Tag Archives: Flash Appreciation Day

The Hero Initiative and Flash Appreciation Day

Hero Initiative

For Flash Appreciation Day, Nothing But Comics asked the Hero Initiative three questions about what they do, how you can help, and of course, the Flash:

1. For readers that may be unfamiliar with the Hero Initiative, can you tell us how the organization helps comics creators?

Long story short, we’re a medical and financial relief organization for comic book creators. We’ve literally kept people alive. There was a moment at the San Diego con a few years ago that was surreal for me. An artist that we benefited came up to me to thank me for the help we had given him. He was shaking my hand, with tears streaming down his cheeks. He had been living on about $90 a week, and was eating one meal a day. He didn’t know what to do, or where to turn, and he was ready to take his own life. He had literally written the suicide note when he stumbled upon us. We were able to get him back on his feet, and he’s alive today, doing much better.

We’ve literally paid back rent when people were 48 hours from being evicted, paid electric bills when people were 24 hours from having utilities shut off, and paid for desperately needed operations that weren’t covered by medical insurance as well.


2. How can people help the Hero Initiative?  Besides financial contributions, are there any resources or activities that might be helpful to the organization?

I always tell people, “Five bucks.” Is the easiest and best thing people can do. People can donate via the “What Can I Do?” page on our Website.

We also need volunteers for events and conventions to help us staff these events. Folks can find information on the same page.


3. Since it’s Flash Appreciation Day, I’d like to ask the Hero Initiative team if you have a favorite iteration of the Flash character (Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, or Bart Allen)?

Here’s what some members of our Board of Directors had to say:

George Pérez, former Teen Titans writer, artist:

Barry was always MY  Flash. He’s the one I grew up with and there is something a bit poignant about being the artist who “killed” him back in the ’80s. Since I was drawing Wally as a member of the New Teen Titans, he will always be Kid Flash to me.

Mark Waid, former writer Flash:

How could it not be Wally West? Here’s my resume: Jay was stately, Barry was solid. But Wally was fun.

Walt Simonson, Ragnarok writer/artist:

Tossup between Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, giving Barry a slight edge.  He’s the character I read when I was young, so he’ll always be the Flash to me.  However, I was around when Jay Garrick was reintroduced into the DCU, and I have to say that as a kid reading the books,  I thought it very cool that a second mature Flash with gray temples had appeared.

Jim Valentino, Image Comics co-founder:

Jay Garrick. I read Flash #123 when I was about 10 and just loved the character. Simple, homespun. Everything from his personality on down to his costume–a red jersey, dungarees and doughboy hat with wings. It looked homemade, like something anyone could wear without getting embarrassed. The most likable character in the JSA, the heart of the team.

Dennis O’Neil, longtime comics writer and editor:

I guess I’d go with Barry, but I confess to a warm spot in my heart for Jay because he was one of the first superheroes I encountered.  (Hey, I was really, really young. Really!)


There you have it: A run-down of what the Hero Initiative does, plus a few Flash-y thoughts. Please take a look at how you can help by donating, volunteering, or participating in other programs that can help the charity.

A “Flash”back to COIE

When reviewing FLASH comics and TV episodes, I get the joy of writing about my favorite character in comics, a hero I’ve followed for my now 52 years of reading comics (hey, that’s a coincidence for a DC fan, huh?). But, there was a time that this Flash fan was truly bummed out…which takes me all the way back to…well, a “Flash”back to COIE in 1985.

For today’s Flash fans, the original Crisis on Infinite Earths is just history…and in some respects even that history has been revised by a variety of other “events”, not the least of which is the conclusion of Convergence supposedly re-writing the end of that original universes-shattering event. For me, as a 20-something years old comics fan returning to my favorite medium after a break, it was a very bittersweet time. I saw my childhood being swept away in a flood of death and destruction that saw the Silver and Bronze Ages being moved aside. Supergirl died. Superboy no longer “existed”. And, worst of all, Barry Allen died.

My Flash died.

Today, that is being hailed as a seminal moment in comics. At the time, it didn’t feel that way. The series for our favorite speedster wasn’t drawing very well, and it had in fact been cancelled. And, even though his sacrifice saved what was left of the DCU, it felt a lot more like DC was merely using Barry to put an exclamation point on the end of the Silver Age. The only saving grace for that part of the story for me was having him turn into the actual lightning bolt that granted him his speed.

And, my Flash died.

At the same time, Wally was just finding that he could run again – but limited at the time to the speed of sound. Jay was not far from being stuck in an endless time loop with the rest of the Justice Society, fighting and re-fighting Ragnarok. It seemed like a sad time to be a speedster.

After all, my Flash died. But, at least we did have a Flash, and I had been a fan of Wally since the Teen Titans were formed (and yes, I did buy the first issue of their team up when they fought the “Separated Man”).  So, I was more than willing to give the “new” Flash series a try. I’m glad I did.

Wally found his own path to being a hero and we were off on a terrific volume of new Flash stories. We received a teaser from Mark Waid in “The Return of Barry Allen” (a really great arc, but still not a real return). And, years later, we finally did get a “Rebirth” that returned Barry Allen, my Flash, to the DCU.

I have been a fan of every DCU speedster, from Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart, from the Quicks to Max Mercury to Don and Dawn Allen to XS and…you get the idea. I refuse to get into arguments over who was the best Flash – they are all great to me. But, for every fan there is a moment that lets you know things will never be the same – not in that hyped up “read this arc” way that you see in ads all the time. No, there is a moment when you realize that the comics of your childhood simply don’t exist anymore.  The death of Barry Allen in COIE was that moment for me.  Even though he’s back, and even though I’m still a fan, that moment in 1985 is something I will always remember.


It’s Flash Appreciation Day!

Some super-heroes are loved by the cities they protect. Others are feared. But Central City and Keystone City celebrate the Flash. They raise statues to the Scarlet Speedster.

They built a Flash Museum.

Flash Museum

They celebrate Flash Day.

Flash Day

Make no mistake: Central City loves the Flash.

Well, most of the time.

Flash #333

With his powers, the Flash can do more than just fight bad guys and rescue people from disasters. Across comics, cartoons and live-action versions we’ve seen Wally West and Barry Allen pitch in with everything from large-scale rebuilding to small-scale good deeds like fixing a car that’s broken down in the middle of rush hour. Sure, Keystone might have a higher budget for road repairs than most cities of its size, but the Flash is more than just a guardian flying above the city or swinging from the rooftops: He’s running alongside the rest of them.

In the “Flash and Substance” episode of Justice League Unlimited, which aired on February 11, 2006, Central City declared Flash Appreciation Day. At least nine comic book fan sites are getting together this year to celebrate our favorite red-suited speedsters!

Bounding Into Comics picks the top 5 moments from the TV show.
Comics Bulletin looks at the strengths of the three main Flashes: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West – plus the Morrison/Millar run on the book and answers the question: Why the Flash?
FlashFans.org talks to artists and writers including Brett Booth, Van Jensen, Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur.
The Geeked Gods tackles the impact of the TV show on the Flash’s popularity.
Graphic Policy
Multiversity Comics reviews Jay Garrick’s first appearance, Emergency Stop, and JLU’s Flash and Substance, plus has a piece about Bart Allen aka Impulse aka Kid Flash aka the Flash, and finally interviews Mark Waid about why he loves the Flash.
Nothing But Comics looks back at the original Flashpoint, Wally West’s debut, and obscure Rogues.
Outright Geekery reviews Flashpoint and looks back at the history of the Flash.
Speed Force recalls a pivotal moment in Flash history: Barry Allen’s death in the Crisis on Infinite Earths – and considers the enduring appeal of Flash villains.

Please check each of these other sites as they update throughout the day!

Finally, more important than Flash Appreciation Day, we’re also spreading the word about the Hero Initiative. The comics industry isn’t exactly known for pensions or insurance benefits, and many artists and writers find themselves with emergency medical bills (remember Oliver Nome’s crowdfunded brain tumor surgery?), or in need of disaster recovery, or just forgotten by the industry. The Hero Initiative helps comics creators in trouble with their medical bills, covers rent or utilities, and helps them get back on their feet. Please take a look at the charity’s site and consider helping out the people who make the comics you love!

Hero Initiative