Flash Fridays – The Flash #109
posted on August 21, 2015
The cover of The Flash #109 billboards the return of the Return of the Mirror Master and on it we see MM using a giant mirror to shrink the Flash down to nothing. This marks the second villain of the Flash’s Silver Age to make a second appearance… the first being Mister Element who showed up again, albeit as Doctor Alchemy with an entirely different costume. Now villains have come back in comics before this, but in The Flash there was a subtle difference. In other books it was always “Hi, I’m back!” while in The Flash their reappearance would always reference the previous story and would show their escape or parole or whatever along with character development that would provide some insight into their thinking and psychology. John Broome was quietly building a context for these characters along with an ongoing continuity in which the arrow of time pointed forward rather than circling back to Go after every outing. As kids we picked up on this and appreciated it. Like I said, subtle but definitely different.
Broome keeps the Mirror Master’s bag of pseudo scientific tricks just plausible enough to allow us to buy in even down to the polaroid light machine in the police department lab (doesn’t every police department lab have one of those?) that allows the Flash to regain his normal size and defeat the Master of Mirrors. There’s even a cute B story in which Barry uses some of his antagonists mirror tricks to win back the affection of the fickle Iris.
The second story, The Secret of the Sunken Satellite, features yet another underground/undersea civilization with bald aliens, and, while it features some rather imaginative Infantino art, begs the question of just how many of these underground scenarios are we expected to swallow. The Earth appears to be riddled with them like a piece of Swiss cheese.They really undercut the continuity I was talking about earlier and was probably why I was generally not as thrilled with these stories. While not Jar Jar Binks annoying, they really weren’t my favorites. Sadly, this will not be the end of them, but, hey, Broome is batting five hundred and that ain’t bad.
John Darling – Take 1
posted on August 20, 2015
Along with Funky and Crankshaft, for eleven years and some change I did a strip called John Darling. For those who’ve never seen it, it was about a TV talkshow host of the same name. I thought it might be interesting to revisit the John Darling Sunday strips and provide a little back story for the work. Before I get to the talented artists who worked on it with me, we have the initial pitch which I did solo to show the syndicate just what I had in mind for the strip. Tom Armstrong would eventually redo this Sunday strip and blow it away, but this one was at least good enough to sell the syndicate on the concept.
posted on August 15, 2015
This is just a reminder that the Crankshaft book Roses in December is now available in the Books section of this site. The comments and reviews on it have been very gratifying and I’ll try to cache some of them in the Interviews section. If Lisa’s Story one day turns out to be the apotheosis of my time on Funky (not my call… I’m just sayin’ as I occupy myself these days playing with comic book characters I created in the fifth grade), then the same might one day be said about this work from Crankshaft. As always, if you’d like to arrange to get a personally signed copy, feel free to drop me a line in the Contact section of this site.