Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Flash Facts: The Early Days of Abra Kadabra

Abra Kadabra was a man from the 64th Century, using that time period's super-science for theatrical purposes....

....making "magic", as a true showman.   But, the Flash stole his headlines, leading to battles of science vs. speed, as Abra Kadabra would come back in time to face the Flash, again and again.

Here are the stories of the earlier of their confrontations!

The Case Of The Real-Gone Flash

Abra Kadabra took his first bow in Flash #128 (May, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella...and it was quite a performance!

Coming back in time from 6363, the man called Abra Kadabra couldn't get anyone to pay any attention to him, finding folks distracted about crimes in the, Abra decided to start stealing items to get attention, attracting the Flash.  After failing to capture him once, Barry went after Kadabra when the magician tried to perform in Central City, with Abra making Flash disappear out of his uniform, sending Barry into space (where the police scientist used science to get out of predicament, and imprisoning the pseudo-sorceror by using his own hypno-ray against him).

This tale has magical reappeared in a few places...

...including Flash #187 (April-May, 1969), DC Super-Stars #11 (January, 1977), DC Blue Ribbon Digest #15 (November, 1981), the Flash Archives #4 of 2006, and the Flash Omnibus #1 of 2014.

The Plight Of The Puppet Flash

Abra Kadabra took a second curtain call in Flash #133 (December, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, and one of the most beloved covers of the Silver Age by Infantino and Murphy Anderson (begging the question of just how did Flash know how turning into a puppet feel like?).

Abra Kadabra gets out of jail by performing a little slight of hand (actually hypnotism) on the governor, starting a series of stage shows using puppets (and making fun of the Flash).  To protect his reputation, Flash wages an all out war against crime, stealing publicity from Abra's shows...forcing Abra to turn Flash into a puppet (and use him in his shows).  Barry figures out how to reverse the advanced science-spell, and recaptures Kadabra.

Like magic...

...this tale reappeared in Flash #169 (April-May, 1967), in the Flash Archives #5 of 2009 and the Flash Omnibus #2 of 2017 (but none of these ever do reveal what it feels like to be turned into a puppet!).

Robberies By Magic

Continuing to look for the spotlight, Abra returns in Flash #149 (December, 1962) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson.

This time around, Abra cast a "spell" on Central City, hitting Flash as he returned from out of town, being imbued with Abra's "magic".  This causes Flash to fail as he tries to stop crime, leading him to confront Kadabra, who tries to extort Flash's speed from him in return for removing the "spell".  Flash uses a little super-speed slight of hand to beat the magician.

This tale was reprinted in the DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #2 (May-June, 1980) in the Flash Archives #6 of 2012 and the Flash Omnibus #2 of 2017.

The Day Magic Exposed Flash's Secret Identity

Abra Kadabra works on a disappearing act in Flash #163 (August, 1966) by John Broome, Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella (with this shocking cover by Infantino and Giella!).

This time around, Kadabra escapes his 20th Century prison by switching minds with a 64th Century Police Officer.  Flash follows his foe to a magician's convention, where Abra planned a trick to remove Flash's powers and costume, exposing his foe's secret identity...but Barry proved too fast for that to work, and ended up defeating his foe, this time returning Abra to the 64th Century for imprisonment.

This tale has only been reprinted in black and white, in Showcase Presents: The Flash #4 of 2012.

The See-Nothing Spells Of Abra Kadabra

Even the 64th Century couldn't hold Abra Kadabra, who returned with Flash #170 (May, 1967) by Gardner Fox, Carmine Infantino and Sid Greene.

More slight of hand from the crafty Kadabra....this time disguising himself as actor John Cardine, and giving the Flash a disk after he prevents a robbery.  This disk prevents the Flash from seeing crime, causing trouble in Central City.  Abra discovers Flash's identity as Barry Allen as well, and this "spell" echoes through the multiverse, causing trouble on Earth-2, prompting a house call from Golden Age heroes Doctors Fate and Mid-Nite, as well as Flash Jay Garrick.  The 3 Justice Society members work with Barry, and Barry comes up with a trick (helped by the hidden JSAers) to get Abra to remove the spell from Barry.

This story was reprinted in...

....DC Special Series #24 (February, 1981), Crisis On Multiple Earths: Team-Ups #2 of 2007 and in the Flash Of Two Worlds book from the DC Comics Classics Library from 2009.

The Race To The End Of The Universe

Flash #175 (December, 1967) by E. Nelson Bridwell, Ross Andru, and Mike Esposito is a quick comic....having Superman and the JLA as guest stars, as Superman and Flash have their second race (and Abra Kadabra gets involved as well).

Abra and another secret villain (this guy, click here only if you want it spoiled), arrange the second race between the Man of Steel and the Fastest Man Alive....with results similar to the first race.

Head here if you want to read about the Superman/Flash races, and realize that this tale has been reprinted in the Limited Collector's Edition C-48 (October-November, 1976) and in the Superman Vs. The Flash tradepaperback of 2005.

The Thief Who Stole All The Money In Central City

Abra Kadabra reappeared in Flash #182 (September, 1968) by John Broome, Ross Andru and Mike Esposito, pulling out his usual tricks.

This time around, Abra wants to attend a magician's convention, but the men in charge throw him out due to his criminal past.  Kadabra pulls a trick on them, hypnotizing the lot to go out and commit crimes, which attracts the attention of the Flash.  Abra then entrances all of Central City to bring him money (which includes the Flash, whom Abra then tries to humiliate while under his spell...which allows Flash to break the spell, capture Kadabra and return the money).

This tale has only been reprinted in black and white, in Showcase Presents: The Flash #4 of 2012.

The Flash In Cartoon-Land

Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano get a crack at Kadabra in Flash #212 (February, 1972).

This time around, Abra Kadabra sends the Flash into television....but not on his own show, but instead into an odd cartoonland, where the characters are out to get the Flash, where Barry is forced to use his speed, wits and a boy he was babysitting (Dustin Barton) as Barry Allen to get out of the trap that Kadabra has pulled him into!

This little jaunt into TV Land for the Fastest Man Alive has yet to been rerun....err, reprinted!

Future Flash Problems

Flash is framed for killing Abra Kadabra in Flash #246 (January, 1977) by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin (with a cover by Neal Adams), in "Kill Me, Flash -- Faster....Faster", leading Flash to be imprisoned in the 64th Century, with Jay Garrick helping Barry against Abra in Flash #247 (March, 1977) by Cary Bates, Irv Novick and Frank McLaughlin (under a cover by Rich Buckler and Frank Springer) in "The Mad, Mad Earth Of Abra Kadabra".

Neither of these stories have yet to be reprinted.

Outside The Flash 

Abra Kadabra next appeared behind the curtain in Justice League of America #158 (September, 1978) by Gerry Conway, Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin demonstrating "The Super-Power Of Negative Thinking" as the JLA faced their foes, the Injustice Gang Of The World, then reappeared in  Adventure Comics #464 (July-August, 1979) by Cary Bates, Don Heck and Joe Giella facing the Flash "The Day Up Was Down".

Neither of these stories have been reprinted, but here's where our Abra Kadabra coverage disappears for now, so as not to over extend our act, and to give you more to look for in the future!


No comments:

Post a Comment