March 25, 2011

Read THE FLASH #1 Online for Free!

Category: Flash News — By

ComiXology now has the first two issues of The Flash vol.3 available as digital comics for their online reader or iOs/Android apps. (Sadly, the joke about having Flash on the iPad has been completely played out by now.) Better yet: The first issue is available for free!

The online version works fairly well, except for trying a bit too hard to imitate the printed comic look. (Please, we don’t need those gradients imitating the curved paper near the spine — especially on double-page spreads!) The phone app has a few problems adapting the art to the smaller screen size. I will say that this issue (at least the part I skimmed — it’s a busy day!) works better when viewed landscape than portrait.

Keep in mind: if you’re browsing the ComiXology store for these, they’re currently sorted under “T” for The Flash.

» The Flash: Rebirth
» The Flash vol.3

(via Francis Manapul’s Twitter.)

March 24, 2011

Annotations – Trial of the Flash: Introduction and Issue #270

Welcome to the first installment in our analysis of the soon-to-be-reprinted “Trial of the Flash”, and related Flash storylines!

Arguably the most praised and vilified pre-Crisis Flash tale, the Trial story was written by Cary Bates, began in 1983 and ran through the title’s cancellation in 1985.  With seeds in stories from as far back as 1979, the Trial was essentially the collision of years of Flash plot threads.  These stories are some of the earliest examples of long-form, soap-opera style writing in DC Comics.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 22, 2011

Alternate History of DC/AA Comics: Introducing Flashette

Category: Flash History — By

What kinds of changes are in store for the DC Universe during Flashpoint? Teasers we’ve seen so far show a world with no Earth-based Green Lantern, a very different Superman, and a Wonder Woman and Aquaman who are world leaders rather than superheroes. DC will be publishing no less than sixteen miniseries exploring this altered world, enough for an entire line of comics…which brings to mind another thought:

What might DC comics look like if they’d been publishing this alternate history all along?

It wouldn’t be the first time someone’s explored an alternate publishing history. The Marvel/DC mash-up Amalgam Comics were all labeled #1, but included editor’s notes and letters columns referring back to earlier imaginary comics.

More interestingly, Bob Rozakis published a series of articles in TwoMorrows’ Alter Ego and Back Issue magazines in which he imagined an alternate history of DC Comics, the company.

All-American Comics

Up until the mid-1940s, DC Comics was really two companies: One was DC proper, owned by Harry Donenfield. The other was All-American Comics, owned by Max Gaines, which published under the DC label. The big three characters at DC were Superman, Batman and Robin, starring in World’s Finest. The big three at All American were Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Alan Scott) and the Flash (Jay Garrick), starring in Comic Cavalcade. (This is also why Johnny Quick exists: DC published the Flash, but didn’t actually own the character, so they wanted a speedster they owned outright.) In 1945, after a dispute led to several issues of All-American books being published under their own banner, DC bought out the entire line. A few years later, most of the All-American characters fell off the radar (with the notable exception of Wonder Woman), but DC kept publishing Superman and Batman.

By 1956, DC decided to try re-imagining some of the older characters, starting with the Flash. The result: the Silver Age explosion, including new versions of Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Atom (Ray Palmer), etc.

What If…

For an Elseworlds story, Bob Rozakis imagined an alternate world in which instead of DC buying All-American, All-American bought DC. Flash and Green Lantern survived the end of the Golden Age, but Batman and Superman disappeared until they were re-imagined for the Silver Age.

DC rejected the story, but the ideas stuck in Rozakis’ head, and he eventually expanded them into a full alternate history — and not just an alternate story history, but an alternate publishing history, down to the way the alternate publisher might have treated his writers and artists.

Of course, part of the fun in this sort of alternate history is looking at not just what might be different, but what might be similar. So Green Lantern and the Flash not only took on the prominence of Superman and Batman, but many of the same story elements. Green Lantern introduced Kid Lantern stories instead of Superboy, and Girl Lantern instead of Supergirl. Instead of Batgirl, the Flash family expanded to include Flashette. Artist Larry Guidry provided cover art inspired by the introductions of their counterparts in the real publishing timeline.

