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Flash, The: Archives - Volume 1 (Flash Archives) Hardcover – May 4, 1998
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Top customer reviews
Now that DC has wiped out MY childhood universe, I've gone back and started exploring what came before, and I genuinely love it. Yes, the silver age stories are ridiculous, but it turns out it's a ridiculousness I love to revel in. And the early Flash comics were the most ridiculous of all.
Other reviewers have done a fine job of explaining the contents of Flash Archives vol. 1, but often from a perspective of nostalgia. As a representative of a more cynical generation, I'm here to tell you that, honestly, these stories are not great. I have come to love silver age stories, but this is not yet their heyday. Check out Green Lantern Archives, Superman: the Man of Tomorrow archives, or later editions of the Flash if you want good story-telling. From a writing perspective, this book really only deserves three stars. The art, which is some of the best of its age, might bump it up another star. But what really earns this book its fifth star is sheer historical importance. If you love the Flash you will be enthralled simply by the little things: the first time Flash makes a tornado with his hands, the first appearances of Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, etc. Even if that doesn't move you, how about the fact that Showcase #4 is one of a handful of truly industry-changing comics books, and no serious collection is complete without it.
I have been gradually reading my way through the DC Archives and it is a real treat. You could never afford all the comics at the time they came out and tried to stay up on the stories by skipping around the characters and series. Through the DC Archives you get to tune in on these characters and stories the way they debuted at the beginning of their DC run (a great pun in the case of The Flash!) You see Barry Allen mix it up with lightning and chemicals and the adventures start moving forward with situations and super villains that only The Flash could correct!
You will see early Flash stories that cover the grave situations of trouble making criminals, rampaging time travellers, mad scientists, and huge natural disasters. Early appearances of well-known Flash villains include Captain Cold, Mirror Master, the Pied Piper, and Gorrilla Grodd. Another plus is the interaction of Barry Allen (The Flash) in Central City with Jay Garrick (The Golden Age Flash) in future stories via the fabled Cosmic Treadmill. This sets up the parallel universes that lead to the fabulous Crisis on Multiple Earth stories that eventually lead to the Crisis on Multiple Earths and the big shakeup on the DC lineup. The effect of these stories is still being explored and played out in the Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis series.
If you love the DC comics of the Silver Age, this one's a must! Get it today and start adventuring with the Scarlet Speedster! I love it and so will you!
Westerns, war comics, monster, science fiction, horror, crime coics, and funny comics comics were now what appeared in comic books at this time.
In the 1950's, sales of comic books began to decline due to the advent of Television. And if this was not bad enough, a psychologist named Dr. Fredrick Wertham went on a crusade against comic books writting a book called "The Seduction of the Innocent." He was able to convince U.S. Sentator Estus Trafagar into starting a Senate Committe to look into the threat of comics on the youth of America. A lot of parental and moralist presure groups arose attacking comic books. Many stores and newsstands now refused to carry comic books and distributors refused to distribute comic books for he comic book publishing companies. Many a publishing company got out of the comic book publishing business.
The remaining comic book companies saw the writing on the wall and decided to move. They got together and decided to form a self-regulating agency, the Comics Code Authority. Before publishing the comic book, they would subit it to the Comics Code Authority to review it and okay it or to recommend changes be made before being given the stamp of approval by them. Zombies, werewolves, and vampires were banned from comics from the Comics Code Authority.
In the mid-1950's Editor Julie Schwartz decided to try to do mystery men/superheroes again. He looked over the old characters that were successful in the 1940's. He chose to do The Flash.
The original Flash was scientist Jay Gerrick who in a lab accident in college ends up inhaling heavy water gas fumes (heavy water is ued in atomic experiments). By then it was known that heavy water gases have no such effects or detremental effects on people. The original Flah wore no mask. He wore a helmet with wings on it like the helmet teh mythological Greek God of Speed, Mercury, is shown wearing.
The Original Golden Age Flash was created in the 1940's by Gardener Fox, who later was to be assigned to be one of the writers along with writer John Broome for the new Flash.
