Wildfire

Created by Jim Moony and Robert Turner

NAME + ALIASES:
Carol Martin (nee Carol Vance)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Frank Vance (deceased), Mr. and Mrs. John Martin (adoptive parents)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS: None

FIRST APPEARANCE: Smash Comics #25 (August 1941)

APPEARANCES:
Smash Comics #25-37 (Aug. 1941–Nov. 1942)

+ History

From Smash #29 (1941).
The origin of Wildfire. From Smash #25. (1941) Art by Jim Mooney.

Wildfire was the only Quality Comics creation by Jim Mooney, who is better known for his work at DC, especially on “Supergirl.”

When she was a small girl in the Northwest, Carol Vance survived her parents in a forest fire. Her father, Frank Vance, succumbed to the flames, but Carol was noticed by a mystic Lord of Fire. He was impressed by her survival and granted her bona fide immunity to fire. In addition, she could create and manipulate flames. Local socialites Mr. and Mrs. John Martin took pity on the orphan and adopted her. By the time she grew to adulthood, she had decided to use her powers to fight evil. In her first adventure, she exposed some arsonists and their ringleader, the Nazi zealot called the Green Masked Bund. (Smash #25)


[
Read the full profile in the Quality Companion ]

Notes

Jim Mooney mentioned Wildfire in an online interview with The Silver Lantern. He said he’d hoped that Wildfire would “be a sensation and take off, but it really didn’t make much of a splash.”

While Phantom Lady is often remembered as wearing a risque costume, her appearances in Quality Comics were tame compared to the immodest costume of Wildfire. In Smash #36, the costume was colored to cover up more of her torso (but drawn the same as always).

Wildfire has never been fully used by DC. Writer Roy Thomas considered her for All-Star Squadron, but he didn’t want to risk confusion with DC’s other Wildfire, a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Artist Paul Smith managed to sneak her into one panel in The Golden Age #4 (1994). And the character inspired a namesake in John Arcudi’s 2002 Elseworlds series, JLA: Destiny.

+ Powers

Wildfire could create, channel and absorb flames. Sometimes she used them to form shapes like a high-heat shield that could melt bullets. When using her powers to fly, her hair left a flaming trail behind her (rather like Starfire of the Teen Titans). She had a sort of empathic relation with fire that allowed her to sense it at a distance, to use it to divine certain truths, and to track its trace on others. Sometimes she relied only on her keen detective skills and flight.