I’ve liked Long Beach Comic Con since it started, but this year was something else. They doubled the amount of floor space from previous years…and filled it. I think they doubled the number of programming tracks as well. And the fans came: I’d swear the place was busier on Sunday afternoon than it was last year on Saturday, and I had trouble finding parking for the first time ever.
TL;DR? Skip to the photo gallery if you must!
Last year I went with very specific goals in mind, because I’d been so aimless the year before. This year I wasn’t sure until Friday whether I’d be able to make it or which day, so I held off on planning, but it worked out.
Keeping Artist’s Alley as the centerpiece of the show has broadened it a bit into a show about comics and art. Continue reading →
Two of my fan interests sort of intersected* with a pair of articles I wrote last night, as I found myself looking at the Flash and Les Misérables in the late 1930s/early 1940s.
I review Orson Welles’ Les Misérables radio play over at Re-Reading Les Mis. Last weekend I stumbled on a cassette recording of the 1937 series, but since I don’t have anything portable to play cassettes on anymore, I went looking online, found it at the Internet Archive’s Old Time Radio collection, and listened to it on the way to and from work for several days. (I wish I hadn’t already used the Cassette…now I remember pun.)
A 1943 Flash comic book features Jay Garrick playing every role at once in a stage play, quick-change style, when the entire cast is quarantined for a measles outbreak. I’d recently updated the scans on an old post on the one-man team trope. The Disneyland outbreak made me think of the story, and I’ve posted a few scans at Speed Force.
*They’ve been intersecting all week, actually, since the actor playing Pied Piper on the Flash TV show is playing Marius on Broadway right now, and has been posting Les Mis-related stuff.
Comic Coverage recently posted a humorous look at the role smoking had in the Golden-Age Flash’s origin. Jay Garrick was working late, took a cigarette break, and knocked over a beaker of “hard water.” Interestingly, later retellings of his origin downplayed and finally deleted the cigarette.
First, here are the original 1940 panels from Flash Comics #1 (copied from Comic Coverage), showing grad student Jay Garrick taking time out for a smoke:
Four decades later, in 1986, Secret Origins #9 would retell his origin. Mindful of the details, but also concerned about modern sensibilities about health, writer Roy Thomas kept the cigarette break, but added Jay thinking, “I know I should give up these things…”
A decade later, the cigarette had disappeared completely. Flash Secret Files #1 (1997) featured a condensed retelling of all three (at the time) Flashes’ origins, and this time, Jay simply succumbed to the hour and nodded off, dropping the beaker.
(Via Crimson Lightning)
Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the Silver Age Flash series, cataloging character appearances. I’m almost done – only 25 issues left – but it reminded me of something:
Why is it that super-hero weddings are almost always interrupted by super-villains – even when the hero’s identity is secret?
Is it just that readers expect a story with some sort of fight in it, and if it’s just a wedding they’ll be disappointed?
Consider these examples:
- Flash II (Barry Allen) and Iris West: the wedding is interrupted when Professor Zoom disguises himself as the groom, and the Flash has to get rid of him and then make it to the wedding himself.
- Flash II (Barry Allen) and Fiona Webb (after Iris’ death): Zoom returns, Flash spends the whole day chasing him around the globe, and eventually Fiona gives up and runs out of the chapel, just in time for Zoom to try to kill her. (Flash stops him with a last-second choke-hold which breaks his neck, leading to a manslaughter trial, the disappearance of Barry Allen, and finally the cancellation of the series.)
- Flash III (Wally West) and Linda Park: at the moment the rings are exchanged, Abra Kadabra kidnaps Linda, sends everyone home, and casts a massive forget spell, erasing all memory and records of her back to the point she met Wally. Eventually she escapes, Kadabra is tricked into reversing the spell, and they hold a new wedding – 18 issues later.
And it’s not just the main characters who get this treatment: Continue reading →