Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Flash (1960 - 1964: the Silver Age)


By Deejay Dayton
May 17, 2017 - 7:18

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The period 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age was a great one for the Flash. John Broome and Gardner Fox scripted stories for the character, drawn by Carmine Infantino, that provided him with most of the classic villains he would face over and over again. Kid Flash got a new and improved outfit, the Cosmic Treadmill was invented, and most importantly of all, Earth-2 would make its official debut in these pages, as Jay Garrick returned to the comics. Usually, I look at the villains in the last part of my articles, but because so many newly introduced enemies for the Flash turned up in stories that teamed him with other heroes, I am going to reverse that order.

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But first, I need to look, ever so briefly, at a story from Flash 128. Nothing significantly new was added to the Flash’s origin during these years aside from this tale, which deals with Barry Allen's decision to wear a mask. The tale takes place during the events of his debut story, after he gets his powers, but before he adopts his costume.  Barry's hero, Jay Garrick, did not wear a mask, and Barry daydreams about doing the same thing.

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In his reverie, not wearing a mask means everyone knows who he is, and this delays him at a critical time.  Based on this imagining, Barry decides to cover his face.

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We get to meet Barry’s Allen’s parents, Henry and Nora, for the first time in Flash 126, as well as his childhood sweetheart, Daphne Dean. Daphne has become an actress, and her manager is trying to drum up publicity by having her fake a romance with her childhood sweetheart, and brings her back to Fallville when he knows Barry will be back in his hometown. 

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The two hit it off, and though the manager believes it's all an act, it doesn't feel like one. There is a really charming scene with Daphne and Barry, as they find a tree they carved their initials into as kids. There is also some action, as Daphne gets kidnapped and robbed of some pearls she was wearing in scene from her latest film, which they were re-enacting.  The Flash stops the bad guys and saves the day. 

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And as Barry, he explains to Daphne that he is already involved with Iris. The manager is happy anyway, the theft got the publicity he wanted.  But poor Daphne is left miserable, she really did re-ignite her feelings for Barry.  The final panel shows her alone and crying.  It's heart breaking.

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Daphne Dean is back for another failed attempt at romance in Flash 132. Daphne contacts Barry Allen to apologize for the awkwardness between them at the end of her previous visit.  She has decided that she is now in love with the Flash, and gets him to arrange a date for them.  Iris knows Daphne is no threat, but Barry still lies to her about seeing his old childhood sweetheart. Flash spends the afternoon trash talking himself, while zipping away to fight crime at super speed, so Daphne thinks he is by her side. But at the end of the story, Daphne reveals that she saw him zip away in the window's reflection, and realized that the Flash didn't care about her, any more than Barry Allen did.  Daphne heads back to Hollywood, and somehow doesn't completely destroy herself.

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Captain Cold makes his first appearance in this book in Flash 114, a few years after his debut in Showcase.  He applies for parole, but both Iris West and the Flash testify against him, and it is refused.  Len Snart is prepared for this, though, and has already built a miniature cooling device that he uses to freeze the bars on his window, shatter them and escape. Captain Cold makes a beeline for Iris, but he is not seeking vengeance because of her testimony.  Nope, he has fallen in love with her, and proposes marriage.  Since she is not too keen on the idea, he makes himself more desirable by sealing Central City off in a wall of ice, after decoying the Flash out of town, and setting off a cold blast that leaves everyone else in suspended animation. 

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So now it's him, or no one. The Flash makes it through the ice wall.  Cold tries to use his absolute zero illusions on the Flash again, but he doesn't fall for them.  Changing tactics, Captain Cold then sends a glacier after the Flash, who assumes it's an illusion, and winds up getting caught in it.  But he just vibrates his way out and captures Cold. A nice nod to the illusion stuff from his first appearance.

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Heat Wave makes his debut opposite Captain Cold in Flash 140. Captain Cold has a new romantic interest, a model known as the Dream Girl, and winning her drives his plot in this issue.  There is a subplot dealing with her as well, as the Flash determines that she is also a missing heiress. But that is not as significant as the debut of Heat Wave.  Heat Wave first appears when he helps out Captain Cold, about to be defeated by the Flash.  The contrasting temperature extremes are a bit more than he is prepared to handle.

