THE FLASH #153
Back in the days before comic book shops were a part of my life–before I could drive, certainly, or even bike to a nearby shop–the one place where I was guaranteed to see back issues of comic books was at annual shopping mall collectibles shows. These events have largely dried up today, but back in the ‘70s, at least once a year there’d be a week in which the local enclosed shopping mall would play host to a bevy of collectibles dealers, selling figurines and stamps and ceramic plates–and yes, comic books.
Now, I’d never have the money in those days to afford to buy either in quantity or vintage. My purchases tended towards more recent comics I’d missed, since they were still dirt-cheap and thus affordable. But I looked at as many comics as I could, until the patience of my Mother was finally exhausted.
I can vividly recall seeing this issue of FLASH at one such show at the local Smithhaven Mall sometime in the mid to late ’70s. In typical Julie Schwartz style, the cover image fascinated me with its 500 year punch. I knew Professor Zoom from then-contemporary FLASH stories, and he was one of my favorite villains from the Rogue’s Gallery. So I wanted to read the story. But, alas, I didn’t have the two or three bucks that were being asked for this decade-old masterwork.
I eventually read the story in a FLASH 80-Page Giant I bought as a back issue years later. It wasn’t until I moved to finish off my complete run of FLASH in 1992 that I got an actual copy of the issue in question. And, in typical anti-climactic fashion, while the story was perfectly fine, it wasn’t really anything special–and that enticing 500-year punch is pretty much an afterthought.