The late 1940s era of Flash Comics has always been one of my personal favorite DC Comics Golden Age runs. With contributions from the likes of Carmine Infantino, Joe Kubert, Robert Kanigher, Bob Oksner, and others, you can see the DC Universe starting to evolve into what it would be in the decades to come. Joe Kubert's Hawkman covers during this part of the run are particularly underrated, and Flash Comics #91 contains all of the elements that I love about this part of the series. While the Phantom Menace faced by Hawkman and Hawkgirl has nothing do to with Star Wars, there's an interesting story behind it nonetheless. There's a Flash Comics #91 (DC, 1948) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.
This issue includes Black Canary by Kanigher and Infantino, Flash by John Broome and Lee Elias, and Hawkman by Broome and Oksner. The story behind Kubert's Phantom Menace cover kicks off with Carter Hall analyzing a "new element" called Dexium. It soon becomes apparent that Dexium can be used to make people invisible, and the theft of Dexium by some criminals creates the Phantom Menace of the cover story.
Notably, both primary plot elements of this Hawkman story were precipitated by the WWII era. 1937 brought the first synthesis of a chemical element by cyclotron, and the subsequent decade saw a significant rise in the number of elements discovered due to the work of the Manhattan Project among others. Further, the term "Phantom Menace" fell into common usage during this era as a sort of political propaganda term of art designed to minimize perceived threats to the country.
Late 1940s and early 1950s DC Comics are tougher to get than one might think, and this part of the Flash Comics run is no exception. There are only 17 Universal entries for this issue on the CGC Census. There's a Flash Comics #91 (DC, 1948) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Off-white to white pages up for auction in this week's 2021 July 18-19 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122129 from Heritage Auctions.
Flash Comics #91 (DC, 1948) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Off-white to white pages. Joe Kubert Hawkman cover. Carmine Infantino, Lee Elias, and Bob Oksner art. Bondage panels. CGC notes, "Tape on interior cover." Overstreet 2020 GD 2.0 value = $148; VG 4.0 value = $296. CGC census 6/21: 1 in 3.0, 15 higher.