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Showcase (1956) - #4
"Presenting THE FLASH!"
DC Comics

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Julius Schwartz

Cover Artist(s):
Carmine Infantino
Joe Kubert

Rating (out of 10):
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Cover Date: Sep/Oct 1956
Cover Price: US $ 0.10

Issue Tagline: Whirlwind Adventures Of The Fastest Man Alive!

Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 32 pages

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Reprinted/Collected in:
DC Archiv Edition (1998) #8
DC Comics Presents: The Flash (2011) #1
DC Silver Age Classics (1992) Showcase #4
DC Universe: Secret Origins (2012) HC
DC Universe: Secret Origins (2012) TPB
The Essential Showcase 1956-1959 (1993) TPB
Flash (1979) #1/2
Flash Anthologie (2015) HC
Flash Anthologie (2016) HC
The Flash Archives (1996) HC vol. 01
The Flash Chronicles (2009) TPB vol. 01
The Flash Omnibus (2014) HC vol. 01
The Flash (1959) #215
The Flash: A Celebration of 75 Years (2015) HC
The Flash: The Silver Age (2016) TPB vol. 01
The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told (1991) HC vol. 01
The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told (1991) TPB vol. 01
Millennium Edition:... (2000) Showcase 4
Secret Origins (1961) One-shot
Secret Origins (1961) One-shot (1998 reprint)
Secret Origins (1973) #1
Secret Origins of the Super DC Heroes (1976) TPB
Showcase Presents: Showcase (2012) TPB vol. 01
Showcase Presents: The Flash (2007) TPB vol. 01

Credits given for the whole issue apply to all stories within the issue.

This is often called the beginning of the Silver Age. And it is. But what does that mean? To what extent does "the Silver Age of Comics" (a rough guideline applied to publication date) correspond with the internal, storytelling continuity of a character? This issue muddies the waters for the rest of the DCU by having, ironically, so clear an answer.

Because the Flash was the first "old" character re-invented in the Silver Age of Comics, and because this issue is the very dividing line most scholars use to open the Silver Age, it makes sense to call Barry Allen the "Silver Age Flash".

The implication of saying this, though, is that there's a "Silver Age Superman" and a "Silver Age Batman" and a "Silver Age Martian Manhunter" and the like.

But there aren't. Or at least not nearly so clearly as there is a "Silver Age Flash". Barry Allen had no appearances before the Silver Age, but Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and J'onn J'onzz all had stories before this issue--some of them very clearly at the height of the Golden Age. Superboy, the young Clark Kent, is especially problematic when speaking of a supposed "Silver Age Superman".

And that's the problem with applying the term "Silver Age" to characters and continuity. Publication "ages" correspond to the dates "big" stories are published, but they're confusing when looking at the histories of individual characters.

So, call this the "agreed upon start of the DC Silver Age" if you must speak of publication dates.

Showcase #4, from the perspective of internal continuity, really is the "dawn of the multiverse". By showing that the Flash (I) existed in the same universe as the Flash (II)--but only as a fictional character--DC was positing the notion that its catalog of books could be divided into mostly separate, but not totally indivisible, continuities.

No, Earth 1 and Earth 2 are never referred to in this issue. The multiverse concept hadn't been explicitly created yet. But from the comfort of the 21st century, we know this issue for the way it's best described: the first appearance of the Earth 1 Flash.

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"Mystery Of The Human Thunderbolt!" - Edit this story

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Robert 'Bob' Kanigher

Carmine Infantino

Joe Kubert

(Unknown Creator)

(Unknown Creator)

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An image for Flash (DC)(02 - Barry Allen) exists Flash (DC)(02 - Barry Allen)
Gardner Fox
An image for Turtle Man (02) exists Turtle Man (02)
An image for Iris Ann Russell West exists Iris Ann Russell West

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Police scientist, Barry Allen is working in his lab during an electrical storm. A lightning bolt smashes through the lab window and crashes into a rack of chemicals. Certain containers are broken open, and Allen, who was knocked over by the bolt, is bathed in the chemical mixture. After partially recovering from the experience, Barry travels home and quickly discovers that he is able to move at incredible speeds.

The next morning, Barry brushes off the strange experience as mostly delusional. When he arrives for his date with Iris West, he discovers otherwise. His amazing speed enables him to protect Iris from a stray bullet fired by the Turtle Man, a criminal who is known as "the slowest man on Earth".

Returning to the lab Barry realizes he has been transformed by the chemical bath into a super-speedster, like his comic book hero, the Flash. Barry follows the example set by his hero to design a costume for himself. He stores it in a special ring which shrinks the costume for storage and enlarges it when needed.

Alerted by a burgler alarm from the local bank, Barry races off to thwart the culprit, as the Flash. The robber is the Turtle Man who escapes through the sewers to a nearby boat. The Flash follows the boat by running across the water, but his own speed pushes the boat further ahead. Instead he circles the boat and captures the criminal. After delivering the crook to the police, he is interviewed by the newspaper. He officially adopts the name, "The Flash".

Synopsis uses material derived from

Gardner Fox's "appearance" in this story is one of inference more than actuality. Because Barry is shown to be reading Flash Comics #13, written by Gardner Fox, it is to be assumed that Gardner Fox exists in this universe. And Gardner Fox is sort of the keystone for the whole "Earth 2" concept. This issue will thus be credited as the "first appearance" of Gardner Fox even though he's never shown "in the flesh".

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"The Man Who Broke The Time Barrier!" - Edit this story

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John Broome

Carmine Infantino

Joe Kubert

(Unknown Creator)

(Unknown Creator)

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An image for Flash (DC)(02 - Barry Allen) exists Flash (DC)(02 - Barry Allen)
An image for Mazdan exists Mazdan

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Throughout Central City objects are being mysteriously pulled away from their owners. When a beaker disappears from police scientist Barry Allen, the Flash investigates. He located an unknown individual who seems responsible. When he attempts to stop the man, he is prevented from doing so by rings of intense heat.

The man is Mazdan, a criminal from a future era. Mazdan was to be sent to 50th century Earth for imprisonment, but his time capsule was damaged and propelled back to the 20th century. He is stealing the objects to repair the capsule, return to his own time and take his revenge.

Back at police headquarters, Barry Allen learns of a robbery in progress in which the crook fits Mazdan?s description. He races to the scene as the Flash. Again he is menaced by rings of heat. This time however, Flash jumped through the rings and apprehends his target.

Mazdan easily escapes from his jail cell, but is tracked again by the Flash. Flash catches his foe at the site of the time capsule. Learning Mazdan?s story, Flash carries the villain back to his own era by races faster than time. Once the villain has been turned over to the future authorities, Flash speeds back to his own era.

Synopsis uses material derived from

This marks the first time the Flash (II) was shown to have the ability to break the time barrier.

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