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The villains get along briefly, then spat over which of them should have Dream Girl, then work together again when the Flash shows up.  In essence, their relationship sets the pattern for the later, and larger, gatherings of the Rogues.  When they hit the Flash with both their weapons, as per the cover image, he uses his complete mastery of his body's atoms to counterbalance the effects, and then creates suction to have the two knock each other out.

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Grodd returns in two stories during this era, although in the first, in Flash 115, Grodd kills himself to escape his prison in Gorilla City.  He has taken a pill that will move his mind into some other type of body after his death, though he doesn't know what kind. It turns out that his new body is much like the one he got when he used the evolution ray, and Grodd assumes a human identity.  He gets a job working with chimps, and later uses them as his accomplices in crimes.

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Grodd uses a ray to turn the Flash into an obese mess.  Flash figures out that it is a case of water retention, and goes to a dehydrating plant to get back to normal.  Although he captures Grodd at the end of the story, the Flash has no idea that this human is really his old foe, who he believes is dead.

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In Flash 127 Grodd is still in human form and gets paroled from prison.  He returns to Gorilla City, and as he approaches his body turns back into that of a gorilla. The other apes do not recognize Grodd at first.  They are not expecting to see him, believing he is dead.  Grodd spots a female gorilla, Boka, and instantly falls for her.  Wouldn't you know it, Boka happens to be the girlfriend of Solovar.  Grodd creates a ray to endow him with neo-magnetic radiation, which has the effect of making everyone fall for him. 

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Grodd not only wins over Boka, but also takes command of Gorilla City. Grodd then heads to Central City, where his magnetism continues to function.  He winds up with his own television show, and its carries even through the airwaves.  The Flash finds he is unable to capture Grodd, as he gets won over by him as well.  The Flash determines that solar flares disrupt the neo-magnetism.  He duplicates the effect using vibrations, and captures Grodd.

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Of the four Mirror Master stories from these years, only two are really worth looking at. But I will make reference to the tale in Flash 119, in which the villain tries to mind control the Flash, and the story in issue 136, which sees the Mirror Master create mirror duplicates of himself.

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More interesting is the story in Flash 126. Sam Scudders escape prison by finding his way into a mirror dimension.  It's populated solely by women.  None had ever seen a mirror before, and by giving them mirrors, he wins them all over and makes them his slaves.  It's kind of sickening. Mirror Master finds he cannot enjoy this dimension.  The women are also telepathic, and provide him whatever he desires, so he cannot steal.  Finally, he decides to send images of himself back to Central City to lure Flash to the Mirror Dimension, counting on the hero to get him back.

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That's exactly what the Flash does, but the Mirror Master shows no gratitude.  Instead he turns the Flash to glass, intending to destroy him.  This story introduces the notion that the Flash has complete control over his atoms, and so can reshape his body any way he pleases. I never cared for this attribute of the hero, and it would be used far too many times to get the Flash out of otherwise impossible situations.

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The cover of Flash 130 could easily make one think this was the first story to use the Rogues as a group.  It's not.  But the cover grouping of Mirror Master, Captain Cold, and newbie villains Trickster, Captain Boomerang and the Top, does lay the basis for it. The story is a real puzzler for the Flash.  Robberies are taking place, and the Flash sees the Top, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, Trickster and Captain Boomerang committing the various thefts, and yet each of the men turns out to be in prison at the time. The same lawyer is representing all five felons, and the Flash goes to check on him.  And indeed, the lawyer is the one dressing up as the various rogues. 

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He is prepared for the Flash, and knocks the hero out.  He then dresses up as the Flash, and goes to visit his client. We find out that Mirror Master had used his mirrors to take control of the lawyer's mind, and he had been acting under orders all along.  Dressed as the Flash, the lawyer is able to get Mirror Master out of prison, and then the villain traps the Flash in a paralysis ray.  The Flash disable the ray with a loose filling, and then sends Mirror Master back to prison.

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The Trickster makes his debut in Flash 113. The Trickster pulls off some robberies, escaping due to his ability to apparently walk on air.  He is so confident in this that he publicly challenges the Flash.  The Flash tries to make things difficult for the thief, surrounding him with after images, so that the Trickster will not know which one is the real Flash, but this doesn't work as planned.  The Trickster's ability to walk on air allows him to get away. We find out that the Trickster is James Jesse, part of a circus aerialist family, James had become obsessed with his almost namesake as a child. 

