The Human Torch no.12, 1943


The Human Torch no.12, Summer 1943 (quarterly). Epic Alex Schomburg cover with the hero melting flesh down to the bone of the torturing samurai (though Schomburg’s reference for the katana was very accurate). Ominously, there’s a woven basket behind him (for a beheading?) I love the way he drew the Torch and molten metal (and brick?) This cover is one of the most violent superhero covers from the Golden Age. 

The Torch stories are “Riding a Rocket to Doom” and “Unmask a Gestapo Rabbit”. I love the design of the Nazi rocket ship. Rabbit is one of the strangest villains of all time, maybe even topping Torch adversary the Parrot. 

The Sub-Mariner story is “Lair of the Pig Boats” by Carl Pfeufer. Pfeufer isn’t quite Bill Everett but he’s talented in his own right. He made Namor gradually more muscular and his head more distorted. He used odd perspectives, forced perspective, distorted line work, artwork exploding out of the panel and numerous circle panels. Very dynamic and it’s all on display in this issue. Usually he drew water scenes and explosions with great style but here, the water is not up to his standards. Possibly someone assisted on this issue? Still a great Namor issue. 

Al Fragaly does the pencils for the first Torch tale and Ed Hamilton inks the first one. Hamilton does complete art on the second.

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