Saturday, November 24, 2018

Captain Universe Vs. Firestorm



I wondered what the writers and editors were thinking when Firestorm switched to his "elemental form" towards the end of his second DC series.  It was such a departure from what had gone before, from his appearance to his attitude, it  seemed like a completely different hero and comic.  Even the art switch to Tom Mandrake was very jarring and a turnoff to me (although I am a Mandrake fan and love his later collaborations with Firestorm writer John Ostrander).  I thought that the series had solid sales numbers, so I was curious as to why the decision was made to make such a drastic left turn.

22 comments:

Patrick Carey said...

i felt like they over marketed Firestorm. He was a good concept, plenty powerful and I enjoyed his forgiving and some early stories. But, they added him to the JLA and seemed to make the Saturday cartoon about him with Superfriends as his supporting cast.

Off-topic, I would like to drop into the suggestion box Pet Avengers meet Legion of Super Pets

Anonymous said...

They went with the "Elemental Form" because Nuclear Bad.

Anonymous said...

My guess, Ross? Too much New Agism.

Cary Comic said...

Ah, yes! Bad old Clifton Carmichael. Ronnie Raymond's own version of Mike Burley.*

*Only more psycho!

Bob Greenwade said...

I think the theory of the second Anonymous poster above ("Too much New Agism") is close to the mark. Turning Firestorm into the Elemental Avatar of Fire (or whatever they called it) went along with doing the equivalent to Swamp Thing for Earth, and I don't even remember (nor care enough to go look up) who DC chose for Water and Air. I much preferred the preceding versions for both of the above characters.

My email header only showed the first few characters of this title: "Captain U...." I thought it was going to be Captain Underpants, who would be a fun team-up with Captain Klutz -- or an opponent of the original (Batman: TAS) version the the Condiment King, who also wore "tighty whities" on the exterior of his costume.

I also wonder if it would ever be possible for you, Ross, to bring the Uni-Power to the Tick. It'd be a challenge, at the very least, I'm sure. (Arthur: "Heaven help us all!")

Cliff Carmichael, as the second Thinker, would be an interesting individual to bring into the Arrowverse for a short story arc (say, 6-8 episodes or so).

ShadowWing Tronix said...

I hate Cliff Carmichael. Not the way I'm supposed to, I hate him AS a character, not just the character. The jerk went way too far at times, to the point where Flash Thompson at his worst would still tell him to knock it off.

Anonymous said...

@Patrick Carey: how about also Equestria Girls meet the Orion from Star Trek; the former are (except for pastel color skin) like the Orion women.

Bob Buethe said...

Cliff Carmichael never made sense to me. Of all the bizarre things I've seen in comics, a high school nerd who bullies the jocks is one of the most unrealistic.

BTW, how about having one of the Dial H For Hero kids turn into Captain Universe?

Brother Kellymatthew Barnes said...

WARNING THIS IS NOT HUMOROUS Usually when a DC Book ended (from the 1970' to the 1990's) there would be a final column/letter/page(s)/Blurb explaining why/why not the series is cancelled/not continuing. Maybe there was such an explanation in the final issue. I seem to remember that Professor Martin Stein became the fire elemental and set Ronnie Raymond free from the curse/burden. I know for a fact that The Red Tornado (The Android built by Professor T.O. Morrow and Not Ma/Granny Hunkle) was the Wind Elemental during the final days of the series. I do believe this was not long after Swampthing (Who makes Everything Groovy) was called the BOG god by John Constantine (Before the great Divide) And Animal Man was announced the Elemental of The Red (Not to be Confused With Fire) Elemental. During The Late 1980's Early Nineteen Nineties DC was HUGE On Elementals and Lords of Order and cHaOS, like how MARVEL-Is-And-Was-Big-ON-Hyphen-ating.

Daviticus said...

I think the first Anonymous poster hit the nail on the head. As I recall, it was shortly after the Chernobyl disaster, and anti-nuclear sentiment was sweeping the globe. In fact, if I'm not mistaken his transformation began right after he fought a villain called Pozhar, who was created by the disaster.

