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The Crimson Comet! Ultimate Guide to Collecting The Flash

The Crimson Comet! Ultimate Guide to Collecting The Flash

Quick Overview

The Crimson Comet! Ultimate Guide to Collecting The Flash 1Created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert, The Flash has been speeding around the imagination of comic book fans since his 1940 introduction in Flash Comics #1. There have been several men in comic book history to claim The Flash as their alter ego but regardless of the secret identity or era, Flash has remained a constant fixture in the Justice League, Justice Society, and the Teen Titans. Being featured in comics, cartoons, television shows, and films for many years certainly inspires countless collectibles and merchandise opportunities for a character and The Flash is no exception. This guide will serve as a detailed introduction for new collectors of the Scarlet Speedster.

Possessing the ability of super speed, The Flash is able to move at rates that make him virtually invisible to people operating at normal tempi. Super speed is not limited to just his running prowess, though, and has been used to heighten his reflexes and even bend the laws of physics as it serves his purpose. The Crimson Comet is not a one-trick pony but a nuanced superhero who can be adapted to any story and that adaptability has allowed the character to remain popular since the Golden Age of comics through to the film universe.

DC Comics, producers of several Flash-related comic books, have utilized Flash characters to charter both the Justice Society and Justice League as well as to introduce the “parallel worlds” concept as Flash was the only hero, at the time, who could bounce between the worlds. Writers of the character also made The Flash one of the few characters who aged within the comic book pages with alter ego Wally West first being introduced as a teenaged, Kid Flash, before taking on the full mantle of The Flash.

He may not have the laundry list of superpowers of a Superman or the gadgets of a Batman but The Flash has always been a critical and entertaining member of the DC Universe. He has proven his worth with a successful live action television show, a cinematic premiere, and a constant line of merchandise at some of America’s largest retailers. If you’ve got a need for speedy collectibles, The Flash is a great place to start. Using the tabs above, check out the key options among Flash comics, trading cards and figures.

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The Flash has appeared in dozens of titles over the years, including several crossover events, so collecting every Flash appearance is next to impossible unless you’re collection is being financed by a billionaire playboy from Gotham City. Focusing on the “big” issues may be more realistic but is still going to take a great deal of hunting and the GDP of a small country to complete. In 2010, for example, a copy of Flash Comics #1 sold for nearly a half-million dollars.

Broken into release periods,  the following guide includes notable Flash comics that are worth seeking out. Some of these will cost you thousands of dollars at online auctions but if you happen to see any at a garage sale for a nickle, buy the whole box and don't look back.

The Flash Comics

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Flash Comics 1940-1949

This is the comic that started it all with the introduction of Jay Garrick as The Flash. Despite having an eponymous title, many superheroes appeared in this book and because of the varied hero focus, prices for these issues fluctuate wildly. Regardless, though, if you find a high quality issue — especially if it is graded — plan on paying several hundred dollars but also expect that comic to be a cornerstone of your collection. There are 104 issues to track down in this line.

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Showcase 1956-1970

Again, like Flash Comics, this title does not exclusively feature Flash but issue #4 is the premiere of the Barry Allen as the Silver Age Flash which, essentially, saved the character for decades to follow. Showcase was used by DC as a means to “showcase” new or less popular characters and gauge audience reception before devoting the resources of a major title to a particular hero. The Flash also appears in issues #8, #13, and #14.

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The Flash 1959-1985

Following the success of Barry Allen’s Flash in Showcase Comics, DC finally committed to the character fully and premiered The Flash comics in 1959. Despite being off the shelves for a decade, DC began numbering this comic at 105, a continuation of the numbering from the original Flash Comics. Issue #123 marks the beginning of the parallel worlds concept and features both the Golden Age and Silver Age interpretations of the Flash interacting with each other. This plot device would be exploited time and time again over the future of all comics.

Major character introductions are a good place to begin collecting these comics with issues like #106 ("Gorilla Grodd") and #112 ("Elongated Man") debuting characters still in publication today. This title has been “reset” three times with volume one and two both releasing just shy of 250 issues and volume three releasing just 12. Volume four is the current iteration and is produced under the New 52 moniker.

