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[The Thorn - Classic]
Real Name: Rose Canton
Other Aliases: Alyx Florin
Known Relatives: Alan Scott (Green Lantern I, ex-husband), Jennifer-Lynn Hayden (Jade, daughter), Todd Rice (Obsidian, son)
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas and the island of Tashmi.
Occupation: Botanist, criminal
Hair: (as Rose) Blonde; (as Thorn) Red
Eyes: Green
First Appearance: Flash Comics #89 (November 1947)
Death: Committed suicide to prevent the Thorn from killing her children. (Infinity, Inc. Annual 1, 1985)

[Rose] As a child, Rose Canton would blame her own mischief on an imaginary scapegoat whom she called the Thorn. Over time, the Thorn became real to her. The adult Rose studied botany on the tropical island of Tashmi, where exposure to the sap of a jungle root physically transformed her into the Thorn. As the Thorn she gained limited control over plants (including control over giant thorny stalks), the ability to spin at high speed like a top—and all the knowledge of plant toxins Rose had learned in her studies of botany. She killed her teacher, Professor Hollis, then reverted to her original form.

[The Thorn in Cargo Pants] Unable to control her dual nature, Rose returned to America, eventually settling in Keystone City. The Thorn, meanwhile, was setting herself up as a criminal ringleader, using thrown toxic or exploding thorns as weapons. Naturally, she came into conflict with the original Flash. She and her hired thugs clashed repeatedly with the hero. Rose approached him for help, claiming to be the Thorn’s sister, though she eventually confessed.

Rose underwent psychological treatment with the Amazons of Paradise Island*. By the time she was cured, she had a crush on Alan Scott, Earth’s first Green Lantern. She dyed her hair black, took on the identity of Alyx Florin, pursued and eventually married Alan Scott. Tragically, the Thorn resurfaced on their honeymoon. She took her sleeping husband’s ring, tried to use it, then threw it in the fireplace. Rose prevented the Thorn from killing him, but ran away, leaving him to think she had died in the fire that engulfed their cabin.

[The Thorn] Before she left, Rose had conceived twins. When they were born, she gave them up for adoption, fearing the Thorn would kill them. They grew up to be the heroes Jade and Obsidian.

Rose battled the Thorn for the rest of her life, up until the moment she died. At last reunited with her children and ex-husband, the Thorn surfaced again. As the Thorn prepared to kill them all, Rose stabbed herself fatally to protect them. (Infinity, Inc. Annual 1, 1985)

The modern-day Rose and Thorn has no connection to the original.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Art

  • Jungle Skirt: Flash Comics #89 (November 1947) - Joe Kubert
  • Rose: Flash Comics #96 (June 1948) - Joe Kubert
  • Cargo Pants: Flash Comics #96 (June 1948) - Joe Kubert
  • Modern Interpretation: Who’s Who (first series) #19 (September 1986) - Todd McFarlane

Origin Tales

  • Infinity, Inc. #13 (April 1985): “A Thorn Grows in Paradise,” Roy Thomas


  • Who’s Who in the DC Universe #19 as Rose and the Thorn I (September 1986)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia as Rose and Thorn (2004)

Golden-Age Appearances

  • Flash Comics #89 (November 1947): “Introducing the Thorn, the Flash’s Newest Opponent,” Robert Kanigher
  • Flash Comics #96 (June 1948): “The Flash and the Thorn-Stalk,” Robert Kanigher
  • (unpublished): “Strange Confession,” Robert Kanigher (see Lost Story)

Silver-Age Flash Appearances

  • Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #113 (September–October 1971): “Strange Confession,” Robert Kanigher (excerpt from unpublished GA story, see Lost Story)

No modern Flash appearances.

Lost Story

“Strange Confession,” which would have been the third Golden-Age story to feature the Thorn, was written and drawn shortly before Flash Comics was canceled. At least two other completed stories later appeared as backup features in the Silver-Age Flash comic book, but this one never did. Pieces of it have been printed, however, in one comic book and at least two fanzines.

  • Pages 2–3 appear in the fanzine Alter Ego #4 (2000, TwoMorrows), with the splash page appearing as the issue’s cover.
  • Pages 6–7 appear in the fanzine, History of the Comics vol.2 #7 (July 1991). (Thanks to the GA Reprint list [archive.org] for pointing me in the right direction).
  • The last two pages appear in Lois Lane #113 (1971).
  • Some pages, possibly the entire story appears in Robin Snyder’s The Comics v.6 #10 according to the GA Villain Checklist.

I have read the pages in Alter Ego, Lois Lane, and (finally, as of May 2011), History of the Comics. I am still trying to both verify and locate the issue of The Comics (a later title for the same fanzine as History of the Comics). I was able to contact Robin Snyder, who indicated that the Rose and the Thorn appeared in the July 1992 and October 1995 issues (which does not quite line up with the two sources I found online, or with the issue I later found), but he did not have any back issues available. If anyone has more information, or a copy they want to sell, please let me know.


*In the original story, Flash, Green Lantern and Wonder Woman agreed to take Rose to Paradise Island, also explaining how Rose remained young over the years. This was on Earth-2, where the Justice Society included Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. In the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths timeline, Wonder Woman didn’t visit the outside world until much later. However, since then, a time-traveling Wonder Woman joined the Justice Society, restoring her place in the timeline.

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