Book Review of The Flash Companion (Mania.com)
Review Date: Monday, September 22, 2008
It bears repeating that no one puts out better books about the comic industry than TwoMorrows publishing. Their books are written by people who are not only fanatics, but also experts about their subject matter. The Flash or rather ALL the Flashes are the subjects of TwoMorrows’ latest companion guide. Editor Keith Dallas and his selected group of writers tackle the history of the Flash from Jay Garrick to Bart Allen, looking not only at the characters and their stories, but also the writers and artists responsible for their adventures for almost 70 years. The history is told not only through well-researched and informative articles, but also through a collection of interviews.
Dallas leads off with a look at Jay Garrick, The Golden Age Flash. The creation of the original Scarlet Speedster is covered through the perspective of its creators, editor Sheldon Mayer, writer Gardner Fox, and artist Harry Lampert.
John Wells relates the tale of the lost (and found Flash stories). When the title was canceled in the late 1940s, several stories were already completed and simply stored away and later scheduled for the scrap heap when they were located and rescued some twenty years later. Wells’ article includes a synopsis of all five of these stories along with several pages of unpublished artwork. One has to wonder what other treasure DC has stored away in some dusty vault or warehouse…
Moving on to Barry Allen, Dallas leads things off with a history of the Silver Age Flash. Arguably the most important person of the early Silver Age era of comic books was editor Julius Schwartz. Schwartz was the driving force behind the revival of the superhero and the revamping of the Golden Age heroes into their Silver Age counterparts. This chapter profiles creators Robert Kanigher, John Broome, and Carmine Infantino. Jack Scott presents an interview with 70s writer Cary Bates, Dallas gives us individual interviews with artists Alex Saviuk, Carmine Infantino, and writers Mike W. Barr and Marv Wolfman. Dallas also provides a fond look back at the short-lived but well-done Flash television show. This includes a lengthy interview with the show’s producers Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo.
The next two chapters on Wally West and Bart Allen are similarly filled with engaging articles and interviews on the latest characters to take the Flash moniker. Dallas rounds the book out with a look at the most well known members of the Flash’s Rogues Gallery. The book is all Flash from cover-to-cover and even if you think you know all there is to know about the character, Dallas and his team of writers bangs you over the head with a vault of information. This is one of the best Companion books yet from TwoMorrows.
Mania Grade: A
Book: The Flash Companion
Edited By: Keith Dallas
Publisher: Two Morrows Publishing