The comic's first story is The Human Torch though this is a different character to the Human Torch we know today - the character was not Johnny Storm but actually named Jim Hammond. Created by writer-artist Carl Burgos.The "Human" Torch was actually an android made by scientist Phineas Horton. He possessed the ability to surround himself with fire and control flames. In his earliest appearances, he was portrayed as a science fiction monstrosity, but quickly became a hero.
See the image left and the character even resembles the Human Torch from The Fantastic Four - this first strip is just a retelling of the Frankenstein story. Firstly The Human Torch is treated with suspicion and the authorities try to destroy him, but the Torch manages to fight off all attempts on his life and he flies off, vowing that no one will ever use him for selfish gain or crime.
It was great fun reading this story and realising that from this basic style of storytelling the mighty Marvel empire developed. The second story featured another character familiar to modern comic book readers Namor The Sub Mariner.
The mutant son of a human sea captain and of a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis, Namor possesses the super-strength and aquatic abilities of the "Homo mermanus" race, as well as the mutant ability of flight, along with other superhuman powers. Through the years, he has been alternately portrayed as a good-natured but short-fused superhero, or a hostile invader seeking vengeance for perceived wrongs that misguided surface-dwellers committed against his kingdom.
It was great reading this comic - as a kid I grew up reading British comics and although it was the homegrown titles I preferred I did from time to time get titles like The Mighty World of Marvel which featured reprint material from the American comics in the British format - that's how I came to know characters like Spiderman and the Hulk, but most of this early stuff was new to me. And it's good to have what is effectively the first ever Marvel comic even if it is a digital version and not some extremely valuable ancient comic book.
|Reprint comics like this introduced many British kids to American superheroes.|