Introduction to Flash Comics (Golden Age) (Section 1)
Flash Comics was one of DC’s Big Eight monthly anthologies from the Golden Age. Filled with new characters, the early issues rotated the various features on the cover but by Flash Comics #6 The Flash and Hawkman were the only ones swapping cover appearances.
As one of DC’s most iconic crusaders, the Flash is a superhero who has inspired comic book readers for more than 75 years. The Flash made his first appearance in the January 1940 debut issue. Flash displays superpowers inspired by the Roman god Mercury. His speed is so fast that he appears to others as a blur. The Flash dashes up buildings, creates sonic booms, and runs quickly enough to phase through solid objects. Author Gardner Fox worked with illustrator Harry Lampert to develop the character for All-American Comics. Because of a distribution deal made with National, the series appeared under DC’s comic label on Flash Comics #1. The original Flash’s superhero attire is resplendent with a scarlet shirt that displays a bright yellow lightning bolt. He sports blue, lightning bolt-enhanced trousers and a steel helmet equipped with yellow wings. This feature is a physical reminder of his link to the god Mercury.
Fellow Justice Society member Hawkman also debuted in Flash Comics #1. Gardner Fox is also the co-creator of Hawkman along with artist Dennis Neville. Carter Hall is the reincarnation of the ancient Egyptian Prince Khufu and Shiera (first seen as Hawkgirl in All Star Comics #5) is the reincarnation of his beloved Shiera (she doesn't get a new name). Hawkman frequently went by the name Hawk in early adventures.
Gardner Fox was the predominant writer of the Golden Age Flash. E.E. Hibbard and Martin Naydel were principal artists on most of the Golden Age Flash stories with young guns Carmine Infantino, Lee Elias and Joe Kubert finishing up the run. Sheldon Moldoff and Joe Kubert did nearly all the Hawkman stories, almost entirely written by Gardner Fox as well.
Brief History of Flash Comics
History might have been entirely different if Fawcett had been a little quicker. Their original title for Whiz Comics was Flash Comics but it was denied by the copyright office because All-American had secured the title. An ashcan (mock-up) copy of this attempt still exists. Sharing offices with National to save cost, Max Gaines could see his sister company accelerate sales by having these new ‘mystery men’ lead the way. By this time, National had Superman, Batman, and Sandman. It was time to catch up.
In spite of All-American Comics being the first anthology title published by Gaines, first up the feature super-heroes for him was Flash Comics. To begin with, it featured what might be considered two and a half super-heroes. The Flash, Hawkman, and Johnny Thunder.
Flash gets the first cover and the lead story in issue #1. The Flash is also the first superhero to have one specialty power instead of multiple ones. He fought in World War II and is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America (JSA). The Flash is also known as The Scarlet Speedster and The Fastest Man Alive.
Second, let’s introduce Hawkman, also a founding member of the JSA, he was the only member to appear in every Golden Age issue of All Star Comics and Flash Comics but he never received his own title. Hawkman has found a home in the DC Universe whether as a reincarnated Egyptian or alien police officer (Silver Age) or some mixture thereof.
Our third Justice Society member is Johnny Thunder, star of the Johnny Thunderbolt feature. Johnny was comic relief but later, with the help of his magical Badhnisian thunderbolt, he helped his fellow JSAers out occasionally. The strip also changed its name to Johnny Thunder.
Although not in the initial issue, by Flash Comics #80, another JSAer joined the book, The Atom. Flash Comics #86 saw the debut of the last Society member to join the group, Black Carnary in Johnny Thunder. With Flash Comics #92, she had kicked Johnny out of the strip and gone solo.
Only the Flash became popular enough to receive his own title from this anthology series. Since Flash Comics was already taken, his solo series was named All-Flash. Many collectors feel this name was a long-term detriment to the value of the series because solo titles such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern all sell for far more. All-Flash lasted 32 issues.
