STRANGE TALES #108-109 (1963)

Issues #108 and 109 both have to do with magic.  Kinda.

First, it’s “The Painter of A Thousand Perils.”  It’s basically Human Torch vs. Harold and the Purple Crayon, only the painter has much less imagination than Harold did.  His name is Wilhelm van Vile (The Painter), and with some magic paint, paintings come to life.

And Human Torch makes lassos out of smoke.

Many of these early issues treat Torch almost like he’s Green Lantern, only with fire.  And yes, that’s stupid. I’m tagging this as a “forgotten power set” (see tag below) because I had no idea he could form smoke rings strong enough to bind up a bad guy.

Surprisingly, the villain returns in the ’80s in Web of Spider-Man #73.  Bizarre.

In issue #109, Torch fights a sorcerer who uses “pandora’s box.  I’ll be honest, I couldn’t follow exactly what happened in the conflict, but apparently he got scared.

These are two pretty bad issues.

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