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CSBG Archive

Almost Hidden – “Nobody Dies. It’s a Rule.”

Even with this large amount of comic books that have been collected in trade paperbacks, there are still a number of great comic books that have never been reprinted (I’d say roughly 60% of them are DC Comics from the 1980s through the mid-1990s). So every day this month I will spotlight a different cool comic book that is only available as a back issue. Here is an archive of the comic books featured so far.

I want you folks to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for comics that I should feature this month. I’d like to see what you all would like to see get more attention.

Today, Bill K. suggested that I feature another back issue that I have given quite a bit of love to on this here blog over the years, William Messner-Loebs, Greg LaRocque and Jose Marzan’s Flash #54, where the title quote comes from. Sure thing, Bill!

The issue, Flash #54, opens with Wally taking down a generic looking supervillain…

Two important bits set up here – 1. “Nobody dies. It’s a rule” and 2. The whole “Flash can run against gravity” deal.

Wally boards a plane and befriends a flight attendant…

The villain’s friends try to spring him. Wally stops them, but in the process, a hole is torn in the plane…

this leads to…

How brilliant is that?

Here is a glimpse of Wally dealing with the woman while in the sky…

That’s a glimpse of what the rest of the issue is like – Wally and the waitress in the sky while Wally tries to keep them both from dying.

After all, “Nobody dies. It’s a rule.”

It’s a brilliant little issue with strong artwork by Larcoque and Marzan.

45 Comments

I loved William Messner-Loebs run on Flash it’s my all time favourite ever Flash period. Thanks for the memories Brian.

Wow. Just wow. I also loved this run, but I had forgotten about this issue. Goosebumps!

What made this great is its classic Wally. “This is so stupid” As he jumps out of an airplane at 20,000 feet and realizes that his major aid in running fast (the suit) is suddenly a detriment to him saving the woman. And now has to “think waaaaay off his feet” to save them both…

Nobody dies. It’s a rule…. STILL one of my most personally valued comics ever. Hmm that makes 3 in the last 4 days you spotlighted Brian: Quasar 17, and Justice League of America #45 being the others… what’s next Fantastic Four #511 and the FF meeting “God”?

what’s next Fantastic Four #511 and the FF meeting “God”?

Alas, that has been reprinted!

lol I know Brian but I didn’t mean just in here…because the Quasar 17 you used in the Easter Eggs =p

Keep up the good work….

The Crazed Spruce

August 3, 2011 at 1:31 am

Man, is it any wonder Wally West ranked so high on my Top 10 list?

Sadly, this is one of the few issues from the Loebs/LaRocque run on The Flash that I missed. And yes, I still regret it. Looks like a hell of an issue, though.

You should be able to buy the issue pretty cheaply online.

One of the first comics I got when first collecting was Flash 58, whose letter column featured letters on this issue. Just from the descriptions there, it seemed great.

You’re trying to bankrupt me by digging through back issue bins for this stuff, aren’t you, Brian?

The Messner-Loebs Secret Origins (Annual?) about Wally is awesome, too. Hated his Wonder Woman, though.

From “nobody dies” to the Geoff Johns bloodnguts show. Sad how far DC keeps falling.

I fondly remember this issue to this day.

Flash was a must read for years then.

“From “nobody dies” to the Geoff Johns bloodnguts show. Sad how far DC keeps falling.”

Took the words right out of my … keyboard.

This is my favourite comic full stop. I spent several hours sorting through my loft recently just to find it. To me it’s the issue where Wally went from being a bit of a jerk to the best Flash ever.And it was the last monthly I collected regular before DC decided that a boring no personality Flash was more interesting. Wally West flash was a book I knew was going to be good every single month.And that imcludes Geodf Johns run,though for me he’s soiled that legacy in recent years.

From “nobody dies” to the Geoff Johns bloodnguts show. Sad how far DC keeps falling.

The Geoff Johns rule is “Somebody dies. It’s a rule.”

I got this issue when it first came out. DC was incredible back then. They consistently were putting out great books.

@Travis – Thankfully, back issues from the ’90s can usually be bought for much less than the cost of a single new issue today.

randypan the goatboy

August 3, 2011 at 7:52 am

It just goes to show how much better a flash wally west is than barry allen. Barry allen was the one ressurection that i honestly believe no one really wanted. he was replaced flawlessly , it wasnt like that at first, but wally really grew on me. No Wally West in the new DC makes for an epic missrole of gargantuan proportions. They have tried to replace wally twice now in just a few short years and i believe that just like last time the fans will demand a return of the real Flash. thats just my opinion though…i could be wrong

Cheers, Brian! :)

How brilliant is it? Very brilliant indeed

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this has to be the first story chosen to go into Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told Volume 2.

Was Brave and the Bold #181 — the “adult Hawk and Dove” story by Alan Brennert and Jim Aparo — ever reprinted? I can’t recall if it ever turned up in a Blue Ribbon Digest, but I know it was skipped in the older Greatest Stories TPB series. (Dunno about the newer ones.) If not, it’s a shame; that’s possibly the best issue of that title ever produced.

It just goes to show how much better a flash wally west is than barry allen.

You could easily write this same story with Barry Allen.

and barry allen was bought back why again?

Good stuff. I just think of Messner-Loebs as the guy who ruined Impulse after Mark Waid left.

