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Flash Fridays – The Flash #192 November 1969

posted on March 23, 2018

The Flash #192 starts of with a cover conundrum of sorts. I see Murphy Anderson inking and possibly drawing the main foreground figures, and Andru and Esposito drawing and inking the background. But that’s as far as I can take it. Let’s check in with the Grand Comics Database and see what thy have to say:

According to Julius Schwartz’ pay records, Ross Andru & Mike Esposito were first paid for the cover to this issue, then Murphy Anderson was. It is likely that some of Andru & Esposito’s work survives in the background characters with the main characters rendered by Anderson. However, there is also original artwork with the same background characters and Joe Kubert-drawn main characters in similar (but different) poses to the final cover. It is unclear if the Anderson and Kubert main characters are renditions of the original or in some way related directly. Most art-spotters also see Anderson in some elements of the background characters, so he may have re-worked some of Andru & Esposito’s work.

Okay, so, while they have a few more details (okay, they have a lot more details), on the uncertainty scale from one to “Was there a shooter on the grassy knoll?” they still seem to be as lost in the woods as I am. As they say at the end of every program on the Science Channel: perhaps we’ll never know.

What we do know is that Bob Kanigher is the writer this issue which is his first appearance since his work on the origin of the Silver Age Flash. Here he immediately addresses the question of why the Flash is getting a high five to the face, and than settles down to write the war story he really wanted to write. In a nutshell: the Flash is late showing up for the launching a nuclear submarine, the sub disappears and everyone blames the Flash which leads to the aforementioned slap to the Flash face. Then we switch to a totally different story about a lighthouse keeper and his wife (Phil and Phyllis – I’m not kidding) who had been in the service together. While in Vietnam Phil jumps on a grenade to save his buddies – and lives (okaaaaay…). Once out of the service, they decide to run a lighthouse and Phyllis says that, if they’re ever separated, the lighthouse light will lead her back to him. The Flash and Iris arrive just as Phyllis has gone missing, the Flash hunts for her underwater while Phil has a heart attack (hey, the guy’s upset), finds her and the missing sub in a James Bondish underwater cavern that houses a secret Soviet sub base. The Flash rescues the sub and Phyllis but she inhales some poison gas. Phil and Phyllis both die, but their spirits are reunited in the light from the lighthouse. Whew! A very Kanigherish story to say the least. In the last panel the Flash says and I quote: “I guess there are things we’ll never find out!” proving that when his running days are over, he can always get a job writing for the Science Channel.

On The Road Again With Vol. 7

posted on March 21, 2018

Hard to believe that it’s book signing season already as I look out the window at four inches of snow, but it’s here. I’ll be speaking at the Bellevue Public in Bellevue, Ohio at 1:30pm on April 9, and then at the Ohioana Book Festival in Columbus the following Saturday. All of the info for these signings and others can be found at the Events section on this site. Hope to see you there.

Match to Flame – 67

posted on March 20, 2018

So there I was in 1983 with unsettling mature thoughts and a looming decision on my hands. Instead of having my characters starting back at square one each day, I wanted them to grow up. I wanted their lives to be destined and fateful. Along with that I wanted something more. I wanted to write things that would resonate on a deeper level. As Neil Young once said, occasionally you have to break all your toys and start over. It looked like it was time to break the toys. So you’re probably asking yourself why I didn’t just do it then and there. (Perfect question really—cuts right to the quick. That’s what I like about you.) Well, there are a number of reasons. But before I dig into them, I’m going to have to ask all of the people who think that comic strips are called the comics because they’re only supposed to be funny to check out of the intro at this point. Just skip on ahead and start enjoying the book, and the rest of us will catch up with you.
OK, they’re gone; let’s talk.
As I was saying, there are several reasons for my not pulling the trigger at this point. The first one has to deal with Schrödinger’s equation for relativistic quantum wave theory and how it relates to the space/time continuum where comic strip characters reside. It involves a whole lot of complicated math and this really isn’t the venue, but, short and sweet, time in comic strips moves more slowly than time in the real world. Trust me on that. Using a back of the envelope calculation, it comes out to about three comic strip years to one real-world year. So the Funky gang was only just entering their senior year in the Funkyverse, which meant I still had a cushion. The other reasons are a bit more problematic.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. Four