Superman, Batman, and Max Mercury have all been cited as giving comic-book speedster Bart Allen the name Impulse. Batman most famously in Impulse #50, and Superman in the previews for All-Flash #1. (The final lettering simply said “He was code-named Impulse,” sidestepping the issue). But who named him originally?
The name first appears on the cover of Flash #93 (August 1994), with an out-of-control Bart Allen fighting the Flash. The cover is captioned, “Brash Impulse!” Over the next few issues, Wally West’s inner monologue refers to Bart as being impulsive, or (at one point) as “Mr. Impulse.”
It first appears on-panel as a name in Zero Hour #3 (September 1994), when Bart meets Superman for the first time, but Bart introduces himself as Impulse. Dan Jurgens writes.
To this day it’s not really clear how far ahead the 2007 death of Bart Allen and return of Wally West (not to mention the subsequent return of Barry Allen in 2008) were planned.
Interviews with Mark Waid and Marc Guggenheim at the time made it clear that it was in the works “nearly a year ago,” and definitely before Guggenheim took over as writer. Dan Didio has suggested it was their plan all along, though many fans find this idea suspect, and find it more likely that it was put in place after the first few issues of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive failed to catch on with readers.
While looking for something in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1, I noticed something interesting in the Barry Allen dream/origin sequence:
It shows Barry’s death, along with the Black Flash, who figured prominently in the last few issues. And that last remark: “Will you ever outrun the shadow, Bart?”
It could simply be setting the dark mood that pervaded the beginning of Bart’s run. On the other hand, maybe they did have this planned all along.
Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings.
A brief exchange from The Flash 80-Page Giant #1 (1998).
The setup: The DCU version of comic book writer Mark Millar is interviewing the Flash to get ideas for his next script. Apparently DC Comics exists in the DCU, but they publish stories about “real world” heroes. As you can see, they don’t know all the details—like their secret identities—and have to fill in the gaps themselves.
Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings.
In 1998 it was a play on the title of DC’s biggest ever crossover event. In 2004, it was the title of DC’s latest big crossover event.
Hmm, I wonder how many newsstands displayed these books next to each other:
An explanation: A while back, I stumbled across a mention of Smash Comics, a series from Quality Comics that ran more or less concurrently with the more familiar Flash Comics. Just for kicks, I searched the Grand Comics Database (which is where I got the cover images) for Crash Comics, and found Crash Comics Adventures, which ran for 5 issues in 1940 before spinning off a series on the original Cat-Man. So the three books would have been on sale at the same time!
I couldn’t find any other books with the same pattern in the title. The GCD does substring matches, and “ash comics” only brought up variations on these three series. Though it did remind me that DC resurrected the Smash Comics title for one chapter of the 1999 The Justice Society Returns! event.
Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings
Note: The discussion is from 2007, and while the Silver Age material has gotten a fifth archive volume, three Showcase books and the start of a Chronicles line, the situation for the Golden Age Flash books has not changed.
Newsarama reports that during the Q&A part of the DC Nation panel at this weekend’s Baltimore Comic-Con, a fan asked:
Are there more Legion, Flash or Justice League Archives coming? [VP of Sales Bob] Wayne said that when you get up to the issues that can be affordably bought by collectors the demand for the Archive Editions goes down.
Okay, this might apply to the Silver-Age material. The four Flash Archives books so far are up to Flash #132 (1962). When I was tracking down back-issues in the #133–140 range (the contents of a hypothetical book 5) around 2000 or so, I seem to remember finding reasonably good copies in the $5-15 range. (Better copies, of course, run into triple digits.) Note: Since this was originaly posted, volume 5 has been released.
But there’s still 8 years of Golden-Age material to cover, from 1942–1949: more than 75% of Jay Garrick’s solo run. And those books are much harder to find, with battered readers’ copies often selling for $40–150.
Moreover, those 8 years include the first appearances of every major Golden-Age Flash villain. Continue reading
Looking back at the cover for Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, it wasn’t promising for Bart Allen, especially with the Flashes’ history of death. We know now that it ended badly for him (though he got better).
Of course, there’s also a history of Flashes (and supporting cast) appearing dead on the cover, but still making it through. More than 25 examples of dead Flash covers appear below. Continue reading