July 9, 2008

Flash Companion Preview: Lost Gold

Category: Flash History — By @ 8:00 am

The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book, The Flash Companion. The full article appears in the first section of the book. It is printed here with permission of the book’s main author, Keith Dallas.

The Flash Companion is scheduled for a July 23 release.

Lost Gold: The Unpublished Golden Age Flash Stories

By John Wells

The abrupt cancellation of Flash Comics left Julius Schwartz with no chance to burn off the inventory of completed material he’d assembled for future issues. Instead, each page was stamped “Written Off 9-30-49,” filed away and ultimately marked for destruction in the late 1960s. Unpublished samples of all five features in Flash Comics survived to the present. Most remarkably, there were five Flash stories — three preserved in their entirety! They are:

“Journey Into Danger”: A criminal discovers a formula capable of accelerating speed and motion — but not the means of controlling it. In an effort to force Jay Garrick to give up his own formula for slowing down energy, the Farmer unleashes his speed solution on an unsuspecting Keystone City and the Flash himself (published in The Flash #205: April, 1971).

“The Tale of the Three Tokens”: A stranger gives common objects to Jay and two other men that prove instrumental in saving each of their lives during the Thinker’s attempt to use a stolen time machine (published in The Flash #214: April, 1972).

“Strange Confession”: After the Flash’s third encounter with the Thorn, her “sister” Rose confesses to Jay Garrick that she and the villainess are one and the same. Her evil personality kidnaps Joan Williams in retaliation, and the Flash ultimately asks Green Lantern to transport Rose to the curative Transformation Island at the suggestion of Wonder Woman (pages 11 and 12 published in Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #113: Sept.-Oct., 1971. Later published in its entirety in Robin Snyder’s fanzine The Comics [Vol. 6] #10: Oct., 1995.).

“The Garrick Curse”: Supposed heraldry expert Josiah Wilkinson tries to dupe Jay Garrick into murdering a supposed ancestral enemy in a ploy to blackmail Jay into giving him the formula he’s working on for the government. [Four complete pages and five fragments remain.]

“King Arthur In a Connecticut Yankee’s Court”: While Jay performs an experiment for Joan’s cynical nephew Georgie, they witness the 20th Century arrival of King Arthur, his knights and Merlin, who join the Flash’s search for a kidnapped baseball star dubbed the Connecticut Yankee. [Two full pages and eight fragments survive.]

The fact that all or part of five unpublished Flash stories survived is remarkable enough but consider this: The splash page of each story was encoded with an issue number, not necessarily the one in which the tale would see print but still an indicator of the order in which they were completed. “The Tale of the Three Tokens” is tagged “FL112″ but the five stories here would only have run through Flash Comics #109. Were there three more Golden Age Flash stories lost altogether? Where’s the Cosmic Treadmill when you need it?

Note: The full article as it appears in The Flash Companion, describes the current status of the artwork for these “lost” stories, and reprints 7 pages of art from “The Tale of the Three Tokens” and “King Arthur in a Connecticut Yankee’s Court.”

Also, I’ve been looking for The Comics [Vol. 6] #10 so that I can read that third story with the Thorn. If you have a copy you’d be interested in selling, please let me know!

As mentioned above, TwoMorrows’ The Flash Companion is scheduled for a July 23 release.