August 4, 2011
I understand DC’s decision to pick a single Flash. They want to make a fresh start (sort of — more about that in part 2). They don’t want incoming readers to be intimidated by 70 years of history. And they want a world in which super-heroes have only been around for a few years. But there’s value in the legacy concept, and I’d argue that it’s helped The Flash and its readership.
We Flash fans have been extremely lucky. From 1940 to 2005 we’ve had three great versions of the character. We’ve had solid, long-running creative teams. Gardner Fox wrote most of the Golden Age and half the Silver Age. John Broome wrote the rest of it, with Robert Kanigher straddling the two eras. Cary Bates authored the entire Bronze Age, and I’d wager that nearly everyone reading this has experienced the incredible Flash runs by Mark Waid and Geoff Johns in the 1990s and early 2000s. We’ve had amazing artists like Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Wieringo, and more recently Francis Manapul.
And unlike fans of Superman or Wonder Woman, we’ve never had to deal with DC outright erasing the stories we know and love. Because Barry Allen and Jay Garrick were different characters, DC was able to build a shared history in Crisis on Infinite Earths, and because they had promoted Wally West to the lead spot, they could start at the beginning of a hero’s (solo) career, again without wiping out what had gone before. Read the rest of this entry »
September 16, 2010
In his post on re-using old characters, David Brothers mentions that in 6 years writing the Avengers, Brian Michael Bendis created only one new villain. That started me thinking about Geoff Johns’ original run on The Flash (2000–2005). Johns created a wealth of new enemies for the Flash during the first part of his run, particularly in Iron Heights, but I couldn’t think of any from later.
It turns out, that’s because there basically aren’t any.
This run can easily be divided into two main pieces: Flash #164–200, from Wonderland to Blitz, and then Flash #201–225, from Ignition through Rogue War. The dividing line: the moment when the Spectre erases everyone’s memory of Wally West’s and Barry Allen’s identities as the Flash.
Here’s a list of the new villains who were introduced before that moment:
Ten entirely new enemies, and two new versions of old villains. Not bad for a roughly 50-issue run!
Now, here’s a list of new villains introduced after that moment:
Just one legacy villain, in the very first story, and he died at the end. OK, maybe you can count the Rainbow Raiders, but they never made more than a single cameo appearance in the book.
As much as I love Geoff Johns’ writing on the classic Rogues, I’ve got to admit I miss seeing new villains. The Renegades sort of count, but I’m definitely looking forward to the new villain Francis Manapul mentioned will debut in the second story arc on the new series.
August 29, 2010
Some linkblogging for the weekend.
May 19, 2010
I had an odd thought while reading The Flash #2* last week. Francis Manapul draws Barry and Iris in a way that makes them look fairly young, and I remembered someone’s remark that the cowl on Wally West’s new costume makes him look older than Barry, even though Wally used to be Barry’s younger sidekick.
Then it hit me: No, Wally isn’t older than Barry Allen (even with time travel) but when you factor in his earlier Kid Flash career, he actually has more experience than Barry at this point!
Wally West became Kid Flash very early in Barry Allen’s Flash career — only six issues into his solo series! Flash vol.1 started with #105, picking up from where the Golden Age Flash Comics left off, and Wally was struck by lightning in Flash #110, back in 1959. He didn’t retire as Kid Flash until very late in Barry’s career, in New Teen Titans #39 — just one year before Barry vanished in 1985.**
So Wally West has been running around for most of Barry’s career plus his own!
During his JLA run, Grant Morrison is one of the few writers I can remember really building on the fact that the original Titans grew up as super-heroes. I don’t recall it being a plot point, but Morrison mentioned it in an interview, or possibly one of the Secret Files books, and it clearly factored into his characterization of Wally West. He might not have been as old as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but he’d been working with a team longer than they had, and he was a consummate professional.
Wally wasn’t the rookie on the team by any stretch. That honor went to Green Lantern Kyle Rayner.
