On the one hand, I’m a kinda shocked by how little I remember about this excellent Dick Giordano cover done over a Carmine Infantino layout. It’s totally unlike any Flash cover that preceded it, which should make it memorable for that reason alone. On the other hand, it was easy for it to get lost given everything that was happening in the comics world at the time, and in my personal world as well. Marvel was in high gear at this point and Jack Kirby had yet to make any noises about wanting to break up the band (at least not to me anyway). DC was starting to find their way forward into the new age of graphic story telling as we were on the cusp of ringing down the curtain on the Silver Age of comics. Okay, seems like as good a time as ever to get this over with so here goes. My take on the the dawning of the Bronze Age is that it always seemed to start with Green Lantern and Green Arrow hitting the road with the inspired writing and art of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams to propel them forward, with full sunrise occurring when Kirby jumped ship from Marvel to DC. This is the work that was spinning my head around back then. It was clearly groundbreaking and innovative. The Flash on the other hand was trying to keep one foot planted firmly in the past while trying to look like it was moving into the future. While other books were actually doing it, The Flash stories screamed that they were trying to do it.
In the first story in the book “The Satan Circle”, we find Satanic Cults, hippies, guitars, discos and whatever else Robert Kanigher could throw in to make his work seem like it was groovy and hip. Ya dig? It wasn’t. His story of the Flash saving Iris from a Satanic cult shows every drop of Kanigher’s sweat as he tries to make the reader believe that he understands and cares about something that he clearly doesn’t. At the same time, the Novick/Anderson art does a serviceable in support of the story. There’s just not a great deal to support there.
A much better job job is turned in by newbie Flash scribe, Steve Skeates on the Kid Flash story “The Accusation”. It’s a simple Twilight Zoney sort of story that has a more modern feel simple because it isn’t trying to be modern. It just is. In it, a man dreams that he is involved in a hit and run accident that kills someone. When he almost runs down a distracted Kid Flash at the end of the story, KF whirls on him and accuses him of trying to kill someone – which he then does when he crashes into a light pole killing himself. I didn’t say it was a great story, but at least it wasn’t embarrassing. And the art by another Flash newbie, Duck Dillin, with inks by Murphy Anderson is simply wonderful. As Julie Schwartz once said in describing what comic book art should do, it makes the eyes happy.
As for me, I spent that frosty fall and winter working away on my new cartoon panel for the Tuesday Teen Page in the Chronicle-Telegram. As I threw everything I had into it, I kinda forgot about getting back to Roy Thomas at Marvel and, instead, started aiming my sights in a new direction.*
*For all the gory details, check out the Match to Flame tag on this very blog.