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Flash Fridays – The Flash #264 August 1978

posted on November 27, 2020

At last we come to the denouement of the Golden Glider/Ringmaster story arc behind a tasty Joe Staton, Frank Giacoia cover. Even before we get into the story inside, we find that Kurt Schaffenberger has stepped in to handle the pencilling chores for an ailing Irv Novick. Schaffenberger, known primarily for his work on Lois Lane at DC steps in to do a respectable Irv Novick imitation. Along with sort of cultivating a house style back in those days, DC was really big on maintaining the look of each individual book. So anyone stepping in on a book had to subsume his own style in order to match the look of the current artist on the book. As opposed to now when a change in artist change heralds a whole new look for a character (on an almost weekly basis). Personally I enjoy the latter (if not done on an almost weekly basis), and, in fact I had written to Flash editor Julie Schwartz way back when to suggest that he bring in some different artists to sit-in on The Flash every now and then. One of the artists I suggested was Alex Toth. I never heard back. Not only was my youthfully naive suggestion antithetical to all that DC Comics stood for at the time, but, as I was to learn much much later, Toth and Schwartz had had a bit of a contretemps over a paycheck and, as a result, weren’t on the best of terms. As they say, timing is everything.

In the story, (wondering when I was going to get there, were you?) the Golden Glider appears to have Barry murder Iris with some killer perfume that the Glider has provided. However, Iris appears to disintegrate only because Barry has whisked her away just in time. He scoots her off to the Flash Museum and the care of the museum’s curator Dexter miles. Barry is naturally trucked off to prison for murdering Iris where he uses the same trick to make himself disappear thus making it look like he and Iris were done in by the same person. At the Flash Museum, Iris loses the Golden Gliders gem, thus removing the hypnotic spell. The Flash then corrals the Ringmaster and the Golden Glider with some help from Iris who uses a working model of Captain Cold’s freeze gun to freeze the Glider in a block of ice. The villain is jailed, the Ringmaster resumes his job as a writer and cedes the superhero field in Central City back to the Flash, and Barry and Iris are happily reunited. They will even use the occasion to go on a second honeymoon, which a promo box at the end of the story warns us will result in a strange adventure titled “Shift the Earth Goodbye”.