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Infantino, Infantino, Infantino Everywhere – Red Tornado #4 and The Flash

April 10, 2010

I was over in D.C. this past weekend and I stopped in one of my favorite used book stores, a little hole in the wall place that operates as a non-profit and donates money and books to local schools.  Low prices, good cause – you know, all that stuff.  The place has some nice out of print books, and for the cherry on top they also – sometimes – have a longbox or two of comics for sale at a quarter a pop.

Now, a lot of the comics are beat up and most of them are undesirable titles, but many a time while I’m picking through I’ll find some comics I can check off of my lists, for instance something like Batman comics from the 90’s.  For that low price, I’m happy.

Now the way I see it, there are three prime joys in buying comics.  One, there’s the nostalgia factor, buying comics you remember reading as a kid.  Two, there’s the discovery factor, where you buy comics from areas outside your childhood window and learn the history of characters and titles.  For me that’s comics in the Silver and Golden Ages.  And three, there’s the rediscovery factror, where dormant nostalgia is awakened when you find something you had and enjoyed as a kid and say to yourself “Oh man, I can’t believe I forgot about this one.”

I had a bit of number three this past weekend with this comic:

I had this book and I had forgotten all about it.  I picked through the long-box and also found issues 2 & 3 of the series, but not #1.  Oh well.  Still, the only one I had as a kid was this one, #4, and that’s the one that made my day – like I said, that whole rediscovery thing.  I can remember reading it and loving the artwork that Carmine Infantino put on each and every page.  But it was the fact that I only had this last issue back in the day that started me pondering what it was that made me grab that particular comic off the rack all those years ago.

I had no idea.  Then I looked more closley at the cover and specifically at the Red Tornado.  You see, the cover is a representation of a fight he has in the story with a villain called “The Construct,” an entity that exists primarily in the world of circuitry.  The Red Tornado meets his enemy on the enemy’s home turf, hence the odd appearance of his body on the cover.

Does his body remind you of anything?  Something Infantino might have drawn a few times?  Here’s an Infantino cover that might clear things up:

Am I nuts to think that the Red Tornado kind of looks like an empty Flash costume?  The Tornado is especially reminiscent of the Flash’s costume when it would emerge from Barry Allen’s ring.  The only cover image I could find of the costume-ring that Infantino drew is this one, though it’s not a very large (or very good, I admit) example:

Beyond the obvious color pattern similarities between the two costumes, the Tornado’s “belt” – I’ll call it a belt for the lack of a better term – looks a lot like the lightning bolt belt that the Flash sports.

So getting back to my curiosity about why I bought that particular comic, all I can come up with is that the Infantino Tornado made me think of the Infantino Flash.  And as a side note, Red Tornado #4 came out the same month as The Flash #350.  I can remember how much the whole “Trial of the Flash” storyline meant to me, and maybe in that time period I was just crazy for everything that even remotely looked like the Scarlet Speedster.  Then again, I’ve mentioned before how sometimes I’ve got Infantino on the brain.  Maybe I did back then, too.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 12, 2010 4:34 am

    Yeah, a fair number of empty Flash uniforms on the cover in the Silver Age. BTW, something odd happened with that Flash #159; Schwartz published an alternative story based on the same cover in Flash #161.

    • April 12, 2010 8:44 am

      Here’s an odd coincidence – this weekend I bought a copy of #161. I never knew Schwartz had done that. Weird.

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