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Top Five Most Iconic Barry Allen Covers

Here are the top five most iconic covers featuring Barry Allen (with iconic being determined partially subjectively by what covers are called to mind when one thinks of Barry Allen, but first being determined with a prominent objective standard of whether a cover is homaged a lot or featured a lot in histories of the character). The notable exception is no covers from a character’s first appearance (which isn’t applicable to all characters, of course, just those who appeared on the cover of the comic they debuted in)! Here‘s a list of all characters featured so far.

We’ll finish off the DC Comics side of the equation with a big name, Barry Allen, the Flash! Unlike Hal Jordan, I didn’t need to enlist the help of star writer Geoff Johns (who has a neat website you can visit here), although I did ask him if he agreed that my #3 cover choice worked – he did, so the list was pretty obvious from that point on!

Enjoy!

First off, while I’m exempting first appearance covers from the countdown, it’s only fair, I suppose, to share them here before the countdown begins, so here is the first cover appearance of Barry Allen from his first appearance, Showcase #4…

Artist: Carmine Infantino

5.

Artist: Ross Andru

Ross Andru has quite the distinction here – the only non-Infantino cover to crack the top five!

This top five is notable in that every single one of these covers has not just been homaged, but pretty much all of them have been homaged MULTIPLE TIMES!! Wow!

4.

Artist: Carmine Infantino

I believe Julie Schwartz said this was his favorite comic book cover of all-time.

3.

Artist: Carmine Infantino

I debated whether this counted as a “Barry” moment because it wasn’t even his own title, but yeah, I think it probably is, and if I count it as a Barry moment, it’s a BIG one! This one has been homaged a LOT.

2.

Artist: Carmine Infantino

This was homaged just very recently by the amazing Ryan Sook.

1.

Artist: Carmine Infantino

Some readers suggest that this cover would make #1 even if I counted Showacase #4 – I disagree, but it WOULD be a close call, which says a LOT.

This is one of the most iconic covers of all-time.

It’s amazing how great of a cover artist Carmine Infantino was.

51 Comments

Not a comment on this list but on the series generally — great job!

I’m not sure if I would change any of the five you chose but offer three more wonderful Infantino covers:

Flash 133: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=17294&zoom=4 (which sums up the Silver Age Flash for me for some reason);

Flash 135: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=17542&zoom=4 (a change of uniform);

Flash 165: http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=20482&zoom=4 (one of the best of its genre, even nicer, to my eyes, than Fantastic Four Annual 3).

Quick question: Did Infantino ever say that he drew the cover of Flash 123 before Fox actually wrote the story, or is that just a legend?

Would the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths 8 count as iconic? It is a memorable event in Barry Allen’s life but possibly not ‘iconic’?

http://www.comics.org/coverview.lasso?id=40601&zoom=4 — if anyone wants to take a look.

Yeah, I think the moment itself might be iconic, but not the cover.

Perhaps if Infantino wasn’t so freakin’ amazing. There are probably four-five other Infantino covers that would have made the list had Infantino (and Andru) not done so many iconic covers that there was no room. You posted one of them already, the Abra Kadabra one, I’d also consider the Captain Cold/Heatwave team-up one and perhaps a couple others.

I can’t honestly say it is more iconic than your picks, but the first cover I thought of was Flash #275.

It was a very nice cover and the story was a good example of the way DC were trying to ‘marvellise’ there product at that time (poor Iris Allen got Gwen Stacied).

I’d agree that the Superman-Flash race deserves to be on the list.

I’m a fan of Flash 172, (http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/4/42/Flash_v.1_172.jpg), although it only features Barry’s costume.

Thanks, Brian, because this series is great fun. Now I know what I want under the tree for Xmas –
a trade paperback, DC Classic Covers, that would offer up this kind of Silver Age happiness.
10 to 20 covers apiece for Batman, Flash, Superman, JLA, and World’s Finest, and then 5 to 10
each for other good stuff: Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Legion in Adventure, Doom Patrol,
Metamorpho, Atom, Hawkman, Aquaman,Showcase, and of course some gorilla ones too.
You’re so right – those Infantino covers are really cool.

Yeah – these are among the most iconic of all covers – I’ve never read the flash, or much DC at all until recently, but I know the “flash of two worlds” and the superman/flash race covers nonetheless.

I like the way Batman is saying “show him up, flash” on the race cover. That batman / superman antagonism has been around a lot longer than dark knight or new frontier etc..

Great series. Interesting choices.

I really started reading The Flash in the late ’70’s to early ’80’s, sometime after Iris was murdered and Barry was a bachelor. Those years were not kind to the “fastest man alive”. And then, he was gone. I probably would have picked the Abra Kadabra cover over the Flash rogues cover ~ but still, interesting choices.

Wouldn’t it be great if #5 had been published immediately after #4? And if Flash had been saying “Dammit…why didn’t you buy last month’s issue?”

Why is Batman cheering The Flash on in the race with Superman? Weren’t he and Superman supposed to be best friends, pre-Crisis? Seems like a bit of passive-aggressive behaviour going on here…

That sure looks like Murphy Anderson’s inking on the cover of Superman #199, and I think it’s part of what makes the cover great.

Crisis 8 SHOULD be in the list. Infantino was great, but Pérez’s cover is at least stronger than the one with “My life depends on it”.

alll good picks though surprised the one where flash breaks the fourth wall and says my life depends on someone reading this issue did not make number one. and also no crisis on infinite earth number 8

Not even a Barry Allen fan and I still recognized three of these (pics 1, 3, and 4, vaguely recognizing 2). Number 4 was the one that popped into mind first. Great choices!

Please, more in October!

Glad to see you aren’t shoving Wally and Barry into the same day, as both characters deserve their time in the sun. Great choices, though the aforementioned puppet cover will always hold a special place in my heart.

I don’t argue with any of these picks but I do think the Superman/Flash race should be a little lower compared to some of the others. Also, were it not for the recent homage, I’m not sure #2 would have been #2 as opposed to lower, too. Good covers though.

When it comes to iconic Flash covers, I’m partial to Flash #175, not because it’s the first Superman/Flash race in Flash comics, but because I have a letter published (my only one) in “Flash-Grams Extra”. Not bad for a 12 year old kid (although the letter is kind of, well, 12 year-old-ish.). I second Thok’s choosing of #172, even though it only features the costume; that’s the issue I wrote about in #175.

However, I believe the cover to Flash #165, with the Flash stopping the wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West, is THE single most “iconic” cover for me, personally. I think it MUST be included.

Your number 1 was recently a plot point on “The Big Bang Theory”.

All excellent covers and I know them all, except number five, despite having not read much Flash. I might have gone with Crisis 8 for the fifth spot.

I remember enjoying the Julie Scwartz tribute with the Alex Ross homage of the number four cover. I don’t remember what was in there, but I remember enjoying it.

I also agree with you about Showcase 4, Brian. Even though Flash 123 is very well-known and certainly iconic, covers don’t really come more iconic than Showcase 4. I think it could be argues as being as iconic as any cover except Action 1.

Oh, and Ryan Sook is the man.

I can’t argue with any of these. And that’s saying something, considering that there are so many others, from the puppet cover from the costume party/death of Iris, that I wish there was room for on the list.

And yeah, The Flash of Two Worlds is one of the most homaged covers of all time, for good reason.

No complaints here, although I might swap three with four.

Soooo, can we see a Five Iconic Wally West covers soon?

Please?

Puppet Flash! Puppet Flash!

Great list, Brian.

Barry Allen stories were generally about three things. The first was the fact that Barry was the fastest man alive. The second was cleverness and creativity. The third was that Barry was a luckless geek, before Peter Parker made being a luckless geek cool.

Barry worked in a lab and collected comics. He named himself “The Flash”, because he was a huge fan of the Jay Garrick title. Prior to their marriage, Iris treated him fairly shabbily. Cover #5 captures that very nicely.

Cover #4 and, of course, #1 capture the cleverness and inventiveness of The Flash extremely well. For all the debates that the Infinite Earths have sparked over the years, it belies the simple truth that they were an amazing idea for telling stories.

Finally, cover #3 was the first of seemingly endless series of Flash-Superman races. The idea was played out before most of us were born, but it was an extremely good way to establish relative speeds back in the Silver Age.

What exactly were the stories in 163 and 184? I’ve always wondered about them after seeing the covers.

Count me in the chorus that would take 133 (Puppet) over your #5. No chance for a poll-off between those and Crisis #8?

Too many to choose from…

All GREAT covers. This is the best one yet.

Oddly enough, despite the fact I’m 20, Barry Allen got me into comics as my family got me Flash Showcase Presents vol. 1 as a gag gift (I’ve always been a very slow runner). I loved everything about those issues and to this day find Barry Allen the character I most relate to.

@Paul

YAY! BIG HEAD FLASH! YAY!

I can’t argue withthe choices, but there are so many great Barry covers that a top ten wouldn’t be out of line. Crisis 8, Big Head Flash and Puppet Flash are all worthy choices. Flash #133 might also have one of the best bits of cover text ever:

“I’ve got the strangest feeling I’m being turned into a puppet!”

Paul,

I would say the Puppet Flash cover should be included because it’s iconic of that type of story: Puppet Flash, Big Head Flash, Fat Flash, Mirror Flash, various Flash-frozen by Captain Cold covers, etc.

The puppet cover is particularly memorable because as more than one commentator has noted, just how does turning into a puppet feel, that he can realize it’s happening?

Scott, great minds think alike…

Excellent choices. I thought of COIE #8 and even Flash Rebirth #1 http://images.comicbookresources.com/cons/cci2008/rebirth/flash_rebirth_sm.jpg, but it is impossible to argue with your five choices.

Oh, I’m not arguing any of the other choices. I’m just saying, come on… BIG-HEAD FLASH! When I saw “Most Iconic Barry Allen Covers” it was the first one I thought of.

Though, that could be more indicative of what might be wrong with me than what might be right with the cover…

This is the best one yet. Not a single dud in the lot.

The only one not shown that I thought of was the Reverse-Flash/Flash cover to the issue where he breaks Zoom’s neck…

Brilliant set all round…

i. love. the. Flash! [Jay, Barry, Wally, Bart, etc]!!!
DFTBA

Nobody else loves the one where Flash tries to stop Barry Allen’s wedding? Not only did that one come to mind first when “iconic” was menioned, but outside of the Elongated Man, it marked the first DC super-hero to get married,,,I believe.

What, no “I have the strangest feeling I’m being turned into a puppet?”

D’oh! That’s what I get for skipping to the end…

The above covers should serve as proof for anyone who wonders why Barry Allen was once considered the greatest Flash ever.

No Crisis 8???

FunkyGreenJerusalem

September 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Some readers suggest that this cover would make #1 even if I counted Showacase #4 – I disagree, but it WOULD be a close call, which says a LOT.

Hmmm, I’d say that it should still make #1.

It’s a heck of a cover just in the layout, let alone the impact of the golden age Flash appearing along side the silver age one, and everything that entails.

Taken as a whole I suspect the Flash could boast of having the best Silver Age covers from among all the other competing titles. There was such a terrific string of them. Maybe Jimmy Olsen comes close, but the Flash covers were much cooler, whereas, Olsen’s fall more into camp territory. Certainly Green Lantern suffered from a poverty of gems compared to Flash. And even the big guns Superman and Batman and the JLA were more inconsistent in the SA than the Flash when it came to grabbing the eye catching compositions

I think one could make a case for FLASH #165 or #172 in the fifth position. Otherwise, great choices.

CRISIS #8? Brian’s right: an iconic moment, not an iconic cover.

P.S. I think people wrote letters about the word balloons on SUPERMAN #199. I think the editors admitted they accidentally switched them, or something.

Great, great choices.

Personally, I love the cover to Flash #332, but that’s nostalgia talking. I do think Flash #324 deserves a legitimate shot.

I would have had Crisis #8 placed at # 2 or # 3. Then again, I prefer Perez’s art over Carmine Infantino’s anyway (*ducks*).

Re: Batman rooting for Flash and Hawkman cheering for Supes…I didn’t even take the era into consideration. In my mind, Batman is rooting for the Earth man and SA Hawkman is supporitng his fellow alien. “But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong”.

[…] Comics Should Be Good wraps up the month of iconic covers with the Top 5 Most Iconic Barry Allen Covers. […]

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