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He also was terrified of falling while up on the rope, and developed a pair of jet propelled shoes.  In a nice touch, we learn that walking on these shoes took more time to master than it did to create. The Flash eventually clues in to the circus performer being the same man as the thief, and intercepts him during a show, using a pogo stick to get up to the tightrope.

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James Jesse displays some impressive skills as an inventor in Flash 121.  He begins by applying his propulsion system to a toy plane, and using it to escape from prison. The Trickster embarks on a crime spree that sees him steal the stolen loot from thieves that the Flash has captured.  As the Flash is too busy with the other men, he is not able to pursue the air-walking Trickster.  The one time he manages to follow, running on telephone lines, the Trickster shoots him down, as seen on the cover. The Flash realizes the Trickster must have a workshop somewhere, as he keeps coming out with new gimmicks.  He finds the location, but falls for a bomb-decoy of the villain.  The bomb goes off, and the Trickster assumes the Flash has died.  But he rode the shockwave out, and easily captures the villain, who is not even trying to get away.

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At the top of the story in Flash 142 the Trickster steals a young boy's bag of toys, and then uses similar devices to the ones in the bag for his "crimes."  They aren't really crimes, they just look like them.  The Trickster returns what he steals, his real motivation is to humiliate the Flash. The cover scene, with the pair of them running on bubbles, is fun.  Later, the Trickster dumps a sort of quick drying tar on the hero.  The Flash finally defeats the Trickster by setting up a nearly invisible rope, then luring the Trickster into the right position so the Flash can race up the rope and catch him. The idea of the Trickster only committing crimes in order to continue his rivalry with the Flash is something that would spread among many of the other Rogues.  In the long run, they would become more concerned with playing games against the hero than in profiting from crimes.

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One of the Flash's most entertaining villains, Captain Boomerang, makes his debut in Flash 117. There isn't really much of the cowardly duplicitousness that would come to characterize the Australian bandit.  In this story, he is already planning a life of crime when he gets the job to be a promotional mascot for a toy boomerang company.  He is given the costume, and the nickname, and sent on a tour of the US.  Digger Harkness starts using his boomerangs for thefts, and gets away with it for a while, as he is never spotted at the scene of the crime. Still, it doesn't take the Flash very long to trail the flying boomerangs.  Iris West is given her first opportunity to suspect Barry Allen in the Flash in this tale, as well.

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Boomerang first manages to con the Flash, convincing him that there is a different, thieving Captain Boomerang around, and then manages to knock the hero out with a boomerang that hits him from behind.  Probably should have just stopped there and run, but he ties the Flash to a giant boomerang and shoots it into the air. Of course the Flash survives the silly trap, and rounds up the bad guy.  He even manages to come up with a good alibi for Iris.

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The Top gets introduced in Flash 122. This story gives a subplot to Iris West, as Barry Allen welcomes a French designer to Central City, and he decides to do a makeover on Iris, who is feeling neglected by her fiancee.  That's because, as the Flash, Barry is dealing with the Top, a thief who uses tops in his crimes. He also has the ability to spin really fast, so when the Flash tries to make contact, he just rebounds right off the man. He sounds pretty lame, though, doesn't he?  We get some backstory on Roscoe Dillon, who became obsessed with tops as a child, and after embarking on a life of crime, decided to use tops as the basis for his techniques.  A lot is made about the fact that tops and gyroscopes use the same principles.  As well, Roscoe claims that spinning around really fast boosts his intelligence.

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The Top builds a giant atomic bomb, blackmailing the world with it, but the Flash just creates an updraft and sends it harmlessly into space.  He then turns the Top on his head, sending him plummeting into the ground.  Somehow he shakes loose all of the villain's hidden tops. Where these were concealed, on a skin tight costume, is far from clear. The conclusion brings back the Iris storyline.  Barry is stunned speechless by her new look, which Iris takes as disapproval, and changes back to how she was.

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Although the Top is the villain in Flash 141, a far more interesting supporting character gets introduced in this tale. The Top has escaped from prison, and in an encounter with the Flash his costume gets torn, though the villain gets away.  Later, the Flash winds up meeting a young boy who has been paid to deliver a package, which turns out to have a new costume for the Top in it.  The Flash learns which tailor paid the boy to deliver the suit, and then goes in disguise, trying to convince the man, Paul Gambi, to make a costume for him. 

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Gambi is evasive, but the Flash manages to convince Gambi that he is not on the up and up. Or so he believes.  In fact, both Gambi and the Top are on to the Flash's disguise.  Gambi makes the Flash a costume meant to keep him immobile, but he turns it into a weapon simply by spinning around the way the Top does, and takes both men down.

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Flash 128 introduces another of Flash's classic villains. Abra Kadabra is, more or less, the Earth-1 version of the Wizard.  A would-be magician from the year 6363, Abra cannot get the applause and acclamation he desires in his own time period.  So he hypnotizes some scientists in order to use their new time travel machine, and head back to the Flash's era. Abra is able to make people give him the applause he craves by using his hypnotic jewel, but he wants it to be voluntary and spontaneous.  Wildly overestimating the draw of magic shows, he arranges a performance, but is crushed when no one comes, as they are all heading to watch a sporting match.

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Since crime seems to draw the most attention, Abra decides to turn to that, and use the Flash as his unwitting dupe in a magic act.  He makes the Flash disappear, sending him shooting out into space.  The Flash manages to find an asteroid and use that as a base to reach escape velocity and return to Earth, taking out the magician.

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The cover for Flash 133 has become notorious.  Just what does it feel like to be turned into a puppet?  How would anyone even know what they were feeling? The story does not answer those vital questions as it brings back Abra Kadabra.  Imprisoned in the present day, he is able to use his hypno gem to make the governor sign a pardon for all his crimes.  Abra then opens a very popular puppet show, which features a Flash puppet being degraded and laughed at.  The Flash has no problem with this at all, actually.  Kadabra was expecting that he would, and so he alters his plan, imbuing a poster with his presence and attacking Flash as he passes, turning him into a puppet.

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The Flash is busy dealing with all the other crime in the city, and though the show is a hit, the Flash remains highly respected. Kadabra was expecting that the Flash would have been lured to the theatre, and so he alters his plan, imbuing a poster with his presence and attacking Flash as he passes, turning him into a puppet. The idea that the Flash has complete control of the atoms of his body comes into play to get him out this mess.  We find out that he even has total control over the atoms of his brain!  No way one could beat this guy.  And Abra Kadabra doesn't.  Oddly, he gets put back into a present day prison at the end of it.

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The Reverse-Flash makes his debut in Flash 139. The story opens on a scientist, Walter Drake, who has sent a time capsule into the future.  There are two important things in this capsule.  One of the Flashes spare uniforms, and an atomic clock.  The scientist realizes that the trip through time will turn the clock into an atomic bomb, and he begs the Flash for help. The Flash decides to head to the year 2463, but the storyline gets there first.  The capsule lands in front of a man who rifles through it, stealing the Flash's costume.  He develops a way to draw the super-speed residue out of the uniform and give himself the powers.  He also finds a chemical way to duplicate the Flash's aura, which protects him against the effects of the speed.

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The Reverse Flash uses his powers for crime, stealing priceless statues.  The Flash arrives in the same time period, and learns about his identically powered foe, but they prove too evenly matched for the Flash to win. It's only because the Reverse-Flash brags about how smart he is, how he developed a duplicate of the Flash's aura, that the hero figures out how to win.  He neutralizes the Reverse Flash's fake aura, and then drags him along at super speed until he gives up, in agony.  Then the Flash tracks down the atomic clock and gets rid of it before it explodes.

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Most of Kid Flash’s appearances in this book were in his own back-up series, but he did team up with his mentor three times during this period. The first of them is in Flash 120, which is also the first issue to contain a full length story. At the start of the tale Barry Allen reveals to Wally West that he is the Flash.  He is heading on a scientific expedition, along with Iris West, and intends to bring Wally along as well.  Barry reveals his identity in case there should be trouble on the trip, easier if Wally knows who the Flash really is. The expedition is being done to find proof that Africa and South America were once joined.  I'm not sure if this was a controversial notion in 1961?  What's very weak about this whole thing is that they are looking for lemurs in South America as proof that the continents were once joined, but lemurs are not found in mainland Africa, only on the island of Madagascar, which is not in the Atlantic.

