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Flash Fridays – The Flash #119.6

posted on November 27, 2015

Flash BW Art

When The Flash artwork arrived from National Comics it was a revelation. First, it was huge. It was the old 2-up size, a size that truly allowed the artists to be artists. At that proportion, the art really made an impact and the detail was amazing. Second, the pages reeked of cigar smoke. I would later learn that this was probably Carmine’s doing, but it just made the pages even cooler. From there, the pages became a graduate course in comic book art production. You could see the underlying pencils, the beautiful feathering of Murphy Anderson’s brushwork, and, lo and behold, mistakes. There was one page where Murphy must have knocked the ink bottle over or something because a third of one of the panels was covered with white-out (So that’s how you fixed mistakes). These gods were human. They could make mistakes (And big ones!) just like I did. You have no idea what a relief it was to see that. Turn the pages over and there were more Carmine drawings, a great look behind the curtain at his pencils as he tried out new faces and room designs. Also on the back was the Comics Code stamp where someone had signed off on the page. One day down the road, I’d run into the Code head-on in my first attempt to gain some purchase in the comics field. To a budding comics artist, the pages were manna from heaven and, for once, the interminable wait between issues was made more than bearable.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #119.2

posted on November 20, 2015

Julie Schwartz Letter

Long before The Flash #120 showed up in my mailbox, a letter arrived. A letter from New York City. A letter from Julie Schwartz. Julie Schwartz the editor of The Flash. I can’t seem to recall the circumstances involved with the letter’s arrival, so I’m figuring I must have fainted. In the letter, Julie informed me that the letter I had sent to him would be appearing in the June issue of The Flash and that I had been awarded the original artwork for the story “The Doomed Scarecrow”! I don’t know how I avoided just having a stroke right there on the spot. The DS story was fourteen pages of beautiful Infantino/Anderson art and if you want to know what that means, scroll back and check out the post for issue #118. And not only was it amazing and beautiful, but it was going to be mine! So now you know why that issue was so superspendiflous.

I love how Julie addressed me in the letter as Mr. Batiuk. Julie treated his young readers as adults. He made you matter. I must have read that letter several hundred times or more the rest of that day and evening. I had heard from Julie Schwartz, I would be getting artwork from Julie Schwartz, and a letter of mine would be printed in the Flash. I thought back to the Saturday afternoon I had spent composing my letter. Not a bad afternoon’s work. I then went back to Julie’s letter, this time focusing on National Comics address in New York City… and a plan began to form.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #119

posted on November 13, 2015

The Flash no.119

The Flash #119 arrived in my mailbox on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the winter. You couldn’t ask for better timing. It was one of those “shoot me now because I don’t think it’s going to get any better than this” moments. And the issue lived up to it in every way. In fact, it’s my favorite issue of the entire run. I’ve sure I’ve reread it at least a hundred times. Why? Well, for starters, it was my first exposure to the Mirror Master and I loved everything about him from his costume (Whose colors I would later “borrow” {Don’t worry, I’m planning to give them back some day} for my own Amazing Mr. Sponge) to his arch and clever demeanor. In the story, he captures the Flash and uses him for his own personal genie which allows him to send the our hero around the world to cater to his person whims. The art is some of the best that’s ever appeared in a comic book and I would stand in Neal Adams studio with muddy shoes to make that declaration. Infantino just kept getting better with each new issue and his inkers Giella and Anderson were with him for every leap forward.

That alone would have been enough to make the book an instant classic, but the second story makes sure of that as it features the return of the Elongated Man in a SF romp that has the Flash and EM facing off against an undersea civilization whose inhabitants (bald again) have been capturing humans for slaves. The story once again plays off of the friendship of the two heroes as they escape from and defeat the aliens. Alien civilizations always allowed Infantino an opportunity to design some cool futuristic buildings and machines and he does that in spades here.

This book was like a 45 with two A sides. I even loved the house ads for Green Lantern, The Justice League, Hawkman and Rip Hunter Time Master. But none of the above was the very best part of this book. That came at the very end of the letters page when Julie Schwartz awarded original artwork from the book to one of the letter writers!!! What!!? Are you kidding me!!? Actual artwork from the book!!? Once the ringing in my ears from my screaming stopped, I realized that there was only one thing for me to do. I had to spend the rest of that Saturday afternoon writing my ass off crafting a letter calculated with exquisite precision to not only get printed in the book, but to win some of that amazing art as well. Stay tuned, Pilgrim.

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