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I hate hippies, Part 1 of 2 – The Flash #185

December 31, 2010

This is the first of a couple of Silver Age DC comics I plucked out that feature hippies in a less than favorable light. And by “less than favorable light” I mean “how I envision hippies all the time.” They rub me the wrong way, and seem like just the sort of folks who’d turn on a swell guy like the Flash with karate chops and leg biting. I mean, really. Who wants to be around a bunch of spaced out peaceniks with questionable hygiene who… who…


“The Threat of the High-Rise Buildings” starts with Barry Allen and that frigid bitch wife of his on their second honeymoon in Paris. You’d think that Iris might tone down her frosty, holier than thou attitude in la ville lumière, but nooooo:

I don’t know if any of you out there have read Sinclair Lewis’ Dodsworth, but if you have, Iris is giving of one heck of a Fran vibe.

So what was it that finally dammed up her nagging?:

That’ll do it.

The Eiffel Tower, along with the other tall structures across the globe (like the Empire State Building), are being sucked up into space. You don’t see that every day, and Barry decides to investigate. He hooks up with the Parisian police, who speak with the usual “ze” instead of “the” and the like — you half-expect Inspector Clouseau to be around every corner. It’s not long before the E.T.s responsible for the doings appear, and Iris gets herself sucked up into one of their ships. Barry changes into the Flash and sprints into action — the aliens use magnetism for their defense (that’s also how they vacuumed up the buildings) and are able to repel the military’s bullets, but Flash finagles a way on board to rescue Iris.

But beware, Scarlet Speedster, there are hippies lurking.

A uber-hippie named Le Loup (a better choice of moniker than Le Cochon, I suppose) wants the magnet weapon so he can better rob banks. He’s a hippie criminal Frenchman, folks. His insufferability may run off the charts at any second.

He rounds up some easily led long-hairs, arms them and leads them to the trusting aliens:

How do they plan to wipe out the ultra-advanced visitors?:

Le Loup didn’t count on the Flash, who easily dispatches the arrows and sends all the foul-smelling hippies scurrying like cockroaches.

What about the aliens, you ask? To keep it simple, they’re from Titan and they had been bombarded by TV and radio signals from Earth and sucked up the tall buildings (and their broadcasting apparatus) because of disturbances the signals had been causing. Now that they know Earth isn’t a threat (no thanks to Le Loup and his hippies), they return the structures to their original spots and Barry and Iris can get on with their dreadful vacation. And the people who were inside the buildings when they were sucked up into airless space? Well, it turns out that there weren’t any people in the buildings. Because it was Sunday. Yes, that’s the explanation for that.

To paraphrase Chinatown, “It’s the Silver Age, Jake.”

I was hoping for a little more vile, dirty, evil hippie nonsense in this comic as was promised so awesomely by the cover, and Frank Robbins’ story was a bit sillier than I can normally stomach. Ross Andru and Mike Esposito’s art was nice, as usual, but not enough to rescue the dim plot, though I did like their design for the yellow, befuddled, bug-eyed aliens.

Don’t worry, there’s going to be more hippie nonsense in the second part of this two-part posting, when everyone’s favorite red-headed whipping boy gets his groove on.

Happy New Year, everyone. Even all you hippies out there.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2011 11:47 am

    The bosses at DC plainly hated the hippies; according to Wikipedia, Mort Weisinger lobbied (successfully) for the cancellation of Brother Power the Geek because he felt it was too sympathetic to them.

    BTW, if the French accents in this story bug you, don’t read the one where “Bally-san and Ilis” go to Japan a couple issues earlier. It’s every bit as embarrassing.

    • neill permalink
      January 1, 2011 12:13 pm

      god, yes. Not coincidentally, also written by Frank Robbins, who paradoxically wrote some fine Batman stories around that time.

    • January 3, 2011 12:08 am

      It’s always great when comics head to the Orient — there simple phonetics can take on that wonderfully awful racial tinge. “Bally-san” indeed.

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