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Flash Fridays – The Flash #179 May 1968

posted on September 8, 2017

The Flash Grams Extra letters page in this issue was completely devoted to the change in artists that had rocked the Flash world. While a few readers actually said that they liked it, the majority were upset that the book was losing the magical talents of Carmine Infantino. Changing artists has always been endemic in the comics world, but somehow Carmine had really established himself as not only the artist for the book, but as the only artist who should ever be involved with it. They say that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but a comic book fan who’s just lost their favorite artist comes pretty close. It was a magical run and many were mourning the loss.

Another very interesting thing that occurred in this issue is that the first graduate of editor Julie Schwartz’s letters page slips into the writing reins on the Flash. Cary Bates from Dayton, Ohio shows up for his moment and demonstrates that he’s ready by turning in a fairly credible job. The tale he spins has the Flash battling a colorful alien tornado creature that had escaped from an alien hunter. The alien named Nok sends the Flash to another dimension like Earth 2 but not Earth 2 where the Flash discovers that he’s the star of a comic book being written there. He goes to the book’s editorial offices at 575 Lexington Ave. in New York City where he meets Julie Schwartz who helps him build a cosmic treadmill so he can return to his own dimension. He also discovers that the alien is feeding on his aura so he also devises a special radiation gun based on his aura to placate the creature. The cosmic treadmill and the radiation gun both work and Barry is home in time for supper.

So, let’s see, in his first Flash tale Cary Bates riffs on the comic book inspired origin of the Flash, destroys part of the Flash Museum, creates a new dimension and starts DC Comics on the slippery slope that will eventually lead to Crises on Infinite Earths, puts editor Julie Schwartz in the book, and expands the cosmic treadmill from a time traveling machine to a dimension hopping machine as well. Pretty ballsy if you ask me. Not a bad day’s start for a young twenty-year-old writer.