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Flash Fridays – The Flash #176 February – 1968

posted on August 11, 2017

For those of us weaned on the DC Comics from the Silver Age and more specifically the comics edited by Julie Schwartz, the shocking change of artists on The Flash came as an existential crisis of the highest order. Not only were our tastes and aesthetics formed around the art found in those books, but we tended not to like very much outside of that limited sphere. For example, I was slow to warm up to the art of Jack Kirby over at Marvel Comics because the chunky raucousness of it was so alien to the slick and elegant art I had been used to (the magnetic pull of Marvel to me was the writing of Stan the Man Lee, but that’s another story for another day). I also didn’t care much for the other artists at DC who weren’t in Julie’s bullpen. Unfortunately, the new artists on The Flash, Ross Andru and inker Mike Esposito fell into that category for me. I would later come to appreciate the talents of Ross Andrew, and anyone who Burne Hogarth would hire to pencil his Tarzan Sunday page you know had to have some sturdy artistic chops

My antipathy for Ross Andrew’s work primarily stemmed from the fact that his Flash wasn’t my Flash. Andrew eschewed the leith Infantino look and opted for the more bulked-up style. The poses, backgrounds and expressions were all just a little bit off. Even in hindsight, while the work is solid, I still find myself missing the Infantino touch. That being said, the John Broome story about the Flash battling Death in Death’s dimension to save an ailing Iris was quite good and a departure from the usual story telling not seen since his Doorway to the Unknown piece. The second story was another little pocket story involving Iris’s father Professor West and a gang trying to turn his great intellect to evil intent. Broome was in a more comfortable setting here, but the art change remained a jarring element. Unfortunately, things would get worse before they got better.