TreasuryCast #77 – Flash Comics #1

Rob welcomes writer/artist Gabriel Hardman to discuss FAMOUS FIRST EDITION #F8: THE FLASH COMICS #1!

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15 responses to “TreasuryCast #77 – Flash Comics #1

  1. Great episode as usual Rob. Huge fan of these Famous First Editions and of all of them, this just might be my favourite cover, so dynamic!
    I Always wondered why we never got a Green Lantern #1 in the FFE line, an unusual omission and it made the cut along with all the others on a Sears bedding set in 1975 (remember that?)
    Also why Marvel never followed suit with their own facsimile famous firsts was a bit of a head scratcher.

  2. Great discussion! I knew Harry Lampbert only drew the Flash for a few issues, but checking out Mike’s Amazing World, he shifted over to “The King” strip and stayed on it through issue #34. In Flash Comics #43, he inked The Flash story, apparently his last credit on his co-creation. Oddly enough, he drew a chapter in the JSA story All-Star Comics #34, but that featured the Atom, NOT the Flash (although Lee Elias drew that, so it’s gorgeous)!

    I definitely feel Sheldon Moldoff’s Golden Age work is some of the best All-American and/or DC had in their stable in the 40s. It’s kind of a shame most people know him for the very simplified style he used on the Batman strip, ghosting for Bob Kane for nearly 20 years. There’s a charm to that, of course, but Moldoff was a MUCH better artist than what most folks thought him capable of. Of course, no one knew that was him back then, so I guess at the time, no big shakes!

    As much as I like Hawkman, that very early “hat” version (as Gabriel pointed out) is pretty off-putting. I much prefer the later redesigns by Moldoff and Joe Kubert. Hey, maybe Jay, Carter, and the Whip should have formed the in-comic super team, the All-Hat Squadron! They could have kept Johnny out!

    Speaking of the Whip, he showed up in Roy Thomas’ All-Star Squadron, so at some point DC must have considered his exploits as taking place in contemporary times. But DC was pretty fast and loose with that back in the Golden and early Silver Ages. Pow-Wow Smith’s strip was set in modern times in Detective Comics, but one issue after moving to Western Comics, it was suddenly set in the late 1800s, with no explanation!

    Looking forward to checking out that comic project that Gabriel mentioned. Oh, and that movie too. Never heard of that series, though. 😉

  3. Thanks for the podcast. This stirred up some memories, including the day I first got this Famous First Edition. I was about 9 years old. My Uncle Phil had passed away. It was the first funeral I had ever attended and my Aunt was overcome with emotions, in a way that I’ve only seen since in fiction (think Leland Palmer at his daughter’s funeral). Afterwards, everyone went to their Brooklyn apartment to sit shiva. My Dad took me downstairs to the corner luncheonette to get something to distract me and that is how I got this issue.

    This was also one of the first times I read an origin story and I remember nerding out and boring my disinterested friends that I knew the Flash’s origin and secret identity. I had no idea about Earth-1 and Earth-2 at this point and I really didn’t know much about the Flash yet. (The other origin story I remember from around this time is from when I read the Famous First Edition of Batman #1 – believe it or not, most kids in the 60’s and early 70’s had no idea about Thomas and Martha Wayne)

    One last memory: thirty years later, after my grandfather’s funeral, the rabbi who did the service came up to me and said that he had heard from my family that I was a comic book fan. He told me that his grandfather had created the Flash. I said, wait, you’re grandfather was Gardner Fox? Oops, his grandfather was Harry Lampert. No offense taken. He was a very nice man and proud of his grandfather.

  4. Another great podcast. And like you, Rob, I love the original house ads that were included in these treasuries. They really help draw you into the era.

    Someone once told me years ago that at least some of the art that appeared in these Golden Age treasuries wasn’t original, but was actually traced by other artists in the 1970s. The reason given was that DC didn’t have suitable copies of the original comics, so they had to recreate parts of it. I’m not sure if that’s true or not, but I do recall there being a fan kerfuffle when it was alleged that Marvel was re-drawing (and in some cases altering) art from the 1960s in their Masterworks collections in the 90s.

    And by the way, FLASH COMICS had an unintended consequence for a comic book publisher other than DC. Fawcett was all set to debut their new character, Captain Marvel, in the first issue of their own FLASH COMICS, only to discover that DC/All-American had narrowly beaten them to the title’s name. So Fawcett’s book was quickly rebranded as WHIZ COMICS, although there was an ashcan version printed with the initial FLASH title.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyed the discussion, gentlemen; Gabriel was a really great guest, I really found his insights quite interesting. In fact, I don’t know how many of these Famous First Editions you have left to cover, but I wouldn’t mind a return appearance to discuss them (even though I know his top priority now is to get invited to participate in the Super Friends podcast because he’s champing at the bit to win one of those coveted Robbies).