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So anyway they all head down to South America.  A volcanic eruption messes up their plans, and they wind up encountering cavemen.  Barry slowly figures out that the eruption somehow sent them all back in time. Flash and Kid Flash come across an entire race of giant, gold skinned people, who are none too keen on the cavemen, or on the two heroes.  They protect the cavemen by binding up the giants, as seen on the cover, but a massive eruption, followed by a tidal wave, rips the ground apart, separating the two continents, and drowning all the gold skinned men. The heroes and the others all return to the present, and the scientist even comes back with a photo of a lemur in South America to prove his theory.

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Flash 125 brings Flash and Kid Flash together again, as well as introducing the Cosmic Treadmill. Wally West has come to Central City for a visit with his aunt, Iris West, but of course he is more excited to be spending time with the Flash.  Barry Allen shows Wally his latest creation, the Cosmic Treadmill.  There is some pseudo sciencey explanation with cosmic rays and such, but suffice it to say it allows speedsters to be precise in their speed and vibrations, so they can control the effects, such as travelling through time, or to different dimensions. It's a good thing the Flash invented it when he did, because all radioactive materials are ceasing to function. 

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The Flash has determined that aliens in the far future planted a device in the distant past to cause this.  Wally heads to the past, and Barry to the future.  Before Wally destroys the machine he aids some bird-men, who will return in another tale five years down the road. The Flash goes back to the future to face off against the aliens.  They get the better of him until Wally destroys the device.  Then the Flash whups them, and sends them packing.

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Kid Flash gets his classic outfit in Flash 135. We get to see the face of Wally West's mother briefly, at the start and end of this tale.  She still has no idea her son has become Kid Flash, and that he races off periodically to Central City to work with his mentor. While on his way there, Wally makes contact with Ryla, a woman from a different dimension.  She informs Kid Flash about some evil invaders who are threatening her world, and tells him that her people have sent three super-weapons to Earth, hoping that he and the Flash would use the inventions to help them. One is a machine that makes thoughts reality, and the Flash happens to be thinking about a new costume for Wally when he runs into the room.  The machine activates, and transforms Wally's outfit. 

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But you have to wonder, with a machine like this, why Ryla and her people need the help of the Flashes at all. As it turns out, the weapons don't wind up getting used anyway, the evil invaders manage to destroy them.  Kid Flash heads to the other dimension, and frees Ryla, who has been taken captive. At the same time, Flash battles the invaders.  He gets trapped, so Kid Flash really gets to play the hero, saving Barry before the two take the invaders down. Ryla does make a return, but not for many many years.

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One of the more annoying elements of the original Flash series from the 40s was Winky, Blinky, and Noddy.  Clearly Gardner Fox did not feel the same way, and he the Earth-1 versions of the three idiots in Flash 117. They look almost identical to the original trio, and like those men are complete fools who nevertheless wind up randomly constructing amazing inventions. They are more of a menace to themselves than anyone else, and the Flash has to come to their rescue.  It's all right out of the 1940s, and it seems that enough other readers felt it was old hat.  Winky, Blinky, and Noddy do not become regular supporting characters, instead they fade into obscurity. 

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Flash 116 introduces another dimension, World 86.  The people there study the Earth using miniature models, and have become huge fans of the Flash. They know of his secret identity as Barry Allen, and all about his girlfriend Iris West.  In fact, they even know about things before they happen, seeing it all an hour in advance.  This prevents them from interacting with the Flash and changing things, so they remain the Flash's "secret friends." Of course, one of the nasty people from World 86 comes to Earth, using his knowledge of what is to come to get rich on the stock markets and race tracks.  The people of World 86 see the Flash die in battle with this guy, but it turns out all they are seeing are the intentional after images that the Flash leaves when he runs, and the bad guy thinking he had killed one of those.

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Flash returns to World 86 in issue 132.  He is visiting with the group who virtually worship him, monitoring his actions from their world.  This time around the problem lies with some tv producers, who air real disasters from Earth. When there are none to air, they decide to cause some.  In fighting against the villains, they use a ray to make the Flash really heavy, as per the cover.  The ray only works when the Flash is close to them, so he circles around at a safe distance and creates a whirlwind to take them down. This is the final World 86 story.

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In Flash 112 it’s time for the Man of the Year contest again, and the Flash has a new challenger this year, the mysterious Elongated Man.  Unlike the Flash, the Elongated Man is a publicity hound, and though Iris West enjoys talking to the new hero, Barry Allen gets jealous of him quickly, and doesn't trust him.

