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Flash Fridays – The Flash #108

posted on August 7, 2015

The Flash no.108

The Flash #108 continues the Grodd the Gorilla hat trick with his third appearance in a row. As I wrote previously, that just didn’t happen back then. And, once again, he’s not on the cover and is instead the back-up feature. The caption box in the first panel of “ The Super-Gorilla’s Secret Identity” kicks things off with the following:

In deepest Africa, shielded from human senses, lies Gorilla City, stronghold of a super-scientific civilization…

What can I say? The writer, John Broome, had me back at “deepest Africa”. The story starts with Grodd’s escape from his cell in Gorilla City and oddly presages the first Grodd story I actually did read wherein he attains a human form (bald human form, natch) following his escape. This story would have blown me away just as much had it actually been my first. Infantino’s art is beginning to round into fine Flash form at this point and both stories in the book are beginning to take on the stylish and handsome look that would be the hallmark of his initial run on this book. The battle with the Flash in Grodd’s lab is a twelve year old’s dream come true. Once again I’m baffled that this story didn’t make the cover. Nevertheless, it’s apparent that John Broome was having fun writing one of the Flash’s strangest and most powerful foes… not to mention visually interesting.

The cover story “The Speed of Doom” is notable mainly for the fact that it visually foreshadows the cosmic treadmill that Flash will eventually use to travel back and forth in time. Other than that, it’s a fairly routine parallel dimension story where the aliens are bald and whose dimension the Flash is able to zip in and out of with skepticism inducing ease. The saving grace is the beautiful Infantino/Giacoia art which is a pleasure to look at. And, as with most Julie Schwartz edited books, there was a scientific fact to be learned. The story taught me what a fulgurite was. Your homework assignment before the next Flash Friday will be to look that up and learn what it is for yourself.

County Fair 2015

posted on August 6, 2015

County Fair 2015

Went to the county fair last night. Didn’t take my phone. Which of course meant that I thought of a wonderful idea for which I wanted to get some visual reference along with commemorating it in my notes. Looks like I’ve only got one choice. I’ve got to go back to the fair tonight… and maybe have one of those sausage sandwiches with everything on it as long as I’m there.

Match to Flame 1

posted on August 4, 2015

15-Rapping Around

It was September 1970, and I was a week away from having my bluff called. From the time I’d seen my first comic strip, I’d been telling anyone who’d listen that I was going to have a comic in the newspaper one day. At my high school prom, I told my future wife that I was going to be a cartoonist, and she replied that I’d outgrow that when I matured. Fooled her on both counts. But in that halcyon fall, in seven days, I was going to have to put up or shut up: The following Tuesday, on the Teen- Age page of the Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, Ohio, a new comic panel was going to make its debut, a panel about teens written and drawn by yours truly. My first published cartoon in a real bona fide newspaper. It had to be good, because that only happens once.
Now, a teen strip was, frankly, the last thing I ever thought I’d do, or ever want to do. My comic strip tastes had been shaped early on by the comics that my dad would read to me from the Akron Beacon Journal and, later, by the pulp sensibilities of comic books. I was in awe of the grandeur of Hal Foster’s Prince Valiant, the otherworld beauty of Mac Raboy’s Flash Gordon Sunday strips, and the total bravura insanity of Chet Gould’s Dick Tracy. Even at that tender age, I was already formulating a plan, because I knew that when the time came to take shot, I wanted to do stuff like that.

* From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume One