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Fantastic Figures: The Human Torch

Fantastic Four artist Mark Bagley brings Johnny Storm to blazing life!

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By Jim Beard

Fantastic Four #1 pencils by Mark Bagley

“There’s only one thing in the world that interests me more than cars!” enthuses Johnny Storm early in the opening pages of 1961’s FANTASTIC FOUR #1, and readers didn’t need to wait long to find out just what he meant. A few panels later, the young man caught fire and answered the signal to action as the Human Torch.

Artist Mark Bagley’s got a few thoughts on Johnny for the brand-new FANTASTIC FOUR #1, available now.

“Goofball,” he throws out as a first impression of the Torch. “Always smiling, but not as dumb as some portray him; I picture him as roughly 25 [years old] or so.”

Fantastic Four #2 preview pencils by Mark Bagley

Jack Kirby’s original depiction of Johnny aflame showed us an almost literal torch, a blazing form that barely showed us the human figure. Later, the Human Torch became more solid, with Johnny clearly beneath the blaze. Bagley’s interpretation seems to fall in the latter category.

“I'm going for less Kirby and more Stuart Immonen when drawing the Torch,” he explains. “I'm trying to show his heat and flames as a cohesive whole.

“John Buscema was the first to alter Johnny's look in a way that I wanted to draw. He did without the lines on the body that Kirby drew, and I really liked it; I’m gonna try and make that work.”

In the upcoming FANTASTIC FOUR #1, Johnny Storm’s the firebrand we all know and love, but with new challenges ahead of him. A dire situation in the family will force him into new experiences and new avenues for heroism alongside the Fantastic Four.

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