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November 21, 2004

Harry Lampert, creator of the Flash, is dead


The Flash was one of my very most favorite comic books when I was a boy.

Harry Lampert drew the Flash when he burst onto newstands in January 1940.

He also did issue No. 2, then quit because he preferred drawing humorous subjects.

He received $150 for his work.

To his regret, he didn't save any of his early drawings.

That's a shame, because a near-mint copy of Flash Comics No. 1 (above) recently sold for $350,000.

Lampert died on November 13 in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 88.

Here's Margalit Fox's obituary, from the November 16 New York Times.

    Harry Lampert Dies at 88; Helped Create the Flash

    Harry Lampert, an illustrator who in 1940 first drew the winged-footed, faster-than-light superhero known as the Flash for DC Comics and a half-century later was rediscovered by a new generation of fans, died on Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla.

    He was 88.

    A resident of Deerfield Beach, Fla., and Lenox, Mass., he had lived in Roslyn, N.Y., for many years.

    The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, his family said.

    Bursting onto the comic-book scene in January 1940, the Flash was among the first superheroes of the genre's golden age. (Superman had appeared just two years earlier.)

    Written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Mr. Lampert, the character made his debut in the anthology "Flash Comics," published by All-American Publications, an offshoot of DC Comics.

    Mr. Lampert received $150 for his work, The Washington Post reported in 1996.

    By day, Mr. Lampert's hero was a mild-mannered scientist named Jay Garrick.

    But as the result of a chemistry experiment gone horribly awry, Garrick could summon the power to move at blinding speed.

    As the Flash, he blitzed about in a red-and-blue outfit emblazoned with a lightning bolt, his winged helmet and shoes invoking the Greek god Hermes.

    He fought very bad men, among them the Thinker, the Fiddler and the Shade.

    The character was an immediate success, but Mr. Lampert preferred drawing humorous subjects. (His gag cartoons appeared in Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post and elsewhere.)

    After two issues of the Flash, he was replaced.

    He went on to a second career as the owner of the Lampert Agency, an advertising concern, and a third as a bridge writer and teacher of contract bridge.

    Harry Lampert was born in New York City on Nov. 3, 1916.

    He began cartooning as a teenager, inking Popeye and Betty Boop for the animator Max Fleischer.

    He taught at the School of Visual Arts from 1947 to 1951 and created several other comic-book characters, including the King and Red, White and Blue.

    Mr. Lampert is survived by his wife, the former Adele Birnbaum; a daughter, Karen Akavan of Plainview, N.Y.; and two grandsons.

    In the 1990's, with the newfound respectability of the graphic novel, Mr. Lampert's work was rediscovered by young admirers.

    He became a fixture at comic-book conventions, selling new drawings of the Flash for hundreds of dollars.

    But to his regret, he had not saved the originals.

    According to the Comics Guaranty Corporation, a Florida company that certifies comics before sale, a near-mint copy of Flash Comics No. 1 recently sold for $350,000.

November 21, 2004 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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I'm also a fan of Barry Allen. My sympathies to Lampert's family. May he rest in peace.

Posted by: Dr Emer | Nov 21, 2004 8:27:04 PM

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