Today’s post revisits another Flash 80 page Giant of the Sixties. This one hails from May 1967 but I associate it more closely with 1979 or 1980 (I’m not certain which is right). That was approximately when my brother’s schoolfriend, who was leaving our village, gifted us a couple of issues of Adventure Comics.
They comprised the first Starfinger story and the second half of the Adult Legion two-parter, which I prized highly. I know each panel of the clash with the LSV so well, and that extends to the adverts.
Beware the Atomic Grenade: The gaudy Top, who is a “spin” (ahem) on Capt. Boomerang debuts in this story from the summer of 1961, with his eponymous super-weapon. Of far more interest is Barry’s underplayed friendship with French fashion designer, Anton Previn. It’s definitely not played as a gay relationship since this is a comic for smart high school kids: it is, however, an extremely subtle and strikingly modern advert for tolerance and equality
The Mirror Master’s Magic Bullet: Mirror Master turns Flash into his own personal genie, sending him on fantastic errands. This 1961 tale is a playful duel, full of charming gimmicks. It would be light as air and quite forgettable were it not for Infantino’s idiosyncratic Master of Mirrors: he has a distinctive leer, even under the mask.
The Man Who Claimed the Earth: a sweet, fanciful story from 1960. Alien conquerer Po-Siden hails from the “galactic universe of Olimpus in the Fourth Qauadrangle of space”. Holy Terry Nation, Batman! The Earth is a lost colony which the aliens finally accept has earned its independence in a witty reference to American history.
Return of the Super-Gorilla: Grodd launches an attack on the hidden city of advanced gorillas from a world of bird-people within the Earth’s crust. This 1959 fantasy casually creates a whole new ecology for the series.
One of the only Sixties issues of the Flash that I read as a child featured Grodd breaking the fourth wall in a very 60s DC fashion. Modern Grodd is a man-eater and slavering horror; here, there’s something charming about a great ape with ambitions of world conquest.
Plight of the Puppet-Flash: Abra Kadabra, the magician from the future, arranges his own pardon and embarks on a campaign to ridicule the Flash. Flash retaliates with an anti-crime crusade but is transformed into a living puppet. The tapering, monochrome figure of Kadabra is both striking and almost comical,
How I Draw the Flash is charming but still won’t have you drawing like Infantino.
I enjoyed this issue although I would’ve welcomed a Jay-Flash story from the Forties, I prefer infantino’s art of the late 70s and early 80s- Spider-Woman; Supergirl; Dial H– but he is my ur-Batman artist also. I’ll be looking at Silver Age 80 page outings for the Caped Crusader in future posts.
Coming soon: The Saucy Sorceress
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