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Oracle in Firestorm #98 & Barbara Gordon Podcast

Some people may not realize/remember, but when Oracle first appeared in Suicide Squad #23 (cover dated January 1989) her true identity was not shown to the readers. It wasn’t until Suicide Squad #38 (February 1990) that she was revealed to be Barbara Gordon. Somewhat surprising is that Barbara Gordon’s very next appearance as Oracle was in Firestorm #98 (cover dated June 1990). Kind of a cool honor for our favorite Nuclear Man … err… Fire Elemental.

I recently sat down to discuss this issue with Stella, host of BATGIRL TO ORACLE: THE BARBARA GORDON PODCAST. We also chatted about the Batgirl #41 variant cover controversy, Chuck Dixon writing female characters, Harley Quinn and the Joker’s abusive relationship, The Flash TV series, the cultural acceptance of comics, my love of Barbara Gordon, and much more! Stella is an outstanding podcaster and a very gracious host. Be sure to check out her podcast, BATGIRL TO ORACLE: THE BARBARA GORDON PODCAST! My thanks to Stella for having me on the show!

Below you’ll find the Oracle-centric pages from Firestorm #98 written by John Ostrander (also author of Suicide Squad), with art by Tom Mandrake and Carlos Garzon!

Barbara Gordon Oracle from Firestorm #98

Barbara Gordon Oracle from Firestorm #98

Below is the cover to Firestorm #98; one of my favorites from this era!

Firestorm #98

Thanks again to Stella for having me on the show! I had a blast! You can follow BATGIRL TO ORACLE: THE BARBARA GORDON PODCAST at The Batman Universe Podcast Network, Facebook, and Twitter!

Batgirl to Oracle: The Barbara Gordon Podcast

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No Robbie Amell in Flash Spin-Off

According to news reports from last week, the unnamed Arrow/Flash spin-off will not include Robbie Amell. We knew he wasn’t part of the initial announcement, but here is further information from Greg Berlanti in a recent Entertainment Weekly interview.

One of the main burning questions after the project’s announcement was why Robbie Amell was missing from the cast list, considering he makes up the other half of Firestorm, Ronnie Raymond. Unfortunately, it sounds like bad news could be on the horizon as Berlanti admits there is a particular reason for his absence, but “I can’t say why.”

Firestorm with no Ronnie Raymond / Robbie Amell

So here is my crazy fanboy theory on this. Berlanti hints that something may happen to Ronnie. Maybe the story will make it look like Ronnie dies. Given the popularity of the character, it’s hard to imagine they’ll actually kill him. So my pet theory (which is probably completely wrong) is that he doesn’t actually die, but the producers don’t want to spoil the surprise by announcing Robbie Amell’s involvement with the casting just yet. I know, crazy theory or perhaps sad wishful thinking. Fingers crossed!

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More Than Zero: Zero Month 20 Years Later

CROSSOVER! Everybody loves a crossover! Today several comic-themed websites are teaming-up to remember DC’s “Zero Month”!

In 1994 DC Comics published Zero Hour, a five issue mini-series designed to not only serve as a major summer crossover but also fix some of the continuity problems that had emerged since the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. Zero Hour was written and pencilled by Dan Jurgens (who later went on to write and draw Firestorm in The New 52), and represented the dawn of an exciting new era for DC. To kick off this new age, DC followed Zero Hour in August & September 1994 with “Zero Month.” As the name suggests all of the main DC books published an issue numbered zero, though each had a different approach to the idea. Some books featured a new origin. Some contained tweaks to the existing origin. Some contained brand new versions of old characters. Some were intended to launch new ongoing series. All of them served as a jumping on point for new and old readers alike.

To celebrate this new era, some of us in the comic book fan community have banded together today from remote galaxies. We’re celebrating our characters appearances in Zero Month along with some promotional material!

Not a lot of Firestorm in Zero Month, but he would eventually go on to be a member of the Justice League splinter group, Extreme Justice. Below you’ll find a blurb promoting Extreme Justice found in Wizard Magazine Zero Hour Special, which was published around the time of Zero Hour. Click to enlarge!

Extreme Justice from Wizard Magazine Zero Hour Special

In typical fashion for Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, they showed up late to the party. While Zero Month was spread across August & September 1994, this zero issue didn’t hit stands until mid-November. Below you’ll find the cover to Extreme Justice #0, featuring a distinct lack of metallic silver ink that the other zero issues received as cover enhancements. Also note Firestorm didn’t make the cover, though Ronnie Raymond (or “Ron” as he was called at the time) does appear on the inside.

Extreme Justice #0 cover

That art is soooooo ’90s and only became more “extreme” as the series went continued. For further Firestorm-related posts involving Extreme Justice, check out these links:

It’s Zero Hour for These Sites!

As mentioned, several websites have teamed-up today to reflect upon Zero Month! While we’re featuring Extreme Justice, you should visit these other sites to see how they spotlight their own favorite heroes today. Visit them now, visit them later, and visit them often!

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Tales of the Kubert School – FIRE & WATER #120

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 120th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

Shag is off this week, so Rob is joined by artist and fellow Joe Kubert School alum John Trumbull for the oft-requested episode, “Tales From The Kubert School”!

You can find the 120th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may play the podcast using the player below or by right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (90 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme! This episode brought to you in part by InStockTrades.com!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Tales from the Kubert School

Thanks for listening! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Does Alex Ross hate Firestorm?

If you’re a fan of both Alex Ross and Firestorm, then you’ve probably asked yourself at some point, “Does Alex Ross Hate Firestorm?” I gotta tell ya, some days it feels that way.

To be perfectly clear, this is not a bashing of Alex Ross. I love, LOVE, L-O-V-E his artwork and would be thrilled to see Firestorm fully-rendered by such a masterful artist! It’s just disappointing we haven’t had that opportunity.

Alex Ross began his professional comic book career 25 years ago. In that quarter century he’s rendered the Justice League dozens and dozens of times; and yet he’s only rendered Firestorm once. Just once. And to be specific, that one time he was painting over George Perez’s pencils, so Ross didn’t have a choice about which characters to render.

Firestorm by George Perez and Alex Ross from Crisis on Infinite Earths

Alex Ross has demonstrated his love of the Satellite Era Justice League on numerous occasions, yet Firestorm has never crept into any of those renderings. As Firestorm was the final member of the Satellite Era League, you’d think he’d be included. Heck, Ross often includes other heroes from DC’s pantheon that weren’t even members of the Satellite League (i.e. Plastic Man, Captain Marvel, & Metamorpho).

Alex Ross draws the Justice League of America ... but not Firestorm

Alex Ross draws the Justice League of America ... but not Firestorm

As a fan of Firestorm (a.k.a. Match-head), you can’t help but feel disappointed.

I’ve been researching the lack of Firestorm rendered by Alex Ross for years. While I don’t have a concrete answer, I have some circumstantial evidence worth considering.

Exhibit A: We know Alex Ross is interested in the Silver Age versions of DC’s heroes. Below you’ll find an excerpt from an interview with Ross conducted back in 2004 by The AV Club of The Onion. Click here to read the entire interview.

The Onion: Looking at your work, Bruce Timm’s animated series, Alan Moore’s America’s Best Comics line, and, to a certain extent, Grant Morrison’s run on JLA, there seem to have been efforts to return to a Silver Age approach. Even Superman’s dog Krypto is back.

Alex Ross: What you have is a bunch of 40-year-olds and thirtysomethings like myself. We grew up with this stuff thinking of it a certain way, and we’re rejecting what was kind of knocked around on us the last few years. Basically, what still is going on in modern continuity, especially at DC Comics, is a rejection of everything they did in the 1990s to compete with the then-hip-and-happening changes coming from the more tumultuous time of what Marvel and then Image comics did. We’re sort of in a repairing stage. Those of us who are kind of these Silver Age purists who think you don’t need to fix what isn’t broken, we’re getting our way because more of us are in control at the moment.

Exhibit B: We know Alex Ross and Paul Dini made a conscious decision about which members of the JLA to feature in their gorgeous treasury-sized, JLA: Secret Origins and JLA: Liberty and Justice. Below is an excerpt from an interview with Paul Dini printed in the back of JLA: Secret Origins.

Interview with Paul Dini in JLA Secret Origins

Exhibit C: From JLA: Secret Origins, here is a preliminary sketch for a series of panels including Firestorm, followed by the final version of those panels without Firestorm. Notice the JLA Satellite panel width is expanded to accommodate the missing Firestorm panel. Most importantly, notice the Firestorm commentary on the bottom right of the sketch.