The anti-nuke hysteria seems to be fading now, and I think it's about time, especially since nuclear power just might be our last, best hope for a sustainable future.

BTW I like Bob Buethe's idea. Alternatively, you could have another established DC hero or anti-hero become the latest avatar of the "Unii-Power". ;) May I suggest Lobo?

Scott Cummins said...

Red Tornado was revealed as the Air Elemental in Justice League of America Annual #3 after he was almost destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths. As to why Firestorm was changed I did not care personally. I was bored of Firestorm and I loved the direction he went in when combining with Pozhar and later being revealed as the Fire Elemental. I hated when the series ended and Firestorm (Martin Stern) went off to explore space because we did not see him again until Infinity Crisis when he became a member of Green Lantern (Kyle) and Donna Troy's space team.

Anonymous said...

Both of my fellow anonymii(?) are right.

Anti-nuclear activism and more generic environmentalism kind of overlapped into all that New Age stuff during the late Eighties/early Nineties.

Simreeve said...

... and 'Brother Power the Geek' was eventually revealed to be the 'Toy Elemental' !

(Yes, seriously, in a DC [or maybe Vertigo] comic.)

Cary Comic said...

That would make for a nice Xmas Day cover! Brother Power The Geek rescuing Santa Claus from...

...The Puppet Master.

Anonymous said...

@Bob Bleuthe: How about Everyman (The Simpsons) and Captain Universe; also Everyman and Captain Justice (who in "Once a Hero" was a former comic book superhero who ventured into the real world, losing his powers in the process).

Anonymous said...

This is a perfect example of why I love coming here. When you hit the sweet spot, as you do often and certainly here, I’m transported instantly back to rummaging through a two foot high pile of Marvel and DC comics in assorted newsagents west of London in the late seventies. It stirs up many emotions, but for purposes of brevity I’ll stick with “happy.” Thank you.

Bob Buethe said...

@Anonymous (2 up): First, it's Buethe (no L, and U before E). Second, I remember "Once a Hero!" I have the pilot episode on VHS. I wish it had gone on for a couple more weeks. They had filmed an episode that never aired, with Adam West as an actor who used to play Captain Justice on TV, and was being sued by the comic book publisher for making public appearances in the costume.

@Brother Barnes: IIRC, Tsunami of the Young All-Stars was discovered to be the Water Elemental, no?

Bob Buethe said...

Oh, and in response to the "Too much New Ageism" comment... I agree. Even more so in the whole "emotional spectrum" concept that Geoff Johns started in Green Lantern.

Simreeve said...

Bob Buethe said...
"@Brother Barnes: IIRC, Tsunami of the Young All-Stars was discovered to be the Water Elemental, no?"
I thought that role fell to a character called 'Naiad', of Japanese origins (like Tsunami) but more recently empowered. Eco-terrorist?

The Irredeemable Shag said...

Oh my gosh, Ross! This is a brilliant idea for a mash-up! The use of Cliff was inspired!

LOVE IT!!!

The Irredeemable Shag

The Irredeemable Shag said...

For thoughts from John Ostrander about creating the Fire Elemental version of Firestorm, here are some answers directly from John in an interview I did with him nearly 8 years ago (how time flies):
http://firestormfan.com/2011/01/28/john-ostrander-interview/

As I understand it, sales were dropping when Gerry Conway left the book. Ostrander was given the mandate of increasing sales, so he shook things up with the "Blank Slate" version. Then a few years later, sales were starting to slip again (I would personally blame Brozowksi's art, not the writing). So Ostrander shook things up again, this time by bringing in his GrimJack collaborator Tom Mandrake and following a similar path to Swamp Thing. Personally, I LOVE the Elemental version of Firestorm. While it's very different, I can still love it as it's own piece of literature.

Fan the flame!

Brother Kellymatthew Barnes said...

Thanks The Irredeemable Shag, IDNK these reasons at all. :)

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