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We learn that the Elongated Man is really Ralph Dibny, who became obsessed with contortionists in childhood, and never lost his interest.  He noticed that all of them seemed to like the same soft drink, Gingold, and experimented with the plant whose extract was used in the pop.  Making an elixir of it, he wound up developing his stretching powers. The reader is meant to be taken down the same false track as the Flash, believing that the Elongated Man is behind a series of thefts. 

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But Ralph is just being framed, and by the end of the story convinces the Flash that they are on the same side. In the end, they tie for Man of the Year, and remain friends from now on. 

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The Elongated Man returns in Flash 115. Ralph Dibny has been using his powers as a performer, but now has made enough money to retire and travel, and take up fighting crime.  He informs the Flash about this before heading off to Mexico. Ralph wants to see a real gingold tree, but this takes him into a region the locals are too afraid to go into.  Ralph himself hits an invisible barrier, so sends to the Flash for help.

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By the time the Flash arrives the Elongated Man has already found that aliens are using the area, and both he and Barry Allen get hit with a shrink ray.  Even at small size, they defeat the aliens, destroying the shrink ray, which returns them to normal size.

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The Elongated Man story in Flash 119 begins with the revelation that Ralph Dibny has married heiress Sue Dearborn.  Although this seems absurdly abrupt, it does back up the notion that the Elongated Man was conceived of as being along the lines of the Thin Man - the husband and wife detective couple.  Ralph and Sue are on their honeymoon, and Ralph disappears while diving. Sue contacts the Flash, but otherwise does not get much to do in this tale. 

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The Flash goes after Ralph, and winds up transported to an alien world, where the people fish for their slaves. So in both stories in this issue someone is trying to mind control the Flash.  It doesn't work.  Ralph has been turned into a slave, but Barry gets his friend to use his stretching powers, and this restores his memory.  They free the other slaves, and then Ralph and Sue resume their honeymoon.

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In Flash 124 Captain Boomerang is out on parole, and though there have been a rash of thefts using a boomerang, the Captain does not seem to be responsible, having an alibi, often provided by the Flash himself.  The Flash is mystified at the situation, and writes to Ralph Dibny about it.  Sue Dibny gets a brief appearance as she agrees that Ralph should leave the resort they are at and go help Flash with the case. Captain Boomerang is behind the thefts.  He has discovered a way to throw a boomerang through time, so he can arrange to be seen while the weapon itself performs the thefts.  What he does not realize is that the boomerangs are travelling through an alternate dimension.  They attract the notice of creatures from that world, who follow the boomerangs to Earth, bent on conquest.

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The Elongated Man helps catch one of the time travelling boomerangs, so they can check it for fingerprints, but before this happens the heroes wind up teaming up with Captain Boomerang to battle the alien invasion. It's a rare moment of heroism for the Captain, and it doesn't last.  As soon as the aliens have left Boomerang turns on the Flash, captures him and tries to send him off on a giant boomerang again.  As seen on the cover, the Elongated Man intercepts it and frees the Flash, and they take Boomerang down.

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In Flash 134 the Elongated Man is in Central City, and he and the Flash get called in to help when a new super computer starts giving out the wrong answers to questions. At the same time, Captain Cold breaks out of prison.  Iris West goes to do a story about this, and is somewhat relieved to see that Cold now has a different woman he has become fixated on.  That romance element doesn't develop in this story, but will later, and is a nice call back to his last adventure. As the two heroes pursue Captain Cold, the Elongated Man keeps stopping the Flash, catching him or tripping him.  The Flash gets increasingly frustrated, until he makes the connection between the malfunctioning computer and the malfunctioning hero.  It turns out both were being affected by radiation the machine was giving off.  The Flash still has to take down his friend before he can nab Captain Cold, but at least by the end of the story everything is back to normal.

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The Pied Piper makes his return in Flash 138.  Though the Piper had appeared in Justice League, this was only his second time facing the Flash in his own book.  And he really made it hard for himself, by starting off mind controlling the Elongated Man, and using that hero to commit thefts for him. Of course Ralph Dibny, with no memory of the crimes, get intrigued by the mystery of it all.  Barry and Iris had plans to spend the day with Ralph and Sue, but as the women plan to go shopping, the guys are free to pursue the case.