Alex Ross sketch for JLA Secret Origins regarding Firestorm

JLA Secret Origins by Paul Dini and Alex Ross

There it is Match-heads, the strongest evidence for Alex Ross’s aversion to Firestorm.

“Firestorm? No! Iris Allen is dead when he shows up”

We don’t know if that note was written by Alex Ross or Paul Dini, but regardless it played a role in their decision to exclude Firestorm from JLA: Secret Origins and JLA: Liberty and Justice. I believe I understand where they are coming from with that decision. Some people consider the death of Iris Allen to be the beginning of darker storytelling for the DC heroes. It occurred in the middle of the Bronze Age, as comics marched towards the “Modern Age”. Or perhaps Ross and Dini prefer the Flash before he suffered the tragedy of losing his wife. If Ross doesn’t want to stray into the “darker” era of DC Comics, then that’s a reasonable cut-off point. Putting this on a timeline, Firestorm was created prior to the death of Iris Allen, but he hadn’t joined the JLA yet.

  • Firestorm first premiered: Firestorm The Nuclear Man #1 (cover dated March 1978)
  • Iris Allen is murdered: The Flash #275 (cover dated July 1979)
  • Firestorm joins the JLA: Justice League of America #179 (cover dated June 1980)

In case you are wondering, Zatanna was the second-to-last member added to the Satellite Era JLA. Since Ross typically includes Zatanna, I checked and sure enough she joined the JLA in Justice League of America #161 (cover dated December 1978), seven months before the death of Iris Allen. Though if you want to get nit-picky, Zatanna wasn’t wearing her classic stage magician’s costume while she was with the JLA during this era. I imagine Ross overlooks that fact in favor of Zatanna’s most iconic costume.

Exhibit D: We can accept that Alex Ross may only want to draw the Satellite Era JLA as they appeared prior to the death of Iris Allen. However, Ross has rendered a few modern day JLA pieces, each lacking a certain Nuclear Man. Below you’ll find team shots including latter-day JLA additions, such as: Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Orion, Lightray, John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Geo-Force, Vixen, Black Lightning, and Red Arrow. Was the exclusion of Firestorm intentional or simply a case of circumstance?

Alex Ross art of the Justice League ... without Firestorm

Alex Ross art of the Justice League ... without Firestorm

Summary of Findings: Evidence indicates Alex Ross prefers to render the Satellite Era Justice League as they appeared prior to the death of Iris West; therefore, no Firestorm. The lack of Firestorm’s inclusion in Ross’s modern day JLA work is inconclusive.

Final Verdict: Does Alex Ross hate Firestorm? I don’t think there is enough evidence to confirm or deny this statement. However, 25 years in the comics industry with a reputation for rendering the JLA and he’s only drawn Firestorm once? It certainly seems to indicate a lack of interest in the character.

With all this said, I still love Alex Ross’s work! To keep up with Alex, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and his website!

I’m not the only one wondering about Alex Ross’s aversion to Firestorm. Check out Dale Bagwell’s blog post on this very concern!

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Classic Fury of Firestorm Annual #1 & #19, & Aquaman #39 – FIRE & WATER #119

Continuing THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST coverage of the classic Fury of Firestorm series from the 1980s!

Firestorm and Aquaman: The Fire and Water Podcast

The 119th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is now available for your listening pleasure! THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST is the official podcast of FIRESTORM FAN and THE AQUAMAN SHRINE.

This week Shag and Rob review Aquaman #39 by Jeff Parker, Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, and more, part five of the “Maelstrom” saga. Next up, a double-sized dose of The Nuclear Man with The Fury of Firestorm Annual #1 by Gerry Conway, Rodin Rodriguez, Carl Gafford, and new artist Rafael Kayanan! Then, The Fury of Firestorm #19 (Nov. 1983) by Gerry & Carla Conway, Gene Colan, Rick Magyar, and Carl Gafford!

You can find the 119th episode of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST on iTunes. While you’re there, please drop us a review on the iTunes page. Every comment helps! Alternatively, you may play the podcast using the player below or by right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (53 MB).

As always, thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on these episodes! Opening theme, “That Time is Now,” by Michael Kohler. Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic original closing theme! This episode brought to you in part by InStockTrades.com!