Question: did Secret Origins #50 ever get reprinted? That had a cute retelling of the Barry/Jay meeting.

B&B #181 was reprinted in, I think, the last volume of the Waid Brave & Bold revival. The Flashes story from Secret Origins #50 appeared in one of the Morrison-Millar Flash collections.

I tracked this one down after ol’ Dave Campbell wrote about it on his blog. It is every bit as good as everyone thinks.

Most of my favorite comics have never been reprinted. Let’s get some ROM Spaceknight action up in here.

Was Brave and the Bold #181 — the “adult Hawk and Dove” story by Alan Brennert and Jim Aparo — ever reprinted? I can’t recall if it ever turned up in a Blue Ribbon Digest, but I know it was skipped in the older Greatest Stories TPB series. (Dunno about the newer ones.) If not, it’s a shame; that’s possibly the best issue of that title ever produced.

I think it was in the Best Stories of the Year blue ribbon digests (the annual Alan Brennert story usually made it in). Otherwise, no.

I totally agree. It is one of the best issues of B&B– a lovely coda to the 1960s Hawk and Dove series. Shame it had to be yanked out of continuity immediately and forgotten because the story was so thoughtful and smart.

Excellent story – one of the best done-in-ones from the era. Why DC didn’t include this as the backup story in this week’s DC Retroactive: The Flash 1980s featuring the Messner-Loebs/Larocque team is beyond me. (I guess technically it was 1990.)

I read this when I was a kid! It and the Batbooks were really the only DC stuff I followed back then.

“Wally and the waitress in the sky while Wally tries to keep them both from dying.”

Waitress?

Replacements reference. ;)

I can’t believe how well that writing holds up for someone who has never read it before and has no emotional attachment.

Wait…what happened to the plane?!

See, this is why I don’t talk about comics on the Internet much. You can’t discuss anything, even a random issue of a comic from two decades ago, without it segueing into why today is shit and today’s hate figure is a bastard made of piss. Stick a bunch of comic fans in an agriculture summit, and by the end of the meeting the subject will have been why DC/Marvel is shit and why Dan Didio/Geoff Johns/Joe Quesada/Brian Michael Bendis genuinely deserve to die.

No one’s said Johns deserves to die, merely that his writing is so obsessed with death and dismemberment and disfigurement that it stands in stark contrast to an excellent comic about the Flash actually doing something heroic.

randypan the goatboy

August 4, 2011 at 9:06 am

Why would comic fans have a discussion about agriculture anyway?

Apparently comic fans are also unfamiliar with abstract comic hyperbole and unable to actually notice the central point of statements when they’re surrounded by dog-whistle names.

I think he got your point just fine.

“I can’t believe how well that writing holds up for someone who has never read it before and has no emotional attachment.”

Testify! :D

“Wait…what happened to the plane?!”

Find a copy to read, you won’t regret it

One of the things I really like about the DCU of that time period, roughly 1986 to 1992, was that the heroes were more or less depowered across the board, almost to Marvel levels. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Mark Waid’s Wally West too, and I like how Grant Morrison writes a cool godlike Superman, but lower power levels allow for stories like this little gem here. Mark Waid’s Flash would have solved it all in 2 pages.

Now THAT’S what superhero comics are all about!

I’m sure this is about the fifth time you’ve showcased this issue.

It is a good issue though.

This is my favorite single issue of the entire Wally-Flash run. Waid got me hooked on the series, but Messner-Loebs made me want to go back and buy every back issue of that run. Messner-Loebs should be credited for taking Wally from jerk to hero. Too bad they didn’t give him the job of writing Flash post-Flashpoint.

The Vandal Savage storyline (48-51) was what started to “hook” me on Wally. I started reading the comics because of the TV show and was disappointed to find that Wally not Barry was The Flash. Loebs really started to win me over with Wally though and then Mark Waid totally won me over on Wally to the point where I preferred him over Barry (and still do today).

Speaking of Vandal Savage, there’s a rogue we’ve not seen in awhile. I’ve always thought of him as The Flash’s answer to Batman’s Ra’s Al Ghul as both Savage and al Ghul are immortals.

Speaking of Vandal Savage, there’s a rogue we’ve not seen in awhile. I’ve always thought of him as The Flash’s answer to Batman’s Ra’s Al Ghul as both Savage and al Ghul are immortals.

Well, Vandal Savage was turned into the biblical Cain during Final Crisis, complete with the Mark of Cain, and that limits the storytelling possibilities of the character, at least until he gets over the big crazy Cain-guy phase. But hey, he has time. And next month all bets are off anyway.

[...] an airplane and decides he’s going to jump out after her even though he can’t fly. CSBG featured the story in its “Almost Hidden” series, and Comics Bulletin has Messner-Loebs’ remarks on [...]

Vandal Savage has shown up just recently in the New 52. In DC Universe Presents #9-11 SAVAGE by James Robinson and Bernard Chang.

I swear i read that on comixology the other week….

Those are the Titans I loved because just like Wally said “handling tougher situations like this since I was twelve.” The same applied to Dick, Donna, Roy and Garth. Sure some had serious personal issues with their mentors but as far as JOB experience they all could’ve been not only been worthy successors to their respective mantles in many ways they could’ve surpassed them. Oh, the potential stories just wasted thanks to a lack of imagination and countless reboots.

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