One of the greatest unsolved mysteries of Firestorm lore is what happened to the pointed temples?!?! It’s been called one of the most confounding mysteries of modern comics. Essays and dissertations have been composed on this baffling topic. Read on and prepare to be bewildered…
When Firestorm premiered his cowl featured pointed temples. While this feature wasn’t critical to his overall costume, it was an interesting accent. See the red angled points near his eyes in the image below from FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #1 (Mar. 1978) drawn by Al Milgrom, Klaus Janson, and Joe Rubinstein.
Interestingly enough, while the pointed temples appeared inside the comic, they were slightly different on the cover. Below is an image from the cover of FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #1 (Mar. 1978) drawn by Al Milgrom. Notice the pointed temples have been replaced by a angled corner. I’m guessing the cover was done while they were still finalizing the interiors, which would explain the inconsistency. I believe this is the only time Al Milgrom drew the angled corner instead of the pointed temples.
Below you can see Al Milgrom’s Firestorm from the cover of FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #4 (Sept. 1978). Pointed temples present and accounted for!
After the DC Implosion and the cancellation of his series, Firestorm disappeared for a year or so. Our favorite Nuclear Man didn’t resurface until DC COMICS PRESENTS #17 (Jan. 1980). Below you can see Firestorm on the cover of that comic drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Steve Mitchell. Pointed temples? Check!
After that, Firestorm was a regular in the JLA. Below is an interior page from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #179 (June 1980) drawn by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin. Notice Firestorm’s cowl features the angled corner instead of the pointed temples. I’m guessing Dick Dillin used the cover of FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #1 as a reference.
Next Firestorm had his own back-up feature in several issues of THE FLASH. Below is a close-up from an interior page of THE FLASH #292 (Dec. 1980) drawn by George Perez and Bob Smith. Nice job George including the pointed temples! By the way, it’s worth noting that George still draws Firestorm with the pointed temples! Click here to see a George Perez Firestorm sketch from 2009! Amazing attention to detail, George!
The pointed temples continued to appear in THE FLASH back-up stories for a while longer. Below is a image from THE FLASH #302 (Oct. 1981) drawn by Denys Cowan and Rodin Rodriguez.
Notice below the pointed temples in THE FLASH #302 (Oct. 1981) drawn by Denys Cowan and Rodin Rodriguez. Here you can see Firestorm floating unconscious with a garbage scow closing in on him.
In the very next issue the pointed temples are nowhere to be seen. Below you’ll see an image from THE FLASH #303 (Nov. 1981) picking up where the image above left off. The scene is set the same, just without the attractive temple accents. It’s worth noting this issue was the first time Firestorm was drawn by Pat Broderick. The inker for this issue was Adrian Gonzales. This was the only issue of THE FLASH Adrian Gonzales inked. It’s possible the change in artists resulted in the loss of the pointed temples (whether accidentally or purposefully). Perhaps the loss of the pointed temples was so overwhelming to Firestorm, he passed out in the river. I know I would have been depressed to lose such rockin’ cowl accents.
The pointed temples returned one last time in THE FLASH #304 (Dec. 1981) drawn by Pat Broderick and Rodin Rodriguez as you can see below. The primary difference between issues #303 (above) and #304 (below) was the inker. Rodin Rodriguez, the inker for #304, had been inking the Firestorm back-up features for some time. It’s possible Rodriguez added the pointed temples to issue #304 since he would have been aware of them from inking previous issues. This would be the final regular appearance of the pointed temples. After this they would only show up once in a blue moon, but they were always a fluke rather than a regular cosmetic feature.
Below is an interior panel from THE FURY OF FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #1 (June 1982) drawn by Pat Broderick and Rodin Rodriguez. This representation of Firestorm’s cowl became the standard look for our favorite Nuclear Man going forward.
It’s worth noting down the line Firestorm featured other cowl accents. Below you’ll see the cowl-sideburns which premiered in FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #65 (November 1987) drawn by Ross Andru. The cowl-sideburns were a distinct feature of the “Blank Slate” Firestorm and hung around until FIRESTORM THE NUCLEAR MAN #85 (May 1989).
Finally, Ronnie Raymond is currently sporting a unique cowl accent. See an example below drawn by Ethan Van Sciver. I’m not sure exactly what to call them; maybe cheek-bone tips? It would be interesting to find out if Ronnie’s current cowl accents were inspired by the pointed temples, the cowl-sideburns, or some new idea all together.
Rounding back to or original question… who is responsible for the disappearance of the pointed temples? We may never know. However, my instinct tells me it was Pat Broderick who did away with the pointed temples (whether accidentally or purposefully). Broderick became the regular artist of Firestorm beginning with THE FLASH #303 and the pointed temples only appeared once more. Now keep in mind that’s my own speculation. We may never know the truth…
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