If you were asked who is responsible for the creation of Firestorm, the choices that come to mind might include: Professor Martin Stein, Ronnie Raymond, the Fire Elemental, or even Gerry Conway. If you picked any of those, you’d be wrong. The man responsible for the creation of Firestorm is without a doubt the eco-terrorist Eddie Earhart.
If you’ve never read Firestorm The Nuclear Man #1 (Mar. 1978) written by Gerry Conway and drawn by Al Milgrom, then you probably don’t know who I’m talking about. Eddie Earhart was a 1970s hipster who sported gold chains, a receding hairline with a Mike Brady-like perm, and thick mutton chops with connecting ‘stache. I’m sure you can tell by the description he was a real class act. Eddie was the leader of an environmentalist group known as the Coalition to Resist Atomic Power (yes, the acronym is C.R.A.P. – well played, Mr. Conway). The Coalition held protest rallies at power plants in the attempt to slow the spread of nuclear power. After watching Clark Kent interview Eddie Earhart on television, Ronnie Raymond decided to join the Coalition in the hope of impressing Doreen Day. Ronnie did a lot of dumb things in his teenage years and I’d say joining a nuclear protest group to win a girl’s heart is pretty high on that list.
Ronnie joined the Coalition and soon discovered that Eddie and his group had a darker agenda. That evening several members of the Coalition broke into the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant with the intention of blowing it up. Eddie had the idea to bring Ronnie along to take the blame from the authorities for their terrorist actions. Eddie knocked Ronnie unconscious when the teenager attempted to stop the Coalition. Meanwhile, Professor Martin Stein (sporting a friggin’ cool pipe!) was in the process of bringing the power plant online. Stein discovered Eddie and his gang, which resulted in being knocked out himself. I tell ya, Eddie should’ve been a boxer the way he knocked people out with one punch. Next, Eddie set the explosives by the atomic pile and the unconscious forms of Ronnie and the Professor.
The resulting explosion transformed Ronnie Raymond and Professor Martin Stein into Firestorm the Nuclear Man (but you probably already knew that part). After briefly testing his new powers, Firestorm tracked Eddie and the Coalition to another nuclear power plant in Jersey. Firestorm made quick work of the Coalition members and managed to punch Eddie Earhart twice — once for the Professor and once for Ronnie I suppose.
There you have it, Eddie Earhart is the man who single-handedly created Firestorm. Eddie conned Ronnie into joining the Coalition on their bombing attack of the Hudson Nuclear Power Plant, he punched out both Ronnie and the Professor, and he set the explosives himself that blew up the nuclear reactor. If it weren’t for Eddie, Firestorm may never have been created! Thanks Eddie… I guess. Kinda weird thanking such a rotten dude.
Surprisingly, Eddie Earhart never appeared in comics again. Sure you’d see him in flashbacks of Firestorm’s creation, but he never returned to plague the Nuclear Man. Considering how often other Firestorm villains reappeared, I’m shocked we never saw Eddie again. If we’re lucky, perhaps Ethan Van Sciver and Gail Simone will figure a way to incorporate this dastardly dude into the new Firestorm continuity.
For the full story of Firestorm’s creation, pick up the Firestorm the Nuclear Man trade paperback by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom!
Support Firestorm (but not Eddie Earhart)! Fan the flame!