The original Human Torch was created in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1930's. He was an android whom was invented by professor Phineas T. Horton. At first Jim was kept in a safe oxygen-free glass tube. When professor Horton showed his design to the world on a science fair, people applauded, but also feared him. However, disaster struck as soon as Jim was freed from the glass tube. He burst into flames, causing fear allover the science fair. Unable to control his flame, he flew away and accidentally wreaked havoc all across Manhattan, burning everything he touched. Professor Horton was ordered to destroy the android, but couldn't. Jim fled and took refugee in abandoned farmhouses to keep away from those that would fear him.
Eventually, Jim managed to control his flame, and wound up in various situations that caused him to do battle against small time criminals. Hammond wanted to learn more about the human race and what made them 'human', but above all, he wanted to find out the difference between right and wrong. It was with this reason that Jim applied for a job as a street police officer in New York City. During this time, Jim came to know ordinary people and even made some new friends. However, Jim always had to be careful not to give away his secret identity as the Human Torch. Jim fought the good fight and helped fighting crime as a police officer while also maintaining good ties with the police as the Human Torch. However, Jim's biggest challenge had yet to come.
Jim Hammond, the Original Human Torch, first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (1939), making it one of the first Marvel characters and its first true superhero.
Major Story Arcs
Battle Against the Sub-Mariner
In a fit of rage against the human race, Namor, the Sub-Mariner attacked Staten Island on a beautiful summer day. The commotion soon found the attention of Jim Hammond. He found Namor and confronted him. A brutal battle erupted with the two flying high above the city. Namor fought as best he could, but eventually had to give up and flee from the scene. He then however took hostage an old girlfriend as well as fellow police-officer to Jim. Namor brought her into a recording studio, where he waited for Jim to make a move. And Jim made a move. In an unbelievable fight, Jim managed to defeat the Sub-Mariner and saved the day. This day became the day that people no longer feared, but applauded Jim as a hero.
It however was not the last time that Jim and Namor would clash. In one of the worst days for New York City in the 1940's, Namor called upon a giant tilde-wave with witch he flooded the city. Luckily, no casualties where reported. This time however, Jim knew Namor went to far and defeated him once again. Although Namor was defeated, something strange happened between the two. Namor, seeing Jim's anger, finally started to see Jim's perspective and even started to accept Jim. This first insight even had Namor later accepting the human race itself. After that, the two became uneasy allies.
During one of Jim's missions, he met a young boy named Thomas Raymond. This boy, calling himself Toro, had powers similar (yet inferior) to that of Jim. Toro would eventually lose his family in a horrible accident. After that, Jim took Toro under his wing as he became sort of a sidekick to Human Torch
World War II
Then came the war. For a while now, Jim and Toro had been fighting Nazi spies on the homeland, but after the attacks on Pearl Harbor, they too saw the necessity of taking the fight to them. With many other heroes having appeared over the years, Jim and Toro would join forces with the now uneasy ally Sub-Mariner (Namor), Captain America, and Bucky Barnes to form the Invaders to fight the Axis forces of World War 2. Other heroes like Union Jack, Spitfire, Robert Frank, and Miss America would soon join the Invader ranks. The team fought many battles and saw horrifying images of the cruelty that the Third Reich was capable of. During their adventures, Jim started having fealings for teammate Spitfire, although she only seemed to have eyes for Captain America. Nothing came of it. The team had a long war-mission, starting with the allied invasions during D-Day right up to Berlin, Germany. Towards the end of the war Jim met and killed Adolf Hitler. Effectively ending World War 2. After the war, Jim helped form the All-Winners Squad.
