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May 23, 2008


Wes C

How many issues did his trial actually last?

I was just getting into comics around the time of the trial and seem to remember it going on forever.

Yeah, not a great Infantino cover... I picked up Flash #124 (Flash strapped to a giant boomerang) and remember thinking how great
the art was, very sleek and graceful. I was surprised to learn that it was the same guy who 's current work left me kinda cold.

BTW: My parents went on vacation recently, attended an auction and brought back several issues of the Fantastic Four for me. Unfortunately it was from the "image clone, foil cover" days. I'm now the proud owner of 2 FF #375's (a previous Worst cover Ever star) and some really crappy embossed covers.

But the love they showed in bringing them back for me made it all worthwhile (cue the sappy music....)

Anybody want some early 90's FF's?.........

Mark Engblom

Well, the official "Trial of the Flash" storyline ran from #340 through #349, but the unofficial starting point was sixteen months earlier in Flash #324 with the accidental death of the Reverse Flash. This event started the long, depressing decline of the Flash title (which wasn't exactly doing that great before then), which saw him:

A) Lose his fiance to madness.

B) Get kicked out of the JLA.

C) Have his face destroyed by Big Sir, quite possibly the worst supervillain ever created.

D) Get betrayed by Kid Flash.

E) Find out a bald fat guy was possessed by the spirit of his dead wife Iris.

I could go on and on...but those are the high...I mean LOWlights of the execrable epic.

As for the F.F. issues: Awwww...wasn't that sweet? That happens from me from time to time, usually from relatives visiting garage sales. Last summer my sister-in-law brought me a stack of early 90's Ghost Riders. Gee...thanks. Ah, their hearts are in the right place, but man...


I liked Infantino's Star Wars, but it was forever until I saw his Flash work. Just missed it, I guess.


most artists' work seem to "coarsen" over the years. look at Jim Aparo's early B&B work from about 100-132 some absolutely brilliant stuff which turned into pretty good by the end of B&B to decent by Batman and the Outsiders to just awful (IMHO) by Death in the Family. Infantino seems to have an pretty strong demarcation point with his post Publisher days. a lot of the work after his stint as DC publisher was at the Jose Delbo-Don Heck level in my eyes.

the inking can really make or break Infantino's work too. that cover looks like Klaus Janson who i think is just one of the most all time overrated inkers. his work just looks sloppy. the first few issues of Infantino's second Flash run 296-303, inked by Bob Smith, i thought were pretty good... art and storywise- elongated man, shade, issue 300 i thought were great. i gave up at about issue 314 or so prolly for most of the reasons you mentioned.

ironically, this month's Back Issue! has a story on the Trial storyline and mentions how Infantino is especially proud of the "innovative" covers he did during that run...

Wes C

I totally agree meng.

I've always wondered why everyone thought Janson's work was so good. I think his inks just tend to roughen up and obscure the pencils.

I recently picked ups some B&B's (the Mister Miracle ones). Just last night I was looking at them and thinking "Wow Aparo was really quite good at one time". I only knew of his work from about '85 on- which looks pretty lazy in comparison.


yeah Wes, check out some of the 100 pg B&Bs during the early 70s when all the Batman artists were trying be more Adams-like (i think 112 was Mr Miracle). and the team ups with Sgt Rock, Swamp Thing, Wildcat, Aquaman, Joker... just some really great work, the best of his career, IMO.

Mark. Engblom

Ironically, this month's Back Issue! has a story on the Trial storyline and mentions how Infantino is especially proud of the "innovative" covers he did during that run..."

Gahhh! I'll admit a few of the covers had some good concepts behind them (such as #349's stark, shadowy bird's eye view looking down on Flash's jail cell), but the execution of so many of the covers was as unimpressive as the one above. Yeah, Bob Smith's inks seemed to keep Infantino's pencils under control, but when a sketchy inker like Janson inks a sketchy artist like Infantino, it's not a good match. I thought Janson worked well with Frank Miller, though.

Now I'm curious about that article in Back Issue! magazine...


i guess that would be coincidentally, not ironically... but the Back Issue! article is a pretty good one. interviews all the principals, Cary Bates, Infantino, editor Ernie Colon.

Bates mentions that they pretty much gave him carte blanche since the Flash was going to be killed and admits that it prolly went on just a touch too long. Colon and Bates both describe that Infantino was pretty much phoning it in at that point and they had to motivate him to turn it up a notch, with Infantino proudly stating how innovative some of those covers were. Colon also admits (in more euphemistic terms) that he didn't really know much or care about The Flash (or superheroes in general) even though he was the editor.

the article made me nostalgic enough to look into picking up the storyline but mycomicshop.com has them at about $5+ apiece and one look at the sole issue i have, Flash 350, and the trainwreck artwork of Infantino and Frank McLaughlin was enough for me to pack that nostalgia back where it belongs...

Mark. Engblom

"Colon also admits (in more euphemistic terms) that he didn't really know much or care about The Flash (or superheroes in general) even though he was the editor."

Man, it just gets better and better, doesn't it? However, I'm glad to hear Bates and Colon weren't thrilled with Infantino's artwork, either.


Mark, do you read Back Issue regularly? I've picked up a few issues online (my shop doesn't carry it), and it's quite fun. I think, with its emphasis on 70s and 80s work, it might be right up your alley.

Jansen on Miller is great-- I've never seen his inks on other artists, but it might be like Sinnott-Kirby: perfect inks for one artist, problematic for others.


It's so strange how such wonderful artists' work could decline so drastically - almost as if they had completely lost that wonderful confidence they had - and the decline seems to have been so rapid.
I remember looking at John Buscema's 'art' on Ka-Zar #7 (Jan 1974) and wondering how that could be the work of the person who drew those great Avengers and Silver surfer issues.


I agree with Paul about Buscema: take a look at Avengers #152 (1976)...what a shock from the premier Avengers artist! Very sloppy work and except for Wonder Man in the splash, characters look just plain weird...tiny heads, strange placement of facial features etc. And these were characters Buscema knew very well (Scarlet Witch, Vision, Cap, Wasp, etc.). I think as the years went on, Buscema just may have changed his focus...he was always interested in fine art and as a draftsman he may have wanted to concentrate on drawing forms and silhouettes, instead of things like facial details (at least in his comics work). So in a way his work became more abstract (and different from his vintage late-1960s work).

Mark. Engblom

I've read in various places that John Buscema wasn't fond of drawing superhero fare, so perhaps as time went on, he just couldn't summon the energy to hit the high marks of his earlier work. Maybe the same thing was happening to Infantino on Flash. As an artist myself, I know how challenging it is to keep your head in the game, especially with assignments you're not too excited about.

Thanks for stopping by, SLK. I really enjoy your blog, with the discussion-style posts (I have many of those issues in my own collection). Great angle for a blog.

Shar (sometimes known as SLK!)

Mark--I just saw your kind comments here. Thank you!

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