The Shade’s origin is in Flash Comics #30 and Rag Doll 1st appears in Flash Comics #36. Switching to All-Flash, The Thinker first gives Flash trouble in All-Flash #12. In what has to be one of the most popular last issues, All-Flash #32 features the 1st appearances of The Fiddler and Star Sapphire.
Characters from Flash Comics #1
The Flash and his girlfriend Joan Williams are well-known to readers of Flash Comics. In addition to the Flash, in the second most important story of the book, the focus is on Hawkman whose alter ego is archaeologist Carter Hall and his girlfriend Shiera. Another story features Cliff Cornwall, an FBI agent while Johnny Thunder’s strip is a different kind of superhero since he has control over a magical thunderbolt. The Whip battles evil with his long whip. His skill is reminiscent of Zorro, and his backstory is filled with adventure and exotic locations.
Plot Summary of Flash Comics #1
Jay Garrick was attending university in Keystone City when one night in the school’s science lab he accidentally knocks over vials of ‘hard water’ and inadvertently breaths in the gas elements and succumbs for weeks. He wakes up in the hospital with the ability to move at incredible speeds. Garrick does a number of super-speed feats as Jay Garrick but amazingly, nobody seems to suspect he’s the Flash. Now at Coleman University in New York, Garrick is approached by his old friend from his midwestern university days, Joan Williams. She relates to Jay that her father has been kidnapped and enlist his help. The Faultless Four, a group of evil geniuses, are trying to pry military secrets from Joan’s father to sell to foreign governments. Flash succeeds in rescuing Joan’s father, with dire consequences for the Faultless Four. With wry comment and a wink to the reader, it’s clear Joan knows who the Flash really is.
Carter Hall, a wealthy collector of ancient weapons, is in his study. Opening a gift given to him from a colleague in Egypt, Carter is hypnotized by the strange glowing blade. Suddenly, he dreams he is captive Prince Khufu, refusing under torture, to reveal the whereabouts of his beloved Shiera. Overcoming his captors, Princes Khufu races to the arms of his beloved. But Hath-Set has followed Prince Khufu and now sets about sieging Shiera hidden location. Despite Prince Khufu valiant defense, he falls before Hath-Set’s blade. He vows a dying prophecy “I die - But I shall live again - as shall you, Hath-Set. And then I shall be the victor!” Somehow, in one panel, Carter believes his fevered dream and that Hath-Set and Shiera are both reincarnated as well. We soon learn he is correct.
How much is Flash Comics #1 worth?
According to the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, a 9.2 copy is valued at $250,000. Flash Comics #1 is ranked 15th on Overstreet’s Top 100 Golden Age Comics.
What is the most expensive Flash Comics #1 sold at auction?
The Mile High Pedigree of the Flash Comics #1 sold for $450,000. Even well-worn copies, if complete and unrestored, can sell for $7,000 and more. The first issue is extremely rare, with only a few more copies certified than Detective Comics #27, so be sure to obtain an appraisal if you come across one.
What other Flash Comics issues are expensive?
The Denver pedigree copy of All-Flash #1 in CGC 9.4 sold for $57,500 in 2002. Flash got his own book a year and a half after his debut.
Flash Comics #2
The Mile High pedigree copy of Flash Comics #2 in CGC 9.4 sold for $40,331 in 2010. Hawkman makes his first cover appearance.
Flash Comics #6
The Mile High pedigree copy of Flash Comics #6 in CGC 9.6 comes in at $35,850 in 2010 for Flash’s 2nd cover appearance.
Flash Comics #104
Selling in 2010, the last Golden Age issue and the Mile High pedigree copy of Flash Comics #104 sold for $31,070 with a certified grade of 9.4.
Flash Comics #12
The astounding CGC 9.8 Mile High pedigree copy sold for $25,095 in 2011.
Flash Comics #86
Black Canary’s debut appearance in CGC 8.5 brought in $24,000 in 2017.
