The Flash TV Special comic book
Monday was the 20th anniversary of the premiere of CBS’ The Flash TV series which lasted only one season in 1990. Today, I will take a look at the DC Comic The Flash TV Special #1 which was a promotional comic tie-in to the TV series.
This comic was released towards the end of The Flash’s first season. It was intended to pump up interest in the show during its hiatus. It contained two brand new Flash stories set within the TV show universe as well as a behind the scenes section detailing how the TV show was made.
The first story in this special issue was written by the great John Byrne. Byrne wrote The X-Men’s Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past as well as the 1986 reboot of Superman after Crisis on Infinite Earths. The story is titled The Quick and the Dead and it has very dynamic art by Javier Saltares.
In the story, Central City is stalked by a “ghost” who is killing former STAR Labs scientists and Tina is next. The Flash must figure out how to defeat something that he can’t touch and is twice as strong as he is. It’s a pretty good story and something typical you’d see in Season 1 of the show. It literally could have been a script that Byrne either wrote for the show or just re-worked an existing, unused show’s script. And Javier’s artwork is great. You can tell he took his style from the TV show. The Flash suit is directly off the screen with the red boots and stylized cowl. However, for some reason, they didn’t draw Barry Allen to look like John Wesley Shipp. They made him the traditional blonde, like in the comics, but since this is based on the show, it’s weird to see. Here are some panels of the oddly blonde Barry Allen.
See? Looks nothing like Shipp from the show. Despite this, the story is light and fun and, like I said, totally feels like an episode of the TV series.
The second story also feels like an episode of the show, a very good episode. It was written by Mark Waid. Waid is best known for writing (along with Alex Ross) the classic DC graphic novel, Kingdom Come, which wouldn’t be released until 5 years after this Flash TV Special comic. This second story introduces a young hooligan who gains The Flash’s powers in a freak accident. Sound familiar? It should, the story is called Meet Kid Flash.
I really liked this story. The way Kid Flash is presented here eerily foreshadows the first appearance of a teenage hooligan Flash in the 2004 Smallville episode Run. In this comic story, Vince Everett breaks into STAR Labs (rather easily I might add) and falls into a recreation by Tina McGee of the accident that gave Barry his powers. After being blasted with the electrified chemicals, Vince discovers he has been endowed with the same super speed powers as The Flash. Now, The Flash has to chase Vince all over Central City and try to stop him from robbing stores and causing lots and lots of mayhem. Once again, this story really captures the spirit of the show and I would have LOVED to see this produced as an actual episode during the show’s run. The artwork in this story is a bit more loose, more comic book-y than the last, but definitely taken directly from the TV show. This story even portrays Barry Allen as looking like John Wesley Shipp. Here are a few panels featuring the Shipp-like Barry Allen.
After the above two stories comes a “behind the scenes” section. Mostly text with some publicity stills from the show. After the behind the scenes section is a full Season 1 episode guide featuring writer, director and cast credits with a synopsis for every episode. It’s actually pretty nice. Too bad this would be the last season of the show.
The comic also contained three Flash pinups. They were placed after each story and at the very end of the comic book. They are by various artists. Click each image to see them BIGGER.