Friday, May 20, 2016

Flash Comics (1939) #1

Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, first appears in Flash Comics #1 written by Gardner Fox. While I like many of the characters Fox created, I must confess that I am not a fan of his writing. It's like he has really cool concepts for superpowers/superheroes, but then has no idea how to write logically coherent characters to embody those ideas.

Flash Comics (1939) #1 Page 2 Panels 7-9: Oops. Smoking is bad for you (especially in the science lab).I mean, what scientist would smoke in his own laboratory and become so distracted by the smoking that he bumps into his own equipment destroying his experiment?

Flash Comics (1939) #1 Page 5 Panels 2 & 3: Jay admits he is now a "freak of science," but Joan still won't go out on a date with him unless he wins at football.And what woman refuses to date a man with extraordinary speed until he agrees to employ that speed to win a football game? "I'm a freak of science..." please date me?! Seriously?
Flash Comics (1939) #1 Page 6 Panels 8 & 9: Jay Garrick creates his superhero identity as The Flash in response to a newspaper article about racketeering.Then, many moons later, one random evening, it finally occurs to Garrick to use his speed to fight crime? There seems to be no logical progression from lab accident to hero.
Flash Comics (1939) #1 Page 10 Panel 1: Joan's father has been missing for 3 months and she is just now seeking help?There's also little feeling between the characters as time elapses in strange intervals.
For instance, Joan Williams, the woman Garrick finally got to go on a date with after winning a football game back in college, asks for Garrick's assistance after they run into each other (again, a seemingly random event).

Joan tells Garrick that her father has been kidnapped, but they are suddenly interrupted by an attempt on Joan's life (a drive-by shooting). Garrick saves her (of course) but then suggests he'll drop by "tonight." Neither the shooting nor the father being kidnapped seems to inspire any urgency in these characters.

We learn -- when Garrick finally stops by -- that Joan's father has actually been missing for three months! THREE MONTHS! She even knows who did the kidnapping ("The Faultless Four"). Are you kidding me?

Flash Comics (1939) #1 Page 15 Panels 5 & 6: Satan, the bad guy, goes careening off the road during The Flash's pursuit. Oh well, another one bites the dust.The evil-doers are again archetypal villains (as in Satan -- literally, his name is Mr. Satan) who die whilst being pursued by the hero. Garrick even gloats over the wreck because he's classy that way.

Final Notions:

I must confess that if other "oldies but goodies" are this painful to read, I may have to skip over a few items in my collection to get to the meaty stuff.

Flash Comics (1939) #1 Cover
Series: Flash Comics (1939)

Issue #: 001

Copyright: DC Comics

Cover Date: January 1940

Cover Price: 10¢

Page Count: 15 pages

Print Release: 16-November-1939

Digital Release: 13-August-2011

DC Comics Logo
None Listed
Cover Art:
Source Links:
Story Title:
“The Flash”

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