Flaming Carrot Comics
The Flaming Carrot, from Flaming Carrot vol. 2, #4 (Image Comics, 2006). Art by Bob Burden.
Renegade Press (1985–1987)
Dark Horse Comics (1988–2002)
Image Comics (2004–2006)
|First appearance||Visions #1 (Atlanta Fantasy Fair, 1979)|
|Created by||Bob Burden|
|Team affiliations||Mystery Men|
|Abilities||Ability to induce himself in a state of "Zen Stupidity"
Use of nuclear powered pogo stick and a semi-automatic pistol
Wears a utility belt
|Flaming Carrot Comics|
|Series publication information|
May 1984 – Jan. 1985
Mar. 1985 – July 1987
(Dark Horse Comics)
June 1988 – Dec. 2002
(Image Comics/Desperado Publishing)
Dec. 2004 – Mar. 2006
|Number of issues||37|
|Main character(s)||Flaming Carrot|
Flaming Carrot Comics is a comic book series by cartoonist Bob Burden. The title character first appeared in Visions #1, a magazine published by the Atlanta Fantasy Fair in 1979. 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 published as the program booklet of the Atlanta Fantasy Fair. 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).
After Dave Sim and Deni Loubert, the couple behind Aardvark-Vanaheim, divorced, Loubert established Renegade Press to publish all of Aardvark-Vanaheim's former titles apart from Cerebus. Flaming Carrot was one of these, and remained with Renegade until the publisher went bankrupt in 1988. Renegade published issues #6-17 (March 1985 - July 1987). Burden also published a short Flaming Carrot piece in the Fantagraphics anthology Anything Goes! (Oct. 1986).
After Renegade, Burden took Flaming Carrot to Dark Horse Comics, which published 14 more issues of Flaming Carrot, #18-31 (June 1988 to Oct. 1994). DarkHorse also published Flaming Carrot stories in its anthology Dark Horse Presents #20 (Aug. 1988) and its annual anthology San Diego Comic Con Comics #1.
Following issue #31 in 1994, the character appeared only sporadically in one-shots over the next decade. In winter 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.
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.
The final appearance of Flaming Carrot was the 2006 Photo Comic Special #1, featuring photographs instead of illustration. Burden has not published original comic book work since 2007.
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!"
The 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 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 clinical death 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. The 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 flippers on his feet (in case he has to swim). The mask has a continually burning flame at the top and a secret compartment containing a nuclear-powered pogo stick (the mask and the pogo stick were invented by Dr. Heller of the Mystery Men). Flaming Carrot also wears a crime fighting utility belt, but unlike that of the Batman, his is filled with Silly Putty, rubber bands, random playing cards, sneezing powder, and other similarly frivolous items (which nonetheless can become lethal weapons in his hands). Dr. Heller upgraded Flaming Carrot's equipment after bringing him back from the clinically dead. The Flaming Carrot also relies heavily on his 9mm Radom pistol to kill his enemies without hesitation.
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.
- 1992 Eisner Award nomination: Best Continuing Series
- 1992 Eisner Award nomination: Best Humor Publication
- 2007 Eisner Award: Best Humor Publication
- Burden, Bob. "When the Shoes Aren't Worth the Shine," Flaming Carrot #7 (May 1985).
- Mallette, Jack (November 1986). "Bob Burden (part 1)". Comics Interview (40). Fictioneer Books. pp. 22–41.
- Flaming Carrot Comics Killian Barracks Press, 1981 Series at the Grand Comics Database
- "Flaming Carrot Bibliography". Flamingcarrot.com. Archived from the original on August 30, 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-18.
- Flaming Carrot Comics, Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1984 Series at the Grand Comics Database
- Flaming Carrot Comics, Renegade Press, 1985 Series at the Grand Comics Database
- Flaming Carrot Comics, Dark Horse, 1988 Series at the Grand Comics Database
- Burden, Bob. "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," Flaming Carrot #24 (Dark Horse Comics, April 1990).
- Burden, Bob. "Bob Speaks," Flaming Carrot #22 (Dark Horse Comics, June 1989).
- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot Crossover » 4 issues". Comicvine. 1993–1994. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- Flaming Carrot page at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived 2012-04-16 at WebCite from the original on April 16, 2012
- "Secrets of the Carrot!". FlamingCarrot.com. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Burden, Bob. "Bob Speaks!", Flaming Carrot #33 (Images/Desperado, December 2004).
- 1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners, Comic Book Awards Almanac
- Official website
- Davisson, Zack (December 1, 2010). "This Flame, This Carrot". Comics Grind + Rewind (column), Comics Bulletin. Archived from the original on December 28, 2010.
- Barr, Roger (n.d.). "You Too Can Be A Flaming Carrot!". I-Mockery.com. Archived from the original on June 29, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2012. Instructions for making a Flaming Carrot costume
- Flaming Carrot at the Comic Book DB