Flash Fridays – The Flash #304 Dec ’81

Sep 2, 2022

As I sit here writing in the sunroom of the cartoon castle on an evening in late summer, I’m reminded by the date on this issue that it came out about this same time of year in 1981 (the dates on comic books usually preceded the actual publishing date by several months). It just sort of has the feel of one of those autumn back to school books that were my life raft from all things ‘school’ back in the day. The memory is probably enhanced by the appearance in the story of Willard Wiggins, the president of the Wiggins Toy Corporation. Wiggins is a long-armed-claw-back by writer Cary Bates to about twenty years earlier and the first Captain Boomerang story (I wrote about it in the Flash Friday covering issue #117, remember?). Wiggins was the one who hired the good Captain to promote the new toy boomerang that his company was bringing out. Of course, Boomer turned out to be a rotten-to-the-core Crabby Appleton (look it up if you’re so curious) type of baddie. But getting back to me, Wiggins and I have a rather personal relationship. On a similar summer evening way back when, I was home alone at our kitchen table copying faces from that prehistoric issue. I had penciled the face of Willard Wiggins and then, for the first time ever, tried to ink it with a crow quill pen and some India Ink… and I bleeping nailed it! As I sat there admiring my effort and thinking to myself that maybe this comic book artist thing wasn’t going to be such a tough nut to crack after all, I had no one to share my breakthrough moment. It was like golfing by yourself and getting a hole in one. 

So seeing old WW again in this issue was all warm and fuzzy for yours truly. In the story, Willard’s luck hasn’t changed all that much. His new hot toy is a computer gadget called Captain Computron, the creation of a disgruntled employee genius who uses the device to get back at Willard for treating so poorly while himself earning millions. A creation called Colonel Computron (a battlefield promotion by Bates there) escapes from the device and tries to turn WW into a digital image on a computer screen. He’s saved by the Flash who jumps in front of a blast intended for Willy and gets zapped into the computer instead. We get to see some nifty Infantino images of the Flash as a pixelated computer image, but, ever resourceful, Flash manages to escape by altering his impulse frequency. However, by that time Colonel Computron, like Elvis, has left the building. We’re left with an unresolved ending as the disgruntled mad genius breakfasts with his wife and the words “The end for now” appear in a caption box.

 

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