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Flash Fridays – The Flash #288 August 1980

posted on August 27, 2021

As a young fan of The Flash from the beginning of the Silver Age, editor Len Wein is obviously bringing his fan sensibility and love for the character to the book. It’s hard to imagine the he wasn’t an influence on writer Cary Bates reaching back to tap Dr. Alchemy back into the ring. The result is a mix of the basic elements that contributed to the success of the early Flash along with a more modern and less formulaic approach to the writing. And it works especially well with the Don Heck art.

The nuts and bolts of this issue concerns the Flash dealing with an act of destruction by Dr. Alchemy that endangers lives to cover for a robbery that he’s committing, and the backstory of the “new” Al Desmond who has assumed the guise of Dr. Alchemy. In the first instance the Flash takes care of the problem, and, in the second, we find out that the two Al Desmonds are astral twins, that is, twins born of separate parents but with at the same time down to the second, and the same date on the calendar. Personally, I think that a split personalty coming to life would have been pretty interesting as well.

The new Dr. Alchemy then lures the Flash to a park where he turns him into water vapor and watches as the Flash goes floating off into the air. Remember in my last post how I said the Flash running through different colored cars to regin his color was a little hard to swallow? Well, here’s another one to choke on. The Flash vibrates his molecules to cause the cloud to rain and as it rains it reassembles him into the Flash. Double oy.

However, Bates makes up for that head spinner with a sweet writerly move…  on the last panel on the last page… we see that the reformed Al Desmond having escaped from Dr. Alchemy’s hideout, is getting dressed into his Mr. Element gear.



Splish Splash 6

posted on August 26, 2021

The touching splash. I chose this one to show that drama comes in lots of sizes.

Behind the Books – Book 7

posted on August 24, 2021

So this is where the book biz became not only profitable, but fun for me as well. Somewhere around 1985 a gentleman named Andy Clark, who was the CEO and just about everything else for a small music publishing firm called Norman Lee Publishing, contacted my syndicate to see if they could publish a collection of the band strips from Funky. Norman Lee was a niche firm that specialized in music for high school and junior high school bands, not book publishing per se, but Andy felt that there would be a market there for a book about Harry L. Dinkle the world’s greatest band director. Turned out he was right. Boy howdy was he right. At first my syndicate demurred (this and other syndicate stories will be in a book that will probably have to be published posthumously), but Andy kept dogging them and was finally allowed to get it touch with me. We immediately hit it off and, freed from the editorial dictates of the New York suits, set about putting together a book our way.

First we used the cover I had wanted to use for the previous Fawcett book, but which had been turned down. Who knows what might have transpired if I had been able to use my most popular character along with his iconic (for him) pronouncement on that earlier tome? The good news was that it was available for this book. Norman Lee published it, and within school market we had ourselves a hit. This time my publisher was not only in synch with my work, but with the market for that work as well.