After the War
This team of superheroes went on to fight for some years during the late 1940's and early 1950's Some time later, Jim was captured by one of his enemies and placed in stasis in the Mojave desert. He remained in coma for a few years until a nuclear bomb testing during the mid-1950's woke him. Having been gone from the scene for a few years, he learned that his old teammate and friend Toro had been taken captive and brainwashed by the Soviets. As soon as he found out, Jim went to rescue him. The mission was a success and after that, the two restarted their plight as superheros. Jim however soon learned that the radiation from the bomb that woke him from his coma, had vastly increased his powers and he once again had trouble controlling them. After some time, his powers where no longer under his control. In fear of causing damage to the people he swore to protect, Jim made the ultimate sacrifice. He went back to the desert and used up all of his energy reserves to effectively burn himself out of power. This act deactivated Jim and he seemed to have been lost for good.
Human Torch and the West Coast Avengers
More then 50 years later, the remains of the Human Torch where found and rebuilt by the
, a present day advisory to the superhero teams of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. He gave Jim a new memory so he would not think of himself as a hero anymore, and then sent him of to kill the
. After being defeated, he returned to the Mad Thinker's lab refusing to be involved in murder. Feeling that, new memory or not, Jim's real persona was to strong, the Mad Thinker disabled the Human Torch's ability to control his powers and he let Jim burn himself out once again.
later created a duplicate of the Human Torch which was taken by
. Using this body and the brain patterns of
, Ultron created the
. Some time later, the original Human Torch was finally resurrected by the
and Toro's widow. Jim woke up in a new era. Telephones, t.v.'s, computers and most of his friends had died. Even his old friend Toro seemed to have died, or at least have vanished of the earth. With nowhere else to go,
and the Scarlet Witch invited Jim to stay with the Avenger's West Coast branch. He happily accepted and became a full time member of the superhero team for some time.
Oracle and Heroes for Hire
Eventually, Jim lost his powers during an adventure with his old teammates from the Invaders. Jim saved the life of his old teammate Spitfire, but at the cost of his own powers. Not soon after, Jim left the West Coast Avengers and became chief of security at Oracle Inc., a company ran by his old teammate Namor. He also briefly became the leader of the Heroes for Hire team which was funded by Oracle Inc..
Finding the fit of leadership interesting, he and some of his old World War 2 buddies funded and became the heads of a new organization called the V-Battalion. Although the organization already had it's roots in the late 1950's, it became somewhat of a peacekeeping organization when Jim Hammond joined the group. They had a floating headquarters, much like the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier. They even had their own hero in their ranks, Citizen V, in honor of an old War-friends of Jim whom died during the earlier days of the war.
The New Invaders
After some time, Jim's powers came back, at least in a small way. Not soon after that he left the V-Battalion and started a new group of Invaders, calling themselves the New Invaders. The group was compromised of old war heroes such as Spitfire,Thin Man and the
as well as newcomers Union Jack, Tara and US Agent. The group was however not long lived, during one mission Jim again sacrificed himself in order to stop a great evil from entering earth. The whole superhero community mourned the loss of a great hero, but not just that; they mourned the death of the first true superhero of earth.
Some months later, after the superhuman Civil War and the 50-States Initiative, a superhuman training camp was established by the Initiative that was named
, in honor of Jim Hammond, the first and the best superhero.
Captain America and a revival
Some months after the funeral, enemies from the past to the new Captain America at the time, Bucky Barnes, stole Jim's body in hope of bringing him back to life as a tool of murder. Luckily, with the combined powers of Bucky, Namor and the Black Widow, Jim's body was retrieved and laid to rest once more.
After these events, Torch finally seemed to have found peace. However, nothing was further from the truth. Toro, the long dead partner of Jim, was hurled into present day earth during a time-space adventure with the New Avengers and was soon visited by the Golden Age Vision, now named
. He told Toro to go look for Jim, since the Mad Thinker had once more taken hold of Jim's body. The Mad Thinker had revived the Torch and used him to do his dirty work for him, while studying him and his powers at the same time. In the end, Toro and the Golden Age Vision managed to defeat the evil scientist, but could not capture him. Jim was once again restored to his normal self, and it seems that Torch and his old partner Toro are finally back together as a team once again.
Jim Hammond made a brief cameo in Captain America: The First Avenger as a synthezoid on display in an oxygen deprived glass tube at the Stark Expo.