Phineas Horton

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Phineas T. Horton
Phineas Horton.jpg
Interior artwork from Marvels 1 (Jan., 1994). Art by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Marvel Comics #1 (Oct 1939)
Created by Carl Burgos
In-story information
Notable aliases Phineas Thomas Horton, Thomas Raye

Professor Phineas Thomas Horton is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Timely Comics, predecessor company of Marvel Comics. The character has been depicted as the creator of the original Human Torch and stepfather of Frankie Raye.

Publication history[edit]

Phineas T. Horton first appeared in Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939), and was created by Carl Burgos.

The character subsequently appears in The Avengers #134-135 (April-May 1975), and Avengers: Forever #8 (July 1999).

Phineas T. Horton received an entry in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Update '89 #3.

Fictional character biography[edit]

A talented and promising young student in the early days of bio-engineering, Phineas Horton visited the small, quiet town of Timely in northern Illinois where he met the brilliant town mayor Victor Timely. Timely admired Horton's potential and helped foster his studies with frequent long talks,[volume & issue needed] which eventually led Horton to the ability to create a lifelike synthetic android in 1940. Horton first revealed his android creation's existence to the world at a press conference in New York City; it was dubbed The Human Torch by the press because of its habit of bursting into flames the moment it was exposed to air. The reactionary press dubbed the android a menace and Horton felt pressured into burying the Torch in cement until he could devise a way to control the Torch's flames. However, the Torch was able to escape; Horton was ostracized from the scientific community, and the government impounded his equipment. The Torch learned to control his powers and cut his ties with his creator.[volume & issue needed]

Horton moved to Boston and created another android named Adam II, who rebelled against his creator. The Torch and his partner Toro came to visit professor Horton, but Adam captured them as well. The Patriot freed Adam's captives, and the All-Winners Squad defeated Adam (at the cost of the second Captain America's life), leading to Adam's destruction in an automobile accident.[volume & issue needed]

In 1955, the Human Torch was believed to have been destroyed, shattering Horton's dreams of glory once more. Horton disappeared from the public eye, working as a repairman under the alias "Thomas Raye" and drinking heavily. He married late in life to a woman with a daughter named Frankie, who was given her stepfather's assumed surname. Her mother died soon after the marriage, leading Horton to drink even more.[volume & issue needed]

When Frankie was a young girl, Horton learned of the existence of the Fantastic Four, a member of which team went by the name of the Human Torch. Horton took Frankie to an abandoned chemical company to try to construct a new Human Torch of his own. As Frankie was carrying a drum of chemicals for her father, she fell and the chemicals engulfed her in flames, mutating her into a superhuman being like the Torches. Horton felt responsible for what happened and planted a post-hypnotic suggestion in Frankie that would make her forget what happened and fear fire. Horton was ashamed, and he disappeared while Frankie was still in a trance, never to have contact with her again except for the money he sent her regularly.[1]

The android superhero Vision had been duped by Immortus into believing that Horton had created him out of the remains of the original Human Torch. When an international agency captured the Vision and erased his memory, they tracked down the now elderly Horton to force him to reprogram the Vision. Horton, of course, had never worked on the Vision before and did not know how to fix him. When the West Coast Avengers came to rescue the Vision, they instead found him dismantled along with the imprisoned Phineas Horton. Horton was able to help the Avengers find the Torch's resting place, and the Scarlet Witch was able to use her powers to reactivate the android Human Torch.[volume & issue needed] It would later be revealed [2] that this Horton was actually a Space Phantom, used by Immortus to further deceive the Avengers.[volume & issue needed]

Horton has a granddaughter named Victoria Anderson.[3]


  1. ^ Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Byrne, John (i). "The Lady Is for Burning!" Fantastic Four 238 (January 1982)
  2. ^ in Avengers Forever #8
  3. ^ Victoria Anderson (Phineas T. Horton's grand-daughter, Vision character)