Gratuitously Geeky Comic Of The Week

Cidu Bill on Jan 20th 2013


The gag would have worked just as well with the better-known Human Torch, right? Not that I’m criticizing, but just saying…

Filed in Batman, Bill Bickel, Firestorm, John Deering, Strange Brew, comic strips, comics, humor | 26 responses so far

26 Responses to “Gratuitously Geeky Comic Of The Week”

  1. Mark in Boston Jan 20th 2013 at 05:51 pm 1

    Or even Ghost Rider. I don’t even know who this guy is.

  2. Cidu Bill Jan 20th 2013 at 06:07 pm 2

    Yeah, Ghost Rider would have worked.

    Besides which, how does Batman not have an acetylene torch in his utility belt?

  3. chuckers Jan 20th 2013 at 06:11 pm 3

    Yes, but at least he remained in a consistent universe. Firestorm is DC (as is Batman (and presumedly Robin in the corner.)) Human Torch and Ghost Rider are both Marvel.

    You both are skirting your Geeky cred for mentioning out of universe characters.

  4. Cidu Bill Jan 20th 2013 at 06:19 pm 4

    Well, if he wanted to stick with DC, he could have gone for Sun Boy or Firebrand — and lost even more than 99% of his audience.

  5. Seth Finkelstein Jan 20th 2013 at 07:06 pm 5

    I wonder if Marvel’s ever had a regular story where a character lights a cigarette or cigar off the Human Torch. I could see Stan Lee writing something like that in the early days. It’d be very brave to try to do that with Ghost Rider.

  6. VCR Jan 20th 2013 at 07:39 pm 6

    @Seth: lol

  7. Kelex Jan 20th 2013 at 07:45 pm 7

    @Seth 5: Given that The Torch’s teammate Ben Grimm was a long-time cigar smoker in the early days, I can practically guarantee it.

  8. Kamino Neko Jan 20th 2013 at 09:36 pm 8

    It would have worked BETTER with the Torch, for those that know Firestorm, since the flame on his head is, canonically, not actually a flame. (The Jason Rusch run called it a hologram, officially, all of the others just had it not, you know, not burning things.) He also doesn’t have fire powers, except for a period of a few years where he was a fire elemental. Depending on which Firestorm you’re talking about, he’s either got matter manipulation powers, radiation powers, or both.

  9. Kamino Neko Jan 20th 2013 at 09:37 pm 9

    (That said, I love Firestorm (not so much the current series…it dropped in quality pretty quick when Gail Simone left), so I’m happy to see him used.)

  10. James Pollock Jan 20th 2013 at 10:17 pm 10

    No, it would NOT have worked better with Human Torch, because he DOESN’T have a light. The Torch would (except during the period when he was dead, of course). It seems like Firestorm would, but he doesn’t. The Torch, well, is the Torch.
    If you want to go out-of-universe, it would work with Pyro, too (he can manipulate flames, but can’t create them.)

  11. Usual John Jan 20th 2013 at 11:50 pm 11

    O.K.,this raises several questions for me.

    1. Who is the character without the light? Some of you seem to be referring to him as Firestorm, but Wikipedia says there are three characters by that name.

    2. Why is it funny that he doesn’t have a light? I’m a litle confused by what’s going on here, especially if that isn’t really a flame on the top of his head.

    3. I believe I recognize Batman, but who is the character on the left?

  12. jjmcgaffey Jan 21st 2013 at 03:03 am 12

    The first one in the Wikipedia entry - and sheesh! I think I quit reading him pretty early - I don’t recognize the one with the Russian included, let alone all the trading bodies stuff. has a lot more info, and images. Though it does say he has “power over fire and heat”.

    The joke, though, is that though it looks like his head is on fire, it doesn’t actually burn anything. And the Firestorm I remember, if he tried to light a cigarette, would probably blow a hole in the wall, burning up the cig and the hand holding it on the way…

    And the guy on the left - I don’t know, some generic superhero (cape and mask). If he didn’t have the mask I’d say he was Superman (with that curl in his hair), but Supes never wore a mask (OK, he probably did at some point, but it’s certainly not part of his image).

  13. Kamino Neko Jan 21st 2013 at 07:56 am 13

    Superman has worn a mask a few times, but never as Superman.

    When he was going by Nova, he wore a mask. (It was an Imaginary Story, but a canon version was later done in a Superman/Batman annual.)

    When he briefly created an evil psychic duplicate of himself (it may have been an Imaginary Story, I don’t remember offhand), Supercrook had a mask.

    There were a couple more, but they all followed the same basic ‘he doesn’t call himself Superman for some reason, and wears the mask because of that’.

  14. Kamino Neko Jan 21st 2013 at 07:58 am 14

    No, it would NOT have worked better with Human Torch, because he DOESN’T have a light.

    That’s why it would be funnier with Torch.

    Firestorm legitimately doesn’t have a light, at all, he just looks like he’s burning - thus, no joke - but Johnny would be searching his costume for a lighter or a match, when he could just Flame On - thus there’s a joke.

