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"Flash of Two Worlds"

Cover of The Flash vol. 1, 123 (Sept, 1961).Art by Carmine Infantino, pencils, and Murphy Anderson, inks.
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date September 1961
Genre Superhero
Title(s) The Flash #123
Main character(s) Flash (Barry Allen)
Flash (Jay Garrick)
Creative team
Writer(s) Gardner Fox
Penciller(s) Carmine Infantino
Inker(s) Joe Giella
Editor(s) Julius Schwartz

"Flash of Two Worlds!" is a landmark [1] comic book story that was published in The Flash #123 (Sept. 1961). It introduces Earth-Two, and more generally the concept of the multiverse, to DC Comics . The story was written by Gardner Fox under the editorial guidance of Julius Schwartz (whose subsequent autobiography was titled Man of Two Worlds), and illustrated by Carmine Infantino.

Contents

Plot summary

At a charity event organized by Iris West, the Flash is using his super-speed to perform magic tricks. During a rope climbing trick, the Flash begins vibrating his molecules to appear invisible when he suddenly disappears from the stage. He finds himself outside in a strange city, which he discovers to be Keystone City, the home of the Golden Age Flash. Keystone City is located on Earth-Two (not named as such in this story)[2], an Earth in a parallel universe. On Barry Allen's world, the Golden Age Flash is thought to be a fictional comic book character. Barry looks up Jay in the phone book, and introduces himself to the older speedster. On this Earth Jay had retired years earlier and married his long time girlfriend Joan Williams.

Meanwhile, three of Jay's archenemies, the Fiddler, the Shade, and the Thinker, have joined forces to bring their old nemesis out of retirement. The Flashes split up, with Barry taking on the Thinker and Jay against the Shade, but they are unable to defeat them. The two criminals meet afterwards and realize there are two Flashes, they hurry to warn the Fiddler of this turn of events. The Fiddler has managed to stop the two Flashes with his musical powers, and orders the two speedsters to commit robberies for him. Just as the trio are about the flee with their loot, the two Flashes capture them. It turns out that they had put jewels in their ears to block the Fiddler's mind-control music, and played along in order to fool the criminals. Barry returns to his Earth after Jay announces he is coming out of retirement.

Effects of the story

The success of "Flash of Two Worlds" encouraged DC to revive many of its Golden Age characters. Eventually, crossovers between the two Earths would become an annual feature in the Justice League of America comics, beginning with issue #21, "Crisis on Earth-One!" (August 1963), and culminating in the 12-issue mini-series, Crisis on Infinite Earths.

The cover itself has become an iconic image, and has been referenced in the covers to Flash v.1 #147 (Sep. 1964), Dark Horse Presents #67 (November 1992), Flash v.2 #123 (Mar. 1997), and Impulse #70 (Mar. 2001), among others.

In 2004, a copy of The Flash #123 sold at auction for $23,000.[3]

Other media

Paul Levitz said that an animated film version of The Flash #123 ("Flash of Two Worlds") just might be in development as part of the DC Universe Original Animated Movies.

The comic was referenced in the September 28, 2009 episode of "The Big Bang Theory" (season 3 episode #2). It was the comic lost by Sheldon on the cricket bet to Wolowitz.

Notes

  1. ^ "Julius Schwartz". The Telegraph. 2004-02-11. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/1454023/Julius-Schwartz.html. Retrieved 2008-11-22.  
  2. ^ The name "Earth-Two" does not appear until "Crisis on Earth 1!" in Justice League of America #21.
  3. ^ "Heritage Auction Hits $1.7 Million". Scoop. 2004-06-18. http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/scoop_article.asp?ai=5511&si=123. Retrieved 2007-06-09.  

References

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