superman-flash-display-1

Just Who Would Win In a Race – Superman Or the Flash? | CBR

This is “Always Kind of Wondered,” a feature spotlighting instances from comics where a comic book writer has clearly said, “Hey, why doesn’t Character X ever do Action Y?” The sort of things that typically occur when comic book fans grow up to become comic book writers, which wasn’t really a thing until the mid-1960s.

Today, we look at how Superman and the Flash finally raced against each other.

When Flash debuted in Showcase #4 in 1956, DC’s superheroes were very much in their own little worlds, with the noted exceptions of Batman and Superman in World’s Finest Comics (and even there, those two had only JUST started teaming up with each other).

The two heroes did not meet each other until 1959’s Brave and the Bold #28 (by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs), which was the first appearance of the Justice League of America.

Obviously, whenever you have two major characters who are known for something big, like strength or speed, it is only natural for fans to wonder, “Who is stronger/faster?” And that clearly occurred to comic book fans of the era. However, despite both being in the Justice League, Superman and Flash still did not share much panel time together during the 1960s. The early days of the Justice League specifically downplayed Superman and Batman’s involvement in the team and even once those restrictions were relaxed, Gardner Fox still would often come up with some reason why Superman couldn’t be involved in that issue’s adventure.

However, as the decade came to a close, DC began to slowly but surely add some new writers to the mix. Mort Weisinger, in particular, was basically FORCED to find new voices once he lost a few of his key contributors with Edmond Hamilton retiring and Jerry Siegel becoming persona non grata after rumors leaked that he was threatening to contest DC’s copyright on Superman again. Weisinger found work for two very young writers, Jim Shooter and Cary Bates, both still teenagers in 1967 (Bates was 19 and Shooter was 16).

One of the key things about the so-called “second generation” of comic book writers is that they were the ones who grew up reading comic books and so they had more insights into what comic book fans cared about and it was little surprise that one of these young fans, Shooter, was the guy who wrote the first race between Superman and Flash in Superman #199 (art by Curt Swan and George Klein)…

The concept is that Flash and Superman are asked to race for charity…

Rivals gangs, though, bet big money on the race and try to make sure that their side wins…

The beginning of the race was handled really well…

After a bunch of nonsense, the race ended with a tie, so that Superman and Flash could screw over all of the gamblers around the world…

Green Lantern’s comments at the end, though, of course, led to their own “just kind of wondered,” which I’ll get to soon!

If anyone else has a suggestion for a future edition of Always Kind of Wondered, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

In a feature spotlighting writers using plots fans thought of for years, CSBG shows how DC finally had Superman race the Flash!

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *