What’s in Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years? Now we know!

Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years

Amazon has a list of the contents for Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years, a deluxe hardcover coming out in April. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the actually cover seven and a half decades. I was afraid DC would take their usual route and forget about anything before 1956 or between 1987 and 2008, but it’s a good sampling of all the Flashes.

I’m interspersing the contents with my commentary:

“Origin of the Flash”
FLASH COMICS #1 (1940)
Writer: Gardner Fox, Artist: Harry Lampert
Cover by Sheldon Moldoff

The story that started it all: The origin of Jay Garrick. Not necessarily the best of the series, but certainly the most important.

“The Secret City”
ALL-FLASH COMICS #31 (1947)
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Frank Giacoia
Cover by Evertt E. Hibbard

A Golden Age adventure story, and one that always sticks in my mind. Guest star Dr. Flura went on to appear in several more stories before the decade was out, including the one that introduced the original Star Sapphire. (Yes, she was a Flash villain before she was a Green Lantern villain.)

“The Planet of Sport”
ALL-FLASH COMICS #31 (1947)
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Artist: Evertt E. Hibbard

I don’t think I’ve read this one, but I recognize the cover. I believe it had something to do with alien gladiatorial games.

“The Rival Flash!”
FLASH COMICS #104 (1949)
Writer: John Broome, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Bernard Sachs

Another classic, which actually introduced the idea of a reverse-Flash long before Professor Zoom.

“Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!”
SHOWCASE #4 (1956)
Writer: Robert Kanigher, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Joe Kubert
Cover by Carmine Infantino & Joe Kubert

It’s hard to argue with the first appearance of Barry Allen.

“Meet Kid Flash!”
THE FLASH #110 (December 1959-Jnaurary 1960)
Writer: John Broome, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Joe Giella

Or, for that matter, the first appearance of Wally West.

“Flash of Two Worlds!”
THE FLASH #123 (1961)
Writer: Gardner Fox, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Joe Giella
Cover by Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson

The cover for Flash of Two Worlds should be used as an illustration for the word “classic.” The story brought us Earth-2, the multiverse, the continued existence of Jay Garrick and the Justice Society, and the enduring popularity of the Shade, who would otherwise have been a forgotten one-off from the 1940s who created darkness using an air filter. No, really.

“The Conquerors of Time!”
THE FLASH #125 (1961)
Writer: John Broome, Penciller: Carmine Infantino, Inker: Joe Giella
Cover by Carmine Infantino & Joe Giella

Not the first Flash time travel story (Jay Garrick traveled through time himself), but the first to be epic in scope. Aliens try to invade in the future, and to ensure their victory, they alter the past. It’s up to Flash and Kid Flash to save the day.

“Superman’s Race With the Flash!”
SUPERMAN #199 (1967)
Writer: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Curt Swan, Inker: George Klein
Cover by Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson

The first Flash vs. Superman race. This one’s on ComicsAlliance’s recommended list for the Flash 500 sale.

“Stupendous Triumph of the Six Super-Villains!”
THE FLASH #174 (1967)
Writer: John Broome, Penciller: Carmine Infantio, Inker: Sid Greene
Cover by Carmine Infantino & Murphy Anderson

Classic Rogues story and another classic cover.

“Death of an Immortal!”
THE FLASH #215 (1972)
Writer: Len Wein, Penciller: Irv Novick, Inker: Dick Giordano
Cover by Neal Adams

Barry Allen and Jay Garrick vs. Vandal Savage. Epic.

“Deadly Secret of the Flash!”
THE FLASH #233 (1975)
Writer: Cary Bates, Penciller: Irv Novick, Inker: Tex Blaisdell
Cover by Dick Giordano

Barry Allen vs. Eobard Thawne in the distant future, with Iris Allen’s life at stake. Followed up in…

“The Last Dance!”
THE FLASH #275 (1979)
Writer: Cary Bates, Penciller: Alex Savuik, Inker: Frank Chiaramonte
Cover by Dick Giordano

The death of Iris Allen. This issue literally changed EVERYTHING about the series.

“A Flash of the Lightning!”
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8 (1985)
Writer: Marv Wolfman, Penciller: George Perez, Inker: Jerry Ordway
Cover by George Perez

On one hand it’s an odd choice because it’s not a Flash series, but come on — the death of Barry Allen. Have I used the word epic enough yet?

“Happy Birthday Wally”
THE FLASH #1 (1987)
Writer; Mike Baron, Penciller: Butch Guice, Inker: Larry Mahlstedt
Cover by Butch Guice & Larry Mahlstedt

Wally’s first solo outing under his own title. At first I thought this was a weird choice, but then I thought about what’s in this story: Wally runs across country to deliver a heart for a transplant patient, but runs into Vandal Savage along the way, and how it really established how different and how much more *personal* Wally’s series would be.

“The Unforgiving Minute”
SECRET ORIGINS ANNUAL #2 (1988)
Writer: William Messner-Loebs, Penciller: Mike Collins, Inkers: Frank McLaughlin & Donald Simpson
Cover by Carmine Infantino, Mike Collins & Murphy Anderson

Hell yeah. Updated version of Wally West’s origin, told through the framing device of the hero talking to his psychologist. Messner-Loebs doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his character work on this series.

