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Match to Flame 10

posted on December 11, 2015

Eastern Heights Jr. High

I returned home from my visit to Marvel Comic fully intending to take Roy Thomas up on his offer to go back to Marvel with new material, but along the way my focus became somewhat diffused. That fall of 1969 I took a job teaching art at Eastern Heights Junior High in Elyria. I’d get home each day and work on material for Marvel, but I also began work on newspaper comic strip submissions and some on-spec spot art for the local paper. At one point I even considered getting part-time work with a local ad agency as a means of gaining some professional experience. My scattergun approach wasn’t producing any results, and the ad agency idea was about to send me off in a direction that I knew deep down wasn’t the right one. In short, I was at a crossroads.

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

John Darling – Take 8

posted on December 9, 2015

John Darling - Take 8

Well isn’t this timely? I’m once again happy to report that, thanks to this scathing send-up, the Star Wars merch tail no longer wags the dog. Hahahahahaha! I really crack myself up.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #120

posted on December 4, 2015

The Flash no.120

Issue #120’s cover featured yet another bald alien race so I thought I’d get that out of the way right from the get-go. Much as I did with the instances of the Flash being shot into space, I’m going to stop pointing out the baldness factor. They’re pretty much all bald the rest of the way, gang. As I pulled the comic out of its plain brown wrapper (true factoid), I saw that the issue featured the first team-up between the Flash and Kid Flash, and that it was a book length story. Those two factors made this a “very special” issue of the Flash. Book length stories were as rare as aliens with hair back then, and the team up of Barry and Wally definitely made it an event, but those weren’t the last of the surprises.

The story is only on the third page when Barry reveals to Wally that he’s the Flash. He does this, one, “because it’s only fair”, and, two, because he’s scheduled to go on a scientific exploration cruise with his reporter girl friend Iris and her nephew Wally and he figures they might have to help each other out at some point during the voyage. The purpose of the expedition, led by a Doctor Manners, is to settle the question of continental drift. Once again, The Flash is presenting what amounted at the time to some cutting edge science regarding the fact that the continents had once been a single land mass and that the continents of South America and Africa had once been joined (although any twleve-year-old who had seen a globe had probably already deduced that on his or her own). When they make land fall in South America, a volcanic eruption and earthquake sends them back to the past to an age when the continents were joined. There the rouge runners (channelling the writer John Broome) encounter and subdue a race of gold color giants and, by creating the proper vibrations to simulate an earthquake, they send the exploration party back to the present (which interestingly is now way in the past). Dr. Manners proves the out the theory by taking a picture of an African lemur in South America and all ends happily including a shipboard romance between Wally and Dr. Manners daughter Gail. The story hit all of it’s marks and with a shot of the their ship sailing into the sunset wrapped up a very satisfying tale.

On the Flash Grams page, Julie Schwartz awarded original Flash art to two letter writers, one of whom was Roy Thomas. Since I had already received my artwork from Julie, I was able to kick back with a certain equanimity and enjoy their good fortune rather than having my heart fill with bright green envy and jealously. Not only that, but the issue with my letter was coming up next. I’d have to keep my eyes peeled for that plain brown wrapper.