ©2008-10 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Centaur Comics