Sunday, 15 June 2014

A QUESTION OF RACE - WHO'S FASTER, SUPERMAN OR THE FLASH? CAVORTIN' COVER GALLERY...


Images copyright DC COMICS

So, who's faster - SUPERMAN or The FLASH?  In the
Silver Age, they were presented as equals in the speed department,
but with the passage of time, continual reboots, power levels being re-
defined and whatnot, The Flash is currently (unless DC changed things
yet again as I typed this) considered to be the fastest man alive!  (Not
that there's any fast dead ones as far as I know.)

So, in celebration of the several races that various incarnations
of both superheroes have had over the years, here's a cover gallery
showcasing their super-speed spats, including the covers of a couple
of  collections of their combative competitions!  (Incidentally, the two
speech balloons on the above cover were inadvertently attributed to
the wrong characters - they should be in reverse order.)

Don't say I don't spoil you - because I do!  Enjoy!









19 comments:

Gey Blabby said...

Those top two covers (from about 67 or 68, I think) are amongst the very earliest American comics I ever saw, brought home by my big brother who would just buy whatever took his fancy in the shop. They stand out so clearly in my memory, I think, not because the stories themselves were great, but just because the very idea of Superman and Flash having a footrace really appealed to me at the age of six or seven.
Also because the covers themselves were great: I'm guessing that Infantino had a hand in the first three. I love the use of speed lines in them, unlike the later ones which seem a bit tame in comparison. Even the Neal Adams cover seems like a missed opportunity.

Kid said...

What gets me, GB, is that The Flash was supposed to be able to circle the globe eight times in one second (and therefore Supes would, too), so how would anyone ever be able to see who the winner was? (Marvel's Quicksilver was more believable.) As you say 'though, the first three covers in particular are great - probably because they conjure up the sense of the '60s so well.

Colin Jones said...

This is typical of the tripe I'd expect from DC - who cares who's the fastest ?! Can you imagine a Marvel cover with Quicksilver vs. Thor (say) in a race and all the other Marvel characters standing around shouting "Come on Thor" or "You can do it Quickie" - no, you can't. This is the sort of rubbish that Marvel saved us from.

Kid said...

You forget 'though, Col, that Marvel fans always wanted to know who was stronger - Thor or the Hulk? The Hulk or Sub-Mariner? The Thing or Forbush Man? And who was faster between Quicksilver and the Human Top? Stan wrote tales that addressed those questions, so the race between Supes and Flash is the same kind of thing. Remember also that there was a reason for them racing beyond just finding out who was faster.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, I'm not sure if I ever cared who was the stronger of Hulk and Thor or Hulk and the Thing and any fights seemed to end up as a draw with no obvious winner. But you say "Stan wrote tales that addressed those issues" - indeed, but they weren't staged as silly contests and plastered over the front cover with a gang of Marvel characters cheering them on.

DeadSpiderEye said...

Eight times in a second, that's faster than the speed of light, pretty impressive but can The Flash do masonry work with his breath?

Kid said...

Ah, but Col, very often the covers were symbolic, although not so in the case of the first race, which was run at the request of the U.N. to raise funds to help poor countries. What true superhero could resist such a request? True, Marvel would perhaps have handled things differently, but for a DC mag it wasn't quite so outrageous a plot device as others I've read.

******

I doubt it, DSE, but would Supes look as good in yellow boots with treads?

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

As a kid (10 , 11 yeas old) I loved these type of stories from DC. Although the premise of the stories (a contest - although the first story as Kid says a UN race for charity is pretty modern) was silly it was what 10 year old kids wanted to know back in the day (well as a 10 year old my mates and I wanted to know). Marvel did it better no doubt about it but when I saw these covers advertised in the comics at the time I was hooked.

Kid said...

I think you've put your finger on it, McScotty - 10 year old kids would've loved these stories. They do seem kind of silly in retrospect, but that's because we're looking at them from the perspective of an adult. Col's right, of course, in that Marvel were slightly more sophisticated than DC.

Colin Jones said...

OK, Kid - I'll accept that the first race is for a good cause, I didn't know that (but perhaps it would be a lot better if Superman went in to sort out the corrupt dictators and thieving elites that steal so much from their own people). By the way - who on earth are Forbush Man and the Human Top, I've never heard of them !

Kid said...

But if Superman did that in stories about 'real' countries in comicbook tales, then kids might wonder why there was no difference in these countries on the TV news. Can't have young kids thinking that Superman doesn't exist, eh? Never heard of Forbush Man (who's been seen on this blog) or the Human Top - and you call yourself a Marvel fan, Col? I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to turn in your FOOM card.

John Pitt said...

Kid, this is a GREAT gallery! Call me childish, but I for one DID want to know who eventually was the faster after all these races and rematches.
As for the Hulk and Thor, as I recall it Thor has the edge providing he has his hammer. But it's actually the uru that can hurt Hulkie rather than Thor.

Kid said...

Regarding the Hulk, JP, as he gets stronger the madder he gets, theoretically, there's no limit to his strength, so perhaps he could beat Thor if he got angry enough. Of course, whether or not there's a limit to his anger is still to be determined I suppose. Glad you enjoyed the gallery.

John Pitt said...

As a bonus to this gallery if you look at the May '64 Action Comics, you will see the day that Supes actually BECAME the Flash and there he is on the cover, actually racing himself!

Kid said...

Thanks, JP. I'll see if I can track down that cover.

TC said...

Superman and the Flash also raced to a draw in Justice League of America #53 (1967), although it was a throwaway sequence, not part of the main plot, and it was not depicted on the cover.

Evidently, a significant number of fans did care which hero was faster. After the inconclusive endings in the first two races, DC said they received a lot of complaints. Ads for World's Finest #198-199 promised, "No hedging. This time, there WILL be a winner."

I didn't know that the word balloons on Superman #199 were juxtaposed, but it makes sense. I would have expected Batman to root for Superman.

Stan Lee always wrote those hero vs. hero fights with inconclusive endings. Each character was someone's favorite, and if one hero won, fans of the other would be disappointed.

Kid said...

I think it was established that the Flash was faster than Superman, but I was never convinced. Superman can't get tired and can fly, so, theoretically, he should be able to reach any place faster than ol' Flashy-pants. Flash may be the fastest 'man' (as in human) alive, but Supes is the fastest 'alien' alive (in my view).

TC said...

The Flash definitely won the race in World's Finest #199, but, with all the reboots and retcons since then, I have no idea what is canon now.

Kid said...

You, me, and no doubt thousands of other readers as well, TC.

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