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The Flash finds evidence linking Ralph to the robbery, but then the Pied Piper gets the hero under his control as well.  Elongated Man is the one to find evidence linking the Flash to the crimes.  When they compare notes, they figure out that they are being controlled, and track down the Piper.  As shown on the cover, he turns them against each other.  The Flash drank some of Ralph's gingold, though, and the extra powers were not planned for by the Piper, and he is able to take him down.

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The Flash with Green Lantern join forces in a full length story in Flash 131. The story continues indirectly from the Green Lantern/Flash team up in Green Lantern's book.  The main plot is completely separate, but Barry Allen is still on vacation in Coast City with Iris West, sharing time with Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Tom Kalmaku and his wife Terga. The heroes' attention is drawn by a passing spaceship, and it sends down a beam that sends the Flash away.  Green Lantern boards the ship, only to find it running on autopilot.  The Flash winds up having to battle a strange alien. Green Lantern finally tracks him down, and they determine that the entire planet the Flash was on was sentient, and out to get him.  They head back to Earth, but find out that the whole purpose of the spaceship and the other planet was to decoy the heroes, keep them busy while the aliens invade the Earth.

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There is a whole subplot involving department store dummies of the Flash and Green Lantern, which get used a couple of times as diversions themselves.  The heroes divert the attention of the aliens, while digging under them and bursting up to surprise and defeat them. The tale ends with an archery competition between Hal Jordan and Barry Allen.  Both men try to let the other win, and have become best buddies by the end of this tale.  Flash and Green Lantern would continue to guest star in each others books many times over the years.

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Green Lantern and the Flash deal with a new villain, Thomas Oscar Morrow, in Flash 143. The story begins as Barry Allen gets called in to help determine which of three identical Hal Jordans is the real one.  Hal has no idea why there are suddenly two duplicates of him around, and when he changes into Green Lantern, they do as well. We find out that the person behind this is a rogue scientist, Thomas Oscar Morrow (or T.O. Morrow, for short). 

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Morrow has developed a television that allows him to see into the future, and he copies inventions yet to be created, such as a ray that duplicates Hal Jordan.  It was a fluke that he happened to duplicate Green Lantern. The Flash and the real Green Lantern spend much of the story dealing with the phony doubles.  The rings they wear have no weakness to yellow, making them more useful than Hal's ring. Eventually the Flash figures out that the supposedly real Green Lantern that he is working with is really just another of the duplicates.  He finds and frees the real Green Lantern, and they confront Morrow.  The villain appears to leap to his death, but returns four years down the road in the pages of Justice League of America, when he creates the Red Tornado.

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The Flash also appears in Brave and the Bold 53 in a story by Bob Haney and Alex Toth, which brings together the hero and the Atom. The art in this one is just great. It opens on the Flash, who deals with a few odd occurrences, tracing the source of them back to the lab of a prominent scientist. Arriving there, he finds the man in consultation with the Atom.  Being the trusting guy that he is, the Flash assumes that the noted scientist cannot be behind anything bad, and so is totally fine with helping out when the man asks him to use his speed to throw the Atom into a strange green sphere that came from space. The story then largely shifts to follow the Atom, as the Flash gets knocked out by the scientist.

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The Flash wakes up to see the sphere growing and growing.  Now it's big enough for him to enter, though he still appears like a giant in their world, but winds up losing his speed. The Flash's speed gets restored as the world grows larger.  The Atom splits the sphere into two, and the Flash runs around them, forcing them together until they explode.  Once again, only a tiny sphere remains, and they send that into space where it can enlarge safely.

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Ok, I saved the best for last. The cover for Flash 123 says the book will become a classic.  Many covers promise this, but few delivered to the degree that Flash of Two Worlds would. It's almost impossible to accurately convey the importance of this Fox, Infantino and Giella story.  From it would spring the entire notion of parallel universes, the differing versions of heroes.  It begins quite simply, with the Flash helping out Iris Allen at a charity performance, when he simply vanishes and doesn't return. Without specifically trying to, Barry Allen crossed the dimensional barrier into what would come to be known as Earth 2.  When he discovered he was in Keystone City, not Central City, he went to what was the home of Jay Garrick in the Flash comic books that he had read, and finds the man himself there, along with Joan Williams, now his wife.  To convince Jay of who he is, Barry relates Jay's secret origin, inhaling the fumes of a hard water experiment, before recapping his own origin, of the shelf of chemicals struck by lightning. Jay has been in retirement for years, since the final adventure of the Justice Society, his last appearance, ten years earlier.  But a spate of unusual thefts have taken place in Keystone City, so both Barry and Jay suit up to find out what is going on. 

