Human Torch (I)

First Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (November 1939).
Golden Age Appearances: Marvel Comics #1, Marvel Mystery Comics #2-92, Human Torch #1-35, All-Winners Comics #1-13, 17-19, 21, Captain America #19, 21-67, 69, All-Select Comics #1-10, Mystic Comics v2 #1-2, Daring Comics #9-12, Sub-Mariner #23, 29, All Winners Comics v2 #1.
Modern Appearances: Invaders #1-41, Invaders Annual #1, Invaders v2 #1-4, Avengers #71, 131-132, 134-135, Avengers Annual #18, 19, Giant Size Avengers #3, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty v2 #2, Captain America Annual #13, Marvel Universe #1-3, Marvel Super-Heroes #16, Saga of the Original Human Torch #1-4, Saga of the Sub-Mariner #5, Fantastic Four Annual #4, 22, Avengers West Coast #50-54, 56-58, 63-65, Avengers West Coast Annual #4, 5, Avengers Spotlight #30, Namor #9-12, Namor Annual #1, Infinity Gauntlet #2, Heroes for Hire #2-4, 5, 7-19, Quasar #11, Thor Corps #2, Avengers Forever issues, Citizen V and the V-Battalion v2 #4.
Years Active: 1939-present.

The reclusive but brilliant scientist and inventor Professor Phineas Horton is trying to create "a synthetic man--an exact replica of a human being" which bursts into flames when exposed to air. Horton succeeds in doing so, but when the android is activated and gains digital (or is it perhaps analogue?) consciousness, he breaks free of Horton's control and decides to become a crimefighter. He adopts the identity of Jim Hammond and begins a successful career as a superhero. In the course of one case he discovers a circus boy who had a mysterious natural immunity to fire; Hammond took the boy on as his sidekick Toro. In late 1948 Toro disappeared, and the Human Torch (I) took on a new sidekick, Sun Girl. The Torch had adventures through 1949, when his comic book was cancelled, and then again in 1954, during the brief heroic revival of that year. And then the Torch disappeared.

In the Silver Age the Human Torch (I) was brought back, in Fantastic Four Annual #4. As it stands now, in current Marvel continuity, the Human Torch's history is this: the Torch's origin is the same, as are the circumstances under which he met Toro. During the war itself the Torch and Toro were members of the Invaders. At the end of the war the Torch and Toro broke into Hitler's bunker and fried him, killing his body (but not his consciousness). The Torch then went on to fight crime with the All-Winners Squad during the late 1940s. In 1949, after the All-Winners Squad broke up, criminals doused the Torch and Toro with a chemical formula. This neutralized their powers and paralysed the Torch, and the criminals, thinking Toro no threat to them, left him behind and buried the Torch in the Nevada Desert.

In December 1953 an atomic bomb test renewed the Torch's powers and freed him from his paralysis, and he reunited with Toro and went back to fighting crime. In 1955 the radiation to which he'd been exposed caused the Torch to malfunction and lose control of his flames, and he said goodbye to Toro, went back to the desert, and attempted suicide by overloading his body with one massive burst of flames. This rendered him comatose and inert.

Then, in the modern era, he was revived yet again, after various events ending up stripped of power and working for Oracle, Inc., the company owned by Namor, and helping to run Heroes for Hire. Most recently he was handed control of the V-Battalion.

Finally, in Avengers Forever, Kurt Busiek established that the Human Torch (I) was used to make the modern hero the Vision (II), with the Heroes for Hire Jim Hammond being a "chronally divergent" version of the Torch.

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