Classification: Extradimensional (race unknown; see comments)
Location/Base of Operations: Flatula
Known Members: B4; at least three others (none identified)
Enemies: Human Torch (Jim Hammond), Sun Girl (Mary Mitchell)
First Appearance: Human Torch Comics I#34/1 (January, 1949)
Powers/Abilities: Some of their technology included a flat automobile and a Dimensional Converter.
Traits: Vaguely humanoid with pale-green skin, the "Flatulans" were a technologically advanced race of "two-dimensional" beings (see comments).
History: (Human Torch Comics I#34/1) - Seeking to collect specimens from Earth to display in their world's museum, the "Flatulans" first struck by using their Dimensional Converter at a baseball game -- the game was interrupted when the ball became flat as a pancake.
The Human Torch and Sun Girl were watching the ball game on television and saw the strange occurrence. Suddenly, an announcer broke into the broadcast with a news bulletin, saying that the President had vanished! The Torch and Sun Girl promptly flew to Washington, D.C. to investigate and heard the full story -- the President came out of the White House to go to a reception, then suddenly became flat as a pancake and disappeared!
The wave of mysterious flat crimes continued: In a movie theatre, pictures disappeared from movie film! In front of a bank, an armored car went flat and vanished! In a public library, the pages of books disappeared! On a Hollywood movie set, two famous stars (Betsy and Llewellyn) became flat and vanished!
Having a hunch where the next strike would occur, the Human Torch flew Sun Girl to Independence Hall in Philadelphia, where the two heroes witnessed the Declaration of Independence fading away. When they saw the Liberty Bell become flat, the Torch and Sun Girl grabbed hold, and they themselves turned flat! Seconds later, the flattened Human Torch, Sun Girl, and Liberty Bell all vanished before the eyes of the stunned security guards!
The two heroes and the Bell were transported to the world of Flatula. As they drifted towards the ground like floating leaves, they were approached by four "Flatulans". B4, the leader of the group, demonstrated his weapon and coerced the heroes' cooperation, then drove the Torch and Sun Girl in his flat car to the museum and showed them where all of the missing people and objects from Earth were on display; B4 said he planned to add the heroes to the museum, also.
When Sun Girl expressed her anger at their plight ("We're powerless, Torch! It burns me up!"), the Human Torch got an idea -- he activated his flame and touched Sun Girl's hand, which somehow counteracted the effects of the Dimensional Converter and restored the heroes to their normal three-dimensional forms. Then the Torch set a building afire and told B4 that he'd destroy all his people if he didn't give up, forcing B4 to surrender.
Seizing control of the Dimensional Converter, the Torch and Sun Girl sent the President and the other captured people and objects back to Earth. But B4, not intending to keep his promise to let the heroes go free, led a group of flatmen against the gallant pair. The Torch swooped down and grabbed B4 ("You deserve to be in OUR museum!"), and the Human Torch and Sun Girl--along with the captured B4--all passed through the Dimensional Converter and back to Earth.
Comments: Created by an unknown writer and Mike Sekowsky.
B4's final fate is unknown--unless he escaped, it's possible he's still in custody somewhere.
Flatula and its inhabitants (Okay, so they were never actually called "Flatulans" in the story) weren't truly two-dimensional, just really, really... well, flat -- so they were three-dimensional to some degree (i.e. They had length, width, and depth). For a better explanation of the theoretical aspects of existence in a two-dimensional universe, I would recommend reading the classic fantasy book "Flatland".
Since there is a similarity, maybe Flatula was the same extradimensional realm as the Dimension of Doom.
So how did the Human Torch nullify the effects of the Dimensional Converter? I guess some comic book genius like Reed Richards would give a pseudo-scientific explanation like, "The heat from the Torch's flame increased the speed of their molecular motion and thus returned the heroes' atomic structure to normal," or something like that.
Historical note: Assuming this story took place in the year it was published, the kidnapped president would have been Harry S Truman.
And a BIG Thank You to Brian Hirsch for sending me the scans for this story!
Profile by John Kaminski
The "Flatulans" have no known connections to
A large apparatus built on Flatula, it could flatten people and objects on Earth and transport them to Flatula. It could also be set to reverse the process, and thereby provide a means to return any captured people or objects back to Earth.
(Note: The "Flatulans" also carried portable handguns (flat, of course), which had much the same function.
--Human Torch Comics I#34/1
images: (without ads)
Human Torch Comics I#34, p6, pan4 (B4 addressing citizens)
Human Torch Comics I#34 (January, 1949) - Mike Sekowsky (pencils)
Last updated: 10/28/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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