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Back in 1978, Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom created a new superhero character called Firestorm, who had his own comic book for five issues before it was cancelled in the great DC implosion. I picked this series up from the very first issue, fascinated by the idea of a merged hero who consisted of a high school jock and a nuclear physicist, working together as two minds inside one super-powered body. (Hmm...I wonder if the Firestorm character helped spark my interest in physics.)

Alan Kistler, comics historian extraordinaire, has finally posted Alan Kistler's Profile On: FIRESTORM! over on the Monitor Duty blog. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how a character's basic nature transforms when the character is written about and has to be kept "fresh" over the course of almost thirty years. Because, if you're reading DC comics today, you know that a new version of Firestorm has been around for about two years now. Go read the profile, and enjoy.


I loved the original series. I stopped after about a year or two, then picked up the final few to see how things wrapped up (as it were). I tried the new series for about 5 months, and dropped it. I really didn't like it at all.
If you can, pick up the latest few issues, with the storyline about building a better Firestorm. It's some of the best Firestorm stories I've ever read.
Ok, I'll try to check it out. I remember when those came out and I immediately thought "It figures, right after I drop it", but tbhought it was going to be some cheap trick, and was so bored by it I didn't want to give it another shot. Early on it felt too self-aware like "Oooh, aren't we at DC cool and edgy for having a non-typical black superhero". And it was boring to boot.
New author on the book since the first 12 issues btw; Stuart Moore is currently writing it.
Um, one correction; Ronnie had just started school where Doreen and Cliff went in issue #1. While he and Doreen became boyfriend and girlfriend, at the time of issue #1 they weren't. So saying that "Ronnie had himself a girlfriend" isn't right. It's "Ronnie wanted to impress Doreen in hopes of becoming her boyfriend".

An early Firestorm also had one of my all time favorite bad science moments. In a caption, there's a reference to how on Earth, absolute zero is as cold as things can get. But Earth is a small, puny, planet, and elsewhere things can get much colder. Wow. Colder than no molecular motion. I'm impressed....not.
Your take on the evolution of Firestorm and mine are similar. I HATED the later Ostrander run, but came around to see what he was trying to do. I still wish there had been another route - indeed, I think that the new series shows there can be - but I felt compelled to offer an apology directly to Ostander when he began his own message board.
In some ways, part of what Ostrander was trying to do was keep sales of the book up. It's like the change to the Kyle Rayner Green Lantern. A lot of people hated that, but sales shot up. Had DC not taken that step, they probably would have been forced to cancel Green Lantern instead.

As it is, the alteration of who and what Firestorm is opened up a lot of possibilities...and Stuart Moore's been exploring those possibilities quite well.

December 2016

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