In addition to being a fan of Firestorm in the 1980’s, I was also a big fan of Iron Man. I used to play with my Super Powers Firestorm action figure side-by-side with my Secret Wars Iron Man figure. As many kids do, I would also draw pictures of my favorite superheroes. While drawing Firestorm and Iron Man one day, I noticed both costumes used the same colors. In fact, upon further inspection the colors in their costumes were almost mirror images of one another.
Take a good look at the costumes below. Here are a few things to notice:
- Firestorm has a yellow torso, boots, gloves, and briefs. The same areas on Iron Man are red.
- Firestorm has red leggings and sleeves. The same areas on Iron Man are yellow.
- Both characters have protruding shoulder accents. Firestorm has pointed shoulder pads, while Iron Man has raised metal bands at the shoulder joints (though not very prominent in the image below).
- Firestorm has a prominent red circle on his chest. Iron Man has a prominent yellow circle on his chest. Both characters have multiple circles on their chest.
- Both Firestorm and Iron Man have red headgear framing their faces.
For the record, I’m not honestly suggesting that Firestorm creators Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom based the Firestorm costume on Iron Man. I’m just stating that there are some similarities in costume colors and design elements. Given that red and yellow are primary colors, it’s not surprising to find costumes using these colors in similar/opposite ways. There are only so many combinations before you find a mirror counterpart. Additionally, in comics it’s quite common to see the torso piece of a superhero suit contrast with the leggings and sleeves.
It is interesting to note that about a year before publication of Firestorm #1 [Mar. 1978], writer Gerry Conway completed a run on Iron Man [Iron Man #91 (Oct. 1976) – Iron Man #97 (Apr. 1977)]. However, this is merely coincidence as artist Al Milgrom and Editor Jack C. Harris supposedly developed the look for Firestorm (see “It’s BobRo, the Answer Man” column for Jack C. Harris’ quote on this). Also, the pieces of Firestorm’s costume that really stand out are the flaming hair and chest emblem; there really isn’t any resemblance to Iron Man in either of those. The elements of Iron Man’s costume that really stand out are the face-plate and that the entire suit is made of metal; again no overlap with Firestorm in either of these areas.
Just for fun, check out the covers to Firestorm #1 (Mar. 1978) and Iron Man #110 (May 1978). These comics were published just a few months apart. Look at Firestorm and Iron Man’s pose.
In conclusion, this is just an interesting coincidence surrounding two popular characters. Just a crazy observation that has been rattling around in my brain for the last 20+ years. Nothing more.
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