Flash in Adventure Comics (1978-1979)

During the late 1970s, DC redesigned Adventure Comics as a Golden Age-style anthology series, where each oversized issue would contain four or more different features. It didn’t last very long — after only eight issues, it went back to a standard size and price. The Flash, Deadman, and Justice Society features appeared in every issue, with Wonder Woman and Aquaman appearing in most of them. Edit: I forgot to mention, these features ran through Adventure Comics #459–466.

While the Flash stories in Adventure Comics were written by the regular writer on the book, Cary Bates, they took a drastically different approach. The main series was structured around long, multi-part stories featuring the Flash and Barry Allen’s supporting cast. The Adventure stories were quick one-offs. In fact, only two of the eight stories featured regular Flash villains! Instead they featured strange monsters or bizarre situations. It was sort of a deliberate throwback to the Silver Age during the Bronze Age.

The Adventure Comics run also spanned a period of transition for the Flash: The death of Iris Allen. She appears in three of the early stories (but doesn’t go with Barry to his high school reunion), isn’t mentioned in several, and by the end, Barry is grieving for her.

The Stories

#459: The Crimson Comets of Fallville High – Barry Allen attends his 15th high school reunion and a former classmate picks up his identity through ESP.

#460: A Nightmare To Remember! – After visiting Earth-2, Barry Allen finds himself in a bizarre reversed version of Keystone City, where the Shade has been elected mayor and Joan Garrick has divorced Jay and remarried the Fiddler.

#461: The Multiple Murders of Mapleville – Barry and Iris are traveling, and stop in a small town for gas. Barry gets framed for murder. There’s a major plot hole in this one, where a gun is set up as compelling him to fire it, but the compulsion is never mentioned again.

#462: The She-Demon of the Astral Plane – Iris meets an old flame who is studying astral projection, and has to try it out…but an extra-dimensional creature wants to follow her back and take over her body.

#463: Urtumi the Image-Eater – The Flash encounters an alien monster who formed the basis of local Native American legends. This one was weird enough I had to write it up.

#464: The Day Up Was DownAbra Kadabra turns Central City upside-down — literally — looking for an applause machine.

#465: Who Is Invading Central City? – A sonic boom causes the Flash to pick up telepathic transmissions from creatures who can’t figure out what the invading humans want.

#466: The Cloud With the Lethal Lining! – The Weather Wizard turns over a new leaf and tries to use his powers to help people. It doesn’t last. And I really shouldn’t be bothered by the Flash running up a lightning bolt in a story where sunspots cause the Weather Wizard to turn good, but there are limits, you know?

Update: I’ve added the issue numbers to the list of stories.

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11 thoughts on “Flash in Adventure Comics (1978-1979)

  1. Brandan

    How amazing would this be today?! Wally West in Adventures Comics! Seeing as Superboy is getting his own comic, why not take The Legion out of Adventure Comics(as they too have their own comic now!) and replace it with a rotating series of short arcs/one shots with The Flash(Wally), Aquaman & Martian Manhunter since the latter two seem to never hold a title of their own. Seems like the easiest decision in the world. You can put higher profile(aka SLOW) artists on the book too since they’ll be doing shorter stories and essentially quarter releases.

    Reply
  2. Lia

    I love that ridiculous sunspots story. Why does Weather Wizard have a flying car when he can fly? Who knows!

    Incidentally, I mis-read your sentence about the Shade becoming mayor and Joan Garrick marrying the Fiddler as the Shade marrying the Fiddler…which would be interesting.

    Reply
    1. Kyer

      Maybe the car keeps the bugs from getting in his teeth?

      You know, that WWizard turns good sounds familiar. Didn’t that happen during a Wally story where Wally attacked him in Africa and it turned out that he (claimed) to be looking for a way to help drought areas?

      Reply
      1. Kelson Post author

        Yes, it was not long after “Hell To Pay,” during the time when (some of) the Rogues were determined not to go *back* to hell. Just a couple of pages from what I remember. Probably during “The Black Flash” or the lead-in to “Chain Lightning.” I’ve been re-reading the Morrison/Millar run, so I’ll probably run into it soon.

        Reply
    1. Kelson Post author

      I could have sworn that I listed the numbers in the article, but it must have been lost in editing. The full run is Adventure Comics #459–466.

      Reply
  3. KC Flash

    Thanks for the entry, Kelson. This entry brought back some great memories of the “Dollar Comics” by DC back in the day. The Adventure Comics “Dollar Comics” ran from issue 461 – 466.

    You can still find these in back issue bins for not too much – ($5.00 – $10.00) in great condition. You can find the “Death of Batman” in this series as well as some great JSA stories. I also really enjoyed the Deadman stories!

    I agree it would be a great idea to place a Flash backup in the current series.

    Reply
  4. Chris Flinchbaugh

    @Brandon – I totally agree, Adventure Comics would be amazing with this format today with the write writers. Just look at JMS currently on Brave and the Bold which also is an anthology with a teamup focus.

    I would buy a monthly or quarterly oversized with this format and level of talent. Heck the editorial could even take some more risks with new, really old, and often maligned heroes.

    Reply
  5. Mark Engblom

    Thanks so much, Kelson! You’ve made my hunt for these issues all the easier by listing exactly what sort of Flash stories are included. As a “Barry Allen completist” (I have all of his pre-Crisis issues from #110 up, then the previous issues courtesy of Flash Archives vol. 1), I’d love to pick up the Adventure Comics run next.

    Reply
  6. Kelson Post author

    I found out about these through The Flash Companion. It didn’t list the issues, but Mark Waid mentioned them in passing in one of his interviews. I used the GCD to figure out which issues to look for, then tracked them down on eBay.

    Reply

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