Strange Tales #108:The Human Torch is destaned to become the still-life victim of The Painter of A Thousand Perils!

Review By:


The Human Torches stories in Strange Tales have been on a high note since my bad review of Strange Tales #105, But can Strange Tales #108 continue the trend, or is this one going to be the next one to burn out.

It is hard for me to enter high hopes for these stories even with the last few being good, i have yet to cover from my viewpoint on the early issues. But as you will soon read, The Human Torch story here was not a let down.

Story Synopsis

The Human Torch Recaps

this story starts out featuring on a cross-section of the crime fighting activity’s of the human torch. showing us a few simple victories he has had lately, not in themselves worthy of a whole story. the purpose of all this is to lead up to a conversation with the cops.

it is here we get a recap of some of the key stories and adventures the torch has faced alone so far, as well as a bit of key wisdom from his lips.  the words he says, is a great description not only of this comic book, but the majority of his stories so far.

…Sooner or later, some other kookie character, bent on gaining power or undeserved wealth, will try to erase me from the picture!…

While reading those words, i know they could be the theme of any number of comic books, or apply to any number of crime fighting hero’s.

And from there…

It is at this point we are introduced to our  latest “Kookie character” whom himself runs us though his prior encounter with the human torch. showing how minor of a menace and unworthy of comic book print he was, until he acquired his magic paints, that brings whatever he paints to life.

Story Review

While I will not call this story a masterpiece,  I will say that I liked this story for several reasons:

To start with, I feel this issue did a clever job of building up the story with the recaps. first showing how hard and successful the human torch has been fighting crime.  then refreshing readers upon events in past issues.

but with that the stage is set, but the recaps do not end there,  the painter is established to have had history with the torch though his recap. along with his key flaw, the one that will help the torch come to stop him in the end.

In all, the flashbacks, and lesser crimes take up about half of the story, but for once i feel it was used effectively; building up the reasons behind the story as opposed to the events in Journey into mystery #92.

from there the actin builds, as tine and time again the painter stops the torch, wanting to build up to his doom. It all seem so certain that he will be the one to succeed. by using the Fantastic Four against the human torch as promised by the cover.


Art is always important in a comic book, but perhaps even more so in a story that features an artist as one of the characters. Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers I feel handled this quite well.

watching panels of the painter and seeing his paintings and then after finishing the story and flipping back though, to see the errors he made, just made it all the more gratifying and great.

the one complaint I would have to say is on the cover, and I would not realize it until after I finished the story, but lets see if anyone who reads this can tell me what it is?

Originality & Continuity

the recap’s that cover events in 5 past issues I feel helps the story fit into the continuity  quite well. At least it helped the torch fit in well with his past stories in Strange Tales.

I also feel the work was fairly original, while I can think of many sources of inspiration, I feel the way this story unfolds makes it quite original and adds to its greatness.

Characters & Development

The Human Torch

Realizing your life is in danger because of your line of work, and saying it clearly I feel is a great bit of development. This issue offers us that, in words that seem a bit wise for the sometimes childish teenager.  But it’s not so far out of character that it bothers me.

More than just that, we see the torch beginning to rely on his mind as much as his powers.  his victory in this issue in fact, has little to do with anything cosmic rays gave him, and more to do with his brain.

The Painter

The painter makes a good template for a villain, unlike the wizard he was a criminal to begin with, and the human torch gave him a reason for vengeance.  It is also quite interesting on how they build in his flaw,  how he can be both good and not good at what he does.

Comic Book Review Summery

to summarize my comic book review, this issue showed us once again that the human torch stories can be good, and can be good consistently.  forcing me to hold the title to those expectations going forward.

Book Information:
Cover Date: May 1963
Read At:
  • Stan Lee
  • R. Berns
  • Jack Kirby
  • Dick Ayers
  • Terry Szenics
Review Ratings:
Originality And Continuity&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734
Character And Development&#9733&#9733&#9733½&#9734&#9734
Strange Painting&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9733&#9734&#9734
  • Human Torch
  • The Painter (Welhelm Van Vile)
  • “Scar” Tobin
  • Mike
  • Nick
  • Sam
  • Eddie






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