Real Name: Jack Castle
Identity/Class: Human magic user (World War II to modern era)
Occupation: Adventurer; former physician (doctor of osteopathic medicine)
Group Membership: The Twelve (Black Widow/Claire Voyant, Blue Blade/Roy Chambers, Captain Wonder/Jeff Jordan, Dynamic Man, Electro, Laughing Mask/Dennis Burton, Master Mind Excello/Earl Everett, Mister E/Victor Jay, Phantom Reporter/Richard "Dick" Jones, Rockman, Witness)
Affiliations: Colonel Frank Dexter, Tim
formerly unidentified Mystic Flame host, Lt. Rose
Enemies: Dr. Francis Dork, Dynamic Man, Jelly of
Doom, Legion of the Doomed, Nazis, Dr. Simon Sendach;
allegedly the Zombie Master (see comments)
Known Relatives: William Castle (brother, presumed deceased)
Base of Operations: A cemetery in New York City,
formerly the Twelve's mansion, New York;
formerly a bunker in Berlin, Germany;
formerly New York City, New York
First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics I#1
Powers/Abilities: The Fiery Mask was the host of
the Mystic Flame, a transferable magical energy source that grants its
wielder incredible fire based powers. He could transfer all his powers
to a new host if he was willing to release his control over them. In
modern times, the Fiery Mask could generate and manipulate fire for
various effects, ranging from protective heat force fields to
destructive firestorms. He subconsciously generated intense heat when
angered, which would be noticeable by flares coming from his eyes. Fiery
Mask is immune to fire and heat. He is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant
proficient in the use of a spiked mace he would wield in battle. In the
1940s, the Fiery Mask also exhibited a modicum of superhuman strength and the
ability to cause gale force winds while exhaling. He could fly and leap
vast distances (see comments).
Weight: 220 lbs.
(The Twelve I#11 (fb) - BTS) - Jack Castle was born in 1912 in New York City. He grew up to become a physician, specializing in osteopathic medicine.
(The Twelve I#9 (fb) ) - Driving home one night in the late 1930s, Dr. Jack Castle came across a crashed car, burning by the side of the road. Racing out to see if he could help any survivors, he noticed two of them were dead and, in fact infamous mobsters. Another man was still alive after getting shot through the chest. Because he was closer to his house than the hospital, Castle took the man home for some preliminary first aid. There, the man came to and asked if he was going to die. Not satisfied with Castle's answer he might make it if he was taken to a hospital, the mysterious stranger showed his power to control flame. He explained that if he was going to die, he needed to transfer the Mystic Flame to someone else or it would perish with him. Castle went to call the hospital to order an ambulance, but as he reached for the phone he began to wonder if maybe it wouldn't be for the best if he got the power now. After all, what if the man died in the ambulance or on the operating table. Completely ignoring his Hippocratic Oath, Castle returned to his patient and lied to him about being able to get an ambulance to them in time. Resigned to his fate, the man asked Castle to take his hand. Moments later, Jack Castle had become the Mystic Flame's latest host.
(The Twelve I#9 - BTS) - Though he was initially happy with his new superpowers, Castle soon grew ashamed of the way he got them. He got so upset and afraid someone might find out what he'd done, he constructed an elaborate, though highly fantastical alternate origin story. He claimed he received his powers when he was working with the NYPD on a case involving a series of mysterious kidnappings. He got captured himself and brought to the culprit, a giant called the Zombie Master who performed a series of experiments on him that granted him his powers.
(Marvels Project#2) - By 1939, Fiery Mask began to make a name for himself as a New York based vigilante crimefighter. His exploits were frequently covered by Daily Bulletin reporter Allan Lewis. Eventually, the Mask's adventures, as well as those of the Avenging Angel and Mister E, inspired him to assume the role of the Phantom Bullet.
(Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special#1 (fb) ) - Later in
1939, the Fiery Mask fought criminals in downtown Manhattan, burning
the thugs' getaway car. The fight was witnessed by Richard "Dick"
Jones. It emboldened the cub reporter into fighting for justice
through the written word and the power of journalism.
(Marvels Project#6) - Early in 1940, the ongoing conflict between Namor and the Human Torch (Jim Hammond) resulted in the Sub-Mariner flooding New York City with a massive tidal wave. Fiery Mask and several other masked vigilantes aided relief workers.
(Daring Mystery Comics#1 (fb) - BTS) - The Fiery Mask's frequently repeated tellings of his fake origin story eventually led the creators of Daring Mystery Comics to use the fabricated story of the Zombie Master in print, thereby indirectly cementing its authenticity.
