It’s been a month since everyone’s favourite hothead, Johnny Storm, had his flames – and life – extinguished at the closing of Jonathan Hickman‘s recent Fantastic Four storyline Three (or not, if our very own Skott of Fables is to be believed). Whilst reactions to the death were mixed, as Johhny’s time as Character of the Month came to and end Comic Booked reached out to those who arguably had the strongest association with the Human Torch- because at one point in their lives, they were him! Or at least, they portrayed him on screen. Here’s what the men who would be Johnny Storm had to say about his death at the hands of Annihilus:
Christopher Jacot had the distinct pleasure of proving the voice of Johnny Storm in Cartoon Network’s recent animation Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, which if the mood strikes you can watch here. Christopher, who most recently has been seen in SyFy’s Eureka and can also count Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural on his resume, had this to say:
I was genuinely upset to hear that such a great Marvel invention had ended. Playing Johnny was one of the best experiences I’ve had as an actor. His drive for adventure and his cocky heat for humor always brought a party to recording sessions. He brought laughter, excitement and fireballs into all of our lives.
Not only were we fortunate enough to hear from Christopher, but Comic Booked had the distinct pleasure of hearing from Jay Underwood, who any Marvel aficionado will tell you played the Human Torch in the never-released 1994 movie The Fantastic Four, produced by B-movie legend Roger Corman. Jay was wonderfully forthcoming in talking about his time as Johnny, best summed up by the following collage:
Here’s what Jay had to say:
I hope this doesn’t disappoint any FF fans to hear, but when I was first auditioning for Johnny Storm, The Human Torch in Roger Corman’s version of the Fantastic Four, I’m sorry to say I was not very familiar with the character or the comic. Of course once I knew who I was to portray, I made it my mission to get to know this awesome quartet of super heroes and especially the Johnny Storm. What an interesting piece of cinematic history to be a part of! All of us knew what we were up against, especially trying to make a classic comic book filled with all kinds of crazy special effects on a shoestring budget. Not to mention the fact that we knew we’d be scrutinized greatly by the comic world at large – of whom we particularly wanted to please. To this end, the director Oley Sassone decided our best strategy was to keep our focus on the characters and the story and hope and pray that strength here would help make up for any lack of other production value. For those of you who have seen it, you’ll have to be the judge of that. But I will tell you this, from the standpoint of Oley and the rest of the cast, this movie was made with tremendous amount of heart and a real desire to be true to the characters Stan Lee created.
What do I think about Marvel’s latest decision to snuff out the Torch? I can only imagine that his flame will never completely die! I can only liken it to when Coca-Cola decided they were going to “change” their recipe and introduce New Coke only to roll out once again Classic Coke after public outrage. Did they have this in mind all along? Could be… Does Marvel have something else in mind by way of life after death for JS? Could be… I sure hope so!
These days Jay works as a full time pastor at a small church in Northern California, although he keeps his acting muscles flexed through occasional work in faith-based films, most recently appearing in No Greater Love. Comic fans can look forward to him and the rest of the first live-action Fantastic Four making a rare appearance at Con-tamination 2011 in St. Louis this June!
Thanks to Christopher and Jay for their time – a new Character of the Month will be with you in due course!