As Speed Force marks its fifth birthday, we decided to take a look back at where each of the Fastest Men Alive were in the fifth year of their original titles. Happy Fifth Anniversary, Speed Force!
Join us after the jump, as we journey back to 1944, 1963 and 1992 in search of Flash history, original artwork and more!
Flash Comics #1 went on sale November 10, 1939, introducing super-speedster Jay Garrick to the world. Five years later, Jay appeared in the first story of Flash Comics #61, the “The Magic of Ultra-Speed” by Gardner Fox and Martin Naydel.
Here is a synopsis of “The Magic of Ultra-Speed” from the DC Comics Database:
The Flash disguises himself as a magician to perform feats of “magic” for children in a hospital ward. While using his speed to grant the wishes of his young audience, he unwittingly stops crimes in progress perpetrated by his old nemesis, Midget Joe.
Midget Joe, repeat Golden Age Flash villain and World War II icon!
Jay also appeared in the one-shot Big All-American Comic Book, published around October – December 1944 (depending on where you look). The whole comic, including the then-new Flash story “The Million Dollar Apple” by Gardner Fox and E.E. Hibbard, is reprinted in the amazing DC Comics Rarities Archives, Vol. 1. Featuring the Three Dimwits, here’s a synopsis from Mike’s Amazing World of DC Comics:
Jay Garrick prepares to meet his explorer friend Robert Cromwell, who is returning from an expedition where he discovered a million dollar emerald. Cromwell hides the emerald inside an apple to protect it from thieves. When the gang of Jocko Wolfe tries to find the gem, the Flash interrupts them. However, in the scuffle the apple is lost.
While Flash and the police search for the missing apple, the crooks continue to search among Cromwell’s possessions. However, the emerald has really fallen into the hands of a fruit peddler. While attending a stage show, the peddler throws the apple at Winky, Blinky, and Noddy, whose stage performance is terrible. The dimwits find the gem, then are nearly swindled out of it by Wolfe. Flash arrives in time to recover the gem and capture Wolfe.
November of 1944 was a busy month for Jay, as he also appeared in the Comic Cavalcade #9 story “The Tale of the Winged Horse,” by Gardner Fox and Jon Chester Kozlak. Could not find a full synopsis on this one, but this page states that the plot involves the Liars Club. All-Flash #17 came out in early December and had three more new stories by Fox!
Not counting the Showcase issues, Barry Allen’s own series began with Flash #105 on December 23, 1958. Five years later, Barry appeared in two stories in Flash #142, out December 9th.
In the first, “Perilous Pursuit of the Trickster,” we have a classic James Jesse tale by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella. “Puzzle of the Phantom Plunderers” follows, this time with John Broome on script. Both of these stories have been reprinted in the Flash Archives (volume six) and Showcase Presents: Flash (volume three).
Over in Justice League of America #25, Gardner Fox handles writing duties for a change as Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs deliver the classic “Outcasts of Infinity“. Here is the original splash page, also via Comic Art Fans.
Flash #1, kicking off the third volume of the series, was released on March 5, 1987 with Wally West in the wingtips. Five years later, Flash #65 and the fourth story of Born to Run appeared, courtesy of Mark Waid, Greg LaRocque and Jose Marzan, Jr. I wasn’t able to find any original art online, but if you find some please post in the comments! A fitting tale for an anniversary, Flash #65 was a modern look at Wally West’s days as Kid Flash and brought new depth to his origins.
Here’s to five more years of speed reading!