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Went to Tell Everybody - Mike Baron's Flash Run

In this feature, I ask comic creators that I like a lot to recommend a great comic that they'd like to see spotlighted. They pick the comic and then I write a review of the comic (of course, this runs the risk of them picking a comic that I don't like, but there's so many great comics out there to pick from that I find it hard to believe that that will ever actually happen).

I was doing this as a weekly feature earlier this year, but I didn't think it was getting enough attention, so I figured I would instead do it every day this month, make it a bit of a thing. Draw some attention to these great books being recommended!

Today's creator is Marc Guggenheim. A longtime TV writer (including co-creating the inventive series Eli Stone), Guggenheim has also written a number of comic books over the years, including stints on Wolverine, Blade and the Justice Society. He was even part of the original "Brain Trust" on Amazing Spider-Man for Brand New Day. In recent years, his interest in comics and TV/film has come together as he was one of the screenwriters on the Green Lantern film and he is the showrunner on Arrow as well as being heavily involved in the upcoming Legends of Tomorrow spinoff. Amusingly enough for a guy so big on DC's TV series, he is also soon to be writing an ongoing series for Marvel, Agents of SHIELD, which is based on one of THEIR TV series. He also has a series at Oni called Stringers. Marc's choice was Mike Baron's Flash run.

Much of what ended up defining Wally Wast's solo career as the Flash made its debut in Mike Baron's initial run on the series, and this was in part because Baron had such an open field to work with. Marv Wolfman had tried a little bit to develop Wally's personality in New Teen Titans but you could tell his heart really wasn't in it.

Baron introduced the concept that Wally needed to constantly eat to deal with his insane metabolism...

Baron also introduced the novel idea that Vandal Savage, while immortal, needed constant replacement organs to stay alive, so he wanted that heart Wally was delivering, and he reveals himself to Wally in a chilling way at the end of the first issue (the art for the first issue was by Jackson Guice and Larry Mahlstedt, who drew much of Baron's run - Mike Collins was the back-up penciler), right after Wally wins the lottery!!!

Baron's run was also important for the characters he introduced, like Wally's love interest, Dr. Tina "Speed" McGee, who ended up being the main love interest on the 1990s Flash TV series...

Plus Kilg%re, who I still don't know how to pronounce nearly thirty years later...

Plus Chunk, who actually became a key supporting cast member during Bill Loebs' follow-up run...

and the Russian speedsters, Blue Trinity...

who end up embracing Capitalism...

As befitting a successful single man in his 20s, Baron had Wally date a lot of woman and the book was pretty clear that Wally was having sex with his girlfriends, which was still pretty risque for the time. In Baron's 15-issue run (14 regular issues and an annual) I seriously believe Wally slept with six women!

Wally's mother became a supporting cast member, and since she was such a blank slate, Baron had fun turning her into a strong source of comic relief, especially in how much she didn't get along with Wally's girlfriends...

Baron really placed Wally in the culture of the late 1980 more so than you will often ever see a writer use a particular era to define their character. It worked well and provided a strong framework for future Flash writers.

Thanks for the recommendation, Marc!

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