There’s not really a whole lot to say about this Flash 80 Page Giant that appeared as issue #189 of the regular run. The numbering on these 80 Page Giants was always whimsical at best, but this is the second reprint book to be dropped into the regular numbering of the Flash run. If required to guess, I’d have to say that a reprint book like this would be a great way to catch up on the old schedule, which could explain its being included in the ongoing numbering of the magazine. As a subscriber, I might have resented such shenanigans were it not for the fact that this collection included two stories, The Man Who Claimed the Earth, and Return of the Super Gorilla that appeared before my personal Flashcendence and which I had only been aware of through comments I’d read in the Flashgrams letters pages. I can’t say for sure without further research that I’m not inclined to do at the moment, but, given the number of reprint books already extant, these two stories may well have filled in the final two gaps for me in the early stories that I missed. We’ll know for sure when the next 80 Page Flash Giant shows up, won’t we?
All that being said, there was one thing in this book that was pretty special and made it all worth it and then some for me. At the very end of the book there appeared a two page spread entitled “How I Draw the Flash by Carmine Infantino. On those two pages Carmine demonstrates, starting with simple breakdowns and culminating with finished art, how he draws the Flash’s head, figure and figure in action. No disrespect to my art profs, but I learned more about drawing from those two pages than I had in any of my art classes up to that point. We were in the middle of the abstract expressionism and pop art explosion back then and drawing skills were undervalued to say the very least. But here was an artist I admired to no end breaking it all down for me. It goes without saying that it made a huge impression on me… so much so that when I was preparing an homage to the Flash Museum story in Funky in which Darin Fairgood (the son Lisa gave up for adoption and who was adopted by Fred and Ann Fairgood) received tickets from his wife Jessica (the daughter of John Darling) for Darin and his friend Pete (soon to be dating Ed Crankshaft’s granddaughter Mindy) to go to the Flash Museum in Central City, I actually used, through the miracle that we call Photoshop, Carmine’s drawings from that 80 Page Flash Giant as murals on the walls of the museum. Fifty years after I first saw them. Now that’s what I call making an impression.