Thursday, July 30, 2009

News Flash

As regular readers have no doubt noticed, some time ago I made the decision that this blog would no longer attempt to remain up-to-the-minute with the latest comic news and reviews. There are a great many comic book resources out there on the web, and Kelson Vibber's Speed Force does a better job of reporting the news than I ever could. Truly, Speed Force should be considered the "blog of record" for ongoing series featuring the scarlet speedster. Instead, Crimson Lightning has chosen to focus on... well, generally mucking about in the Silver Age of comics, to be honest. The way I see it, we're all bound to have more fun that way. All that being said, there have been some developments in recent weeks that simply can't be ignored. It's time for a quick news flash...

  • DC Comics has announced a new ongoing series of The Flash. The news was broken during the DC Universe panel at the San Diego Comic-Con. As anticipated, the new book will be written by Geoff Johns, though the artist has not yet been revealed. The series will debut sometime early next year.
  • What's that? One monthly comic featuring your favorite speedsters isn't enough? You want more? DC Comics has also announced an ongoing series for Kid Flash! How lucky are we? The book will be written by Sterling Gates. Again, no announcements have been made concerning an artist or the book's release date.
  • With all this good news comes a bit of the bad--that slowpoke Barry Allen is going to keep us waiting. The Flash: Rebirth #4 has been rescheduled by DC Comics yet again and will now be released on August 26th. As a result, the remaining issues in the mini-series have also been rescheduled. The Flash: Rebirth #5 will arrive on October 14th and The Flash: Rebirth #6 will be available from November 18th.
  • The three-part Blackest Night: Flash tie-in mini-series, written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Scott Kolins, will begin in November, likely sometime after the finish of The Flash: Rebirth. The story will feature Barry Allen and Wally West battling a bevy of zombie foes. Your favorite fallen members of the Rogues Gallery? They're baaaaack!
  • In a stroke of inspired casting, John Wesley Shipp will apparently be providing the voice for Professor Zoom in an upcoming episode of Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and the Bold featuring the fastest man alive and his enemies. The actor announced the project on his Facebook page, asking, "Does this mean that I am now, officially, my own worst enemy?" Thanks go to Steve Tomaszewski for the tip.
  • As if the man wasn't busy enough, The Hollywood Reporter has indicated that none other than Geoff Johns has signed on to co-write and produce the upcoming Flash feature film for Warner Bros. Johns has already written a treatment for the movie. This could bode well for the crimson comet's cinema debut, particularly with Green Lantern entering production, though the project has been a long time in coming. Dare we to dream?

And that's the way it is. Now, if you'll excuse me, this fanboy is a bit overexcitedly distracted by the revelation that the Rainbow Raider will be returning as a Black Lantern...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fast Talk: Effects of Absolute Zero

Effects of Absolute Zero:
When we last left our fleet-footed hero he was staring down the barrel of Captain Cold's astonishing cold gun, threatened with a blast of temperatures below that of absolute zero! Impossible, you say? Quite right and, refreshingly, that's something that Len Snart is rather open about. "I know that sounds impossible--but then everything I do is impossible!" What's that, Len? No lectures in pseudoscience or supervillain self-praise today? Just as surprising is the Rogue's admission that he has no idea what the effect of such impossibly low temperatures might be. A shot from the modified cold gun ("ZWEEE!") settles his--and our--curiosity. In an icy and anticlimactic instant, the scarlet speedster is... broken, separated into seven solid pieces. Yes, with all of his efforts to overcome the very laws of thermodynamics, Cold has simply performed the equivalent of a high school science experiment; he might as well have dipped his arch-nemesis in dry ice and hit him with a hammer. In this instance, the villain's scientific accomplishments seem to be both astonishing and underwhelming simultaneously. At the very least, the frigid felon is overselling the end result: "What an odd effect--but terrific! Of course, Flash would say awful! Just goes to show what stupendous forces there are below absolute zero!" I'm not sure what else to say. With his uncharacteristic candor, it looks as if Captain Cold himself has exposed this week's bit of impossible scientific fast talk!

Issue: The Flash #193 (December 1969)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Find the Flash: Comic-Con '09

No, you're not seeing double. This snapshot, which could be appropriately subtitled "Flash of Two Worlds!," captures a pair of scarlet speedsters, both dressed in the distinctive garb of the one and only Jay Garrick. This particular photograph is extra special, however, because there on the left is our good buddy Kelson Vibber! Reporting from the floor of the San Diego Comic-Con, Kelson has observed that, for one reason or another, nearly all of this year's attendees dressed as the fastest man alive have donned Jay's classic costume; there seemed to be no Wally Wests or Barry Allens in attendance. It looks like Golden Age threads are back in style. Visit Speed Force to read Kelson's convention updates or to peruse his photo album. I'd say that winged tin hat suits you, Kelson!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Flash Facts: Inventing the Telescope

"Legend has it that the Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lippershey got the inspiration for the telescope when he he looked at a steeple through a pair of spectacle lenses held in either hand."

