Long-Running Speedster Series

Velocity #1 - ScrappedAfter reading more about the breakdown of the Velocity ongoing series that would have launched this year, I realized it would have been something very rare: An ongoing solo book about a speedster who wasn’t the Flash.

Impulse #1Off the top of my head, the only series I could think of was Impulse, which ran for 89 issues from 1995 through 2002…but even that was about the Flash’s cousin, who has since become Kid Flash (and was briefly the Flash). There was Top Cow’s Velocity miniseries that I’d just read, and Marvel’s Son of M miniseries starring Quicksilver, and the occasional special…but all of the long-running characters I could think of were either team members like Quicksilver (Avengers), Velocity (Cyberforce) and the Blur (Squadron Supreme), or Golden Age characters who appeared in anthologies, like DC’s Johnny Quick (More Fun Comics), Timely’s Whizzer (USA Comics), or Quality’s Quicksilver (National Comics — and he’s better known now as Max Mercury).

Quicksilver #1I remarked on this on Twitter, and @cm22 pointed out one more: Marvel launched a Quicksilver series in 1997, though it only lasted 13 issues.

So that’s two. Impulse, which is a Flash spin-off, and Quicksilver, which lasted only a year. Three if you count the upcoming Kid Flash series announced over the weekend, but then again it’s Kid Flash.

For comparison, DC has published an ongoing Flash series from 1940–1949, 1959–1985, and 1987–2008, with only a few months off in early 2006 during Infinite Crisis.

Flash Comics #1 Flash vol.1 #105 Flash vol.2 #1 Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1

In the last 70 years, there have been only 11 in which no issue of Flash appeared. In the last 50 years, there has been only one year without a Flash book, and that was 23 years ago.

If there was any question that the Flash was the most successful example of the speedster super-hero archetype, this should settle it!

All-Flash #1Note: It’s arguable that Flash Comics shouldn’t count, being an anthology series…but on the other hand, his name is in the title, his story was always the first feature, he alternated the cover spot with Hawkman, and the numbering was picked up for the 1959 Flash solo series. Besides, during most of the time Flash Comics was on the stands, DC also published All-Flash (1941–1948), which was definitely a solo Flash book!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for the cover thumbnails.

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4 thoughts on “Long-Running Speedster Series

  1. Kaiser The Great

    I tried to get into IMPULSE but failed after about 10 issues. Ramos’s art drives me a little nuts, and I’ve also never been much of a Bart lover, though he was a little cooler when ‘Ringo was drawing him. (Funny how that works.)

    Interesting article though. You’re right, you don’t really see other Speedsters having the same success as the Flash, and yet every universe seems to have to have at least one Speedster, and usually more than one, as both villains and heroes. It’s definitely become an archetype.

    Here’s a possibly dumb question…who was the first Speedster? I know Superman was “faster than a speeding bullet” from the get-go, but who was the first to have only that power? And actually, was anyone faster than Supes before Supes came along?

    Reply
    1. Kelson Post author

      Good one!

      Back to Kaiser’s question, I think the Flash actually is the first speedster super-hero in comics, but I’m not 100% certain. The entry on Toonopedia implies so. He definitely predates the Whizzer, Johnny Quick and Quicksilver.

      Reply
  2. Ben

    What about Sonic the Hedgehog, which is published by Archie comics. Yes, I know it isn’t a superhero comic but still Sonic is a speedster. Sonic Main Series Recently went into the 200’s and has had several spin-off series, mini-series, specials and one-shot. Velocity even met Sonic once if I remember correctly.

    Reply

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