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Flaming Carrot is an surrealist superhero created by Bob Burden, making his debut in 1979's Visions #1, a magazine published by the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1979. Flaming Carrot, whose actual identity is unknown, protects Palookavilla and Iron City with his band of adventurers known as the Mystery Men. Flaming Carrot can be seen as a parody of various aspects of the superhero genre (though his origin story is much the same as that of Don Quixote). He is often noted for his distinctive exclamation "Ut!" Flaming Carrot adventures have been published by Aardvark-Vanaheim, Renegade Press, Dark Horse Comics, and Image Comics, among others. He has guest-starred and made cameos in comics published by Fantagraphics, Mirage Studios, Atomeka Press, and others.
Concept and themes
The Flaming Carrot was in part inspired by the obscure Golden Age character The Fin. Burden recounted that "I took this particular idea and scratched it down one night when I came home about three o'clock in the morning. I'd been out on the town all night, and it was one of those nights when I came home tired, and fell asleep with my clothes on." Asked to explain the meaning of "Ut!", he stated,
"I'll tell you who said it. At Shea Stadium, when the Beatles were all up there, and the fans were trying to rush the stage, and the police were trying to keep them behind the barricades, George Harrison points to one that gets through, and says, "Ut!" It's like oops! It's just a goofy thing that's kind of childlike and fun."
The Flaming Carrot first appeared in Visions #1 (1979), a direct-market magazine. Flaming Carrot stories went on to appear in each yearly edition of the magazine through 1987. Bob Burden worked as illustrator and writer with Roxanne Starr working as letterer.
In 1981, Burden, under the company name Killian Barracks Press, self-published Flaming Carrot Comics #1, an oversized one-shot. Four- to eight-page Flaming Carrot stories appeared in each subsequent annual issue of Visions through #4 (1982), that last of which contained an apocryphal Flaming Carrot history that convinced Dave Sim, of the self-publishing company Aardvark-Vanaheim, to publish Flaming Carrot as a regular comic, First, however, Sim included back-up stories of the Carrot in the pages of Aardvark-Vanaheim's Cerebus' #61–62 (cover-dated April–May 1984). The Carrot eventually guest starred in the series proper in Cerebus #104 (Nov. 1987).
In the meantime, Aardvark-Vanaheim had published Flaming Carrot #1-5 (May 1984 - Jan. 1985). The company also published a 3-D special, A-V In 3-D #1 (Dec. 1984).
The series was picked up by Renegade Press for a dozen issues that continued the numbering from #6-17 (March 1985 - July 1987). During this time, the Flaming Carrot appeared in the first issue of the Fantagraphics anthology Anything Goes! (Oct. 1986).
In 1988, Burden began a relationship with Dark Horse Comics that lasted for 14 years. Dark Horse published 14 more issues of the ongoing Flaming Carrot series, #18-31 (June 1988 to October 1994). It also published Carrot stories in its anthology Dark Horse Presents #20 (Aug. 1988) and its annual anthology San Diego Comic Con Comics #1.
In the winter of 1994, Dark Horse published Flaming Carrot Stories No. 1, referred to on the cover as a "Text Version of Future Issue", although a standard pictorial comic version did not later appear. From 1997-1998, the company published four volumes of the Flaming Carrot Comics Collected Album, which was the first time the series had been reprinted, and the 64-page "Flaming Carrot Comics Annual No.1", featuring a new story. In 1999, Dark Horse published four issues of the spin-off series "Bob Burden's Original Mysterymen Comics", which did not feature the Flaming Carrot. In 2002, Dark Horse published the crossover special Flaming Carrot & Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, listed as Flaming Carrot Comics #32 in the indicia.
From 1989 to 1990, the British publisher Atomeka Press printed Flaming Carrot stories in its anthology A1 #1–2. In 1993–1994, Mirage Studios published the four-issue series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ Flaming Carrot Crossover.
Flaming Carrot was relaunched in 2004 with Image Comics and Desperado Publishing with a dual numbering system for four issues. A Photo Comic Special #1 (issue #37 in the regular series) was published in March 2006, featuring digitally edited photographs instead of artwork.
