Friday, July 07, 2017

Number 2072: Flash and the Spider-Men of Mars

A couple of months ago I showed a Golden Age Green Lantern story, and got the Earth One and Earth Two stuff mixed up. The original Flash and Green Lantern are from Earth Two. correct? I was a kid in 1961, standing at the comic book spinner holding Flash #123 with trembling hands, gawking at both versions of the Flash, Golden and Silver Age, together on the cover. Considering how important “Flash of Two Worlds” became in retrospect, I should know my DC Comics 101: Earth Two=Golden Age, Earth One=Silver Age.

In this tale from Flash Comics #24 (1941), the Flash, Jay Garrick, races to catch up to a spaceship heading for Mars with “healthy families” kidnapped to set up a Mars colony. The story gets screwier from there. Gardner Fox, who wrote it, went on to become one of the most revered comic book writers of the Silver Age, but “The Spider-Men of Mars” seems more of a fever dream than a story.

Artwork by E (for Everett) E. Hibbard.

From a Pappy’s posting in 2011, a two-part 1947 Flash story. Just click on the thumbnail.


Daniel [] said...

Spider-Men from Mars have been a recurring problem.

You characterization of the story seems fairly appropriate to me. The loose thread of Jim Seltzer breaks what logic there might be amongst the chaos.

Brian Barnes said...

I'm not sure how to parse the ending to this story. A scientist -- yeah, he flips out, but it's not unexpected, everybody is basically telling him he's a lunatic and yet he's absolutely right -- builds a spaceship capable of getting to mars and back without any problem, and the flash just tells him to drop it!


How about now that you've proven it works you get some money behind him and start exploring space? Or, you know, it's 1941 -- I can think of some good uses for a spaceship in the years 41-45 :)

Pappy said...

Daniel and Brian, I ran this story because of the Mars element, because the Flash (to my knowledge) usually kept his activities here on Earth. Making sense of it isn't part of my responsibility, so now that I have released it upon the world I wash my hands of it.

I have a long standing puzzlement about comic book villains who come up with great inventions. They must be psychopaths with some irresistible urge to be bad deed doers. Otherwise they could sell their inventions and become multi-billionaires. Then they could perform bad deeds by not paying taxes, or bilking the government for cost overruns or some such.

BillyWitchDoctor said...

That's true of the heroes as well, though. With few exceptions (the Fantastic Four, the world of Watchmen and Tony Stark come to mind), heroes have gizmos and supernatural widgets out the wazoo that could change the world--usually for the better--but keep their secrets completely squirreled away without explicit reason. Paramedics would love to have "web fluid" even if they couldn't use it to swing around the city.

"The most versatile substance on the planet...and they used it to make a Frisbee." -- Ultron

Cary Comic said...

One has to wonder if the late, great David Bowie read that Flash story as a kid.