Flaming Carrot: Comic for the Fan of the Surreal
Who is the Flaming Carrot?
When most people read the words "Flaming Carrot," they could not actually be blamed for thinking that it might be a recipe. Well, it is a recipe, all right—for one of the most absurd comics you will ever read. Not your typical comic book, this is an adventure in postmodern superheroes. No, he's not an antihero, either!
Look up in the sky—no, never mind, you won't see much of anything interesting there. Flaming Carrot is the creation of comic book creator Bob Burden. The great attraction of Flaming Carrot is that first, he's simply an ordinary guy who just owns a laundromat. Second, this superhero got his powers and identity from reading five thousand comic books in a single sitting. And third, he has no superpowers whatsoever. None. In this respect Burden characterizes his superhero as being like Batman, who also has no superpowers (Flaming Carrot was kicked out of the superheroes' union for that very reason) so he has to rely on technology, as Batman does. However, his technology, while supremely geeky, is not nearly as good as Batman's, and to top it all off, the Carrot is not nearly as smart as Batman, either. And there you have Flaming Carrot—a (non)superhero for ordinary folk like you and me, an Everyman, if you like.
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Flaming Carrot lives in Palookaville, a section of Iron City, set somewhere in the Rust Belt, and would be uncomfortable anywhere but in his somewhat run-down industrial neighbourhood.
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Just like Batman, Flaming Carrot has a unique mode of transportation, a nuclear-powered pogo stick, which he keeps in his mask. Our hero also has a utility belt like Batman does; however, his utility belt is made of Band-Aid cans taped together, and contains such items as dinosaur attack cards, stale Rice Krispies, a click-clack chair, and cinnamon toast. Flaming Carrot can often be seen (including by his enemies) smoking a bubble pipe.
Flaming Carrot is seen with a carrot-shaped mask on his head, with flames shooting out from where the green, feathery leaves would be. He wears a white shirt, red pants, and green flippers on his feet, in case he has to swim. He also has a speaker in his chest, implanted by aliens.
Secret Identity? What Secret Identity?
Flaming Carrot doesn't bother keeping his identity a secret. He's simply Flaming Carrot, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Flaming Carrot has plenty of friends, including a group of groupies (called "The Bikini Teens"), the mad? (certainly odd) scientist Dr. Heller, and the Mystery Men (you may remember some of the Mystery Men from the movie). They spend long evenings cooking pot roasts, fixing antique Ramblers, and going on adventures, with our superhero sometimes not remembering huge chunks of time (in one issue he wakes up in bed with a plate of cold spaghetti and a giant pencil, and no memory of how either got there). He also collects money from the laundromat, encounters oddballs, and prowls the city looking for villains.
Every comic book hero (even those who are not superheroes) has one. Flaming Carrot's catchphrase is "Ut! Is good!"
Flaming Carrot has appeared with a number of other superheroes besides his friends the Mystery Men, including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Cerebus. The crossover with Cerebus is dark and foreboding, while the crossover with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is hilariously funny and . . . well, you just have to read it for yourself; I don't want to give anything away because it would spoil the fun!
Should You Read Flaming Carrot?
If you have tolerance for the absurd, a taste for comically flawed characters, and a longing to see other people just like you as superheroes, then the Flaming Carrot might just be the comic for you. Convoluted plotlines that go nowhere over several issues, titles like I Cloned Hitler's Feet!, villains with no real purpose, and technological devices like canned tornadoes abound in this comic series that has delighted fans for decades. Check out a few issues for yourself, and see why this is one of my favorite comics of all time!
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