Apr 29, 2017
The Human Torch and Toro: Gay Subtexts in World War II Comics
In his first incarnation, premiering in Marvel Comics #1 (1939), he was an android villain who burst into flame whenever he was exposed to air. But he quickly learned to control his flaming, reformed, and became a superhero, single-handedly ending World War II by assassinating Hitler.
In Human Torch Comics #2 (fall 1940), the Torch encounters a teenage boy named Toro, who is impervious to fire. The two become the standard 1940s superhero-sidekick romantic partners, with Toro requiring rescue from a horrifying fate on nearly every comic book cover.
I'm not sure what's going on here. A cage of women and children is being lowered into flames, and Toro is somehow attached to the chain.
The Human Torch and Toro both faded into obscurity after the War. They were resurrected recently for the dark, ultra-convoluted, and intensely heteronormative plotlines of contemporary Marvel comics. Apparently Toro marries, then dies, then gets resurrected, but his wife has begun canoodling with the Torch, and...