Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Welcome!


No one likes Impulse? Well, I do! And I hope you do, too! Or at least I hope you learn to love him as you join me on this overly ambitious project to write a little about every comic book Bart Allen has appeared in. What's that? You don't know who Bart Allen is? Well, just keep reading this blog and you'll find out! But here's some background information for now:

Bart Allen was created about 20 years ago by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. I think it's fairly safe to say Mark Waid is one of the 10 best comic book writers right now. He had a legendary eight-year run on The Flash, where he introduced characters and concepts that are still in use today. He later went over to Marvel, where he has continued to write amazing comics and has even won a couple of Eisner awards (the highest honor for comic book creators). We'll be getting to know Mark Waid fairly well through this blog, which is great because he truly is one of the best writers I've come across.

Mike Wieringo, however, will not have as large a presence on this blog.  Wieringo was Waid's penciller for about a year of his Flash run, but he started winding down by the time Impulse was introduced. He drew a couple of issues with Bart, then just did the covers, then stopped all together. He later reunited with Waid at Marvel to work on Fantastic Four. Sadly, Wieringo suddenly died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 44.

Anyway, in April 1994, every good DC fan knew that there were three Flashes in the DC Universe. The first Flash was Jay Garrick, who was active during World War II. He served as inspiration for the second Flash, Barry Allen. Barry got married to Iris West, and her nephew, Wally West, became Barry's sidekick, Kid Flash. Later, Barry and Iris ran away to start a family in the future, but then Barry died while trying to save the universe. In the meantime, Wally grew up and decided to become the third Flash, wearing the same costume as his former mentor. Clear as mud? Don't worry, as we go through these comics everything will make more sense. Plus, if you get really confused, I'm sure you could always try your chances on Wikipedia. But the important thing to take away from this is that Wally West was the current and active Flash in 1994.

But I must make a full confession now. In 1994, I wasn't one of those good DC fans who knew about all the Flashes. I knew all about Batman and everybody on Batman: The Animated Series, but that was about it. Hey, cut me some slack, I was only 7! I really didn't start reading comics until I was in my 20s. But I was introduced to Bart Allen while I was still in high school.

After I got my Eagle Scout (I know, I'm a nerd), I was given a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble. I wanted a graphic novel, but I had no idea where to start and nothing really looked good. But a DC Encyclopedia caught my eye. And what really sold me on it was the entry on Beast Boy. At that time, I thought Beast Boy had been invented for the Teen Titans cartoon. I realized I had a lot to learn about this exciting new world.

I devoured that encyclopedia (and still reference it on occasion), and one character that really made a big impression on me was Bart Allen, who by that time had already become Kid Flash. Just something about his look, origin story and power set just really captured my imagination. But I didn't act on that interest for years. In fact, I kind of forgot about him until Bart Allen (as Impulse) appeared on Young Justice: Invasion. By that time, I was beginning to read comics and was searching desperately for something to devote myself to. Luckily, I found a great comic book shop that occasionally likes to package a bunch of comics together at a nice discount. I came across one of these bundles that included six issues of Impulse for five bucks. The covers made me laugh, so I decided to buy them on a whim. And I instantly became hooked.

These particular issues came out in 1997, and they were written and advertised toward 10-year-old boys in 1997. I was a 10-year-old boy in 1997, and these old issues spoke to that 10-year-old still inside me. I remembered all the ads, games, clothes and slang of that time. It was amazing. And I simply couldn't get enough. The more I read about Bart, the more I liked him and connected to him. In a rarity for comics, Bart actually grew up. He went from Impulse to Kid Flash to even the Flash for a bit. And in an odd sense, I kind of grew up with him.

Well anyway, after collecting a whole bunch of issues, I decided the time was right for me to start this blog. It is after all, approximately the 20th anniversary of Bart Allen's first appearance. I hope you join me on this journey through the '90s and 2000s. If you've already read these stories, then I hope you'll take a trip down nostalgia lane and remember how great they were. If you're encountering these stories for the first time, like me, then I hope you'll gain an appreciation for the history of the medium and learn that not all comics were awful in the '90s.

So with that said, let's get on to covering stories about the fastest boy alive!

2 comments:

  1. Hey, may I say I'm so glad you made this blog! Thank you so much Dallin! I was also introduced to Impulse in high school. In fact, Impulse: Reckless Youth was my first ever comic book! I really connected with Bart in more ways than one, both growing up through unhealthy amounts of computer use and thus explains our impulsive thought processes :)

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you found it!

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