Since it’s San Diego Comic-Con week, and so much big, exciting news is pouring out of reports from people there, I figured I’d try and attract attention to my post about nothing with a grabby headline.
I don’t think Barry Allen is really a middle-aged Hitler. Well, he may be middle-aged, I try not to think about it myself, but Geoff Johns implied he was getting on in years. And as for his Hitlerhood, I’m positive he’s no Hitler, but Johns also said he’s a geek and Grant Morrison said geeks with power lead to Hitler, so a geek with superpowers? Why, that could lead to Super-Hitler!
First, Barry’s age. Quick, how old is Barry Allen?
I suppose somewhere in his thirties is the correct answer, but I noticed a line or two of dialogue in this week’s Green Lantern #44 which seems to date him.
And when anything dates these superhero characters, get ready for bigger and worse waves of ever- increasing cognitive dissonance, the longer and harder you think about.
Anyway, here are Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Flash Barry Allen, as penciled by Doug Mahnke, exchanging lines written by Geoff Johns:
So Barry Allen died before the Internet, huh?
Okay, so according to the history of the Internet that I found on, um, the Internet, the term “the Internet” came into popular usage around 1996, and the Internet itself start coming into popular usage between 1991 and 1996.
That means the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, a comic published between 1985 and 1986, occurred somewhere before 1991 and 1996 in DCU time, right?
That means Barry Allen has been dead somewhere between 13 and 18 years now. Even if he was, say, 28 in COIE, that would make him between 41 and 46 now, although he was probably in this thirties during COIE, which would make him 43-57 now, depending on whether he was 31 or 39 during COIE.
Now, according to the timeline in the back of my Zero Hour: Crisis in Time trade paperback, Barry Allen debuted 10 years ago (and let’s add one for “One Year Later”), or in 1998. He died five years ago (six, with “OYL” added), or in 2003. By that reckoning of DCU time—which has been made rather irrelevant by the events of Infinite Crisis, 52 and Final Crisis, not to mention Superboy punches—even if Allen started being the Flash as young as, say, 24, he could still be as young as 35. But then, why wasn’t he using the Internet before his death in 2003? Surely he’d have to have used it in the course of his day job, even if he hated doing so on account of how slow it must have been.
Now perhaps Barry Allen’s body is still rather young, since it may not have been aging during the years he was dead/in the Speed Force, but his age is relevant because he’s about the same age as Batman, Black Canary and other heroes who aren’t either functionally immortal or haven’t died and been resurrected in new physical bodies (like Hal and Oliver Queen)
Now even if Allen died before the Internet was popularly used (and obviously I’ve spent far more time than anyone should have thinking about this subject), it doesn’t age DC’s Silver Age generation heroes as much as Black Lightning’s college graduate daughter Thunder, Green Arrow’s twentysomething son Green Arrow II or even Batman’s son Damien. But still—Barry Allen is old.
And also maybe Hitler.
In that conversation above, Barry was referring to himself and Clark Kent as “geeks” and, in explaining how they managed to score smoking hot reporter wives, he says he has heard that geeks are taking over the earth.
Grant Morrison may be very alarmed to hear this, since you know what you get when you give geeks power? Hitler.
No seriously, he said that.
In a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter and several other individuals with one foot in the world of comics and one foot in the world of film. (It’s a nice article, and if you haven’t already, you should go give it a read. Morrison says a lot of typically smart things as well, and it’s accompanied by a nice cartoon of the participants by Jim Mahfood).
At one point, Morrison says:
I don’t care about geeks, you know? Geeks shouldn’t be given power. When geeks get power, you get Hitler. There’s a lot of weird and angry geeks out there. But what (a comic book movie) does is it opens up comics as a medium. It stops being geekish. There’s comic books for everyone. There’s comic books for women, there’s comic books for kids, there’s comic books for teenage Goths. That is the important thing that movies are doing.
I’m assuming that the piece was just kind of edited weird, as these sorts of articles often are in order to get as much of the good stuff in as possible, since Morrison’s line just comes out of nowhere, and no one responds to it with a “Hitler? What the hell are you talking about man?” either.
Was Hitler a geek? Did he collect superhero comics? Because a lot of the best of ‘em in Hitler’s day tended to have pictures of him getting punched or otherwise abused on the front of them.