Issue: The Flash #133 (December 1962)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fast Talk: Below Absolute Zero

Below Absolute Zero: Aspiring master criminals, attend carefully. What elevates a mere costumed crook into the enviably ranks of true supervillainy? Not only must you possess terrifying technology or some astonishing ability, you must be willing to wield your powers with arrogance and flare! No one knows this better than the flashy members of the Flash's own Rogues Gallery. Take Captain Cold. He's got the requisite gadgetry and the scientific know-how, as demonstrated during this particular confrontation with the crimson comet. His trademark cold gun is a truly impressive bit of kit, capable of inducing absolute zero. As any physics professor would no doubt explain at this juncture, it's important to note that absolute zero is unattainable through either natural or artificial means, a state that exists nowhere in nature. It's not enough that Len Snart can casually defy the laws of thermodynamics, however. Oh, no. To justify his standing as a true Rogue he must be brash enough--or bonkers enough--to best even that! As the scarlet speedster bears down on him through an ice-cold aura, the frigid felon boasts, "There's time enough to tell you I prepared this special attachment to my cold-gun with you in mind, Flash! It lowers the blast temperature of my gun to below absolute zero!" That's right, below absolute zero. It's one thing to be a gifted gadgeteer who understands the ins and outs of quantum physics, but that's what I call showing off. As a scientist himself, Barry Allen no doubt fully appreciates this impressive predicament. What mind-boggling effects might the unimaginable temperatures beyond absolute zero induce? I think I'll save that jaw-dropping scientific surprise for next week. This showcase of theoretical tomfoolery is simply too sizable for one Fast Talk feature.

Issue: The Flash #193 (December 1969)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Flash Facts: Meteoric Acceleration

"The average meteor enters the Earth's atmosphere at a speed of about twenty-five miles a second. At the same time the Earth is moving through space at eighteen and a half miles a second. Should the meteor hit our atmosphere in a direction opposite the Earth's motion, the meteor's falling velocity will be almost forty-five miles a second."

Illustration: "Fireball exploding in Earth's atmosphere."

Issue: The Flash #113 (June-July 1960)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tom vs. The Flash

In this blog's sidebar you'll find links to a number of entertaining blogs and websites dedicated to the colorful superheroes and supervillains of the DC Universe. Today, I'd like to point out one in particular.

If you're not listening to Tom vs. The Flash, you should be. Tom Katers's high-energy retellings capture all that's fun and exciting about Silver Age issues of The Flash. The storytelling is breathless, chanelling all of the madcap energy of Barry Allen's wildest exploits. On top of that, these podcasts are absolutely hilarious, though it's important to note that each joke-filled performance clearly stand as a celebration, not a spoof. You can just hear Tom grinning like a madman through each and every adventure. I would say that these comic book capers couldn't be more appropriately rendered as vocal narratives. How he's able to maintain that non-stop schedule of his, I'll never know, but they're all there--every one of The Flash's classic adventures. I admire his dedication.

You can download each of the archived podcasts at the Tom vs. The Flash website or via iTunes. For newcomers, I can't think of a better place to start than the recently recorded Tom vs. The Flash #210, a retelling of the unforgettable "An Earth Divided!" by Cary Bates and Irv Novick. This stuff is priceless. Load these babies on your iPod and enjoy some of the scarlet speedster's Silver Age silliness on your commute to work or during your next jog. This is just the sort of audio entertainment any reader of Crimson Lightning is bound to enjoy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fast Talk: Mental Mirrors

Mental Mirrors: Utterly unappreciative of the effort undertaken by his public defender, Attorney Paul Barrett, supervillain Sam Scudder uses his time at trial to initiate a manipulative scheme that will allow him to escape from prison... again. Scudder later gloats, "No one suspects that at my trial I seized control of my lawyer's mind by tiny mirrors secreted on my person." The Mirror Master's villainous rants reveal that his latest trick with mirrors isn't simply an act of hypnotic suggestion, however. "From now on Barrett is in my power! Wherever he is, he will follow my mental commands! Even now I don't have to speak to tell him what I want!" Not only are these tiny reflectors impractically small, they're also clearly telepathic! Combine this pseudoscientific knowledge with last week's lesson in the coercive powers of super-speed radiation and we have to ask ourselves, are any of the crimson comet's foes incapable of jury-rigging some psychic powers at a moment's notice? One disappointing fact is abundantly clear: Central City's Rogues have absolutely no respect for the dedicated professionals who maintain this nation's great legal system. Still, it's all in a day's work for poor Paul Barrett, public defender to high-profile costumed supervillains!

Issue: The Flash #130 (August 1962)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Flash Facts: The Cosmic Year

"The 'cosmic year' is the period required by the sun to make a complete revolution about the center of the galaxy. The sun's velocity--relative to the ensemble of the nearest stars--is twelve miles per second, and the 'cosmic year' is 200,000,000 years long."