Julie Schwartz decided that the character had to be redone/re-created for the then present-day comic book readers. So a whole new "Flash" was created with a whole new costume. He was Police Scientist Barry Allen whose girlfriend Iris West always chided him for be a "slowpoke" and always showing up late.
Alone one evening at the Central City Police Lab where Barry Allen is alone working late, there is a storm. A lightening bolt hits the chemicals on a helf and Barry Allen with the chemicals flling all over Barry Allen. Barry strangely survives this, but finds afterwards that his whole being and molecular structure has been accelerated. He finds himself albe to run at super-speed and vibriate through walls and able to see fast moving things solwed down to him going in slow motion.
Along with this, a whole new Rogues Gallery was created for this new Flash: The Mirror Master, Mr. Element later to become Dr. Alchemy, The Top, Captain Cold, Hat Wave, Captain Boomerang, Teh Trickster, the Pied Piper, Super Gorilla Grod, and Professor Zoom - The Reverse Fash.
In the origina story, it is revealed that as a kid, he used to read the adventures of the original Flash. Teh original Golden Age Flash does return later. Barry Allen while doing a charity benefit show as The Flash does a super-speed trick for the audience, however, in doing the trick, his internal vibrations are altered and he finds that he is no longer in Central City, but in Keystone City the city of the original Flash that he used to read about in the comic books. He finds that he as been transported to parrallel Earth, Earth 2, named so in the order of its discovery.
Barry Allen locates Jay Gerrick and shows up as Barry Allen at teh home of Jay Gerrick and Jay's wife Joan. Barry Allen then reveals himself to Jay and Jay's wife as The Flash from a parrallel Earth, Earth 1.
Jay Gerrick now longs to put back on his old Falsh costume and join Barry Allen. Conincidently, two of the Golden Age Flashe's old super-villains also happen to have eh same idea. It is a good thing that the two Flashes are around to foil their plot.
Before teh Flash returns to his own Earth, Earth 1, teh Golden Age Flash promises to come to Earth 1 one day to visit Teh Flash, which he does. And so begins an annual tradition of the Golden Age Flash guest starring with the Flash later leading to a story bringing back teh Justice Society of America with them coming out of retirement when a number of the members are kidnapped by their arch-foe Vandal Savage. The two Flashes come to the rescue and free them foiling Vandal Savage's evil plans. This would lead into the annual traditional two-part summer team-up stories in the pages of "The Justice League of America."
The (Silver Age) Flash is later also given a teenage sidekick and protege' Wally West who strangely, due to a similar accident is also given the same super-spped powers of he Flash. Wally West becomes Kid Flash. However, unlike Robi, Aqualad or Speedy, Kid Flash does not appear regularly in every story in fact it pretty much is only a special treat when Kid Flash appears in a story. Kid Flash was originally given a smaller sized Flash costume a small duplicate of The Flash's costume. Later Kid Flash was given an entirely new costume.
The Flash and Green Lantern became good friends and you will also find stories in which Green Lantern shows up as a guest-star to tam up with the Flash.
These volumes of "The Flash Archives" are great and these are teh stories done at teh height of The Flash's popularity.
In the 1960's, DC Comics made a disasterous decicision to go camp with Batman and all its other comic book titles to try to capitalize on the success of the 1960's Batman TV series. Also at this time, a lot of DC Comics creative talents That had worked at DC Comics and its subsidiary company All American Comics left DC Comics. Tehy could not get teh publishers to agree to start a retirement pension plan of a health benefit plan.
Tehy were getting older now and many left to find employment that did offer a retirement plan and health benefits.
The writers of the Flash, John Broome and Gardner Fox left. Gardner Fox and who had a law degree went back to practicing law. Teh Flash's artist Carmine Infantino stayed and was promoted to Art Director, so he ws no longer working on the Flash either.
After this, The Flash was never teh same again and neither was the Flash's bpopularity.
However, you can re-live the old days when The Flash was at the hieght of his populrity and enjoy the original Silver Age Stories by Editor Julie Schwartz, writers John Broome and Gardner Fox, and artist Carmine Infantino.