(Daring Mystery Comics I#5) - The Fiery Mask was on hand when the evil scientist Dr. Francis Dork wanted to conquer New York City using a flesh-eating, giant pink protoplasmic creature he called his "Jelly of Doom". As soon as the Mask realized his fire powers kept him safe from being swallowed and consumed, the Fiery Mask took to the offense and went looking for Dork in his tower where he'd taken a kidnapped woman. The protoplasm followed him and came crashing into Dork's control room during their final confrontation. Quickly transferring part of his protective heat shielding to the girl he'd just rescued, Fiery Mask then smashed the control device Dork used to keep the creature in check. The mindless being immediately attacked its creator and devoured him.
(Daring Mystery Comics I#6) - The Fiery Mask went to the hillside town of Hollow Bluff, New York that was being terrorized by the Legion of the Doomed that had placed the souls of demons into newborns who terrorized and murdered the local population. This led to an adventure that saw him traveling to Hell to end the threat of the Legion, though the minute he had defeated them he woke up back in his practice, his nurse Julie by his side. Not sure what had happened, his eye caught the headline of the day's paper mentioning the reign of terror at Hollow Bluff had ceased.
(Human Torch Comics#2/5) - Fiery Mask worked for the NYPD and was crucial in stopping one Dr. Sendach from kidnapping innocent people only to drain their blood to perfect his mechanical stomach machine. (see comments)
(The Twelve: Spearhead#1) - Fiery Mask was one of the many masked vigilantes who joined the war effort when the United States entered World War II in late December, 1941. The Mask traveled to Western Europe along with the United States army. In early 1945, he was in Germany helping out in an undocumented capacity.
(The Twelve I#1) - On Wednesday April 25th, 1945, the Allies began their final assault on Berlin. Fiery Mask and eleven other vigilantes found themselves teaming up to investigate the largely abandoned headquarters of the SS for possible snipers or other opposition. The search led them to an underground lab facility which actually turned out to be a trap. Once they were all inside, the doors closed and a special knockout gas was pumped in. SS officers hurried in to put the heroes in freezing tubes, planning to study and dissect these "supermen" after the war so they could turn the next generation of Nazis into a true master race.
(The Twelve I#1 - BTS) - The SS officers hadn't counted on the Russian army reaching strategic parts of Berlin before the allied forces. The Russians captured and executed the SS officers responsible for keeping Fiery Mask and the other heroes on ice.
(The Twelve I#12 - BTS) - All the heroes were bombarded by the continuous cybernetic thought waves of the robot Electro who was desperate and alone after the impenetrable bunker cut off his connection to its inventor Philo Zog. Eventually, he'd form a bond with the android Dynamic Man, but the continued exposure to Electro's brainwaves left all the heroes present uniquely capable of connecting with Electro.
(The Twelve I#1 - BTS) - In recent years a German construction crew accidentally unearthed the underground facility where the heroes were being kept. The American authorities were informed and quickly took charge of the situation, bringing everyone back to the United States where they were revived and led to believe it was still the 1940s in an attempt to gently accommodate them to having been asleep for the past 60 years.
(The Twelve I#1) - Phantom Reporter and Captain Wonder eventually saw through the ruse, forcing the military to inform the others of their current predicament as well. Fiery Mask and his compatriots all agreed with the army's offer to help them get adjusted so they could be what they were before: heroes serving their country in its hour of need.
(The Twelve I#2) - Fiery Mask and the others moved to a luxurious mansion outside of New York supplied and funded by the army. Their liaison colonel Dexter informed them they were welcome to stay there rent- and expense free for 12 months while they got their bearings in this new world.
(The Twelve I#3 (fb) ) - In an attempt to get reacquainted
with the new world, Fiery Mask decided to visit a few of his old New
York City haunts. Having a drink with the Witness in a bar that used to
be called Flannery's, Castle recounted his fake origin story to some of
the local patrons who called the Zombie Master and his plans the most
ridiculous story they'd ever heard. To shift the tone, Castle used his
flame powers to stop a drive-by shooting that went down right outside.
(The Twelve I#4) - The Fiery Mask attended a going-away party for Master Mind Excello who had used his vast fortune to buy a place for himself with less distractions.
(The Twelve I#5) - Fiery Mask was having coffee the next day with the Witness, Phantom Reporter, Dynamic Man and Captain Wonder. The sarcastic and sadistic Dynamic Man began to needle Captain Wonder (still grieving his dead family) about the fact he was going to give talks to school kids now. Fed up, Wonder slammed Dynamic Man around but before a major fight could break out, Fiery Mask used his powers to force everyone to calm down. The sneering Dynamic Man took off, defusing the situation at hand.
(The Twelve I#7) - Unaware just who was at the door, the Fiery Mask let in Tim Mulrooney, former 1940s sidekick of Captain Wonder. He watched as the two reconnected, though Wonder visibly wasn't enjoying the reunion of his now elderly young ward. He had some coffee with the duo, all the while being amused by their origin story and the fact Tim decided on "Tim" as a codename because it was his name. Finally picking up on the awkward mood, Castle excused himself.
(The Twelve I#8 - BTS) - While investigating a recent
multiple homicide at a New York gay bar, police lieutenant Rose
discovered scorch marks at the scene of the crime that reminded him of
the Fiery Mask's powers. Digging into the hero's background, Rose began
a separate investigation into Fiery Mask's origin story, including the
claims he consulted with the New York police in the 1940s and how he
received his powers during the Zombie Master incident. After several
days of searching, NYPD archivists failed to discover a single shred of
documentation from that era to back up any of the Fiery Mask's claims.
(The Twelve I#8) - Rose had the Fiery Mask brought in for questioning. When Rose confronted him with everything he'd uncovered about the Fiery Mask's dubious and unfounded origins, Castle angrily dismissed the implications and left. In a back alley, he was overcome by the memory of how he truly got his powers.
(The Twelve I#9) - Fiery Mask was present at the
mansion along with most of the others when Master Mind Excello dropped by
for a mysterious visit. A little while later, unaware the Phantom
Reporter had been called away to investigate the murder of the Blue Blade
by the robot Electro, the Fiery Mask finally opened up to Master Mind
Excello. Because he was so wracked with guilt, Castle came clean about his
fabricated origins. He never really worked with the NYPD
and he didn't receive his powers after a run-in with the Zombie Master (see
comments). He made it all up to cover the fact that he, as a
doctor, willingly let a man die so he could inherit his superhuman
(The Twelve I#10 - BTS) - The Phantom Reporter returned to the mansion, aware that Dynamic Man was an android and responsible for turning Electro into a killer. He confided in Fiery Mask, asking him to stand ready to burn away the Dynamic Man's costume at a moment's notice.
(The Twelve I#10) - Fiery Mask, along with the surviving 1940s heroes, gathered at the mansion to hear the Phantom Reporter and Master Mind Excello's proof the robot Electro wasn't responsible for the recent death of their ally Blue Blade. Slowly establishing the evidence, they revealed the overly zealous, moral Dynamic Man was the true culprit. Acting on the Phantom Reporter's cue, Fiery Mask burned off Dynamic Man's costume to reveal he was actually a sexless android. Infuriated his true, inhuman origin was uncovered, the superbly powerful creature vowed to kill every last one of them.
(The Twelve I#11) - Fiery Mask briefly kept out of the fighting, but was eventually trapped with the others when Dynamic Man destroyed the support beams of the house causing the structure to collapse on them. Thanks to Rockman's strength, everyone escaped unscathed even though the hero himself seemingly perished underneath the vast amount of rubble. Fiery Mask joined Mastermind Excello, Phantom Reporter and Captain Wonder on an endeavor to chase and stop Dynamic Man. Captain Wonder tore off a piece of the roof big enough for the Mask, the Reporter and Excello to sit on. On the way to confront Dynamic Man, Castle used his flame powers to keep his companions warm in the icy upper atmosphere. En route, they figured that Dynamic Man was headed for his deceased creator's lab. After reaching the laboratory, the heroes faced Dynamic Man who used his superior strength and speed to keep them all at bay. Fed up with Fiery Mask, the Dynamic Man killed Castle by crushing his windpipe. Tossing his dying adversary to the side, Dynamic Man turned his attention to Master Mind Excello and Captain Wonder. The Phantom Reporter went to check on Castle, who quickly granted Richard Jones the power of the Mystic Flame. As he lay dying, Castle was content to know that even though he'd stolen the power, it was now passed on to a new, worthy keeper.
(The Twelve I#11 - BTS) - The newly empowered Phantom Reporter rejoined the fight to end the Dynamic Man's reign of terror. While Captain Wonder was holding the crazed killing machine, Phantom Reporter unleashed the full power of the Mystic Flame to burn the android until it malfunctioned. As a result, Captain Wonder also suffered severe burns, though he willingly endured the trauma.