Of course, neither Wally nor Barry can hold a candle to Jay Garrick, who has been speeding since 1940!
*Yes, I do still plan on reviewing it. It was just a busy week, and for some reason, it’s been hard to sit down and write it.
**These are of course the real-world publishing dates. The fictional DC Universe would use a vague “X years ago” timeline that always seems to change, but usually compresses everything from the dawn of the Silver Age onward into a 10-15–year period.
May 7, 2010
Some linkblogging from the past couple of weeks:
Newsarama interviews Francis Manapul on his work on The Flash.
Comics Bulletin presents the Top 10 Flash Deaths in order of how long they lasted.
A reader at Silver Age Comics discovers that Flash Comics #13 is different on Earth-One.
You’ve probably read about the thief who took Free Comic Book Day a bit too literally and tried to steal a $150 X-Men Omnibus…and was foiled by Spider-Man, two Jedi, and the Flash.
Speaking of FCBD, Chris Samnee has posted a FCBD sketch gallery featuring both Flash and Quicksilver.
Comics Worth Reading’s Johanna Draper Carlson has some ideas for how to make super-hero comics interesting again
4thLetter’s David Brothers encourages you to focus on the stories, not the canon. Don’t buy something you don’t like just because it’s “important,” and don’t pass up other good stuff because it’s not.
Comics Alliance has a thought-provoking article on the racial implications of running legacies backward.
Grumpy Old Fan ponders the role of secret identities in DC comics from the Silver Age through the present.
Once Upon a Geek also reviews the DC Fandex guide (my review went up on Monday).
Comics in General
Westfield Comics’ KC Carlson explains how to meet artists without being talked about afterward, and offers suggestions for convention behavior.
LIFE has a photo gallery of people reading classic comic books from the Golden Age through the 1980s, including a boy reading Flash Comics in 1949. Nitpick: By 1949, the feature wasn’t about a “college student” with super-speed. Jay Garrick graduated during his origin story. (Link via Xian)
Collected Editions considers an increasingly common problem: the trade you want is out of print.
Multiversity Comics analyzes the impact of the shift from $2.99 comics to $3.99.
April 2, 2010
Some Friday morning linkblogging…
Once Upon a Geek presents the Justice League #1 cover redone with action figures
Newsarama writes about the Secret Origins of Geoff Johns and Kevin Feige in the office of Richard Donner.
Abbracadabbling looks at the long road to a Flash movie.
Comics Should Be Good contends that Kurt Buseik unwittingly ruined DC/Marvel super-hero comics.
Living Between Wednesdays is annoyed by a revelation in Green Lantern #52 that doesn’t line up with current scientific cosmology…or even the rest of DC’s space mythology.
Top Cow’s Filip Sablik talks about Information Overload at Newsarama — a topic which Geoff Johns ahs brought up on several occasions when talking about his new approach to the Flash.
This noscans_daily Macro Monday thread includes some funny Flash Rogues captions. (For those who aren’t on LiveJournal, the “Adult Content Warning” is a blanket one for the group. Last I looked, this thread was still work-safe.)
Despair, Inc. has a new Flash shirt (link via @SpeedsterSite) that reminds me of a certain Fred Hembeck comic strip from a while back.
And on a similar, but more canon note, What Were They Thinking?! presents the Flash vs. Captain Pantsless.
Update: An April Fool’s joke from Screen Rant: Michael Cera cast as the Flash.
December 24, 2009
What Were They Thinking?! has found a…novel way to see at super-speed.
recommends Geoff Johns’ original Flash run.
Grumpy Old Fan considers the likely structure of Legacies and its implications.
IGN’s top 100 covers of 2009 gives Flash: Rebirth #1 the #3 spot.
Toycutter has a Steampunk Legion of Doom set of custom action figures, featuring Sinestro, Black Manta, Joker, Gorilla Grodd, Captain Cold, and Bizarro. (via Great White Snark)
Flash fans will probably get a kick out of this Shortpacked! strip. (via @batmansgirl)
December 11, 2009
So, DC is finished with their week of announcements for 2010. I figured I should jot down some of my thoughts.
