Monday, June 18, 2007

The Final Fate of the Flash?

Things don't look good for our hero! Tony Daniel's final cover artwork for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13, revealed late last week, features the latest hero to wear the crimson comet's cowl in the arms of the Black Flash, the form assumed by Death when it comes to claim speedsters. Will Bart Allen soon join his grandfather? Is the fourth Flash facing a dead end? Kelson Vibber is quick to point out that this isn't the first time that the Flash's imminent doom has been proclaimed from the cover of a comic book and that we'd all be fools to believe that this evidence alone spells certain death for the fastest man alive. From the Silver Age to the Modern Age, from Barry Allen to Bart Allen, "Dead Flash Covers" chronicles DC Comics's long, proud history of titillating readers with the prospect of the beloved hero's demise.

While you're visting Mr. Vibber's blog, be sure and take a look at his recent commentary on the "Victimized Hero." Highly sexualized artistic representations of subjugated superheroines are all-too common in comics. The recent controversy over the cover for Marvel's Heroes for Hire #13 provides proof enough. Is there evidence to suggest that this sort of artistic victimization is limited to heroines, however, or has the scarlet speedster himself faced this sort of treatment on the cover of his own comic book?


Craig MacD. said...

Both Newsarama and Tony Daniel's blog( posted three page previews for The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13. Tony himself said that the third page to the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 which featured Barry Allen's last stand.

Dixon said...

You're most welcome, Kelson. I found both commentaries to be very thought provoking.

And Craig, I knew the instant I glanced at The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 preview that the third page was an homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths. I guess we know what issue to spotlight for this week's Classic Cover, don't we?

Craig MacD. said...

You guys might already be aware of this, but the events of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 and Justice League of America #10 have been spoiled on messageboards everywhere. Assuming the information gathered on those boards is true, the "Payback!" on the cover to All-Flash is due to one Flash taking vengeance on the Rogues for the death of another Flash.

Zeke said...

I remember this one well. I was only 9 or so, and I'd just started collecting comics, with my dad's approval. (It was his old Flash annual, reprinting five great Barry stories, that made me a fan.) I came in with #42 and got as far as #48, but then Dad was mysteriously unable to get the next couple of issues. The next one he got for me was #52, and I filled in the gaps shortly thereafter. What had really happened, of course, was that Dad had realized #49 could traumatize someone at my age, so he waited till it was clear that Wally would survive before getting me that story. It was the right thing to do, though it did mean #52 confused the hell out of me with Wally's new costume and all.

This was the first time Dad was really confronted with how much comics had changed since his day. He grew up in the 60s (his big box of Marvels includes a nearly-intact FANTASTIC FOUR #3), and both companies were writing for kids back then. He recognizes the quality of some modern comics, but he thinks it was a very sad day when comics decided to be "adult," and sometimes I agree with him. I know that if I had kids, I would not want them reading the latest FLASH issue, and that's a relatively tame example.

- Z

Dixon said...

Thanks for sharing that story, Zeke. I think that each of us, as time moves on, has felt as your father did at one point or another. These days I'm picking out comic books for my young niece to read, and I know that I have to think long and hard sometimes about which issues of which comics I'll be passing along to her.