    Otherwise, since Gabriel was wondering about any more recent use of Johnny Thunder, it’s worth pointing out that the Thunderbolt appeared in the Stargirl TV series.
    And comics cost a quarter in 1975…

  6. Great episode once agin another great guest.
    Jay the golden age flash is one of my favorite characters of the golden age thou my favorite is sand man classic version.
    It should be noted when the flash of earth 2 did show up in the show I was jumping up down seeing him . And yes that hat !!!
    In case any one is interesting my current comic reading the bendis run of x-men volume 2.
    I love time travel stories . Also a quick question have guys ever reviewed any western or pirate comics ?

  7. And by western comics I mean besides zorro.
    Like stuff from the golden age . And have you guys covered the thunder agents or my favorite the green turtle . And is a red bee podcasts really going to happen or was shag joking . With him I’m never sure . Have a great month and stay safe one And all .

  8. It’s fascinating to see the earliest stories of some of these now-iconic characters.

    There’s a real argument for the evolution of some of these characters to be more relevant to modern times, but without sacrificing what makes these characters so unique and interesting.

    Flash was a surprise with his initial frivolous use of his superpowers, since I’m so used to seeing him as the “elder statesman” superhero of the JSA. Hawkman really had that strange sense of a revenge story (appropriate for Horus the Hawk God, NOT Anubis), along with the thin veneer of Egyptian mythology that become such a core aspect of the character.

    Johnny Thunder seemed to be curious, naive, and well-meaning and not quite the sad interpretation that we see now. Am wondering if there’s a way to refine him so he’s not such a loser…

  9. Cliff Cornwall… “Who’s That?”
    Oh.. wait… he doesn’t qualify for that podcast, because he didn’t even make the cut of WHO’s WHO. Poor guy. There were other obscure characters that didn’t even appear in 18 comics that were included.
    I really love these golden age comics. They presented sheer adventure at an incredibly fast pace. Don’t worry about science and facts! Just hurry up and save the day. The rather crude art even helps propel the story along. There’s just enough there to show you the basics of what’s going on and move you to the next panel.
    These were fun comics.
    Thanks for another great episode. Always enjoy listening.

  10. Terrific show, Mr Hardman is a fun guest.

    I never had this treasury edition, DC treasuries being like hen’s teeth in the UK, but I would have loved it, The Flash being one of my favourite DC books in the Seventies – it was always a great seeing Jay and Joan, so getting their first appearance would have been amazing.

    It always struck me as odd that when Jay’s stories proved a hit they didn’t just convert the book to all-Flash, rather than coming out with an All-Flash quarterly. They could have moved Hawkman and pals over to a new title.

  11. “Ralph Farnham” isn’t a scary name? My grandmother’s maiden name was Farnum and she could scare the bejeebers out of me!

  12. Great show, Rob. Gabriel Hardman was a terrific guest. I had never read Jay Garrick’s first appearance before so this story was new to me. I’ve always loved the classic Flash’s look. The mercury helmet and the lightning bolt shirt is so cool. And nothing says hero more than standing over your villain’s broken body at the bottom of a cliff, watching them as they die in agony, just so you watch the light leave their eyes.

    Joan is fascinating in this story. I never knew she was such a toxic sports fan. Joan is not going to lose her over/under bet on Midwestern University because Jay’s bringing weak shit on the gridiron! Forget your test tubes, nerd, and focus on the halfback option! She clearly missed her calling as a loud ESPN analyst. Later Joan is troubled by her dad’s kidnapping, but not enough to miss out on her afternoon brandy. Then she celebrates her father’s return (and the murder of all four villains) with a TRAY full of brandy. I’m starting to realize why these two dark individuals were so into each other.

    The other stories were a mixed bag. I actually liked the original Hawkman mask. He started with the mask over his eyes and it looked good. I guess he started pushing the mask up and wearing it as a hat in the second half of the story because it’s hard to fly when you have a bird face over your eyes. Hawkman is always been one of those characters who looks so cool, but nobody knows what to do with him. Giving him Indiana Jones type adventures is a nice idea, but it’s hard when he can fly over most traps and busted bridges. Maybe team him with Ralph Farnham: Space Pirate.

    Okay, gotta go jump some ducks.

  13. I was surprised to learn that Hawkman originally had blue eyes and blond hair. He always had brown eyes and hair in all the comics I’ve read. It should be easy for DC to retcon Carter as being of Egyptian origin or descent. And why does he get so much hate? Is it because he’s conservative? I always loved his design, and I find his origins as a reincarnated ancient Egyptian prince highly interesting and much more inventive and unique than just another alien in the DCU.


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