  15. mitch4 Jan 21st 2013 at 08:06 am 15

    Not to begrudge you folks from as much comix-geekiness as you want … but from my ignorant point of view, the joke works fine without being able to name the character or know anything about his patterns or powers — since it’s clear he’s associated with fire in some fashion, and that’s enough.

  16. The Bad Seed Jan 21st 2013 at 10:16 am 16

    I think the joke is supposed to be that he says he doesn’t have a light because he forgets his head is flaming, like someone who’s looking everywhere for their glasses when they’re actually just pushed up on their own head.

  17. J-L Jan 21st 2013 at 05:25 pm 17

    I think it’s funny that the guy’s head is on fire.

    I mean, c’mon! The guy’s own head is on fire!

  18. J-L Jan 21st 2013 at 05:26 pm 18

    What mitch4 (#16) and The Bad Seed (#16) said.

    Not only that, but if the Human Torch had had matches on him, they’d probably be all used up. (Maybe that could be the punchline of another joke.)

  19. James Pollock Jan 22nd 2013 at 01:55 am 19

    “Firestorm legitimately doesn’t have a light, at all, he just looks like he’s burning”
    Yes, that’s the joke.

    “[The Human Torch] would be searching his costume for a lighter or a match, when he could just Flame On - thus there’s a joke”
    That would fall flat, for several reasons. First off, unless he’s had a stroke, the Torch is not looking in his pockets for a lighter… he’s never carried one in his life (plus, if he DID have one, it’d explode in his pocket when he flamed on). Then, the interpretation of asking the Human Torch for a light and being told he doesn’t have one isn’t that he’s absent-mindedly fumbling for a lighter, it’s that he’s intentionally blowing off the guy asking for a light. That might be an understandable act… that bit would get OLD quickly for Johnny… but it isn’t funny.
    Then, there’s the graphical challenge of establishing that the character presented IS the Human Torch without having him flaming.
    The joke works just fine as it is.
    (Seriously, if you were hoping to get a light, wouldn’t the guy whose head is currently emitting flames lead you to ask him first?)

  20. Kamino Neko Jan 22nd 2013 at 02:00 am 20

    No, that is not the joke. That is not even a joke.

    ‘Person who doesn’t have fire powers can’t light a cigarette without having a lighter or match’ is not funny, because nobody would expect otherwise.

    ‘Person with fire powers (thinks he) can’t light a cigarette without having a lighter or match’ is funny, because it is a reversal of expectations.

    And, no, the person with obviously fake fire on his head is not the person I’d turn to, any more than I’d turn to the person wearing a shirt with a picture of a flame on it.

  21. Susan T-O Jan 22nd 2013 at 08:51 am 21

    I presumed the guy on the left was Robin, but who knows? And exactly when did Batman start smoking? :::grumbles to self & heads back to the Marvel universe:::

  22. Kamino Neko Jan 22nd 2013 at 07:45 pm 22

    Nah, Robin is never that buff, depending on which Robin it is, his cape is either yellow or black, none of them have had brown hair (the ‘iconic’ Robin look is black-haired), and none have worn it anything like that, and for the most part, while they’re Robin, they’d not be allowed in a bar (Most of them give it up by the time they turn 18, moving on to a different identity - it’s not quite clear when Dick gave it up, currently).

  23. lgchrist Jan 23rd 2013 at 11:07 am 23

    Time to show my age and geekiness. I can answer the question if anyone has bummed a light of the Human Torch. In the special issue where Sue and Reed’s son in born (I’m not geeky enough to remember issue number and year, but I read it when it first came out), the Torch and the Thing are in the hospital waiting room trying to avoid recognition behind newspapers. A nervous father to be asks if one of them has a match. The Torch responds “No, but maybe this will do.” and lights the cigarette with a burning finger. Needless to say the expectant father freaks out.

  24. James Pollock Jan 25th 2013 at 01:50 am 24

    “Person who doesn’t have fire powers can’t light a cigarette without having a lighter or match’ is not funny, because nobody would expect otherwise.”
    Unless… and this is the funny part… his head was perpetually shrouded in flames.

  25. Kamino Neko Jan 25th 2013 at 06:30 am 25

    Except, of course, for the part where he’s not perpetually shrouded flames.

    Unless you don’t know Firestorm at all, in which case a) this is completely out of the scenario that we’re supposedly discussing, and b) the Human Torch has the exact same joke, only he works better as a much more familiar character.

  26. Todd Jan 25th 2013 at 05:16 pm 26

    The original Firestorm (Ron Raymond and Martin Stein) was my favorite character. Until Ostrander (I think) got a hold of him, and changed the story so it was no longer about Ron or Martin, but about the fire elemental.

    And I like the joke. He’s got a flaming head, but he can’t light a cigarette.

    I don’t like the artwork. Why is a cigarette sticking out of the side of Bat’s chin? It looks like his mouth is just under his hood.

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