Comic Legends: Did a Flash Arc Have the Wrong Backgrounds by Mistake?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and forty-ninth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here to read Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2.


Some wrong backgrounds made it into a few issues of the Flash during Morrison/Millar's run on the book.



A few years back, a reader pointed out that they were still mad about Grant Morrison and Mark Millar's run on the Flash, namely that artist Paul Ryan had "botched it by drawing the wrong background in a crucial scene."

The thing is, nothing was actually "botched," since all the problems Ryan had were corrected before the issues were released.

The late, great Ryan discussed his issues on the title with Greg Elias at the Speed Force back in 2010:

Q: In the first issue of Emergency Stop, #130, the story centers around a time travel mystery and Flash’s solution to his own apparent death in the future.

In issue #133, the Mirror Master story features a prism-trap resulting in a rainbow-Flash team, as well as Flash sorting out the bizarre effects of the mirror world. When it comes to portraying non-linear super-heroics and Flash’s interaction with theoretical environments, what are some of the biggest challenges?

PAUL RYAN: If the writer does his job then I can “see” his vision in my mind. I simply put that image down on paper. Sometimes, with Grant, the stories were a little confusing but I muddled through as best as I could. Flash #130 was just such a script. I had to redraw several pages because I assumed that Wally was going to end up in the alley as we saw him at the beginning of the story. I thought the script read that way. NOPE! For some strange, paradoxical, reason known only to people of Scottish descent, Wally ended up in someone’s suburban backyard.

Ryan's confusion came from here. The Flash is killed and his dead body is sent back in time so that his current, alive self, can try to solve his murder...

The trick is, though, that the Flash who was sent back in time WASN'T actually dead. He had been put into a coma to APPEAR dead. How did that happen? Well, the time-traveled "body" woke up just before the normal Flash (the one who was about to be killed) was about to be killed and the time-traveling Flash used his powers to make that Flash (himself from the past) appear to be dead (it's essentially a time loop). So that Flash was then sent back in time in the alley at the beginning of the issue. The other Flash, though, the one who had already traveled in time, ended up in a different spot after he got hit by some debris...

That's why he ended up in a different spot. Still, all of this was fixed before the issue came out.

How about the other issue in question?

With regard to the Mirror World storyline, some backgrounds had to be redrawn. Not because I didn’t read (“see”) the images right. Grant decided to rewrite a section of the story after I had completed all the pages, in pencil, passed them in and was working on the next issue. It was not the best working relationship of my career.

As noted, the issues were all fixed BEFORE the books came out.

Ryan, though, was mistaken in who he was irked at for Flash #133. Mark Millar wrote that issue, not Morrison (they started their run together with each guy writing three solo issues, Morrison did Flash #130-132 and then Millar did #133-135. They DID plot the issues together beforehand).

For the life of me, though, I can't figure out what WOULD have been the problems in the backgrounds in Flash #133.

Thanks to Greg Elias and the late Paul Ryan for the information!

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Did Dustin Hoffman REALLY improvise the famous "Hey, I'm walkin' here!" scene in Midnight Cowboy?

OK, that's it for this week!

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