The Flame
The Flame, on the cover of Wonderworld Comics #3 (1939).
Publication information
PublisherFox Feature Syndicate
First appearanceWonderworld Comics #3 (July 1939)
Created byWill Eisner (writer)
Lou Fine (artist)
In-story information
Alter egoGary Preston
AbilitiesFire and heat manipulation
Teleportation via fire
Carries a pistol-sized flamethrower

The Flame is a fictional superhero that appeared in American comic books published by Fox Feature Syndicate. The Flame first appeared in Wonderworld Comics #3 (July 1939) and was created by writer Will Eisner and artist Lou Fine.[1] The Flame became Wonderworld's primary character.[2]

Publication history

The Flame's first appearance was in Fox's Wonderworld Comics #3, dated July 1939, (issues #1 & #2 being titled Wonder Comics). The Flame gained his own title in the summer of 1940; which ran for eight issues until January 1942.[3] He was one of the titular Big 3, appearing in that periodical alongside Blue Beetle and Samson.[4] Fox Publications folded in 1942, being forced to declare involuntary bankruptcy owing its creditors some $175,000.

Fictional character biography

The Flame's secret identity is Gary Preston. When Gary was a baby, his father Charteris Preston worked as a missionary in China. The elder Preston was washed away in a flood, but managed to save baby Gary by placing him in a basket. The basket was washed downstream to Tibet, where Gary was rescued by a group of lamas. They raised Gary in the lamasery, where they trained him in their mystical ways. Through this training, Gary gained the ability to control fire and temperature, including his own body temperature. He also gained the ability to travel from place to place by materializing inside of flame (even a match flame).[5]

When he reached adulthood, Gary returned to America to fight crime as the Flame. He used a flamethrower-gun, as well as a special car, boat and plane.[6] In Wonderworld Comics #30 (October 1941) The Flame was joined by a female sidekick, Flame Girl. Flame Girl was secretly Linda Dale, who was given similar powers as the Flame when Gary Preston was injured.

According to Jess Nevins' Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes, the Flame "battles arsonists, dictators, German mad scientists, an enormous creature called the Beast, and river pirates".[7]

Powers and abilities

Thanks to his training, the Flame has the ability to control fire and heat. He can raise his own body temperature to the point where he can burst into flames, or melt bullets. He can control and direct any flame in his presence. He can also teleport from place to place by appearing inside of any fire source, no matter the size. The Flame's one weakness is water, which can severely weaken him.[7] In order to provide fire whenever he needs it, the Flame carries a small, pistol-sized flamethrower.


The Flame is one of the many public domain Golden Age characters appearing in Project Superpowers, a series released by Dynamite Entertainment.


  1. ^ Markstein, Don. "The Flame (1939)". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Retrieved 2 April 2020.
  2. ^ Sadowski, Greg (2009). Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941. Fantagraphics Books. pp. 187–188. ISBN 978-1560979715.
  3. ^ Mougin, Lou (2020). Secondary Superheroes of Golden Age Comics. McFarland & Co. pp. 25–27. ISBN 9781476638607.
  4. ^ Benton, Mike (1992). Superhero Comics of the Golden Age: The Illustrated History. Dallas: Taylor Publishing Company. p. 151. ISBN 0-87833-808-X. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  5. ^ Mougin, Lou (2020). Secondary Superheroes of Golden Age Comics. McFarland & Co. pp. 25–29. ISBN 9781476638607.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Kurt; Thomas, Roy (2019). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1940-1944. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 978-1605490892.
  7. ^ a b Nevins, Jess (2013). Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes. High Rock Press. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-61318-023-5.