Flash Comics #1 Cover Art
The cover art for Flash Comics #1 is done by then All-American cover artist Sheldon Moldoff. This art has never surfaced.
Other valuable Flash art
The most expensive Golden Age Flash art comes from All-Flash #2 by E.E. Hibbard that sold for $11,100 in 2018. The most expensive piece of art from Flash Comics sold by Heritage Auctions belongs to a young Carmine Infantino with his creation of the splash page to the Black Canary story in Flash Comics #95. It comes in at $8,962.50. Joe Kubert captured the highest price for a Hawkman page of $6,572.50 for page 3 from Flash Comics #71. Harry Tschida splash page for All-Flash #7 brought $4,780 in 2008.
How rare is Flash Comics #1?
Fewer than 100 copies have been certified by CGC, unrestored, or otherwise. This book would be difficult to put into any collection in any grade. And that’s before discussing the cost.
Introduction to The Flash (Silver Age) (Section 2)
When it came time for Julius Schwartz to take his turn at editing Showcase, he thought he’s like to take a swing a reviving a super-hero from the past. Contrary to what many believe, that the 1950s did not have any super-heroes, they’re wrong. DC still had its three, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman but Captain Comet debuting in 1951 failed to catch on. Quality was still publishing Plastic Man albeit as a reprint book. Atlas had tried to bring back Captain America, Human Torch, and Sub-Mariner. Charlton tried to bring back Blue Beetle and a new hero in Nature Boy. Magazine Enterprise put out a few issues of Strong Man. Flagging sales or cancellation loomed for all but Superman and Batman. Wonder Woman was only being published to keep all licensing rights from reverting to Marston’s widow. In this environment, what made Schwartz think he had something here? Four Showcase issues over a two-year period and DC was finally convinced the sales figures were not a fluke and the new Silver Age was begotten with Flash #105 being the premiere issue.
In an amazing bit of consistency over a 25-year period, John Broome and Cary Bates wrote most of the stories from #105 to #350. Carmine Infantino and Irv Novick (with a little help from Ross Andru, Don Heck, and Alex Saviuk) were the workhorses on the art for the Silver and Bronze Age Flash.
Brief History of the Flash
With the advent of the Silver Age, DC had a decision to make with the re-introduction of their newly revamped Flash. Do they start the numbering over with #1 or pick it up with #105. At the time, the publishers felt a kid would pick up a book with a track record rather than try something unproven. The Flash #105 was no longer an anthology but a single feature book, now that the page count had been greatly reduced. Also needed was a slight name change from Flash Comics to The Flash. The Flash ran until the mid-80s ending at issue Flash #350.
Flash is known for his colorful Rouge’s Gallery. In order, we have Captain Cold first appearing in Showcase #8, Mirror Master first appears in the debut issue, Flash #105. Pied Piper and Gorilla Grodd both first appear in Flash #106. Not a villain, Kid Flash debuts in the same issue as Weather Wizard, Flash #110. He looks like a villain from the cover but Elongated Man stretches his way onto the scene in Flash #112. Don’t be fooled by the Trickster when he appears in Flash #113. That Aussie Captain Boomerang swings into action with Flash #117. The Top first spins up in Flash #122. From the 64th century, Abra Kadabra pops up in Flash #128. Also from the future, Professor Zoom (Reverse-Flash) zips into action in Flash #139, one issue before Heat Wave makes his debut. And that’s just the Silver Age! Whew!
Characters from Flash #105
There is no Team Flash as there is on the CW television show. Barry Allen (the Flash) and Iris West are the only series regulars here. In the first of two stories, the Flash battles Katmos, an 8-million-year old would-be conqueror. The second story features the debut of the Mirror Master.
