In 1939, Timely Comics, the predecessor to what would become Marvel Comics, released Marvel Comics #1 featuring three new characters; Captain America, Namor the Sub-mariner and the Human Torch. Though called the Human Torch, he was actually an android created by scientist Phineas Horton. Given the name of Jim Hammond, the “Human” Torch was first feared by mankind. Seen as something of a Frankenstein monster, Hammond would burst into flame whenever he came into contact with oxygen. This resulted in the Torch accidently burning down parts of New York City.
Hammond eventually learned how to control his power and vowed to right the wrongs he had done and to fight for mankind and against all that threatened it. He would later encounter Namor the Sub-mariner and they would team up and battle one another as their own natural enemies. Fire and water.
But as war broke out they teamed together with Captain America and with their sidekicks to form the super hero team The Invaders. This team superseded the Marvel super hero teams The Avengers and the Fantastic Four and would lay the ground work for all of Marvel’s super hero teams to follow.
The Torch would acquire a sidekick by the name of Toro. Toro was a mutant with the power of becoming what the Human Torch was created in the lab to be. He was the son of nuclear scientists who exposed their son to radiation to help him control his power. Twenty years before Johnny Storm and the Fantastic Four came into existence. Twenty years before Professor Xavier and his X-Men made mutant into a household name in comicdom.
In Marvel comic book lore, the Human Torch and Toro burst into the bunker where Adolf Hitler is hiding. They offer him the opportunity to surrender to the Americans rather than the advancing Russian army. Hitler turns his gun on the Torch and fires and in return the Torch blasts Hitler, burning him alive.
Eventually, the Torch was deactivated.
In the 1950s, superheroes and comic books were not as popular as they were in the preceding decades and the Torch eventually faded away. He was not able to maintain the following that Captain America did and when the comic book super hero resurgence of the 60s and 70s came along he did not make the jump back into the fray. Instead he found himself replaced by the young Johnny Storm in the comic book team of the Fantastic Four.
Jim Hammond, the android called the Human Torch would occasionally appear in the Marvel lexicon but his heyday was done with and most generations would equate the moniker of The Human Torch with the Fantastic Four. But if not for the trio of Jim Hammond as the Human Torch, Prince Namor of Atlantis and Steve Rogers as Captain America of Timely Comics; there would be no Marvel Comics.
Three characters that Marvel has worked diligently at killing off.