At times, entire Flaming Carrot storylines would simply be abandoned, and numerous projects and spin-offs promised in the series various letter pages and "Bob Speaks" columns never came to fruition.
Fictional character biography
The Flaming Carrot origin states that "having read 5,000 comics in a single sitting to win a bet, this poor man suffered brain damage and appeared directly thereafter as — the Flaming Carrot!"
To Carrot, who lives in Palookaville, a neighborhood of Iron City, has staved off at least three alien invasions, a Communist take over of Iron City, flying dead dogs, the Man in the Moon, Death itself, and a cloned horde of evil marching Adolf Hitler's boots. Possessing no real super powers, the Carrot wins the day through sheer grit, raw determination, blinding stupidity, and bizarre luck. Flaming Carrot even died in #6 (fell into a deep toxic waste pit in Palookaville), was brought back from the clinically dead in #7, described his sojourn in Limbo in #8 and got back at those who sent him to Limbo in #9.
Flaming Carrot was also a founding member of the blue collar superhero group the Mystery Men, introduced in a flashback/dream sequence in Flaming Carrot Comics #16. The story of this group was later made into the 1999 movie Mystery Men and a short-lived spin-off comic book series. Flaming Carrot himself does not appear in the film, although a handful of characters like Mr. Furious, the Shoveler, and Dr. Heller do.
Powers and abilities
The Carrot wears a costume that consists of a giant carrot mask which extends from above his head to below his crotch, a white shirt, red pants, and green flippers on his feet. The mask has a continually burning flame at the top and a secret compartment containing his Nuclear-Powered Pogo Stick, the mask was invented by Dr. Heller, who also upgraded Flaming Carrot's equipment after bringing him back from the clinically dead.
Flaming Carrot is able to go into a self-induced state of "Zen Stupidity" in order to face danger and evil boldly and without trepidation.
Toilet Plungers - Used by Flaming Carrot to climb walls!
The Flame - Flaming Carrot's flame is an infernal device built by Dr. Heller. It can be turned off or down trhough a little flap on the inside of the head. It can also be used as a weapon and burn you to a cinder.
A Mysterious Speaker - Flaming Carrot has a Mysterious Speaker that was implanted in his chest by unknown forces. It was discovered When FC woke up in a alley after a three-day bender. A mysterious voice come from the speak, ocasionally advising him with special insights, secrets of the universe, and race track tips.
The Utility Belt - Flaming Carrot also wears a crime fighting utility belt, but unlike that of the Batman, his is filled with useless items which nonetheless can become lethal weapons in his hands.
- Lucky Rabit Foot
- Sneeze Powder
- Invisible Ink
- Trading Cards
- Wish Bone
- Super Glue
- Buble Pipe
- Laughing Gas
- Spy Glass
- Band Aids with litle stars and rockets
- Skeleton Key
- Silly Putty
- Decoder Badge
- Stink Bombs
The Giant Sock - The Giant Sock is used by Flaming Carrot to sneak up behind guards and put over them! One of the oddest weapons in the Flaming Carrot's arsenal, it is one of his own invention.
Flippers - FC wears Flippers in case he has to swim.
Nuclear-Powered Pogo Stick - Flaming Carrot hops around on this colapsible invention devised by Dr. Heller. The Pogo Stick was once used as a question on jeopardy.
Flaming Carrot's Pistol - Flaming Carrot carries a Radom automatic in 9MM Parabellum. Designed by P. Wilniewczyc J. Skrzypinski. This gun was made from 1935 to 1945 at the Fabryka Broni Radom Factory in Poland. The Radom is known for it's reliability and instinctive pointing chacarteristics. FC relies heavily on his 9mm Radom pistol to kill his enemies without hesitation.
Flaming Carrot has run into the Turtles on multiple different occasions.
The Mirage-era Flaming Carrot made a guest appearance on the side of the Turtles in the four-volume limited series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot (1993), as well as in the previously Flaming Carrot -volumes 25 , 26 and 27, where The Flaming Carrot appeared with Raphael. Raphael had suffered amnesia and decided to fight crime along with the Flaming Carrot as "the Dark Avenger".
- Flaming Carrot #25
- Flaming Carrot #26
- Flaming Carrot #27
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #1
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #2
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #3
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot #4