Once upon a time, in the long-distant, antediluvian past, comic books were a lot like movies, or television shows. You caught them when they first came out (or on), or you were out of luck. Eventually, as we all know, the advent of consumer videotape technology changed everything for TV and film. Similarly, the gradual development of the comics collectors’ market ultimately made it economically feasible to reprint old, ephemeral newsprint periodicals in brand new, designed-to-last, real-book editions, and then to keep them in print for, if not ever, then a lot longer than a month or two. These days, in fact, you can even download a digital copy of a fifty-year-old comic book for less than the cost of a new one. (What a world we live in. You kids today, you just don’t know.) Read More
My very first issue of The Flash sported a very dramatic cover, featuring a “Wanted” poster bearing the faces of both the Scarlet Speedster and his secret identity, police scientist Barry Allen. When I first picked the book out of the spinner rack, however, I didn’t get the idea at all.
I’d already encountered the Flash in Justice League of America #40 (at least I think I had — it and Flash #156 have the same cover date, and the Grand Comics Database doesn’t provide actual dates of publication for either, unfortunately). He never appeared as Barry Allen in that issue, however, and I had no idea what the word “alias” meant. So, I thought the two guys on the poster were two different people. But whoever this “Barry Allen” might be, he was obviously in big trouble with the pretty young woman clutching a tear-soaked handkerchief, just as the Flash had self-evidently earned the ire of his (previously unknown to me) teenage sidekick, Kid Flash.
Of course, I didn’t get very far into the issue before my misapprehension was corrected. Read More
According to the Grand Comics Database, this comic book was published exactly 50 years ago today, on August 26, 1965. The fact that it came out pretty late in the month may be significant, as it seems very likely to me that I bought it only after buying Justice League of America #40, which doesn’t have a specific date of release given in the GCD, but does have a later cover date of November, 1965. That’s because I didn’t have a clue who Green Lantern was before I started buying comics, and it seems logical that I took a chance on the Emerald Crusader’s solo book only after first encountering him as a member of the JLA. This book could well have been on the stands for a week or two after JLA #40’s release. But since I don’t really know if any of that is actually true, I’m going to go ahead and honor the cover dates, and post about GL #40 ahead of the Justice League book. Read More
I think that this was the second comic book I bought, but I’m not sure. It has the same cover date as Superman #180, but so does another comic I bought around the same time. I’m sure Superman #180 was the very first, but my memory of the specific sequence of acquisitions is a little dim after that. I feel like Batman followed right after Superman, however, and it also seems like the most appropriate choice — so that’s what I’m going with here.
My memory is also trying to tell me that I was previously aware of Batman from commercials for his upcoming live-action series (maybe even one featuring the Batusi?), but that seems pretty unlikely. The premiere of ABC’s “Batman” was still 5 months away, and I don’t believe that networks aired promos that far in advance in those days — but I could be wrong. Assuming there hadn’t been any such commercials, however, I must have had only a vague idea of who Batman was and what he was all about. Only a year later, Batman would be everywhere — toys, records, books, trading cards, other novelties, a movie — but in the summer of ’65 there were only the comics. Read More