What You Might Not Know about ‘Flash of Two Worlds’

Flash No. 123DC released this week a facsimile edition of “The Flash” No. 123 featuring the Silver Age classic “Flash of Two Worlds.”

In this timeless tale, Barry Allen’s Flash travels to Earth 2 and meets his idol, the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, making his first appearance in a decade.

You can make the case that this comic book from the fertile imagination of the legendary Gardner Fox is the single most significant comic book of the Silver Age, at least for DC Comics. It introduced into mainstream canon the notion of parallel worlds and the multiverse, igniting thousands of stories and what later came to be the hallmark and sometimes the curse of the DC Universe.

Befitting its importance, the story has been reprinted several times, most recently just this week in the new hardback “Flash of Two Worlds Deluxe Edition,” featuring all of Barry Allen’s team-ups with Jay Garrick.

So do you really need a $3.99 facsimile edition of the September 1961 cover date comic? That’s certainly the question I asked myself.

When legends meet.
When legends meet.

I ultimately purchased a copy because I am a softie for all things Jay Garrick and the Justice Society, and maybe if more people feel this way, we’ll win new adventures of the Earth 2 greats someday.

And it’s cool to have a newsprint edition of this story, which truly is a classic, in every sense of the word. The iconic cover from Carmine Infantino screams excitement.

The Flash is demonstrating his speed powers at a charity event when a rope trick goes awry, and Barry Allen vibrates himself to Keystone City on Earth 2, home of his idol, Jay Garrick.

Barry introduces himself to Jay and theorizes that comic book writer Gardner Fox must have been tuned into the vibrational frequency of this other world when he was sleeping, thus giving him the inspiration for all the comic book stories he wrote about Jay during the 1940s that Barry grew up on.

And so writer Fox posits himself as a fictional character on Earth 1, and it’s amusingly meta.

The terrible trio.
The terrible trio.

What timing, as Jay was thinking of coming out of retirement to face three of his own rogues, the Thinker, the Fiddler and the Shade. Together, the two speedsters ultimately defeat the terrible trio, and Jay studies how Barry vibrates himself back home, opening the door to more adventures.

On his earth, Barry makes a mental note to contact Gardner Fox.

So what’s so surprising about this facsimile edition, beyond the ads for Revolutionary War toy soldiers (204 for $1.98!) and Zodiac rings?

The answer lies on the letters page – not seen in decades.

At the bottom of the page, the Flash-Gram editor congratulates this issue’s published letter hacks on winning the original art pages for the very story they commented on, “Land of Golden Giants,” in “The Flash” No. 120.

DC rewards letter hacks.
DC rewards letter hacks.

Not just one page – the entire story was split three ways.

“Remember, Flash fans! Write us a letter that is clever, original, critical – and we’ll award the ones we deem best the original artwork pages that appear in Flash.”

DC was so hungry for letters that it gave away the art pages to its own stories.

And that must mean that somewhere, there are fans out there who own the original artwork to “Flash of Two Worlds.”

Somebody call an ambulance.

I’m having a stroke.

Fastest Man Alive: Jay Garrick
Fastest Man Alive: Jay Garrick

 

 

2 thoughts on “What You Might Not Know about ‘Flash of Two Worlds’

    1. Oh yeah, I feel that. I would love a page from JLA #82, my own introduction to the Justice Society. There are just certain books that always have a place in your heart. I’m amazed there was a time DC gave their pages away.

      Like

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