When introducing the “Elemental Firestorm” in 1989, DC Comics made special promotional efforts to get the word out about this dramatic change.
The Elemental Firestorm was a fascinating character and a tremendous departure from what had come before. Two years prior writer John Ostrander had changed Firestorm from the classic Ronnie Raymond/Professor Stein combination to the more complex “Blank Slate” incarnation. Not content to rest on his laurels, Ostrander continued to evolve the character by revealing that Firestorm was actually a fire elemental. This new Elemental Firestorm was detached from human emotions and an environmental crusader. This was a new direction for the series and artist Tom Mandrake brought an entirely new look as well.
What a great time to be collecting the character! I love me some Elemental Firestorm! Ostrander was pushing this book in different and thought-provoking directions, while Mandrake’s art created a unique mood to the series. This wasn’t just a straightforward superhero comic, this series had depth and substance. The elemental era of Firestorm walked the line between standard superhero comics and the mature supernatural titles of the time like Sandman and Swamp Thing (keep in mind this was before Vertigo).
This new elemental incarnation first appeared in the final pages of Firestorm #85. The letters page of that issue carried the following advertisement boldly declaring that Firestorm would never be the same.
While Tom Mandrake didn’t draw issue #85, this advertisement within the issue marks his first published work on the character. In addition to house ads, DC was getting the word out to retailers about this dramatic change for Firestorm. Special preview copies of issue #86 were sent to retailers along with a letter from Bob Wayne, then Retail Promotions Manager. Below is the text from the letter.
We’ve got a brand-new look for FIRESTORM. A look so different that we want you to take an advance peek at it! Writer John Ostrander has reunited with his former Grimjack collaborator, artist Tom Mandrake. Together, Ostrander and Mandrake will show you a new FIRESTORM… not just a superhero… but a force of nature! Will he remain mankind’s protector… or will he become its destroyer?
An ongoing series in the DC Comics Standard Format (and part of The Janus Directive sequence), FIRESTORM #86 ships April 11 from Spartan Printing.
Enjoy this preview of FIRESTORM #86.
Retail Promotions Manager
Click here to read the preview copy of Firestorm #86 (PDF Format, 5.3 MB), including the letter from Bob Wayne. My thanks to Jon over at the Fizzit blog for supplying the preview copy. Thanks Jon!
I’m pretty impressed at the efforts DC went to attract attention to this new Firestorm. Today’s post was solely about the promotions surrounding the launch of the Elemental Firestorm. Sooner or later I’ll dedicate some posts detailing this fantastic era. It really was an amazing run and well worth your time if you’ve never read it.
Support Firestorm! Fan the flame!