Tag Archives: Bronze Age

A Brief History of the West Family

The West family has been a key part of the Flash supporting cast since the 1950s (and in fact one West was the main character of the series from 1987-2006), but they’ve changed a lot in that time.


Reporter Iris West is introduced, dating Barry Allen. Little is said about her family.


Wally West, Iris’ nephew, first shows up visiting his aunt in Central City. He meets Barry Allen (as the Flash), is struck by lightning and chemicals in a freak repeat of the original accident, and becomes Kid Flash. Wally’s parents appear in his solo stories when he goes home to Blue Valley.

Strangely, I can’t find any instance of Iris and her brother interacting on-page anywhere. Not even in the later Wally stories of the 1990s or 2000s.

Iris’ father Ira West is a college professor, brilliant but absent-minded. We never see or hear about his wife until much later.


Iris is revealed to be adopted. Born to Eric and Fran Russell in the distant future, she was sent back in time to save her from a terrible war. A flashback shows Ira and Nadine West as they discover the time capsule.


With Wally West as the main Flash, his parents get more attention — and names: Rudolph and Mary West. Rudolph is revealed to be a sleeper agent for the Manhunters, and the illusion of an idyllic family life is shattered.

Wally’s aunt Charlotte and his uncle Edgar Rhodes are mentioned, but I’m not sure they ever show up, and it takes a while before anyone cements which side of the family they’re on.


“Born to Run” retcons Wally’s childhood into a dysfunctional one more in line with the way things turned out once his father’s true colors were revealed. Iris, rather than just being Wally’s aunt, is now the only member of his family who really understands him.

The future heroes the Tornado Twins, Don & Dawn Allen, are revealed to be Barry and Iris’ children. Don’s son Bart Allen travels back in time with his grandmother Iris to the present day.


Wally West and Linda Park marry and have twins, whom they name Iris West II and Jai.

2010s: New 52

DC restarts their entire line, establishing new versions of some characters and younger versions of others.

As with the Silver Age, we begin with Iris West. After a while we meet her younger brother Daniel, who becomes the Reverse-Flash and tries to use his power to go back in time and kill their abusive father William (who turns out to be worse than Rudy ever was in the pre-Flashpoint universe). Their mother isn’t named. All we know is that she died giving birth to Daniel.

Later we find out about her older brother Rudy, who skipped out on his wife and their son Wally some time ago. Wally’s mother disappears (presumed dead) when Central City is taken over by Grodd and the Crime Syndicate, and Iris, who barely knows him, takes him in as the only family he has left.

TV Show (2014 on)

Iris grew up with her father, police detective Joe West, and believed her mother died when she was young. When she was around 11 years old, her friend Barry Allen lost his parents, and Joe took him in.

Francine West hadn’t died, but ran away after checking into rehab. Unable to find her, Joe decided it would be kinder to tell his daughter that she had died rather than abandoned her.

Years later, Francine reached out to the family she left behind in Central City…and Iris learned about her long-lost brother. At the end of the fall finale, we left off with the first meeting of Wally West and his sister Iris and father Joe.

Gerry Conway Long Video Interview on DVD (Kickstarter)

Bronze age comics legend Gerry Conway recently sat down for an extensive career retrospective interview. Conway is known for co-creating the Punisher, Firestorm and Power Girl (amongst others), writing the death of Gwen Stacy and many, many more comics before moving into screenwriting in the 1980s.

Topics covered in the 3 1/2 hours include:

  • How he got started writing comics
  • Killing Gwen Stacy and Green Goblin
  • Creating the Punisher
  • Becoming editor in chief of Marvel comics
  • DC/Marvel crossovers
  • Creating new characters
  • Justice League Detroit
  • Some incredible Stan Lee stories
  • And much more

Interviewer Roger Priebe is running a Kickstarter campaign to edit and print DVDs. You can pre-order a copy of the DVD for $20 or a signed copy for $30, or you can contribute anywhere from $1 on up to fund the project.

With 12 days to go until February 4, the campaign is currently at $1,300 of its $2,000 goal.

