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Match to Flame 4

posted on September 23, 2015

Tom Corbett

7-Arizona Ranger

The dentist visit wasn’t a total loss, because by the end of the afternoon I had acquired my first comic book. Our dentist, who obviously was no fool, used to give my sister and me a prescription for an ice cream cone at the end of our exams. The scrip was worth a dime at the drugstore on the corner. That day, as we stood at the ice cream counter, my dad said we could buy anything we wanted. I had him repeat that so there would be no question as to exactly what had been said, and then I responded, “I want one of those,” pointing at the comics spinner rack. I left that afternoon with my very first comic book, a copy of Tom Corbett Space Cadet. To help cement the deal, I had pointed out to my dad that I was allowed to watch Tom Corbett on TV, so the comic book must, by extension, be okay as well. Besides, my dad had specifically said, “Anything you want . . .”
Inside that Tom Corbett, I saw my future, and, inspired and empowered, I began buying comics whenever the opportunity presented itself. When the monthlong wait between issues became too much to bear, I began writing and drawing my own comics to bridge the gap. When I wasn’t creating cartoons, I was working on my novel. I had a little green notebook in which I chronicled my western opus The Arizona Ranger. Its portability allowed me to take it with me on our forced marches every Sunday to visit relatives in Akron, which we had been doing since my dad’s job had taken our family about an hour away to North Eaton. While the adults talked and the cousins played baseball, I’d find a corner somewhere to work on my story. Occasionally, someone would ask to read what I was writing and would comment approvingly, but mostly I was simply regarded as a curiosity.

*From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. One

Roses Review

posted on September 20, 2015

Roses chapter 2 header

As promised, a review of Roses in December has been posted in the Interviews section. If you’d to arrange to get a signed copy, just contact me through the email section of this site. ‘Nuff said.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #113

posted on September 18, 2015

The Flash no.113

The cover of The Flash #133 is is almost diabolically brilliant. In a beautiful example of Infantino/Giella art, as we see the Flash chasing the Trickster as the Trickster escapes by running off a cliff and straight towards the reader. The Trickster is a new villain wearing a gaudy circus outfit as he runs in the air! Who in their right minds wouldn’t want to know what’s going on there? Again, had I seen this cover on any spinner rack anytime anywhere, I would have begged, borrowed or stolen it to take it home with me.

The story Danger in the Air opens with the Trickster robbing an airliner in mid-air which leads eventually to an encounter with the Flash who he bests by reprising the cover and running away from the Flash in the air. It’s a case of beautiful over-the-top bravura story telling by Broome who then dives right in to the villain’s backstory of being a circus aerialist who invents a pair of jet shoes to aid him in his family’s act. The Flash deduces the circus background and then wraps things up by capturing the Trickster at the circus and adding still another villain to his rogues gallery. For whatever reason and as formulaic as these stories were, these conflicts with the colorful villains were the Flash stories that appealed to me most. Perhaps as I work my way through these issues, I’ll be able to put a finger on just what was so magical about them. We’ll learn together.

The second story in this issue is a fairly pedestrian dance with the Roman gods. As fresh and exciting as the Trickster story was, was this latter story moldy and ancient to young me. The best thing about it was Broome continuing the use of Dr. Wiley Summers as a romantic rival for fickle Iris. It was this kind of low-key continuity that added weight and appeal to these stories. Superman and Batman didn’t do much of this thing, and it was a precursor to the sort of writing that Stan Lee over at Marvel would shortly begin taking to the bank. There was also one interesting aspect about this story which would catch my attention a couple of issues down the road, but I’ll save that story for later, alligators… along what was so amazing, cool and totally freaking mind-blowing about the Trickster’s second appearance in The Flash.