Oil (Paint) and Water
Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Tony Harris
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Letterer: John E. Workman Jr.
Editors: Archie Goodwin, Jim Spivey
Part of: Sins of the Father storyline
Reprinted in: Starman: Sins of the Father, The Starman Omnibus, Volume One
Panel One – The shadowy, shadowy gentleman seen here is a Golden Age DC Villain known as The Shade – his trademark black outfit and top hat can clearly be seen here. Starman retcons many things about the Shade, mostly by making him immortal and older than we had previously realised – things that are subtly hinted at here by the olde-world nature of his furnishings, his preference for candlelight and quill to write by, and the sepia toned colours of his panels across the first three pages of this issue. The Shade first appeared in Flash Comics #33 in September 1942, and was a long time foe of the first and second Flashes. In fact, before this series, he was best known as one of a trio of villains who kidnapped the entire city of the original Flash.
Panel Three – Again, the thugs are seen wearing Ragdoll masks.
Panel Two – Even the TV station partakes of the Star imagery. Appropriately, channel 5’s star is five-pointed.
Panel One – the first appearance of the O’Dare family – Barry, Clarence and Matt O’Dare, the three eldest brothers, at a guess.
Panel Three – Matt O’Dare, with his soon-to-be trademark moustache and cigarettes, and communicating the important detail that the O’Dares are all members of the OCPD.
Panel Four – As Ted explains here, the original gravity rod was Starman’s weapon for several years, until it was replaced by the more powerful cosmic rod. The practical upshot of this is that Kyle’s weapon is more powerful than Jack’s.
Panel One – Introducing Hope O’Dare, destined to play a big role in this series. Like her brothers, she’s a cop.
Panel Two – Gotham City and Metropolis are well known, but Keystone and Midway are less so. Keystone City is the home of the first and third Flashes (and a twin city to Central City, home of the second Flash); Midway City was the home of Hawkman, Hawkgirl and the Doom Patrol in the Silver Age.
Panel One – the reference to the murdered prostitute recalls the claims made in the “From Hell” letter, allegedly written by Jack the Ripper himself.
Panel One – The reference to Dalt’s Bank, which no doubt has some connection to the Ludlow-Dalt family we’ll be meeting in due course. Also note another pirate reference on Jack’s shirt, and the mention of Ivy Town, the home of the Silver and Modern Age Atoms.
Panel Two – Sugar and Spike was a fondly remembered children’s comic from DC Comics. Robert Mitchum was a famous actor who featured in many film noir movies, notably Crossfire and The Big Steal. Jade-ite is a form of uranium glass, correctly spelle Jadite (the name is a trademark).
Panel Two – The Renny Harlin mentioned by the Shade is a Finnish film director, best known in America for directing Die Hard 2.
Panel Four – Crepe Street is a street in the French district of Opal City. A Crepe Street Boy is a homosexual, in the traditional American conflation of faggotry and cheese-eating surrender monkeys.
Panel Five – The men of Red who ran like the wind are the superheroes called the Flash, particularly the first two.
Panel Five – the native American lawman is Scalphunter, one of DC’s western characters. He also has a greater tie to this story, as we will see in due course.
Panel Two – note the Ragdoll grafitti at the extreme right of the panel.
The graffiti on the wall includes references to the following:
- Obergeist – another series illustrated by Tony Harris
- Mr Klaw – a song by They Might Be Giants
- 808 State – a Manchester electronic music band of the Madchester era
- Powdered Toast Man – a character from the Ren & Stimpy cartoons; Ren appears immediately above the name.
- Ragdoll – yet again