“Flashing Back!”
FLASH #0 (1994)
Writer: Mark Waid, Penciller: Mike Wieringo, Inker: Jose Marzan, Jr.
Cover by Mike Wieringo & Jose Marzan, Jr.

Can I get another “Hell yeah?” Wally West is lost in time and has a conversation with his younger self that really sums up who he is.

“Rogue War: Conclusion”
FLASH #225 (2005)
Writer; Geoff Johns, Penciller: Howard Porter, Inker: John Livesay
Cover by Howard Porter & John Livesay

It’s a bit odd in that this is the end of a much longer story, but it’s also a crowning moment of awesome.

“Lighting in a Bottle Part One: Flashback”
FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #1 (2006)
Writers: Danny Bilson & Paul Demeo, Penciller: Ken Lashley, Inkers: Kwl Studio; Norm Rapmund; Marlo Alquiza; Jay Leisten
Cover by Ken Lashley & Greg Parkin

This is the only real quibble I have: I like that they included a Bart Allen as Flash story, and this is his first outing in the suit, and yes, it’s where the awesome Kubert cover for the collection comes from, but it’s a terrible example of Bart in general or of Bart as the Flash. It was specifically written as Bart being in an awful place so he’d have to step up and become a hero by the end of the story.

“Lightning Strikes Twice”
THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1 (2009)
Writer: Geoff Johns, Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Cover by Ethan Van Sciver

On one hand Barry Allen’s return has some of the same problems as “Lightning in a Bottle,” especially in terms of characterization, but I remember reading it and thinking it was awesome. The first time through, anyway. (IMO, Flash: Rebirth really took a nosedive as the series went on and basically turned into 6 issues of rearranging furniture for the subsequent relaunch, and I’d much rather recommend “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues” to anyone new to the Flash.)

“Flashpoint Part Five”
FLASHPOINT #5 (2011)
Writer: Geoff Johns, Penciller: Andy Kubert, Inkers: Sandra Hope & Jesse Delpergang
Cover by Andy Kubert & Sandra Hope

This one’s a little iffy, but given that Flashpoint was a slow burn building to the finale, it’s a better choice than the first issue.

“Fear”
THE FLASH #9 (2012)
Writers: Francis Manupal & Brian Buccellato, Artist: Francis Manapul
Cover by Francis Manupal

If I had to choose one issue from the New 52 run so far, it would absolutely be a Manapul/Buccellato issue. I’m not sure it would be the first Grodd issue, but as with “Happy Birthday Wally,” the more I think about it, the more representative it is of this version of Barry, and this version of his powers.

While they’ve left out stories that really deserve to be included (like “Nobody Dies”), it’s hard to argue with most of their choices. Most of them are good, all of them represent an era of the Flash, and all four major Flashes appear — even Bart!

I’m definitely picking this one up. How about you? What do you think of this collection?

Thanks to @ZetaTweetz for the link!

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11 thoughts on “What’s in Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years? Now we know!

  1. Scott Timms

    I like having the books where I don’t have to worry about the actual 1st print comic. I’m an in bed reader and its not an ideal angle for old comics. I love the sampling and I have a Birthday coming up next month, so I will get it. Also, LOVE THE COVER ART. I know not everyone is a Rebirth Fan but the Rebirth Flash cover is my fav (this is up there).

    Reply
  2. CraigMD

    There are some changes I’d make (mostly including “Nobody Dies” and “Out of Time” from Wally’s series). Bart wasn’t the Flash for very long, so its not like he has a lot of good stories to choose from. I do wish they had included All-Flash Comics #1 as I’ve never read that issue and maybe Impulse #1 as it was the first real Flash spin-off title. The Flash #225 (Rogue War: Conclusion) is an interesting choice, though I think it was included because it left Wally in a good place (his twins were born in this issue). Overall, its a good sampling of Flash history but it may leave some new readers confused (At least three stories reprinted here end on cliffhangers, while 2 others are the concluding chapters of bigger story arcs).

    Reply
  3. Kyer

    There’s only four I’d be interested in reading at least once (the others either don’t interest or I already have access to.) Not enough to justify the price for me. Plus it has Flashpoint in it. No. Not ever.
    The idea for Shade’s powers was pretty funny. Right up there with Jay’s.

    Speaking of Jay….seen the newest solicit for Earth 2: Society? I am not a fan. Maybe a different view will change my mind, but I doubt it.

    Reply
  4. Steve

    A Wally West collection has to appear at some point. If only to try to boost the popularity of the new guy in the comics or the upcoming television version. I’ll wait till then, because comixology isn’t worth it without an iPad, and this collection only features stories that highlight his transitional moments.

    Reply
  5. CraigMD

    My main concern with the Wally West stories in this collection is that most of them tie back to his time as Kid Flash. There were some great Wally stories (“Nobody Dies” I’ve mentioned before) but there’s also “Half an Inch” which was a short story by Mark Waid in Justice League Quarterly #10 that had Wally trapped in a glass elevator watching an assassination attempt with no way to stop it. Excellent story and I think it deserves to be reprinted though I doubt it ever will since its pretty obscure and I might be the only one who remembers it at this point.

    Reply

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