Firebug (comics)

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Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance (Rigger)
Batman #318 (December 1979)
Gotham Central #3 (March 2003)
Deadshot - Urban Renewal #1 (February 2005)
Created by (Rigger)
Len Wein
Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark
Christos Gage
In-story information
Alter ego -Joe Rigger
-Harlan Combs
Abilities (Rigger)
Military training
Costume contains napalm tanks to set things on fire

Firebug is the name of three DC Comics supervillains.

Fictional character biographies[edit]

Joe Rigger[edit]

Firebug first appeared in Batman #318 (December 1979). Joe Rigger was a soldier and demolitions expert who returned to Gotham City when his family had been killed in three separate building-related accidents. His sanity slipping, Rigger vowed that those buildings would not kill again. Using his military training and a costume containing tanks of napalm, he became the Firebug and set out to burn all three buildings to the ground. He was defeated by the Batman atop the towering Gotham State Building, and believed dead after his tank exploded.[1] Firebug reappeared some time later, taking on a mission from the Calculator to invade Hero Hotline's HQ, but was disarmed and defeated by the Hotline members.[2] Still later, Firebug escaped Blackgate Prison and applied for membership in Black Mask's gang, but was beaten by his rival arsonist, Firefly. He subsequently attempted to prove he was a better arsonist, and again appeared to be killed by his own inferno. He was later revealed to have survived. His close brush with death along with the scarring it caused prompted him to sell of his Firebug costume and gear.[3] In the New 52, Firebug is hired by an unknown party to blow several Gotham buildings to lure and kill Batgirl.[4]She survives the attempt and tracks down Firebug, upon arrest he claims his employers will not allow an incarceration.[5]

Harlan Combs[edit]

A new Firebug debuted in Gotham Central #3. At first, his identity was a mystery, and he was wanted in the murder of a teenage girl, who was killed after a baby-sitting job. Eventually, the Gotham police deduced that the culprit was Harlan Combs, the father of the child she was sitting, and by all accounts a perfectly normal man. Combs had purchased the Firebug costume and armor from Rigger. He was injured fleeing the police and was quickly arrested.[6]


An unnamed character using the name Firebug debuted in Deadshot - Urban Renewal #1 (February 2005).[7] He had won the name and costume from an Internet auction. After taking on the Firebug name, he enters the costume business.[8] He later appeared in a flashback revealing that he teamed up with Mr. Freeze but was defeated by the team of Batman and Harvey Dent prior to Batman leaving Gotham City for a year.[9][10]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Firebug was the second-to-last boss, preceding The Joker, in the NES's Batman game, loosely based on the 1989 film. He, Killer Moth, and The Electrocutioner are supervillains working as thugs-for-hire for the Joker. He could run at high speeds, punch rapidly, and throw giant fireballs from his hands.
  • Firebug was mentioned by a militia thug in Batman: Arkham Knight, since the villain Firefly is in Gotham City, a militia thug suggests that there is a "Firebug" too.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Detective Comics #689-690
  2. ^ Hero Hotline #5
  3. ^ Gotham Central #4-5
  4. ^ Batgirl Vol 4 #17 (April 2013)
  5. ^ Batgirl Vol 4 #18 (May 2013)
  6. ^ Gotham Central #3-5
  7. ^ Deadshot #1
  8. ^ Deadshot #4-5
  9. ^ Batman #651-654
  10. ^ Detective Comics #817-820