Sunday, June 30, 2013

Number 1393: “This guy ain’t human!” Introducing Flash Lightning

Flash Lightning was born of the “mysterious East.” We find out the bare bones of his origin on page 1 of his introduction in Sure-Fire Comics #1 (1940), published by Ace. He was trained in Egypt. Whatever gave him his powers, by 1940 superheroes were basically old hat and the origin was just a means to an end. And the end was action, action, action! That’s exactly what happens to Flash as he goes right to work rescuing a beautiful girl’s dad from a life of slavery.

The Grand Comics Database lists Robert Turner as writer. There is an indexer note that the story is based on the May 1938 pulp magazine, Captain Hazzard. A lack of originality in the story is matched by swipes from Alex Raymond’s Flash Gordon by artist Harry Lucey. A year or so later Flash’s name became Lash Lightning, and while I can’t find official information on the reason for the change, it’s likely DC Comics’ character, the Flash, had something to do with it. Another name change came with the comic book title, which after four issues as Sure-Fire Comics became Lightning Comics. Like many other superheroes born in the wake of Superman, Flash/Lash Lightning disappeared shortly after the end of the war. Had I been in charge of him in 1946 I might have taken away the super powers and made Lash Lightning a private eye with a whip. He couldn’t be a cowboy, because Lash LaRue was already whipping up bad guys in the Western B-movies in which he starred.


Unknown said...

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Gene Phillips said...

Excellent fast action, lots of pulp craziness.

I've always wondered if the editors might've changed the hero's name because the first two syllables sound like "flashlight."

Gene Phillips said...

I read this again, and thought, "what the heck happened to the "reptile man" early on?