Once again we digress from our journey through the complete Silver Age Flash run to note a crossover – in fact a crossover twofer. The Flash not only appears in Green Lantern this month, but in the Brave and the Bold team-up book as well, both of which feature the debut of DC’s go-go checks. The go-go checks were either loved or reviled depending pretty much on whether you loved or reviled them. When Randy Reynaldo created my Batom Comics Charlie and Chuck cover, he specifically asked if he could put the go-go checks on top. If you encountered them during your golden hour, they made an indelible impression. They were obviously intended as DC’s attempt to identify with the pop art sixties as the company began to envy Stan Lee and Marvel Comics hipper than thou approach. Plus they were certainly easy to spot on the comics spinner rack. However, as DC’s s stories, especially when compared to Marvel, began to exhibit a little creakiness, it also meant that it helped you spot the comics you no longer wanted to buy.
This was especially evident in the The Flash and The Doom Patrol issue of The Brave and the Bold. The writers at DC were older men who had progressed the art of comics tremendously (note the gorgeous Gil Kane cover on Green Lantern and the wonderful-comic-book perfect Bruno Premiani cover on the Brave and the Bold), but who were also becoming a bit stodgy and set in their ways. And who could blame them? They were still outselling all of the other comic book companies at this time. But they were running on a momentum and inertia that had begun to run down a little. In his script for this issue, Bob Haney appeared to be wanting to infuse his characters with what he had sussed out as the Marvel magic – “hip lingo”. And so you have Negative Man saying things like: “Ring-a-ding-ding! Now I suppose you’ve got some super duper gizmo to soup up my powers too!” There was also fairly contrived drama and bickering between the characters a la Marvel. DC seemed to take themselves way too seriously, and, when they tried not to, the result was silly camp. Stan, on the other hand, had the uncanny ability to take himself seriously and not seriously simultaneously. Pairing knowing confidence with self deprecation is a pretty difficult act to pull off and Stan was a master at it. DC’s attempt to emulate bits and pieces of Stan’s act only came off as somewhat sad and pathetic. It’s one of the reasons that from early on in Funky I made a conscious effort to to try to avoid popular slang and jargon. It’s also why I never put go-go checks on the top of my strips.