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Three Golden Age villains make their returns in this story, the Thinker, the Fiddler, and the Shade.  The Thinker and the Fiddler had both last been seen in Flash stories in 1948, but this is only the second appearance of the Shade, following his debut in 1942.  The look of the character has been altered considerably.  The Fiddler is much the same, though his hair is white, while the Thinker is using the Thinking Cap that was introduced in a different Flash story from the 40s. Jay goes after the Thinker while Barry chases the Shade.  In both cases the villains get away. 

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The two Flashes team up to go after the Fiddler, but he uses his music to take control of them. What the Fiddler does not notice is that the heroes have been placing gems in their ears, which eventually blocks the sound of his violin, and frees them from his control.  Together, the Flashes take all three villains down.

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Jay Garrick travels to Earth 1 in Flash 129. A comet entered the sun, and the resulting radiation is proving deadly on Earth 2.  Jay decides to travel to Earth 1 and see if Barry Allen has any suggestions, but before he goes, Jay takes time to reminisce with Joan about the final case of the Justice Society of America.  The flashback covers two pages, and is the first time the JSA had been shown in over ten years.  Because this is a flashback to their final issue of All-Star Comics, it does not count as an appearance, per se, but we still get to see the Earth 2 versions of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Hawkman and the Atom in action with the Flash against the Key, as well as Black Canary and Dr. Mid-Nite, who at this point had no Earth 1 equivalents.

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Before they can get around to the whole radiation killing everyone on the planet thing, the two Flashes wind up having to deal with Captain Cold and the Trickster.  The two villains independently decide to rob the same charity function, and wind up fighting against each other, until the Flashes show up. The Flashes find pieces of a meteorite that is the doppleganger of the one that caused all the problems on Earth 2, and somehow by bringing it back Jay will be able to save his world.  But they still have to deal with the two villains, and do so at super speed, making them turn their weapons on each other.

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The Justice Society of America, not seen (except in flashback) in over ten years, make their return in Flash 137. Mysterious lights appear over a number of cities in the US, and Barry Allen notices that each city was home to a member of the Justice Society of America.  The lights are doing nothing harmful on Barry's world, but he heads to Earth-2 to see if the connection is significant. Turns out that it is.  Barry meets with Jay Garrick and his wife Joan, and learns that six members of the Justice Society vanished without a trace after the lights appeared in their cities.  Just after explaining this, the lights manifest over Keystone, and Jay gets sealed up in a glass box and pulled away.  The one Flash does his best to follow the captive Flash, catches up and frees him from his trap. We find out that Vandal Savage is the one behind this, getting revenge by capturing the various members of the Society.  Vandal Savage had last appeared in the issue of All-Star Comics that Barry was reading at the top of the story, back in 1947. 

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Dr. Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Atom, Johnny Thunder and Green Lantern have already been caught.  This is the first time Johnny Thunder has been seen since 1948. The story recaps Vandal Savage's origin, which is a good idea, as this is actually only the third time the character had appeared.  A caveman, Savage was granted immortality by a meteor, and claims to have been various tyrannical rulers over the years.  In this story, he has a number of high tech devices, which he credits to some other 1940s villains, Brainwave and Per Degaton. Savage uses one of these weapons to force the Flashes to battle each other.  He also has a lifelike dummy, which is a bomb, set out to kill whichever one grabs it, but Barry gets there first and figures out it is a fake, setting it off without harming either of them.  Then, when Savage thinks the Flashes are dead, they get him.

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The Justice Society members get freed, and Wonder Woman makes the suggestion that they should come out of retirement and return to crime fighting. It doesn't take long for that to happen.  The first Justice League/Justice Society crossover begins two months after this book came out


Flash continues in the next period, 1964 – 1967: the New Look.

Flash: Flash 111 – 143 (Feb/March 60 – March 64)

Brave and the Bold 53 (April/May 64)
Next up – Hawkman!

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Last Updated: May 17, 2017 - 7:23

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