Where Does It Come From, cont: The Other Flash
Continuing to rummage around in my comic book past, I inescapably come eventually to DC’s “The Flash” as both a deep childhood love and also as a deep influence on my comic book sensibilities. As written by Gardner Fox and John Broome and drawn by Carmine Infantio with inks by the inestimable Murphy Anderson along with Frank Giacoa, “The Flash” was a sleek, smart, classy comic, thinly disguised as a superhero book, but at it’s heart, the Flash was all Science, and Science Fiction. Both Fox and Broome came from the era of pulps and early sci fi, and in Flash they let those concepts fly high.Time travel, alien worlds, parallel universes– all of that gave Flash Comics its particular heady brew. And it certainly helped to fuel my own passionate interest in Sci fi. Check out Infantino’s elegant futuristic cityscape in the cover image above. If that reminds you more that slightly of some of the architecture of Trekker’s New Gelaph, it’s no accident or coincidence.On top of that, Infantino generously shared some great comics drawing tips for constructing figures and conveying movement and action. You can imagine the sort of doors this opened in my budding-artist’s mind.Any “vintage” Infantion panel was a study in elegant composition, balance and restraint. And at the same time, there was always fluid motion.On top of that was the array of bizar villians Flash was put up against– Weather Master, Mirror Master, Captain Cold, the Reverse Flash.. and each of them built with a strong science-basis to their powers, and requiring a science-based solution to defeat.But then, Barry was a “police scientist”, after all. And unlike many other heroes, who solved their problems merely by being able to hit harder than their opponent, The Flash used his wits and his sharp mind to gain the upper hand. He was a real “thinking fan’s” superhero.
It wasn’t for nothing that when my own children were small, and I was introducing them to classic comics, the one I started them off with was The Flash. That, as much as anything probably indicates both the affection and the respect that I hold for my dog-eared and well-worn copies. Thanks for everything, Barry!