You know, somehow I wasn’t convinced we’d actually run out of hurricane names this year, even though it looked possible. But the National Hurricane Center has just named tropical
storm Alpha, marking the first time more than 21 tropical storms have been recorded in the Atlantic in one year.
Having picked up the Comic Cavalcade archives, I decided to go through all the Golden-Age Flash stories I had and catalog character appearances. I did the same thing with the Silver-Age stories a couple of years ago, when I completed my collection. Since $100+/book is a bit steep, I’m sticking with reprints, so it only took me a few hours to get through my collection instead of several months.
Now, there are lists and databases online already, but I like to be able to verify things directly when possible. I know how easy it is to make a mistake on a website and not catch it for months or even years. Also, most indexes aren’t really interested in the supporting cast. If I want to find a villain like the Fiddler, chances are I can find a complete list. But if I want to know which issues featured Jay’s old college buddies, I’m on my own.
And speaking of Jay’s old college buddies, he runs into five of them during the issues featured in The Golden Age Flash Archives, Vol. 1. And four of them are named Jim. There’s Jimmie Dolan, Jim Evans, Jim Carter, and Jim Dane. (Interestingly, the fifth friend is named Wally.) Jim Carter and Jim Dane are both in silver mining. Jimmie Dolan and Jim Evans both know that Jay is the Flash, but Jim Carter and Jim Dane don’t. I suspect that Carter and Dane are the same guy, but the writer didn’t remember the name he used before and didn’t feel like looking it up. (Comics were episodic back then, and you didn’t have continuity police among the readers ready to pounce on every coloring error.)
Also interesting: In the 17 issues collected in that book, no super-villains appear. The villains are all gangsters, kidnappers, corrupt politicians, crime bosses, etc. Even the story with the giant lizards has gangsters creating them. Skimming one list, the first recognizable villain to show up is the Shade—in issue #33! For the first three years (or at least the first year and a half), most of the Flash’s enemies wore ordinary business suits!
For various reasons, some stupid, some frustrating, and none of which I should have worried about that late at night, I stayed up waaay too late last night. And then couldn’t get to sleep for about 45 minutes after going to bed.
So I went to Starbucks on the way to work. The woman at the cash register wrote my name down as “KALSLN” despite the fact that I spelled it out loud to her. I suppose I should be grateful she got more than half the letters right. I’m always amazed at the new and surprising ways people find to misspell my name, though. If I’d been more awake, I would have added my usual “like Nelson with a K.” Of course, if I’d been more awake, I wouldn’t have stopped for coffee.
The rest of the drive was uneventful until I was ready to get off the freeway. Remember The Turn Signal Is Your Friend? Here’s another one. There was a pack of cars in the right lane, all about three carlengths apart, and I needed to get over to reach my exit. Unfortunately the gap I picked was in front of a Mercedes, who refused to open the gap at all. So this guy is tailgating me, barely a carlength behind, at 65 MPH. Last I looked, stopping distance at that speed was a whole lot longer than that. We reach the ramp to the next freeway, which is a cloverleaf, and my blueberry muffin rolls out of its bag onto the seat, spilling crumbs everywhere. Now, at this point I have to get over one lane immediately in order to be able to turn left at the real exit, but there’s a huge truck in that lane. So I pass the truck, start signalling, start to move over – and this jerk (who has never dropped more than a single car length behind me the entire time) not only zooms into the next lane and starts to pass me, but starts honking at me. Note that I started signalling before he passed me! I slam on the brakes (which, if he’d still been behind me, would have guaranteed a collision) and honk the horn, and the muffin (which I’d fortunately rolled back into its bag) rolls forward, hits the underside of the dashboard and lands on the floor.
To top it all off, a construction crew was blocking the left turn lane, so I may as well have stayed in the right lane.
Here’s hoping the day gets better and not worse…