On his blog, Rozakis lists the full set of articles:

The series appeared in ALTER EGO #s 76, 78-81, 83, 85 and 87, with a bonus chapter scheduled for #93 or #94, depending on space. [Edit: I don’t see it listed on the TOC for either book.] The second half is in BACK ISSUE #s 28 – 36, except #31.

Quote of the Weekend: Didio on Late Comics

Category: General — By

It used to be a joke, “As long as you keep buying late books, we’ll keep making ’em.” It’s not a joke anymore: you stopped buying ’em. We need to get our schedule under control.

— Dan Didio at DC Nation, C2E2 (as reported by CBR).

March 20, 2011

Speed Reading

Category: Round-Ups — By

Some linkblogging for the weekend:

Flashy links:

  • Know Your Flashes – Evil Inc. by Brad Guigar – A Daily Webcomic
  • The Fastest Forum Alive – new Flash discussion board launched this week.
  • Ask…The Rogues! at iFanboy
  • Reverse Flash by Joel Gomez at FFA
  • That F’ing Monkey looks back at the Filmation Flash cartoons rom the 1960s and The Chemo-Creature. (I reviewed the DVD set a while back.)
  • Flash fans who like Wally West may (or may not) appreciate the snarky commentary of @BitterWallyWest on twitter. Flash fans who don’t like Wally West…probably won’t.
  • The Rogues Kick Ass has been posting a series of covers from Brazillian reprint Flash comics from the Silver Age. Some of them featured all-new covers, while others redrew the American covers.

Flashpoint and other comics:

C2E2. Not much Flash or Flashpoint news out of C2E2. DC was being very cagey about both. That said, we now know that Hunter Zolomon is in Flashpoint, and while DC would rather tweak Wally West’s fans than answer any questions about him, we do know that he gets chased by someone with a white lantern ring in a tie-in.

March 18, 2011

What If…DC Renumbered the Flash?

Category: Flash History — By

So haw many Flash comics have there been, anyway?

With the news that DC is canceling the current Flash series in the lead-up to Flashpoint, speculation has turned to the inevitable relaunch that we’ll see afterward.

Now, DC could just pick up the numbering where they left off, as if the book had simply been on hiatus (like many of us expected)…but that sort of puts a lie to the statement that “Issue 12 will be the final issue of THE FLASH.”

DC could also restart at #1…again. But is that really what they want to do after Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 in 2006, All-Flash #1 in 2007, Flash: Rebirth #1 in 2009, and Flash #1 in 2010?

So the prospect of renumbering raises its head again. It’s a natural with The Flash. After all, Barry Allen’s 1959 launch started at #105, picking up the numbering from where Jay Garrick’s series left off in 1949, and Wally West’s 2007 launch picked up right where it left off the year before. And with books like Wonder Woman, Spider-Man and Thor adding up the totals from multiple relaunches, it seems a clear possibility.

So, if we added up all the Flash comics, what number would we be at?

350 issues of Flash Comics starring Jay Garrick and The Flash starring Barry Allen
247 issues of The Flash starring Wally West (not counting #0, #1,000,000, or #1/2, all of which would have been numbered out of sequence anyway).
13 issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive starring Bart Allen
12 issues of The Flash starring Barry Allen.

That’s 622 issues there, making the next one Flash #623. Though if you include Flash #0 and #1,000,000, which were part of the monthly series (but not #1/2, which was a promotional giveaway from Wizard Magazine), that would bring the total to 624, making the next one #625.

You could also make a case for including a few others:

1 issue of All-Flash, since it filled the monthly slot and bridged the gap between the end of Flash:TFMA and the 2007 relaunch.
6 issues of Flash: Rebirth, since it replaced the monthly series and served as the primary Flash book for 2009.

I wouldn’t include the annuals, or the 1970 Flash Spectacular, or the original Flashpoint miniseries, or the two Flash 80 Page Giants, or the four Flash Secret Files books. I also wouldn’t include Blackest Night: The Flash or Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge. These are all miniseries or specials that feel separate from the main Flash series, though I’d consider Blackest Night: The Flash a possible candidate.

That brings it to 629 issues.

Could we be looking at a post-Flashpoint launch of Flash #625 or Flash #630?