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Five Goofiest Moments in the First Five Human Torch Features in Strange Tales

by  in Comic News Comment

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we’re looking at the first five issues of the Human Torch lead feature in Strange Tales (#101-105), written by Stan Lee (plot) and Larry Lieber (script) and drawn by Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inks).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

Honestly, you’d be surprised by how relatively ungoofy these first five Torch stories were. They were so straightforward that they were almost more boring than anything else.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In #102, we meet the Wizard. We see some of his past exploits, including beating a computer in chess. I love how the chess-playing computer is drawn…


In #103, Lieber decides to set up the plot in one of the clunkiest ways possible, with a bunch of teenagers talking about a local house builder…


“How can you say Bentley is the best house builder? I know 20 better house builders!” “You take that back!” Teenagers do love to talk about house builders…

While very badass, I found it amusing that the opening panel in #101 is never addressed again in the comic.


We don’t know WHY Torch is racing an atomic guided missile, we don’t know where the atomic guided missile is heading. It is just never mentioned again.

In #104, we meet Paste Pot Pete. I’d feature him on his own as a goofy moment, except he is MEANT to be goofy, so that wouldn’t be fair. That said, the following phrase by Pete is certainly goofy..


Ah yes, what else but paste could be the supreme weapon?

5. Maybe you have a little too much trust in Johnny, Reed…

In #101, we see a diagram of Johnny’s room in Glenville.


I reeeeeally don’t think Johnny having a lab where he experiments with different chemicals is really the best idea. I can only imagine how scientific those experiments would be. More like Johnny just splashing random chemicals on himself…

4. Poor planning by the bad guys…

As you saw from #103, someone is sinking houses. As it turns out, it is an alien race from another dimension. However, you would think that…


A. They’d do a better job hiding their actions and

B. Johnny Storm would not be the first person to come up with the idea of “hey, why not hide and see what happens at night.” It is not like Johnny is even doing any special type of hiding. No one thought to do that when repeated houses kept sinking at night?

3. We all make mistakes like that…

In #104, Johnny (who is trying not to let anyone know he is the Human Torch) almost makes a silly mistake…


How do you almost write “Human Torch”!? Now I want Dan Slott to have an issue of Amazing Spider-Man where Peter almost writes “Spider-Man” on his deposit slip.

2. REALLY poor planning by the bad guys…

In #101, someone is sabotaging rides at the local amusement park. Johnny is wondering why when he figures out…


You have to love the idea of “people riding tall rides at the amusement park” being the only way that anyone would notice a communist submarine off the coast of Long Island.

1. Putting the genie back into the bottle…

One of the problems with the set-up for Strange Tales, which was to be Johnny working as a typical teen superhero (like Spider-Man), complete with a secret identity, was that Johnny pretty clearly did not have a secret identity.

Check out these panels from Fantastic Four #4…


This was not a guy who was hiding his identity. But they figured they wanted his I.D. to be a secret for this series. So Stan and Larry have one of the all-time great text box explanations in the beginning of #101…


I’m just impressed that they didn’t just say “but they all died in a car accident.”

Well handled, well handled…