Six Things You Might Not Know About the Flash
Flash expert Kelson Vibber of SpeedForce.org shares a guest post with Nerdage readers to find out six things you never knew about DC Comics’ speedster The Flash!
1. Honesty is the Best Policy
The Flash was one of the first super-heroes to be honest with his love interest about his dual life. While Lois Lane spent decades caught in a love triangle between Clark Kent and Superman, Joan Williams was the first person Jay Garrick told about his super-speed — way back in 1940! She would often bring him cases or help conceal his secret identity.
At first, Barry Allen kept his life as the Flash secret from Iris West, but he told her the truth on their first wedding anniversary.
It turned out that she’d known for a year…because he talked in his sleep!
2. Renumbering Goes Way Back
Barry Allen didn’t make his first appearance in The Flash #1. In fact, there was no Flash #1 until 1987! During the 1940s, Jay Garrick’s adventures appeared in an anthology called Flash Comics (like Action Comics, Detective Comics, Sensation Comics, etc.), where he co-starred with Hawkman, Black Canary and other heroes.That book ended in 1949 with issue #104.
Years later, DC tried out a reboot of the Flash in Showcase, testing the waters with four issues before they felt confident enough to give him his own series in 1959. Even then, they decided to make it look like a long-term success rather than a new, untested feature…by picking up the numbering where Flash Comics had left off with #105.
3. Lost Tales of the Golden Age
Flash Comics was canceled so abruptly in 1949 that several finished stories were left unpublished. “Journey Into Danger” and “Tale of the Three Tokens” were printed twenty years later as backup stories. Two pages of “Strange Confession” were printed in a 1970s Lois Lane comic book featuring Rose and the Thorn. Panels and a few pages survive from two more stories: “The Garrick Curse” and “King Arthur in a Connecticut Yankee’s Court” (reversing Mark Twain’s original title).
The Flash Companion reprints seven pages of this lost artwork. You can find an excerpt from the article describing these lost stories at http://speedforce.org/2008/07/lost-gold/
4. Successful Flashes end with Y
Jay Garrick’s solo career lasted for 10 years with 200-odd stories spread across 3 different series. Barry Allen’s original run lasted 30 years and nearly 250 issues. Wally West was the lead speedster for 23 years and 247 issues, with a year off near the end. The odd man out?
Bart Allen, whose solo career lasted just one year, a paltry 13 issues…which ended with him being killed. And the first thing DC did when they brought him back was shave 5 years off his age and stick him back in the Kid Flash outfit.
5. Barry Allen is a Comic-Book Geek
The very first time Barry Allen appears on panel, he’s reading a Golden-Age Flash comic book. The same comic book inspires him to call himself the Flash when he gets super-speed. Later *ahem* flashbacks showed a young Barry Allen dressing up as Jay Garrick in a homemade costume with a helmet made from a pie tin.
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