(The Twelve I#11) - With the Dynamic Man defeated, Phantom Reporter and the other surviving members of The Twelve gathered to pay their final respects to Jack Castle. After the ceremony, Phantom Reporter used his newfound flame powers to turn the man's tombstone into a seemingly permanent, blazing bonfire to mark the man's heroic courage.
(The Twelve I#12 - BTS) - The Phantom Reporter used the powers granted to him by Fiery Mask to become a superhero, teaming up with Master Mind Excello and Black Widow to form E.X.C. Enterprises, a company dedicated to fighting crime.
Comments: Created by Joe Simon (writer, pencils & inks).
The Twelve were found in Germany on Wednesday August 2nd, 2008. This was during the rise of the Initiative in comics. The date is topical.
In the final few chapters of The Twelve, writer JMS basically established that most, if not all of the Fiery Mask's 1940s adventures were fabrications to help hide the fact he got his powers by letting the man who wielded them die. That would also explain why he lacked most of the non-fire based powers he was credited for when he resurfaced in the modern era: they were either made up or at the very least exaggerated. Still, to give the actual Golden Age creators proper credit, I've included all the alleged adventures of the Fiery Mask, though every one of them involving the NYPD are most definitely fables.
Fiery Mask used in Human Torch Comics#2/5 on p6, pan7 his electrically charged eyes to see beyond the visible spectrum to track the Fluorescent Salt he put in the blood the Creatures (Cyborgs) stole. In The Twelve#0 (2008) at the back of the book (the characters section under Fiery Mask) J. Michael Straczynski said the Fiery Mask was the Green Lantern of the Twelve and he produces a kind of Electro-Plasmic Flame at will (too bad he didn't go with this thought---cause if Fiery Mask was given the power to use his Heat Force Field the way the Invisible Woman (Susan Storm) does he would have been their GL). Plus in Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary Special#1 the Fiery Mask is seen lifting a car over his head (so he can lift at least 2 tons).
The Fiery Mask received profiles in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z HC#14 and the Marvel Mystery Handbook#1.
Profile by Norvo.
The Fiery Mask should not be confused with
The man who previously wielded the powers of the Fiery Mask had also
inherited them from someone else who'd sworn him to use these abilities to
do good and protect the innocent. In the course of fighting the good
fight, the man was seriously wounded while taking down a group of
mobsters. He was found by doctor Jack Castle who took him to his home for
immediate first aid. When the man came to, he asked Castle if he was dying
figuring he needed to pass the Mystic Flame on before it died with him.
Impressed by the idea of gaining super powers, Castle briefly thought it
over and then lied to the man about being able to get him to the nearest
hospital in town. Resigned to his fate, the man took Castle's hand and
transferred the Mystic Flame to its new host. He succumbed to his injuries
--The Twelve I#9 (fb)
images: (without ads)
Marvel Mystery Handbook#1, p14, pan1 (main image)
The Twelve I#9, p24, pan4 (receives his powers)
Daring Mystery Comics I#5, p5, pans5&6 (decides to generate a little heat)
Daring Mystery Comics I#6, p14, pan1 (Golden Age costume)
The Twelve I#3, p20, pan5 (finds no one believes his fake origin)
The Twelve I#5, p15, pans1&2 (stops a fight between Dynamic Man and Captain Wonder)
The Twelve I#11, p18, pan4 (hands his powers to Phantom Reporter)
The Twelve I#11, p25, pan6 (Fiery Mask's grave remains lit up)
The Twelve I#9, p23, pans1&2 (Fiery Mask's former host)
Daring Mystery Comics I#1 (January, 1940) - Joe Simon (writer, editor, pencils & inks)
Daring Mystery Comics I#5 (June, 1940) - Joe Simon (writer, editor, pencils & inks)
Daring Mystery Comics I#6 (September, 1940) - Jack Kirby (pencils), Joe Simon (editor)
Human Torch Comics#2/5 (Fall, 1940) - Joe Simon (writer, editor, pencils & inks)
The Twelve I#1 (March, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#2 (April, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#3 (May, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#4 (June, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#5 (July, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils), Garry Leach (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#7 (October, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#8 (December, 2008) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Daring Mystery Comics 70th Anniversary#1 (September, 2009) - David Liss (writer), Jason Armstrong (pencils & inks), Bill Rosemann (editor)
Marvels Project#2 (November, 2009) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve Epting (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Marvels Project#6 (April, 2010) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve Epting (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve: Spearhead I#1 (May, 2010) - Chris Weston (writer, pencils, inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#9 (April, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#10 (April, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#11 (May, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
The Twelve I#12 (June, 2012) - J. Michael Straczynski (writer), Chris Weston (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Last updated: 03/09/16
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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