Oh the 60s. As far as comic books are concerned some truly amazing things were created and fantastic stories told. And some of the greatest most iconic art drawn. There is so much to love about Silver Age comics.
And there was some of the most ridiculous and inane crap the world has ever seen.
Case in point: that time the Flash got fat and was shamed by the world. DC at this point was fond of doing weird/humiliating things to its characters. In Flash #115 Barry Allen was shot by Gorilla Grodd with a gun that made him absorb the air’s moisture and swell up like a perfectly round balloon. (Go ahead and read that last sentence again just to get an idea of Silver Age comics) Anyway Flash becomes fat and can’t run anymore because he’s so heavy and people laugh at him because he’s so fat. It was a different time people.
Oh but is does not stop there. Barry is then hit with a amnesia ray and so forgets who he is. He is then promptly put in a sideshow because fat people are funny to look at. I mean really, what else would you do? The Flash eventually makes his way to the dehydrating room (there were dehydrating rooms everywhere in the 60s I guess) and gets his memory back and we all have a good chuckle because he’s not morbidly obese anymore.
Honestly this is pretty awful. And I’d love to say this was a one-off type of story but this insensitive stuff unfortunately happened all the time. Sure I suppose we can just toss this story away as just a silly joke and not get too bothered by it and just focus on the good things that were going on at this time; but I think we need to look at the full picture. And even though its “just a comic book” I don’t think its okay to put our fictional characters in real life-threatening situations just for the sake of comedy.
We are better than that.