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

The Fury of Firestorm Annual #1 cover by Rafael Kayanan and Dick Giordano! Interior story and art by Gerry Conway, Rafael Kayanan, and Rodin Rodriguez! Click to enlarge!

Fury of Firestorm Annual #1 cover by Rafael Kayanan and Dick Giordano

The Fury of Firestorm vol II #19 cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano! Interior story and art by Gerry & Carla Conway, Gene Colan, and Rick Magyar! Click to enlarge!

The Fury of Firestorm vol II #19 cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano

Thanks for listening! Support Firestorm and Aquaman! Fan the Flame and Ride the Wave!

Todd Nauck Firestorm Sketch 2014

I’m repeating myself here (for the fourth time I think), but its worth repeating… I LOVE TODD NAUCK’S ARTWORK! Something about his superhero style really speaks to me. It’s light-hearted, dynamic, and just darn enjoyable to look at. (See, I’m so excited I just ended a sentence with a preposition!) If you are unfamiliar with Todd Nauck, he’s well known for his artwork on titles such as: NightcrawlerAmazing Spider-Man, Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man,Guarding the Globe, Young Justice, his own creation Wildguard, and many others.

Check out this post-it note Firestorm sketch by Todd from his Facebook page at the end of 2014! Love it!

Todd Nauck draws Firestorm

Such a great artist! For further Todd Nauck Firestorm artwork, click here!

If you want to meet Todd in person, attend the Emerald City Comic Con on March 27-29, 2015! Find him in Artist Alley at table EE-01. If you are interested in keeping up with Todd online, visit him on: Twitter, Facebook, deviantART, Instagram, Tumblr, and his own website! Tell him FIRESTORM FAN sent you!

Support Firestorm (and Todd Nauck)! Fan the flame!

Power Records Podcast #09: Batman!

The Power Records Podcast, Part of the Fire and Water Podcast NetworkThe ninth episode of THE POWER RECORDS PODCAST is now available! In this episode hosts Rob Kelly and Chris Franklin discuss two Batman audio adventures, “Gorilla City” and “The Mystery of the Scarecrow Corpse.” They wrap up with your Listener Feedback!

Find the ninth episode of THE POWER RECORDS PODCAST on iTunes. Each episode is released as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed. While you’re on iTunes, please drop us a review. Alternatively, you may play the podcast using the player below or download right-clicking “download”, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (59 MB).

Have a question or comment? Looking for more great content?

Power Records Batman

Support Firestorm, Aquaman, and Power Records! Drop the Needle and Flip the Page!

Firestorm & The Thing in Super-Team Family #1000

The Thing & Firestorm working together, yet barely hanging on in “Penthouse of Panic!”

This short story is part of the giant-sized Super-Team Family #1000! Click the image below to enlarge!

Super-Team Family #1000

No, you didn’t miss an inter-company crossover featuring the Nuclear Man and the Ever-Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing. This team-up is part of the 1,000th issue celebration of Super-Team Family! These fictitious team-ups are the work of a gentleman named Ross who runs Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues! That site is dedicated to the greatest team-ups that never happened. He started with Brave and the Bold fake covers starring Batman, transitioned into Marvel Two-in-One fake covers starring the Thing, and is now doing Super-Team Family featuring a wide variety of team-ups. Back in January they reached their mind-boggling 1,000th post! In the post Ross shared all kinds of goodies, include the process he follows to create these posts. On top of all that, Ross is a former letter-hack to the Fury of Firestorm comic! Look for him in letter columns while reading your back issues!

Over the years, Ross has featured Firestorm several times on his blog:

Be sure to check out Ross’ work on Super-Team Family: The Lost Issues! Every day there is a new amazing piece! Also, please consider supporting Ross’ efforts via his Patreon page! I did!

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FireStormtrooper!

Match-head Travis Fowler has created a fun custom action figure. He refers to it as, “The Alliance’s secret weapon… FireStormtrooper!” Click the images to enlarge and enjoy!

Custom Firestorm action figure by Travis Fowler - FireStormtrooper

Custom Firestorm action figure by Travis Fowler - FireStormtrooper

Custom Firestorm action figure by Travis Fowler - FireStormtrooper

I’m not sure who to feel more sorry for… The Firestorm action figure whose head was chopped off and re-purposed, or the Star Wars Stormtrooper action figure whose head was chopped off and discarded. Either way, OUCH!

My thanks to Travis for sharing this fun custom action figure with us!

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