Flash Fridays – The Flash #135 March 1963
posted on May 6, 2016
I have to admit that, in spite of the lovely Infantino/Anderson cover, this issue of The Flash bugged me just a tiny bit. It seemed that the editor and especially the writer twisted themselves into a pretzel concocting a story to facilitate the changing of Kid Flash’s costume with the resulting story being a somewhat pedestrian romp through yet another warring dimension (the sixteenth dimension, not to put too fine a point on it) who wants to invade Earth and whose upcoming invasion is tipped off by a friendly from the same dimension. In order to involve Kid Flash, he’s the one who is told that three super weapons have been sent to Earth to help us in our fight. Turns out that they were mainly sent so that one of them, the mind over matter weapon, could change Kid Flash’s costume when, as the Flash is touching the weapon and coincidentally thinking that a new costume would be in order for Kid Flash, the Kid appears in new duds. Then, because their job is essentially done, the weapons are destroyed by the invaders. Kid Flash and the Flash then go on to defeat the invaders (who should have been dubbed the fashion police) anyway, and we’re back to peace on Earth. Except of course that Kid Flash is now decked out in different running togs.
Now, I didn’t disagree with the premise that with the original costume of Kid Flash being the same as the Flash’s, things could get a little confusing from time to time. But it would have been a lot more interesting if they had used the turbulent-angst-ridden teenage years as the driving force for a costume change. Kid Flash could easily wanted to stake out his own territory by using the sartorial switch as a declaration of personal independence. That motive would have struck home with the book’s teenage constituency because, as I’m told by “experts”, we all wanted to be as independent as hell (okay, so maybe they were right). It would have presented the transformation in a much more realistic and powerful way. It’s the story I know I would have preferred to see then and now.
Speaking of hindsight as I kind of obliquely was, in the closing panels, Wally is seen using a device left by Ryla, their sixteenth dimension benefactor, to communicate with her in her dimension. Rediscovering this image for the first time in decades, I was amazed to see how much it resembles a proto iPad. I wonder if Steve Jobs ever read The Flash?
posted on May 4, 2016
When this strip ran a short while ago, a number of readers were curious as t0 the “Thanks, Andy” attribution. Late in his career Andrew Wyeth created a painting called Otherworld in which he depicted a young girl looking out the window of a private jet. Through one of the windows we look down on the Olsen farm and the Kuerner farm through another. Both of these farms were iconic settings for many of his best remembered paintings. In an homage to Wyeth and to Otherworld, I used the same setting to depict two of the set stages for my own work in Funky… Les and Lisa’s house and the Crankshaft homestead. I’ve long admired the way Wyeth revisited familiar settings to bring a certain verisimilitude to his work. I’m sure it influenced me to adopt a similar work method to ground my own work. Hence, the tip of the Funky felt tip in the strip.
Blast From the Past
posted on April 30, 2016
While signing books at Ohioanna last Saturday, a woman came up and proffered an aging piece of manila paper which turned out to be the charter of sorts of a Funky Winkerbean fan club from 1985. The woman was the founder, president, recruiter and basically chief everything of this fine organization. I’d like to publicly thank her for not only hanging onto this piece of Funky history, but also for her kindness in bringing it to the event to show me. It was very cool and the kind of thing that’s makes going to these book signing events so enjoyable. That’s definitely one for the books.