After DC sued Wonder Man – Fox Publication’s faux Man Of Steel – out of existence, the publisher went back to the drawing board and rebooted the disgraced super-hero’s showcase title, Wonder Comics, as WonderWORLD Comics.
Fox’s second step was to commission a new character that couldn’t be confused with Superman. Turning once again to Eisner-Iger shop, a hero with very un-Kryptonian fire-based powers soon emerged.
(And before you get any ideas, smart guy, said character also debuted a few months before the similarly themed Human Torch.)
The Flame, created by Will Eisner and Lou Fine, was the lost son of a missionary who was raised by Tibetan monks and granted mastery over the element of fire. Armed with his trusty “Flame Gun,” the hero debuted in the third issue of Wonderworld Comics (July 1939) and enjoyed a fairly healthy career as one of Fox’s top characters until 1942, when the publisher abandoned most of its super-heroes.
The Flame’s best stories, however, were the earliest by Eisner and Fine. Boasting a true pulp feel and art that was far and away superior to just about anything else issued by Victor Fox, The Flame was one of his few characters that could truly stand side-by-side in terms of quality with other publishers’ super-heroes.
See for yourself. From Wonderworld Comics #6 (Fox, October 1939), here’s “The Arson Ring Of Mr. Crass” by Eisner and Fine.
Golden Age justice!