Type Comic
Date 1940-01
Tags origin story, fiction

Flash Comics #1

Flash Comics #1 (1940-01)

The Flash

Jay Garrick is a mediocre football player (called "leadfoot") and fair student of science, at Midwestern University. One day, while taking a smoke break, he knocks over vial of 'hard water', the fumes of which overwhelm him. When he's found the next day, he has developed incredible speed. He decides to use his new powers to fight crime.

Jay saves Joan, his love interest, from being shot, and it is revealed that her father has developed an 'atomic bombarder' which a group of criminals wish to obtain and sell to "several foreign nations . . . for a cool million from each". They call themselves The Faultless Four: Sieur Satan, Serge Orloff, Duriel, and Smythe. The Faultless Four have kidnapped Joan's father, and their attempt on her life was intended to force her father to give up the secret of the weapon's location. He refuses, and is rescued by the Flash. Eventually, Sieur Satan electrocutes his three companions, intending to kill the Flash at the same time, and then, when the Flash chases him as he attempts to escape, "Satan's mind cracks under the terrific strain" and "the car sweeps thru the railing and hurtles downward." So The Faultless Four are no more, and the Flash's identity is a secret to all but Joan.

In this comic, we already get to see Flash catching bullets (in a matter strongly reminiscent of Superman's performance in New York World's Fair Comics) and dashing around so quickly as to be invisible.

The Hawkman

"Beginning the tale of a phantom of the night, the Hawkman, who from time immemorial has fought the cause of justice against the force of evil. The Hawk fights the evil of the present with the weapons of the past."

Carter Hall, "wealthy collector of weapons and research scientist", has received from Egypt a new item for his collection: a glass knife. The knife glows, and Carter falls unconscious. He dreams of a man called Prince Khufu--who is Carter himself--who dies defending his beloved, Shiera, from Hath-Set, the priest of Anubis. Just before he dies, Khufu prophesies that all three of them will be reincarnated one day--and that he, Khufu, will be the victor, then. When he wakes, he decides to go for a stroll around the block, and coincidentally he runs into the reincarnation of Shiera, who is running away from a subway station, the rails of which have been flooded with millions of volts of electricity, burning the people on the train to cinders.

He takes Shiera back to his home--88 Rimble Road--and tells her how he came to know of her past identity. She reveals that she, too has had these dreams. He goes back to his lab and "tunes in on his dynamo-detector and emerges shorty after from his weapon room, clad, as a grim jest, in the guise of the ancient hawk-god Anubis . . . the Hawkman--peril of the night--whose extraordinary powers are derived form Carter Hall's discovery of the secret of the ages--the ninth metal--which defies the pull of the Earth's gravity".

Clad in this outfit, Hawkman is able to fly, and he heads for the location which his instruments told him housed a giant dynamo. It is "the home of Doctor Hastor--electrician extraordinary". When Hawkman comes upon the doctor, he his muttering to himself that he "shall rule the world--even as did Hath-Set". Hastor attacks Hawkman with electricity, but he is immune, carrying no metal except the ninth metal, which "is non-conducting" and so shields him. And, he reveals, "electricity . . . is the base of the force of gravity", which I suppose explains his ability to fly.

Hastor escapes, then performs a ritual which calls Shiera to him. He intends to sacrifice her to Anubis, but Hawkman saves her, just in time, and shoots Hastor with a crossbow. He doesn't seem too worried: "You--win now, Hawk. Mayhaps. Perhaps--I shall not--not die. Who knows?", he says, with a crossbow bolt sticking out of the center of his chest. Confident, isn't he? Hawkman proclaims that Hastor is dead, but a few panels later he says: "It seemed too easy a victory. I'm afraid I haven't seen the last of Hastor!" Really? Maybe you should have stuck around and made sure, then.

Shiera will not remember what happened this night, and Hawkman decides that this is for the best. Next issue: Hawkman vs. The Globe Conqueror.