The Early YearsGrowing up in suburban Glenville, Johnny Storm was drawn to automobiles despite his mother's death in a car accident, and became quite a mechanic at a young age. While still a teenager he selflessly rescued two of his friends from a burning building. No stranger to adventure, Johnny-son of famous doctor and infamous criminal Franklin Storm-was nearly chosen as the human host of the demonic Zarathos, the Ghost Rider, and was attacked by the legendary St. Germaine, who sought the power for himself. Johnny escaped the lure of Zarathos with the help of archeologist Max Parrish, the uncle of Cammy Brandeis, on whom Johnny had a bit of a crush.
Out of Space and Into the Fantastic FourFollowing his sister, Sue, Johnny joined Reed Richards' crew in a space flight. Riddled with cosmic radiation, Johnny transformed into a flaming monster when the flight crashed back to earth. Calling himself Human Torch in tribute to the World War II era hero of the same name, the youthful Johnny found new adventure as part of the Fantastic Four, proving to be an invaluable if somewhat volatile member of the team. Falling out with his teammates after a battle with the Miracle Man, Johnny left the group and encountered amnesiac World War II hero Namor the Sub-Mariner. Recognizing Namor from comic books, Johnny dropped him into the sea, hoping to restore his memory. The plan worked, but after Namor found Atlantis in ruins, he declared war on humanity. Johnny rejoined the FF and they drove Namor off. The immature Johnny again considered quitting the Fantastic Four, this time to join his cousin Bones' circus, but quickly returned to the team.
High School DaysThough a member of the world-famous Fantastic Four, Johnny was still a teenage Glenville High student - albeit one who regularly clashed with super-powered menaces. Johnny even tried to conceal his dual identity from most of the locals at first, though this soon proved futile (the true identities of all four FF founders being widely known almost from the start). In solo action, he fought the communist Destroyer (Charles Stanton) and Rabble Rouser; the Wizard (born Bentley Wittman); Zemu, Warlord of the 5th Dimension; Paste-Pot Pete; Acrobat (Carl Zante); Vilhelm von Vile, the enigmatic Painter of 1000 Perils; the Sorcerer of Glenville Woods; the Asbestos Man (Orson Kasloff); the Eel (Leopold Stryke); the Plantman; modern-day pirate Captain Barracuda, whom Johnny defeated in the first of several team-ups with his super-heroic opposite number Iceman; and the Terrible Trio.
Super-villains, however, weren't Johnny's only rivals. Mike Snow, a member of the Glenville High wrestling squad, bullied Johnny until an accidental flare-up of the Torch's powers scarred Snow's face. Despite their animosity, Snow concealed the incident, blaming the injuries on a prank gone wrong and maintaining that Johnny had actually saved his life that night by flying him to the hospital. While Mike tried to move on with his life, Johnny did the same, dating fellow student Dorrie Evans, although she eventually grew tired of his constant disappearances and broke it off. Johnny met another teenage hero, Spider-Man, who broke into the Baxter Building hoping to impress the FF. Despite their early misunderstandings, the Torch and Spider-Man eventually became good friends.
The Skrulls and the Death of Franklin StormWhen the Super-Skrull (Kl’rt), possessing the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, attacked the team, the Human Torch managed to trap him inside a cave, but the Super-Skrull escaped and impersonated Franklin Storm. The Four exposed the Super-Skrull, but the Skrulls strapped a bomb to the real Franklin's chest, and Franklin sacrificed his own life to save his children. A trip to the Skrull homeworld and the death of Warlord Morrat, the Skrull who authorized Franklin's murder, brought some measure of revenge, but this was not the last time the Skrulls would interfere in Johnny's life.
Off to College, Falling in LoveAfter graduating high school, Johnny enrolled in Metro College, where he befriended his roommate, Wyatt Wingfoot. Wyatt joined Johnny and the Fantastic Four on a trip to Wakanda, where they first encountered the Black Panther and helped him defeat Klaw. Around this time, Johnny met the young Inhuman Crystal. It was love at first sight, and Johnny, along with the rest of the FF, helped her overthrow the mad Inhuman prince Maximus. Their love was passionate but short-lived, as Crystal returned to Attilan and married Quicksilver, the son of Magneto - eventually bearing his child. Johnny was crushed, but tried to move on. Hoping to catch up on old times with Dorrie Evans, he found that she had married and had two kids since they had broken up. Despite dropping out of Metro U, Johnny remained friends with Wyatt, who often participated in the Fantastic Four's adventures and was later romantically linked to the She-Hulk. When Johnny's sister Sue and her husband Reed were separated, Johnny joined the Thing, Medusa and Thundra in a staged battle against the rehabilitated Namor in an effort to bring the couple back together. Their ploy worked, and Sue and Reed patched things up for good. Seeking direction in his life, Johnny was tricked into attending the high-class Security College, a front for the Monocle, an agent of the megalomaniacal Enclave, who used him to steal top-secret high-tech weapons. Spider-Man broke the Monocle's control of the Torch. Johnny then joined the rest of the FF in space, where they helped the Champions of Xandar against the invading Skrulls. When Johnny's teammates were dying from a Skrull aging ray, Johnny destroyed the robotic assassin Skrull X, allowing the infirm Reed to use his weapon to reverse the aging.
New FlamesHearing of the execution of David George Munson, his former high school classmate, Johnny helped the NYPD clear his name and nabbed several leading members of the Maggia criminal organization, including Hammerhead. After a brief relationship with auto mechanic Lorrie Melton, Johnny fell for Frankie Raye, a woman desperately afraid of his flames. Frankie eventually discovered that her pyrophobia stemmed from being hypnotized by her late stepfather, Phineas Horton (creator of the android Human Torch), into forgetting that he had accidentally given her flame powers of her own. Johnny helped Frankie adjust to her rediscovered powers as their relationship blossomed, but when Galactus returned to Earth, Frankie agreed to follow him into space as his new herald, Nova. Distraught, Johnny was comforted by Frankie's former roommate, Julie Angel, and began to have feelings for her. Confusing matters further, Julie's friend, Sharon Selleck, had a crush on Johnny. Julie eventually moved to California to continue her acting career and nothing came of Sharon's crush.
Johnny was briefly abducted by agents of the Messiah (Alden Maas) in his mad plot to expand the Earth by super-heating its core. Brought to Battleworld by the Beyonder and forced to battle various super-villains, Johnny met and was healed by Zsaji, a native of the planet. Physically but not emotionally attracted to Zsaji, Johnny found an unlikely rival in Colossus (Peter Rasputin), who fell in love with the healer. Although Zsaji returned Johnny's affection at first, she eventually chose Colossus over the Torch, but then sacrificed her own life to rescue several dying heroes. Johnny returned to Earth, where he found himself drawn to Alicia Masters, longtime girlfriend of Johnny's then-absent FF teammate, the Thing. Johnny and Alicia's romance helped estrange the Thing from the FF for a lengthy period. Johnny hit his lowest point when Tommy Hanson, a young fan of his, set himself on fire in an attempt to be more like his hero. Hearing of the boy's death, Johnny considered retiring as the Human Torch, but the Beyonder managed to talk him out of it. Eventually Johnny married Alicia, but a jealous Thing offered a spot in the Fantastic Four to Crystal, who was separated from Quicksilver at the time. Johnny's old feelings for Crystal slowly returned, but his love for Alicia enabled him to resist temptation, and Crystal eventually left the team.