Bart Allen, a.k.a. Impulse.Superman, Batman, and Max Mercury have all been cited as giving comic-book speedster Bart Allen the name Impulse. Batman most famously in Impulse #50, and Superman just recently in the previews for next month’s All-Flash #1. But who named him originally?

Cover: Flash #93
Cover: Zero Hour #3The name first appears on the cover of Flash #93 (August 1994), with an out-of-control Bart Allen fighting the Flash. The cover is captioned, “Brash Impulse!” Over the next few issues, Wally West’s inner monologue refers to Bart as being impulsive, or (at one point) as “Mr. Impulse.”

It first appears on-panel as a name in Zero Hour #3 (September 1994), when Bart meets Superman for the first time, but Bart introduces himself as Impulse. Dan Jurgens writes.
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White LightningA question over at the Comic Bloc Forums reminded me that I hadn’t gotten around to writing a full profile of the Impulse villain, White Lightning. Fortunately I had a full list of appearances already, so I was able to look up the answer to the question, but it felt like being caught totally unprepared. So yesterday I re-read all her appearances, and tonight I wrote up a profile of White Lightning.

Just for fun, I did some searches for her name. Mostly I came up with cars, horses, wax and, of course, booze. And an alpaca. Back to the booze, there was one point at which the character was mistakenly identified as as Moonshine (later explained away as an in-world mix-up, which would have made more sense if she hadn’t been the one calling herself the wrong name!)

Fedora LogoNow the funny thing: the “…in pop culture” section in Wikipedia’s article on Moonshine reminded me that Fedora 7, which just came out last week and which I installed at work a few days ago, is codenamed Moonshine.

The only way the timing could have been more appropriate would be if I’d written the character bio the same day as the Linux release.

After last week’s Smallville episode, “Justice,” featured Cyborg, Aquaman, Green Arrow and the Flash Impulse, there was another spike in traffic to my Flash site and the profile of Bart Allen, Smallville Edition.

Daily traffic to Flash section for January 2007, showing a 1.5× jump on Jan. 18

It jumped up to 1½ times the usual number of visits on the day “Justice” aired, then quickly started trailing off to normal levels. It’s nowhere near as big a jump as last time the Flash appeared on the show, when I saw a threefold spike in traffic for the first two days.

Why the difference? I’ve got several theories:

  • Interest in Smallville has waned over time, so fewer people dropped in. Pure speculation.
  • Viewers remembered Bart from “Run” (which was rerun a few weeks ago) and many didn’t feel the need to look him up again. Again, speculation.
  • Bart was sharing the limelight with other guest stars this time. But I’d expect people to look for all of them, which is borne out by the number of people who have searched the site for Green Arrow in the past week.
  • Overall site traffic is higher, causing the jump to be less noticeable. Wishful thinking, but the last spike hit ~7,600 hits/day, while this one hit ~8,200, so the numbers hold up. (Hits & bandwidth are down for the Flash section, but I’ve done several rounds of optimization in the last few years.)
  • Fewer sources linked to the site. Last time, there were lots of links from forums and blogs. I even got linked from Television Without Pity. (They decided to go with Wikipedia instead.) This time around, it was mostly search engine hits.

Bart as Impulse in 'Justice'With Bart Allen returning to Smallville tonight—alongside Cyborg, Green Arrow, and Aquaman—I find myself wondering about the best way to hang onto just a few episodes. Last night I went looking for my tape of “Run,” the first episode in which he appeared, and I couldn’t find it.

I have no interest in buying full seasons of Smallville, but I’d like to have copies of the two episodes with Bart (partly for character research, partly for completism). Warner Bros. has no reason to release individual episode DVDs, but downloadable episodes (as in iTunes) might be an option.

Another possibility: themed collections. There have been enough episodes guest-starring other DC heroes that WB could do something similar to Buffy‘s Slayer Collection, or The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror” set. A single disc featuring, let’s say, the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman episodes (Green Arrow might need his own disc), followed by tonight’s big team-up, “Justice.”

Hey, I’d buy it.