Flash #174 (November, 1967)

Flash #174 is a particularly notable comic book for several reasons, most of which have to do with Carmine Infantino.  To begin with, there’s the book’s cover, pencilled by Infantino and inked by Murphy Anderson — rightly renowned as one of the best by that superlative team, featuring a transformative, convention-shattering treatment of the title logo that would have been even more astonishing if the same artists hadn’t pulled off something similar just a couple of months back, on the cover of Batman #194.

Then there’s the fact that this issue of Flash was, for Infantino, the last one in an unbroken eleven-year, seventy-four issue run illustrating the adventures of the character he’d co-created with writer Robert Kanigher way back in 1956’s Showcase #4.  As we’ve recounted in previous installments of this blog, over the course of the year 1967 Infantino was taking on more and more behind-the-scenes responsibilities at DC Comics, beginning with overseeing cover design for the company’s whole line, and culminating in his becoming Editorial Director by the end of the year.  It was part of a remarkable career trajectory for the veteran artist, one that would eventually lead to him being named Publisher of DC Comics in 1971 — but it also meant that he had to give up his regular pencilling gigs.  Infantino would return as the artist of the Flash series years later, in 1981 — but things would never again be quite the same.  Read More

Justice League of America #40 (November, 1965)

Today’s 50 year old comic book ranks as one of the most personally significant that I ever bought, for several reasons.

The first, and most obvious, is that it introduced me to a number of superheroes I hadn’t encountered before.  I had known about Superman (and maybe Batman) before I bought my first comic, of course, and in my first month of comics buying I had picked up books featuring those two heroes (and possibly one starring Green Lantern), but this book was packed with colorful, memorable new characters.  The FlashThe AtomHawkmanAquamanGreen ArrowJ’onn J’onzz, the Martian ManhunterWonder Woman! (Waitaminnit — who let a girl in the clubhouse?)  And not just heroes, but villains as well, with cameo appearances by the Penguin, Captain Cold, Mirror Master, and — the Shark!  (OK, maybe not all the characters were A-listers.)

But just as important, if not more so, was the impact that the story had on the development of my personal moral philosophy.  Seriously.  Read More