Issue: The Flash #208 (August 1971)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

On Sale: Wednesday Comics #1

Karl Kerschl is amazing. Kerschl's conception of the Flash is masterfully rendered on the page, perfectly capturing and conveying the character's speed, grace, and power, as well as the fluidity and dynamism of his movements. In Kerschl's hands, the scarlet speedster--be he Barry, Wally, or Bart--is a lithe and energetic sprinter, not a muscle-bound enforcer, visually represented as a true monarch of motion. Kerschl's fast becoming one of my favorite Flash artists. Naturally, The Flash (v.3) #3 and All-Flash (v.2) #1 are cherished possessions of mine. For me, this rave has been long in coming, and I thought this would be the appropriate moment to post a few comments here.

Now, fans of the fastest man alive can delight in Kerschl's amazing artwork each and every week with the debut of Wednesday Comics, which includes an all-new Flash Comics feature pairing The Flash with Iris West! (Could this comic book couple be any more romantic? Could they be more cute? They now each have their own comic strip adventures running side-by-side!) Kerschl will both write and illustrate the adventures, and a preview of the first installment depicts the Flash facing off against arch-villain Gorilla Grodd whilst Iris agonizes over her failing marriage. I don't know about you, but I'd say that Wednesday Comics is exciting stuff, especially with Kerschl on board. Visit DC Comics or its production blog, The Source, for more news and information on the release.

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with Wednesday Comics, a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today! Wednesday Comics is unique in modern comics history: reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28" x 20" tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action, and excitement, with each feature on its own 14" x 20" page. Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello... each page of Wednesday Comics spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including... The Flash, written by Karl Kerschl and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl. DC Universe. 16pgs. Color. $3.99 US. On Sale July 8, 2009.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Show and Tell: Part 3

Here, as promised, is a follow-up to last week's bit of show and tell. You'll forgive an uncle his odd moment of whimsy. While my six-year-old niece had her crayons out and was accepting commissions for superhero portraits, I made sure to request a dedicated drawing of the fastest man alive. This is the result! She well knows that her uncle's favorite superhero is the Flash so she put her all into this particular illustration, and it shows! I believe that she had a bit of help with the outline of the profile here--thanks to grandma!--but she's nicely captured the trademark visuals long associated with the scarlet speedster. Has his distinctive golden earpiece ever looked more stylish? Rest assured that I'll collect a new set of drawings featuring the Superfriends the next time that the little scamp comes to visit.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Flash Facts: Seismic Sea Waves

"Tidal waves (more accurately called seismic sea waves, since they are waves set up by submarine earthquakes) sometimes travel across the ocean with speeds exceeding 400 miles an hour."

Illustration: "A railroad bridge in the Hawaiian islands that felt the full force of a violent seismic sea wave."

Issue: The Flash #150 (February 1965)

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Find the Flash: Wizard World Philly

Over at the amazing Aquaman Shrine, our friend Rob Kelly has posted a report on his recent visit to the Wizard World Philly convention. Rob made sure to snap photos of some of the best costumes he spotted amongst the crowd. Among them is a portrait of this familiar figure sporting lightning bolts and a winged tin hat. Jay Garrick's costume is an undeniable classic and it's always wonderful to see some enthusiastic Flash fan bring it to life.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Fast Talk: Super Speed Limit

Super Speed Limit: Forget about the complexities of Constitutional Law or Civil Procedure. True jurisdictive dilemmas result when mad science and the legal system collide! "The Mightiest Punch of All Time," a Silver Age classic by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, features one of The Flash's most absurd and, I would say, delightful plot twists. Professor Zoom has once again used his Cosmic Treadmill to travel to the present-day, and he's brought along some truly threatening technology. Using a beam of intense super-speed radiation that inexplicably possesses hypnotic properties, the Reverse Flash is capable of controlling the minds of unsuspecting citizens! How does the futuristic felon plan to make creative use of this incredible power in order to devastate his mortal enemy? By influencing municipal ordinances, of course! Yes, Zoom toys with the thoughts of the Central City Municipal Council and, as a result, from that day forward "it is strictly forbidden to travel at super-speed within the limits of Central City!" Naturally, the law-abiding scarlet speedster is forced to comply with the newly invoked super speed limit and spends the rest of this airy adventure walking! I'll have to consult a particularly bright and particularly open-minded law student on the legality of the council's decision. Nevertheless, in the wake of the unforgettable murder and atrocities that the deranged Reverse Flash would later commit, can you imagine a day and age when Eobard Thawne's evil was restricted to mischievous attempts at taunting the fastest man alive by tampering with local politics? Something tells me that the supervillain's future plans for Barry Allen will be far more malicious.

Issue: The Flash #153 (June 1965)