Charles Burlingame's father moved around a great deal and had trouble finding work, until he attended a rally of the Imperial Forces of America. The elder Burlingame joined that organization and took his son with him. Arnim Zola, working for the Imperial Forces, discovered that Charlie possessed the genetic potential to develop superhuman powers and facilitated the youngster's transformation into Charcoal, the Burning Man. As part of a group called the Bruiser Brigade, Charcoal fought the Thunderbolts as an enemy, but joined the team soon after. He was subsequently killed in battle with Graviton.
Charcoal was created by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley in 1998 and first appeared in Thunderbolts #19. His original concept was thought up by a comic book fan for a Create-A-Villain contest sponsored by Marvel and Wizard Magazine, a concept that Busiek and Bagley expanded on.
Powers & Abilities
Charlie Burlingame can transform into a being seemingly composed of charcoal. In this form he can:
- Manipulate heat,
- Reshape himself into any carbon form, including flaming incendiary or rock-hard diamond,
- Change his size and shape, and even stretch his appendages while fighting,
- Heal himself from most damage, including holes blown through him,
- Fly in his flaming incendiary form,
- And sense where any broken off piece of him was, effectively allowing him to place trackers on others and follow them.
Charcoal has his own figure in the Marvel HeroClix line.