John S.'s picture
Posted by: John S. | August 11, 2011

Hot Stuff!

Very nice Kirby/Sinnott page from F.F. Annual #4 (not #2--correction required here, Tom). I've always had mixed feelings about this story, because although it was very well done in every respect, I've always felt the original Human Torch deserved better treatment than what he got from Jack, Stan and Marvel in this story, and I have to wonder if this wasn't actually inspired in some way by Carl Burgos's lawsuit against Marvel. Anyone out there know what year Burgos sued Goodman? Was it before or after this issue came out? The original Torch was a truly great, groundbreaking character in the Golden Age and was one of Goodman's most successful and profitable characters as well, so it's little wonder Burgos held such resentment against Marvel for misappropriating the Torch in the sixties, with the Johnny Storm character in Fantasic Four. As far as I'm aware, Burgos never received a word of credit or a dime of financial compensation for any of it, and I think ANYONE who was in that position would have a right to be angry. And considering the way the original Torch has been dumped on as a character in the modern "Marvel Universe", it's pretty much a case of adding insult to injuring for this great character and the talented and pioneering writer/artist who created him and produced so many of his four-color adventures.

MRE1957's picture
Posted by: MRE1957 | April 9, 2014

Marvel: The Untold Story

Here is a lengthy excerpt from that book that sheds light on Carl Burgos and his creation during that time period:

Burgos was also at that time pursuing legal action against Marvel Comics over the Human Torch copyright. Then, one day in the summer of 1966, his daughter, Susan, watched as he destroyed every trace of his Marvel Comics career-which had to that point been hidden away from her. “I never saw his collection until the day he threw it all out. I just happened to be in the backyard this summer day and there was a whole pile of stuff in the yard. I took as many of the comics as I could carry back to my room, like they were some treasure. He came in and demanded that I give him my comics. . . . I got the impression that he either lost the case or something else had happened pertaining to it.” Again Burgos withheld details from his daughter, but over the years she learned the source of his ire. “I grew up believing that he came up with this fabulous idea,” she said, “and that Stan Lee took it from him.”

In fact, Burgos’s claims may have never made it to court; his dark ritual on that summer day may have instead been reaction to a new Marvel comic book. In early August, Lee and Kirby’s Fantastic Four Annual #4 featured Burgos’s original Human Torch, battling the new teenage Human Torch and the rest of the Fantastic Four. Cover-dated October 1968, it appeared exactly twenty-eight years after Marvel Comics #1-in other words, exactly as the initial twenty-eight-year copyright was expiring. The original Torch had been revived just long enough to ensure their copyright claim-only to be killed again, pages later. “Well, let’s face it,” mused the Thing when Burgos’s creation had been extinguished, “ya win a few . . .’n ya lose a few!” Lee had Johnny Storm, the last Human Torch standing, eulogizing his fallen predecessor this way: “He tried to defeat me . . . and yet, I can’t find it in my heart to hate him!”

Mike T's picture
Posted by: Mike T | April 13, 2014

'66 not '68

Thanks for the information, MRE1957! What a terrible image it is, of a man burning a huge chunk of his life's work! The cover date for Fantastic Four Annual #4 is actually November, and inside it is copyrighted 1966, so it would have been out in the late summer of 1966, no? (Somebody goofed, but the WIK info for this page is correct.)

The connection between the rememberances of Burgos' daughter and the appearance of this book at approximately the same time is intriguing if not evidentiary.

MRE1957's picture
Posted by: MRE1957 | April 13, 2014

Thanks Mike T. for the corrections.

To this day I cannot understand the out-and-out greed of Disney/Marvel. After making billions of dollars on the movies alone, why can't they share some of this incredible wealth with the creators of the Marvel Universe (Burgos, Everett, Simon, Kirby, Ditko, etc.) and their heirs? (http://www.hollywood.com/news/boxoffice/42646185/marvel-vs-dc-which-bran...)

The only one who has become a millionaire is Stan Lee. And I don't begrudge him that reward but he shouldn't be the only one from that core group to have profited. (http://www.celebritynetworth.com/richest-celebrities/authors/stan-lee-ne...)

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