Monday, March 09, 2015

Number 1706: Flash Lightning: Mummy’s Day

This typical early superhero tale from Ace’s Lightning Comics #5 (1941) has a mad professor who wraps himself in mummy bandages, then covers them in radium paint to “protect myself from common weapons” without naming the weapons. Guns? Knives? A couple of sticks of dynamite? And how would radium protect him? I have commented before on at least one other Flash Lightning story that sometimes logic is lacking.

There are some howlers...removing an ancient Egyptian mummy’s bandages as easily as unwrapping an Ace bandage (an appropriate brand under the circumstances) from a sprained ankle. And Flash admitting, “Either I’ve lost my punch or the radium coating is protecting him!” The story is of its era...a bunch of wild and improbable occurrences going off in sequence until a final panel which asks, “Will the Mummy ever stalk again?” Well, of course. If they ask the question then the next one has already been written and drawn! And it was. The sequel was in the next issue.

But wait...I don’t want you to believe there isn’t something redeeming about this tale. The artwork is presumed to be by Jim Mooney, one of the better artists at that early stage of comic book history, at the beginnings of his long career.

There was a point when Flash Lightning’s name was changed to Lash Lightning without any explanation. Here are a couple of Lash Lightning stories which by coincidence are both about werewolves. Just click on the thumbnails.


Brian Barnes said...

Very shazam-ish, that Flash Lightning. I never quite get what knocks out some of these guys sometimes. He shrugs off bullets -- they don't even impart any kinetic energy to him, but a car hitting a tree knocks him out cold.

I do like the art, it's a little less static then you normally see in the early 40s.

Ryan Anthony said...

I read sometime that Lightning's name was changed to Lash because of the Flash. Anyway, that's a beautiful cover, but Flash gets knocked out twice in one story! What kind of hero is that?!

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

Cute story, the art is more than decent and the writing, well, is definitely something you have to read with the eyes of a kid (Which I could really use these days).
Flash Lightning owes his figure to a more famous Flash, and I guess "Radium" was a sort of "magic word" fit for all purposes in the 30's and 40's.
One of the reasons why I like your blogzine is that it gives the chance to spot early attempts of great artists. Here I wouldn't have spotted Mooney without a clue.
Incidentally, Mooney has drawn "Omega the Unknown", one of my Marvel faves of the Seventies, and I think those two guys represent the literary evolution of the "Super Hero" character: Flash is the "Alpha" and Omega is... well, easy pun.