What I thought of the Flash #195

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If you’ve read some of my older blogs you’ll realise I love The Flash.Not because he’s only the fastest man alive, but because his adventures were fun, exciting and most of all weird even at a time when DC’s characters were either starting to become Marvelised or exceptionally weird, you’d have The Flash as this island of ultimate weirdness.

The Flash #195 isn’t the weirdest Flash comic ever, it does however have a great Neal Adams cover and an opening page that has the Flash at the Jerry Lewis Telethon signing autographs for Mark Evanier, Peter Sanderson and Irene Vartnanoff. All names that should be familiar to comics fans of a certain age but lets get to the part where the Flash is saved from a gang of thugs by a dog.

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Artist Gil Kane manages to play it straight, so his pencils and the usual crisp and clear pencils Kane put in but complemented by some lovely Murphy Anderson inks the art here is sublime for a throwaway Flash story where The Flash utters these immortal lines…

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Turns out the dog is called Lightning and he’s accused of killing his master, which in Central City means the dog is going to be put to death. At this point the Flash tries to clear the dog’s name and yes, this is actually the plot of this story, really! Of course everything ties up nicely and leads into the second story, this time written by Mike Friedrich, with pencils still by Kane but inks by Vince Colletta who manages the tough job of totally fucking up Kane’s pencils.

It’s a passable wee story but the entire thing is spoiled by Colletta’s clunking cartoony inks which reduce Kane’s sharp pencils to a slurry in places. The one thing to take from this second story is the creeping influence of the style of Marvel Comics as younger writers start moving into writing DC’s titles in the late 60’s, early 70’s.

Mainly though this is a cracking little bit of nostalgia, but dear god, Vinnie Colletta should never have been allowed near Gil Kane’s pencils……

Overstreets World of Comics-Comic book documentary from 1993

This is a cracking find. Overstreet’s World of Comics is a documentary based around the San Diego Comic Convention in 1993 and details the world of comics as they were in those days just before the great comics bubble of the early 90’s went POP! It’s a fascinating watch to see how people thought that comics were going to be a huge investment for the future, and that comics coming from the likes of Valiant were massive investments. They weren’t. The entire market went down the toilet and a number of the companies featured in this film like Topps, went under, and companies like Marvel nearly went bankrupt.

What is striking is how comic focused San Diego was then as opposed to the big pop culture event it is. It’s about the medium of comics and there’s a lovely bit in the film about Golden Age artists like Murphy Anderson, a history of EC Comics, as well as a great interview with Jack Kirby, the man who built the house that Marvel are now exploiting for their films like The Avengers and Captain America. ┬áIt is however, Todd McFarlane who hogs a lot of time on the film because at that time Spawn was the biggest selling comic in the world, selling around a half a million to a million copies on average per issue. There’s a certain sad irony looking back at this seeing McFarlane talk with such idealism; something that vanished when the money started flooding in.

The film does have some amazingly tacky music running through it that makes it feel like a health and safety training video you see on the first day of a new job, If you can ignore that then this is a great bit of archive, if only to see Stan Lee say with a straight face that he hates taking from what other people have done….