There are some wild origin stories in comics, but Toro’s is a particular highlight.

Toro aflame

Android super-hero the Human Torch is flying along one day when suddenly he sees a young kid on fire! Zooming down to help, he finds the boy miraculously unharmed by the flames.

With an astounding degree of insight, the Torch asks the boy—who is called Toro—if he can now burst into flame at will. He can! Can he also fly? Giving it a go, Toro discovers that flight comes easily to him! Haleluja, a new super-hero is born. Happily, Toro is also an orphan and so the Torch can take him under his wing to be his sidekick without any of those difficult questions. Hey, it was the Golden Age, and all self-respecting Golden Age super-heroes had to have a sidekick.

The only other material we get on Toro’s origins is in brief flashback. When a train crashes Toro’s parents are caught in the conflagration. The distraught lad attempts to run into the flames to save them. Although he is unsuccessful, a passing couple are surprised to see the flames and near-molten metal haven’t harmed the boy. Realising that he now has no living relative in the world, the couple instantly adopt him so as to put him in their circus fire-eating act!! It was during said act that the accident the Human Torch was witness to at the start occurred.

So, you’re young Toro, you’ve just seen your mum and dad die horribly in a mangled wreck, and then you find yourself forced to swallow flaming torches on stage for a jeering crowd. Ah, the 1940s—the golden age of child welfare…

All from Human Torch #2, 1940. As I’m not made of money, I don’t actually own this comic in its original form. It is however readily available in reprint:

Images ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc