FLAME WITCH

Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Unrevealed (see comments) (1950s era)

Occupation: Unrevealed

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: None

Enemies: Hans Kreitzer, Leopard Girl (Gwen)

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "fire witch," "witch woman," "witch woman of fire"

Base of Operations: Matawata jungle, near Tagai Lake, somewhere in Africa (see comments)

First Appearance: Jungle Action I#2/4 (December, 1954)

Powers/Abilities: A being of immense power, the Flame Witch could project fiery bolts from her hands. Apparently immortal (or at least long-lived), she had been inactive for an undetermined period of time, during which she was sleeping and smoldering in an unspecified location (possibly an extradimensional realm). The Flame Witch was returned to Earth by a chemically-induced nuclear reaction. Her reddish skin-coloring and pointed ears suggest that she wasn't human (see comments).

The Flame Witch was extinguished by a torrent of water, and she vanished in a cloud of white smoke, presumably returning to the place of her slumber.

Height: 5' 7" (by approximation)
Weight: 130 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Red

History:
(Jungle Action I#2/4 (fb) - BTS) - The past of the Flame Witch is largely unrevealed, but in the distant past she became a legendary figure, and stories told of how she was worshiped on Earth as a goddess of evil and flame. Under unrevealed circumstances, she left Earth for an unspecified location, where she slumbered.

   Scientist Hans Kreitzer traveled to the jungles of Africa with the intention of rejuvenating the spirit of the Flame Witch. Kreitzer hired Gwen to be his secretary (never suspecting that she was secretly Leopard Girl).

(Jungle Action I#2/4) - As Kreitzer conducted his experiment, Gwen was present to transcribe his notes. When she heard the scientist mention that he planned to revive the Flame Witch, Gwen cautioned him not to do so; nevertheless, Kreitzer continued with his work. After mixing some chemicals and creating a nuclear reaction, Kreitzer's lab area exploded in flame, the blaze began to spread throughout the jungle growth, and the angry Flame Witch was returned.

   Gwen changed into her costume and went into action. As the jungle around them blazed, Leopard Girl's first priority was to get Kreitzer to a place of safety, so she led the scientist to the shelter of a nearby cave. Seeing the panic spreading amongst the beasts of the jungle wilderness, Leopard Girl directed them to seek refuge on the islands of Tagai Lake.

   The Flame Witch was angered because she had been roused from her sleep by Kreitzer, so she sought to kill the scientist. When the Flame Witch was confronted by Leopard Girl, she entrapped the heroine behind a wall of fire, then she continued her search for Kreitzer. Meanwhile, from the blackened smoke-filled skies, a low-flying condor passed by, so Leopard Girl leaped upward, grabbed hold of its talons, and used it to carry her from her flaming prison.

   The Flame Witch found the cave where the unconscious Kreitzer was laying, and as she was about to incinerate him, Leopard Girl dropped from the condor's flight and landed outside. Leopard Girl noticed two lion cubs were also in the cave, then she saw her lion friend Numa charging toward the entrance to save his cubs; Leopard Girl jumped upon Numa's back and rode him into the cave. While Numa distracted the Flame Witch, Leopard Girl climbed up the wall of the cavern and dislodged a rock, thereby unleashing the waters of a hidden underground spring. The spray of water doused the Flame Witch, and she vanished in a white cloud of smoke, presumably returning to her slumber.

Comments: Created by Don Rico (writer) and Al Hartley (artist).

The exact nature of the Flame Witch was never revealed, so she could be some kind of supernatural being (a goddess, a sorceress, a fire-elemental, a demon) ...or a mutant ...or an alien, etc. Perhaps the Flame Witch had some connection to First Line member Firefall (who also had pointed ears and similar powers).

In regards to exactly where in Africa this story took place: I googled both "Matawata" and "Tagai Lake"--I couldn't find anything for Matawata, but there really is a Tagai Lake...in British Columbia! With that in mind, I assume these locations are in some African country unique to Earth-616 (the mainstream Marvel Universe).

Since the Flame Witch returned to her slumber at the story's end, I'm surprised she was never revived during the early years of the modern Marvel Universe (...after all, there were a bunch of atomic mishaps going on back then).

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The Flame Witch has no known connections to:

Hans Kreitzer has no known connections to:


Hans Kreitzer

(Jungle Action I#2/4) - A renowned scientist and philosopher, he preferred the isolation of the Matawata jungles of Africa because he couldn't concentrate in the rush of modern civilization. He was interested in meeting the jungle heroine Leopard Girl, and he hired Gwen (secretly Leopard Girl) as his secretary.

Kreitzer was conducting an experiment to revive the legendary Flame Witch--Gwen (transcribing his notes while he worked) cautioned him not to continue; regardless, the scientist pressed on with his work. Kreitzer mixed some chemicals together in a beaker to initiate a nuclear reaction, and suddenly the chemicals exploded in a fiery blaze, returning the Flame Witch to Earth. As the fires began to engulf the jungle, Gwen changed into her costume and led Kreitzer to the shelter of a cave; Leopard Girl left him to direct the jungle's beasts to a safe refuge from the spreading fire, and Kreitzer apparently fainted (perhaps due to stress?).

As the angered Flame Witch entered the cave to punish Kreitzer for disturbing her sleep, Leopard Girl came riding in on the back of her lion friend Numa (who was enraged because his two cubs were also in the cave).

Leopard Girl defeated the Flame Witch by dousing her with water; when Kreitzer revived, he was incredulous to learn that Leopard Girl had left him in Numa's cave, but she assured him that the lion wouldn't harm anyone she had left there. Leopard Girl slipped away and changed back to Gwen; when she returned, Kreitzer told Gwen to get rid of his chemicals because he didn't think he'd be trying any experiments for a while.

(Jungle Action I#3/2) - Some time later, after he heard the "drumbeats of doom," Kreitzer went to investigate, but he ended up falling into a hunting pit. After Leopard Girl dealt with the menace, Kreitzer was rescued from the pit by Gwen.

--Jungle Action I#2/4, 3/2


images: (without ads)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p4, pan1 (Main Image - Flame Witch (left) revived, shooting flames from hands, as Leopard Girl looks on)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p4, pan7 (Flame Witch in cave with unconscious Hans Kreitzer; Leopard Girl drops from condor outside)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p5, pan4 (Flame Witch projects fire from her hands; unconscious Hans Kreitzer on ground, Numa's two cubs in background; Leopard Girl (astride Numa the lion) rides to attack)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p6, pan1 (Flame Witch doused by waters of hidden spring by Leopard Girl)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p1, pan3 (Hans Kreitzer (foreground), (Pete (in jeep) in background))
Jungle Action I#2/4, p2, pan2 (Kreitzer tells Gwen his plans to revive Flame Witch; monkeys of the jungle look on)
Jungle Action I#2/4, p2, pan4 (Kreitzer's experiment goes awry; Gwen prepares to change into Leopard Girl)


Appearances:
Jungle Action I#2/4 (December, 1954) - Don Rico (writer), Al Hartley (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)
Jungle Action I#3/2 (February, 1955) - Don Rico (writer), Al Hartley (pencils and inks), Stan Lee (editor)


First Posted: 08/13/2018
Last updated: 08/13/2018

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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