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Friday, 30 January 2015

Tales From Vault: The Flash # 179 - Fact Or Fiction? (May, 1968)


A Silver Age classic, The Flash #179: Fact Or Fiction? from May 1968 is notable for being the first time DC Comics used the idea (although unnamed) of Earth-Prime (or 'our' Earth) as a destination for superheroes.

The Flash - Barry Allen - is having problems with an energy beast, The Nok, that has escaped from the spaceship of alien beast-hunter (who'd landed on Earth to repair his ship).

The Nok appears to feed on Barry's "speed force" (again, it isn't called that) and ends up pushing The Flash to new velocities, which carry him to an alternate world: 'our' world, a world where his adventures are recorded in the pages of DC Comics and his secret identity is known by every small child!


People mistake him for a party-goer in fancy dress and he realises that the only person who will believe he is who he says he is is DC Comics Editor Julius Schwartz!


This is a wild story, from the mind of Cary Bates, as it had no precedent at the time. The only parallel world Barry (and the DC readers) knew of was Earth-2, where the Golden Age heroes hung out.

The Nok (pictured on the cover above), and the alien hunter, are rather bland Silver Age pulp sci-fi constructs, but the story itself really opened up a Multiverse of possibilities.

And, at the end of the tale, left Julius Schwartz with a working Cosmic Treadmill in his office! I wonder if that was ever revisted?

I picked up this landmark issue on eBay the other day for a couple of quid. It was just a random recommendation the site threw up for me and the cover caught my eye, so I Googled the story and couldn't believe this wasn't going for more. It's not a perfect copy - but the listing made that clear  - but it was still a bargain for such a key story in the history of DC's Multiverse.

The comic will now be going in a frame to hang in the gamesroom.

It could well be the oldest, original comic I currently own (being only couple of years younger than me!)

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post.... we were even at the "Retirement Birthday" get-together (Julius Schwartz's 80th Birthday)....Watching Comics Artists and Editors get intoxicated and sing Karaoke....
    A really great memory....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa! You can't leave it at that ;) What were you doing at Julius Schwartz's 80th birthday party? Enquiring minds want to know!

      Delete

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