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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.

Lisa’s Legacy Run Wrap-up

posted on September 15, 2015

Lisa's Legacy Run Wrap

There was a pretty good nip of Fall in the air for this past Sunday’s Lisa’s Legacy Run which in my book is perfect running weather. I just want to give one more shout-out to the Mentor Rotary for the terrific race they put on. Everything from registration, to route set-up, to the great red Tee, to the final awards ceremony was handled with efficiency and class. The race grew this year and we’re hoping to make it even bigger next year. On October 8th I’ll be at the Mentor Rotary luncheon to help present the check to the University Hospital’s Lisa’s Legacy Fund for Cancer Research. Before we close out this year’s event, I’d like to congratulate all of the medal winners  including fellow cartoonist Terri Libenson of The Pajama Diaries who showed up and took an award as one of the top female runners, as well as everyone who came to run and support a good cause. Good fellows all and well met. See you next year.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #112

posted on September 11, 2015

The Flash no.112

Issue #112 of the of The Flash is another one of those issues that I didn’t come across until much later after I had already discovered The Flash. I always wonder how different my life might have been if #112 or any of the preceding issues had been my first. Your first is always kind of special. Would I later have loved #115 (my actual first) quite as much? With that head start, would I have been the one to submit ideas to DC, be offered a job there, only to later move on to Marvel and end up still later in life editing a fun and informative magazine called Alter Ego? Hard to say really. You never know how different the ripples in the space time continuum might have been.

And different they surely would have been because issue #112 is another killer. What an amazing creative ride Julie Schwartz, John Broome, Carmine Infantino, Joe Giella and Murphy Anderson were on during this period. On the cover, it looks they’ve come up with a cool new super villain, the Elongated Man, only to have author Broome, after leading us all on for the entire story, flip it on its head at the end to say: “Fooled you… I’ve actually created a new super hero!” It was a clever turn and certainly nothing I’d ever experienced in my thirteen long years on the planet. Super heroes had kid partners, but not many of them had a real buddy. Fun fact: in the story, Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, gets his stretching powers from a special extract that came from the fruit of the Gingo tree. When we built our house, I planted a ginkgo tree (I figure Broome probably just misspelled it) in honor of the Elongated man’s power source. Still waiting for the fruit, but when I get I finally get some… look out!

The second story is a Kid Flash piece called Danger on Wheels. Once again, Broome keeps the junior partner’s world separate and distinct. He introduces high school teacher Linda Grant, who he will use in a later Kid Flash story, and keeps the action local with a story about less than scrupulous builders building a new school with shoddy materials. Hardly heavy duty superhero stuff, but pitch perfect for the Kid Flash story-telling universe. The Infantino/Giella art is pitch perfect as well. Again, this was still before my “time”, but with hindsight as my guide I can appreciate what those involved were building here.