Monday, April 19, 2010

"I Hate Flash's Girlfriend!" and other observations

Several years ago, back when your Mild-Mannered Reporter was in his mid 20's, I used to have a job doing telephone customer service for a famous children's magazine. I worked at a dilapidated call center on the second floor of a barely-insulated warehouse and took phone calls all day mostly consisting of "I didn't get my magazine" and "I didn't order this magazine!!".

Luckily, I had a co-worker who sat near me who shared my passion for comics. He and I would read comics between calls and on our breaks and lunches. Sometimes we'd swap for the day. One day, we discovered that another co-worker, Rufus was a comics fan. Rufus was at least 20 years my senior and was a hard-working family man who just happened to have been a big fan of Silver Age comics during the Silver Age itself. Rufus would borrow our comics, sometimes the newer ones to see what was going on with his favorite characters of yesteryear, but mostly he wanted to read any reprints we had of "the good stuff". He preferred DC to Marvel because, as Rufus put it, "I prefer my heroes heroic."

One day, I brought in a re-issued 80-Page Giant of The Flash. Rufus was all over it like white on rice. When his break rolled around, I looked up to see him leaning over my cubicle. "Well?" I said, Rufus handed the comic back to me, thanked me, smiled,shook his head and said "I HATE Flash's girlfriend. She gets on my nerves."

"WHY?" You ask. "Why would Rufus dislike Flash's girlfriend Iris West so very much?"

Well, friends, I've anticipated your curiosity. Here are just a FEW examples:

She's rude...

She has no respect for Barry Allen's carreer as a Police Scientist...

I know this was before all those forensics shows on TV, but what the !@#$ does Iris think Barry does?? He's HELPING CATCH THE BAD GUYS!!

She's an immasculating shrew:

And, even though she seems to think The FLash is all man compared to Barry, she'll throw him over in a heartbeat...

Um, Iris, you're drooling.

So, yeah, I can totally understand why Rufus hates Flash's girlfriend. You know what? I hate her too.


  1. I couldn't agree more. What a bitch! Those silver age dolls were rough trade - Hal Jordon/Green Lantern didn't get any prize with Carrol Ferris either, even if she was the bosses’ daughter; and Lois treated Clarke like crap all through the sixties. DC didn't have a corner on bitchdom, either. I remember MJ giving wimpy Peter Parker endless, well-placed kicks in the nuts throughout the sixties. Ah, but we must remember Magnus, who had a great partner in the brave, loyal, and brilliant Leeja Clane! -- Mykal

  2. Even as a kid, I never understood why these particular heroes tolerated their stupid girlfriends. I agree with Mykal, Leeja was a rare exception.

    Of course, later on Marvel really knocked through fans for a loop when they had one of the sexiest chicks ever - The Scarlet Witch - fall in love with the Vision. As a synthezoid, he may not have actually been made of plastic, but what was Wanda thinking?

    Hawykeye, Cap, Shellhead and the other Avenging guys dropped the ball when they let her charms wander towards the Vision.

    No wonder she went crazy!

  3. "...worked at a dilapidated call center on the second floor of a barely-insulated warehouse..."

    I couldn't have described it better!

  4. There was a period around 1970 when (judging by the covers, anyway) it seemed the title of the comic should have been changed to "Iris Allen and Her Friend the Flash".

    Sure, on one level, Iris is a bitch. But on another level she's a comedic foil for Barry. We know that he's secretly the fastest man on Earth, while she thinks he's actually the slowest. It lets the writers and editors end the story with an amusing scene.

    In fact, I decided to check on that last part, and I was astounded at what I discovered. Almost all of the Flash stories in the first ten issues or so ended with a panel or two of Iris and Barry (or, occasionally) Iris and the Flash.

    I've got a post coming up on this! :)

  5. Mykal: Carol Ferris is another piece of work.

    Chuck: Perhaps you could arrange for Magnus, Robot Fighter to knock The Vision's block off? Then Wanda would be up for grabs.

    Sam: and then there was Sam, with his Green Lantern fixation... Ha! Do you remember when we complained that it was so cold our fingers were going numb while we were typing and Nancy suggested we purchase some of those fingerless gloves- like we were Bob Cratchett or something?!

    Pat: Oh, to be sure, the joke is that we, the readers, know Barry IS the Flash. But that doesn't excuse Iris' otherwise horrendous behavior, since SHE doesn't know. Can't wait to read that post. :)

  6. Ah, yes: "Type more emails Cratchett!" "B-b-but, can I have just one more lump of coal first?" "No!"

    Those were the days...well, they were days. ;-)

  7. Ah, but there was the lovely and loving Alana just waiting for Adam Strange when he landed on Rann!

  8. In principle, a good happen, support the views of the author

  9. Well, let's face it, the Silver Age was not kind to its female characters or romantic relationships in general, possibly because they figured the target audience (i.e. young boys) really only cared about the POW! BIFF! BAM! and BOOM! factor. Maybe the writers thought this kind of thing was genuinely funny back in the day, but the mean spirited treatment of Iris as seen in these older comics would totally not appeal to readers now.