Plot Summary of Flash #105
In “Conqueror from 8 Million B.C.”, we open with archeologist John Haines on the outskirts of Central City, convinced he’d seen evidence of early man. Suddenly, John is compelled to dig and does so for hours until he breaks into an unground ‘modern-looking’ chamber. There, we see Katmos, a ruler from 8 million b. c., shining his telepathic ray-gun at Haines commanding him to open his enclosure. Katmos confidently explains to Haines his plan to rightfully take his place as ruler once again. Not long after, Barry Allen is explaining to Iris West why he can’t make their lunch date because of some mysterious robberies. Iris chides Barry for not being more like the Flash and go out and get this thief instead of sitting in his lab. Barry then gives us a page and a half recap of his origin as the Flash. Picking up a newspaper, Barry reads a strange account of a robbery that he thinks could be related to his case when suddenly a police scanner barks out the location of a strange metallic-looking man matching the description in the article. Not knowing the danger, Barry changes to the Flash to confront the stranger who was testing out his larger hand-held device to control a population. Flash succumbs to the weapon and wakes up in the same cylinder we found Katmos in at the beginning of this tale. Through some pseudo-science, Flash escapes and waste no time capturing Katmos.
“The Master of Mirrors” begins harmlessly enough when a man asks a bank teller to change his bill into singles. As the teller does so, the man takes out what looks like a cigarette case with a highly reflective surface. Capturing the teller’s image from every angle, the man walks out of the bank. He gleefully remembers how he accidentally discovered how to capture images while making mirrors in prison and the further experimenting allowed him the create the images he captured and how to manipulate them (think solid holo-grams). When Barry is at the bank he recognizes his usual teller as he is leaving the bank. But something is wrong. The tellers’ hair is parted on the wrong side and his wedding ring is on the wrong hand. Barry decides to follow but when the man moves quicker than Barry can reasonably follow, he ducks out and changes into the Flash. Even the Flash can’t keep up but does see the man disappear in a house outside of town. Inside, the Mirror Master has taken note of Flash following his image duplicate and prepares a series of traps before the Flash tackles his foe.
How much is Flash #105 worth?
Flash #105 (#1 in the Silver Age) is valued in the 2019 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide at $32,000. Flash #105 is ranked 13th on Overstreet’s Top 50 Silver Age Comics.
What is the most expensive Flash #105 sold at auction?
Flash #105, the first Silver Age issue, sold for $38,838 in 2011. It was a CGC 9.4
What other Silver Age Flash Comics issues are expensive?
Flash #123, the re-introduction of the Golden Age Flash, the Western Penn pedigree copy in CGC 9.4 sold back in 2004 for $23,000.
Next on the Silver Age list would Flash #106, featuring the first appearances of Pied Piper and Gorilla Grodd. The CGC 9.2 Bethlehem pedigree copy sold in 2012 for $16,500.
The third Silver Age Flash issue races to a top price of $16,000 for a CGC 9.2 copy in 2018.
The conclusion of the Gorilla Grodd trilogy pounded its way to $15,250 for a CGC 9.2 copy in 2018.
Mirror Master’s second appearance commanded a top price of $13,145 in 2017 for CGC 9.4 issue.
Flash #105 Cover Art
The cover art for Flash #105 was produced by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella and has never surfaced.
Other valuable Flash art
Silver Age Flash takes the prize for the most expensive Flash art in a Heritage Auction. The top prize features both the old and the new, the cover of Flash #137 by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson selling for $167,000 in 2012. Next up is the cover to Flash #117, the first appearance of Captain Boomerang, selling for $71,700 also penciled by Infantino but inked by Joe Giella. The popular pair Infantino and Anderson return to do the cover to Flash #146 and fetch $44,812.50 in 2011. The highest price for an interior page is $13,145 in 2017 when Flash battles the Reverse-Flash on page 22 of Flash #153 by Infantino and Giella.
How rare is Flash #105?
Fandom hadn’t caught up with the hobby yet as fewer than 600 copies in a universal unrestored grade have been certified. By contrast, coming out just three years later, Amazing Fantasy #15 has seen over 2,100 unrestored copies certified.
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