Flash #293 - Firestorm and Atomic Skull

High Speed Hauntings: 4 Ghost Stories Featuring the Flash

Flash Annual #11: Ghosts - Cover

Ghost stories seem a natural fit with some superheroes. Not so with the Flash. An origin based in science, scientifically trained alter-egos, villains who use technology. Even the “magician” villain, Abra Kadabra, is more of a techno-mage, using highly advanced future technology to carry out transformations that seem like magic to our experience. The closest the Flash mythos gets to the supernatural is the metaphysical nature of the speed force, and even that is described in terms of energy and the nature of space-time.

So it makes sense that for 1998’s “Ghosts” annuals, the Flash story would feature not a traditional ghost, but one tied to the speed force: Johnny Quick, who had vanished into the speed force two years earlier during Dead Heat.

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This Week: Digital Flash Back Issues – Wally West #7-12 & Adventure Comics #461-466

DC and ComiXology have added six more issues of the 1987 Flash vol.2 starring Wally West, all at the 99-cent price point.

These issues introduce Red Trinity and Blue Trinity, two teams of ex-Soviet speedsters, as well as Chunk, who would go on to become a regular supporting cast member. Issue #12 begins the Vandal Savage/Velocity 9 story that straddles the transition from Mike Baron to William Messner-Loebs.

70 issues out of 249 (including #0 and #1,000,000) are now available digitally, including the complete first year. Mike Baron’s run is almost complete, with just two more issues to go. It’s not clear whether DC has a regular schedule for these digital back-issues, but the last time they added to this series was January’s addition of #1-6. This suggests that they’ll be adding six issues every few months, starting at the beginning and working forward, filling in around the issues released as part of the Flash 101 promotion last year.

» The Flash (1987-2009) on ComiXology

They’ve also added six issues of Adventure Comics from its 1970s run as an anthology book. Issues #459-466 featured eight Flash solo stories starring Barry Allen. During the heavily serialized Bronze Age, these were throwbacks to the more goofy done-in-one Silver Age stories. I didn’t even know about them until I read one of Mark Waid’s interviews in The Flash Companion, then I started tracking them down on eBay. I’ve read the lot of them, and wrote about the stories here a couple of years back. ComiXology has Adventure Comics #461-466 online at $1.99 each.

Only a handful of the Silver/Bronze Age Flash series are available, most posted during the Flash 101 sale mentioned above.

» The Flash (1959-1985) on ComiXology
» Adventure Comics on ComiXology

Digital Comics, Wally West, and the Forgotten Gold & Bronze Flash Archives

I hope today’s release of Flash vol.2 #2-6 on ComiXology signals the beginning of a complete digital release of the Wally West Flash series. This brings the total to 63 issues scattered around the 249-issue series (including #0 and #1,000,000, both already available), mostly from the Waid and Johns runs, but there are still a lot of gaps…and most of the material is out of print.

»Flash comics at ComiXology.

The Mike Baron (#1-14) and William Messner-Loebs (#15-61) runs on The Flash have never been reprinted in trade paperback, and only the highlights of the extensive Mark Waid/Brian Augustyn run (#62-162, minus a year off for Morrison/Millar) have been collected. A lot of that is due to the changing market during the 1990s. When Waid started, collected editions were rare. Vertigo was seeing some success, but the idea that people would shell out for a whole series in graphic novel form hadn’t yet sunk in. (These were the days when studios weren’t sure there was a market for complete TV seasons on home video, either.) By the time Geoff Johns took over the title, DC was collecting full runs of a few high-profile series, but not all, or even most of their books.

Now, of course, everyone expects most comic books will be collected, and waiting for the trade is actually a workable strategy. But it’s not often that DC Comics goes back to fill in the gaps in their library — at least, not in print.

Gold and Bronze

With any luck, digital releases will also be the way we’ll finally get the Bronze Age and the Golden Age re-released. I’ve grumbled on a number of occasions that DC seems to keep reprinting the same early years of the Silver Age every time they come up with a new format, and never seem to get past the early/mid-1960s on Barry Allen’s series. (Even the upcoming Flash Archives vol.6 brings that series up to…1964.)

I’d really like to see more Golden Age Flash Archives. DC has only gotten as far as issue #24 out of 104, and the first super-villain (The Shade, as it turns out) doesn’t appear until #33…but these volumes seem to come out so rarely that I expect to die of old age before DC finishes collecting the series. In print, anyway. This is one of the reasons I went forward with my effort to hunt down the original comics, or at least as many of the key issues as I could find in my price range. Continue reading