Saturday, April 27, 2013
Comic books are, in many ways, thriving cliches. Everything successful gets copied endlessly and the stories are all the same anyway - bad guy attacks, good guy prevails. But they do it with enormous style and they can be visually incredible. Few things have been more visually striking to my comic viewing eye than the battles between the Flash, in his many incarnations, and the "Reverse Flash" in his likewise numerous incarnations. There have been a lot over the years "reversing" not just the classic Barry Allen Flash, but the Jay Garrick and Waly West Flashes as well. But I want to focus on the visually stunning Professor Zoom and his analogs. This is the visual reverse of the bright red Barry Allen body suit in yellow. When I was a 6th grader perusing the carousels at the local drug store for reading material, covers that featured those two images were absolutely striking. I did not much care if the stories held up, just watching the red and yellow streaks across the pages made it an entertaining and worthwhile experience.
Just check out this image montage to get an idea of how the art has really propelled this character and story forward for decades. And the montage is mostly modern imagery. IN recent years they ave attempted to make the stories involving this character more compelling, and I believe they have succeeded. As cynicism has invaded the young, it seems that simply having a comic book that looks this cool is not enough. While the modern stories really are objectively superior, there is something sad about the lack of wonder and gee-whiz that is missing from the younger generation of comic readers. The old stuff survives and is recirculated endlessly, but in the continuity obsessed comic community, that is more as a "historical record" (there is something ironic in that phrase in this context) than appreciating the stories for what they were - just a chance to look at really cool stuff. Reverse Flash was among the coolest.
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