–Dr. A.R. Laurer, from the Coronet educational film Controlling Your Emotions (1950)
Part of the groundbreaking nature of Marvel Comics in the early 1960's was writer/editor Stan Lee's decision to depict superheroes in a much more realistic way than what had come before. Unlike the idealistic paragons of other publishers, Marvel characters would be quick to anger, easily frustrated, prone to sulking and sarcasm, distrustful, self-conscious, and pessimistic.
In other words, they mirrored the very kids and young adults who read their adventures!
In fact, from the very beginning in Fantastic Four #1 (1961), teenagers would find the perfect symbol of their volatile emotions and fiery passions in Johnny Storm, a.k.a. the Human Torch. However, unlike the controlled "glowing ember" look that's defined the Torch for most of his history, the first two issues of The Fantastic Four depicted Johnny as only a featureless and vaguely humanoid flame-shape...an obvious analogy of the roiling, chaotic emotionalism of the teenage years. Driving that point home is the dialogue in the second panel below, taken from Fantastic Four's origin story.
Ideally, through experience and maturity, teenagers eventually learn to harness and control their emotions...once again symbolized by the Torch a few issues later. The cover of Fantastic Four #3 marked the debut of Johnny's aforementioned "glowing ember" look, obviously the result of harnessing and controlling his power. Ultimately, it's a great little "parable" for the maturing process, as wild "fiery" youths focus and gradually improve themselves in their journey toward adulthood.
Of course, anyone who's followed my blog for awhile should know that whenever there's a mention of the Human Torch, his "polar opposite" Iceman can't be far behind...and this is no exception.
Much like the indistinct early look of the Torch, teen mutant Bobby Drake looked like a lumpy, featureless snowman on the cover of X-Men #1 (1963).
Although it took Bobby a bit longer than Johnny to fine-focus his emotions...er, powers, by X-Men #9 (1965) he'd assumed his familiar crystalline form. Ah...but much like a real kid learning self-control from a parent or mentor, note how his older teammate (and parent-figure) Cyclops taught him to exert more control over his icy powers.
Self-control analogies aside, I think that final line of Bobby's wonderfully sums up the tempestuous teenage spirit of the Marvel Comics glory years.