Funky Winkerbean logo

St. Spires Behind the Scenes 2

posted on March 17, 2021

So I showed up on a rainy March afternoon at the church that stands-in for St. Spires and spent about an hour trying to capture all of the scenes that I was seeing in my head for the story, make that stories, that I was already writing.

Having a full understanding of the settings, somehow makes the telling of the stories richer and adds a certain verisimilitude. In short, they work better.

I left with a cache of reference material that would sustain me through the whole project. I got the pix taken just under the wire because the next day our state went into lockdown.


Flash Fridays – The Flash #283 March 1980

posted on July 23, 2021

Okay, maybe it’s the fact that it’s summer and that I have always associated comic books with summer. Lying on my bed as a kid reading comics waiting for something to happen (For a fuller explanation, lister to Sonic Boom by the Gear Daddies and you’ll get it). Whatever the reason, I loved this issue of The Flash! The Don Heck art continues to shine in support of one of Cary Bates best issues so far. Maybe it’s because he uses the entire issue to tell a single story, or maybe it’s the fact that he’s tying up loose ends like a worker in a garment factory. All I know is that these is one nicely done issue.

The story opens with the Reverse Flash hiding in Barry’s house as Barry as the Flash triggers a bomb set by RF on the Cosmic treadmill. Thinking that he’s knocked off his rival, he starts making a recording that leads to several expository pages where he admits to killing the Flash, being the brains behind the police department drug cartel, drugging the Flash with angel dust the night of the masquerade ball, and, when she wouldn’t agree to marry him, killing Iris. Aside from the fact that it’s a little sicko… it certainly keeps the book moving in a new direction. And it finally elevates the Reverse Flash to number one on the arch villain list.

As it turns out, and, as you probably already figured, the Flash didn’t die in the treadmill explosion. He scattered his body’s molecules a split second before the explosion, which gave him control over them so he could pull them back together. He then confronts the Reverse Flash and they battle across the rest of the story until RF tries to return to the future in his time capsule. The Flash KO’s him, and, absent the cosmic treadmill, attempts to guide the time capsule himself, but only succeeds in sending it back to “beyond the brink of time”. The Flash bails out into the time stream leaving the Reverse Flash to his fate. As to the Flash himself…? I’ll let you know.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #273 May 1979

posted on April 16, 2021

The really nice Ross Andru/Dick Giordano cover is a harbinger of good things as this issue gets the Scarlet Speedster back on track (pun happened by itself). First, there’s an art change to note – Alex Saviuk and Frank Chiaramonte have stepped in as penciller and inker respectively. Saviuk’s work is a bit chunky which is maybe not the best fit for a runner, but he tells the story well and is ambitious as he swings the camera angles around. Whatever shortcomings he has are attenuated by his bravura approach.

And speaking of story, writer Cary Bates delivers more of that this time around. When we last saw the Flash, he was lying unconscious on the ground having been forced to run into a brick wall due to a mind meld with a strange young woman. We learn that her name is Melanie and that she has developed a fixation with the Flash. We learn this when the Flash accidentally stumbles across her digs at an institute for Psychic Research which look like a mini Flash Museum, and a scene at a club where her friends talk about her obsession. Meanwhile, Iris heads off to the salon to change her look and fight for her marriage. And it almost works when Barry shows up at the house with some flowers, but Barry sees on the TV that there’s a riot at the penitentiary and takes off to quell the riot leaving a broken hearted Iris behind.

The Flash arrives at the prison in time to save Nephron, the guy who’s been messing with the brains of some of the inmates, from being thrown out of a window. What follows is a nicely executed sequence where the Flash puts down the prison riot single handed. Once the dust has settled, one prisoner is still missing. The Flash finally checks the room where Nephron was conducting the experiments on the prisoners, and finds the prisoner Clive Yorkin there strapped to Nephron’s machine and looking a little worse for the wear. A bubble in the corner says: “Next Month: The Mark of the Beast!” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I’ll bet the experiment turns Yorkin into a beast. Any takers?