Earth One OGN Series: I like the concept, but I’m not particularly interested in the Superman or Batman books. I’m mildly curious about how JMS will approach Superman, but my real interest is in what happens when it expands beyond Superman and Batman. Give me a series of Flash graphic novels and I’m there. More thoughts on the concept and the name.
War of the Supermen: Sorry, I can’t get enthused about this one.
Wonder Woman #600: While numbering is trivial compared to story and art, there are very few characters who have been in near-continuous publication for the last 70 years. It’s nice to acknowledge that.
Of course, then there’s the question of how The Flash should be numbered, considering that they’ve relaunched several times with new characters.
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne: I was kind of hoping they’d take a little more time with Dick Grayson as Batman before bringing back Bruce, but they seem to be treating it like the Death of Superman, Knightfall, or Artemis as Wonder Woman. (And yet somehow, today’s readers detest the 1990s. I don’t get it.) Still, Batman lost in time sounds like fun. I’ll probably pick this one up, though I might wait for the trade.
Marc Guggenheim on Action Comics: I think he made the best of a bad situation on Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, given that he was brought on board to do one thing: kill Bart Allen.
Francis Manapul & Geoff Johns on Flash: No really new info here, but I’m definitely liking Manapul’s art. (Covered here.) Overall, I’m still in wait-and-see mode. I had hoped to have a better sense of what The Flash post-Rebirth was going to look like by now, or that Flash: Rebirth itself might have won me over.
Legacies, History of the DCU, and Who’s Who: If they had only announced one of these three, I’d definitely be getting it. With three, I’m not sure…especially since Legacies is going to be 10 issues (the initial post only said 7) and Who’s Who will be 15 (the initial post only said 12). Though it’s not clear whether The History of the DC Universe will be a new book or simply a “new edition” (i.e. reprint). Legacies looks like it could be very interesting, as long as it doesn’t get too hung up on explaining things. If I could only choose one, I’d probably get Who’s Who and pick up the issues of Legacies that cover the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths era.
The Rise of Arsenal and The Fall of Green Arrow: I’m sure there’s an audience for this out there, but it’s not me. It looks like everything I don’t like about today’s DC in one place. At least it’ll be easy to avoid.
So, there you have it: My take on the DCU in 2010. How about you? Which projects do you find appealing?
November 22, 2009
Flash: Rebirth #5 has certainly gotten people talking! I’m still building a list of reviews, but here are some sites discussing major changes in costumes and identities. Beware spoilers!
High Five! Comics talks about that “new hero” who “step[s] into an old speedster’s boots” in Refrigerator Busting #2: You Know What the Speed Force Needs More Of?
Comics Alliance is thrilled that Impulse is back.
Blog@Newsarama discusses Flash Fashion.
Film Fodder considers the problem of superheroes sharing a name and looks at the broader implications of bringing back old characters instead of actually creating new ones.
August 16, 2009
I finally made an effort to catch up a little bit on my waaaaay-behind Flash reference site, Flash: Those Who Ride the Lightning. This afternoon I’ve accomplished:
Added the fourth printing of Flash: Rebirth #1 — yes, fourth printing! — to the Variant Covers catalog.
Updated Winky, Blink and Noddy, also known as the “three dimwits.” They were the Flash’s sidekicks during the Golden Age, then disappeared for almost 60 years. They got a mention in the recent Justice League: Cry for Justice #2.
Updated Josh Jackam. Somehow I never got around to adding the significant events of Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge.
Renamed “Crisis Era” as “Legacy Era” based on this discussion.
Started updating appearance lists for the last…um…year. So far: Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, Iris Allen and Gorilla Grodd. I still need to index “This Was Your Life, Wally West,” though.
I’m going to make it a goal to do at least some work on the site each week from now on, and with luck I’ll have everything up to current status by the time Flash: Rebirth wraps up.