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Trading Cards

Like many other superhero creations, the comic version of The Flash has never received a full trading card set devoted solely to him. However, as a member of the Justice League, he appears in virtually every DC-branded card set ever released. There are many individual cards to track down for your collection, some with truly stunning artwork, with the sets below being an excellent place to start.

The Flash Trading Cards

Click on the listings or images to shop on eBay. When available, linked sets in the body go directly to detailed product profiles or guides.  

Impel/Skybox: 1991-1997

Impel, which eventually became Skybox, released the first set of DC cards that weren’t devoted solely to Batman or Superman in 1991 with the Cosmic Cards set. The Flash appears in that set as well as Cosmic Teams (1993), DC Master Series (1994), DC Legends Power Chrome (1995), DC versus Marvel (1995), and Kingdom Come (1997), among others. Along with those base sets, Flash appears in many chase sets and has cameos in the Superman: Man of Steel set.

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Rittenhouse Archives: 2007-2009

Rittenhouse has released two sets that include The Flash. DC Legacy (2007) features The Flash in its base set along with some chase cards. The Justice League Archives (2009) is littered with images of the Silver Age Flash both in its base and chase sets and is the first to include sketch cards of the Scarlet Speedster.

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Cryptozoic: 2012-present

Trading cards devoted to DC Comics are now managed by Cryptozoic. The Flash has appeared in their New 52 (2012), Epic Battles (2014), and Justice League (2016) sets. Each of these releases includes sketch cards and chase sets featuring The Flash. Cryptozoic also offers “Totally Fabricated” cards which act as commemorative relic cards for things that would have nothing to use in a traditional relic card.

Cryptozoic also handles cards inspired by the television show with a 2016 Flash set that includes cast autographs, costume relics, and prop relics from the popular CW series.

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As a charter member of the Justice League, Flash has always maintained the popularity needed to merit an action figure. Since the first figures were released in the 1970s, through to today, The Flash has been in a near constant state of action figure production. Because there are dozens of figures, many with variations in costume or packaging, thus broadening the market further, this list is not a complete collection of available figures but, rather, used to highlight some of the more popular or valuable figures.

The Flash Figures

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Flash Action Figures

Part of the first series of the wildly popular Super Powers line, the Flash action figure by Kenner has become a sought-after piece among collectors. Online auctions for this figure, still in the box, regularly sell for $100+ but are pretty easy to find.

In addition, Mattel has released several Flash action figures as part of their DC Universe, Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, and Crisis lines, among others. The Crisis line also includes a rare Golden Age Flash figure.

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Flash Statues

Whether you're looking to decorate your den or have a display case that's begging for some red, Flash statues are a great collector item. The Kotobukiya flash statue is very popular and easy to find at a reasonable price. The next level up, in terms of both quality and price point, would be the DC Direct Flash Statues. These figures feature full scenes, often with other characters, including a battle with Captain Cold on an ice base and a dominating Flash standing on a fallen Gorilla Grodd. DC Direct has also introduced figures based on designs of the CW television show.

One of the most impressive and costly Flash statues is a recreation of the cover from Flash #123 — the comic that introduced the parallel world concept. This porcelain statue is also distributed by DC Direct.


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Funko Flash Vinyl Figures

Funko has many Flash-based figures in their Pop! series. Of course, there are several figures in their DC Super Heroes line with many alternative retail exclusives. There is also a line of figures based on The Flash television series and he appears in the DC Mini Mystery Figures series as well. As with any Funko collection, these figures generally retain their retail value and do enjoy a bump in value if they are rare or become retired but, most importantly, they can be fun to track down. With all the retail exclusives and new figures pushing old figures off of store shelves, Funko can be the perfect collection for people on a budget but who still love the thrill of a hunt.

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Tony is a musician and writer in the SF bay area and is a former contributor to The Cardboard Connection.

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