Real Name: Anthony Sardo

Identity/Class: Human (World War 2 era)

Occupation: Gangster, racketeer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: His thugs (including Red and at least three others)

Enemies: Human Torch (Jim Hammond)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: His estate, somewhere near New York

First Appearance: Marvel Comics#1/1 (November, 1939) (see comments)

Powers/Abilities: None. Tony Sardo was an ordinary human who was an expert organizer of criminal rackets; he also showed some proficiency in using a diving suit.

History: Tony Sardo's past history is unknown, but he had established himself as a top figure in the criminal underworld.

(Saga of the Original Human Torch#1) - Following his escape from confinement, the flaming android Human Torch had run amok through the city, when he stumbled upon the grounds of Tony Sardo's estate and leapt into the swimming pool -- his synthetic system shut down as he hit the water and he became immobile.

  Red came running into Sardo's mansion and told Sardo how the grass around the pool was burning -- having heard a news report on the radio about the fiery android, Sardo figured it was caused by the Human Torch. Going outside to investigate, Sardo found the unmoving Torch at the bottom of his pool. Sardo put on a diving suit and maneuvered a transparent tube over the Torch to capture him, then had his men haul it to the surface -- with his mind still partially active, the naive android imagined that the first human being he encountered close-up might be a friend.

  Sardo came up with the idea of using the Torch as an enforcer for his "protection business," so he had the tube with the Torch inside loaded into a truck, then drove to Acmen Warehouse, Inc., a business that refused to pay for Sardo's protection. Sardo took a wrench and threw it at the tube, shattering it and freeing the Torch, who immediately burst into flame on contact with air. As Sardo and his men fled to safety, the Human Torch's flames caused a massive fire that consumed the warehouse and everything inside. When the Torch wondered why Sardo would bring him to a place that his flames would destroy, his artificial brain finally made the connection, and for the first time, the Torch saw Sardo for what he really was -- a criminal.

  The Human Torch flew back to Sardo's estate, and as Sardo fled to the safety of his bomb shelter, the Torch set the mansion afire, then went outside and dealt with Red and the other thugs. Afterwards, the Torch returned to the house and melted through the door of Sardo's shelter. In desperation, Sardo hurled a bottle of sulphuric acid at the Torch, but the bottle exploded from the heat put out by the Human Torch before it ever hit him, and killed Sardo.

Comments: Created by Carl Burgos (writer and artist).

Since Marvel Comics#1 was the first comic book put out by Marvel (then Timely), I believe this would make Tony Sardo the very first Marvel villain.

I chose to do this profile on Sardo from the perspective of the Saga of the Original Human Torch #1 (April, 1990), rather than his actual first appearance in Marvel Comics #1, for two specific reasons:

  1. The mini-series presented the definitive story of Tony Sardo.
  2. I don't own an original copy (or even a reprint) of Marvel Comics#1.

So be advised, there may be some minor discrepancies from the original story -- I don't know for a fact that his first name was revealed in Marvel Comics#1.

I've recently seen the Human Torch story from Marvel Comics #1 reprinted in Fantasy Masterpieces I#9 (June, 1967) -- he was only addressed as "Sardo" and "Boss" in the original story, so his first name was revealed in the Saga mini-series.

Note that Sardo fought the Human Torch before the Torch adopted his "Jim Hammond" alias.

Profile by John Kaminski

Tony Sardo has no known connections to:

Red has no known connections to:

Red and the other thugs

The four men who worked for Tony Sardo in his criminal pursuits. They assisted Sardo in capturing the Human Torch, and drove him to the warehouse that his flames destroyed. When the Human Torch returned to Sardo's estate to seek vengence against Sardo and his men, Red crawled beneath a car and was apparently killed when the Torch set the car afire. The other three were boiled in Sardo's swimming pool by the Human Torch's flames hitting the water, but were otherwise left alive.

--Saga of the Original Human Torch#1

Saga of the Original Human Torch#1, p20, pan3 (Sardo running to his bomb shelter)

p16, pan1 (head shot)
p21, pan2 (Red (with red hair) and three other thugs pursued by Human Torch)

Marvel Comics#1 (November, 1939) - Carl Burgos (writer/artist), Martin Goodman (editor)
Saga of the Original Human Torch#1 (April, 1990) - Roy Thomas (writer), Rich Buckler (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)

Last updated: 10/28/06

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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