Flash (Jay Garrick)

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The Flash
Garrick ross.jpg
Jay Garrick, the original Flash.
Cover art for JSA #78, by Alex Ross.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Flash Comics #1
(January 1940)
Created by Gardner Fox
Harry Lampert
In-story information
Alter ego Jason Peter "Jay" Garrick
Team affiliations Justice Society of America
All-Star Squadron
Justice League
Partnerships Barry Allen
Green Lantern (Alan Scott)
Bart Allen
Abilities Ability to run at the speed of light
Superhumanly fast reflexes
Augmented by the extra-dimensional Speed Force

Jay Garrick is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe and is the first superhero to bear the name Flash.[1]

Publication history[edit]

First appearance in Flash Comics #1 (Jan 1940).

The character of Jay Garrick was created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert. The character first appeared in the first issue of the anthology series Flash Comics in 1940, published by All-American Publications. He was soon featured in All-Star Comics as part of the Justice Society of America. In 1941, he got his own solo book, All-Flash.

After World War II, superheroes declined in popularity. All-Flash was cancelled in 1948 after 32 issues. Flash Comics was cancelled in 1949 after 104 issues. All-Star Comics was cancelled in 1951 after 57 issues, marking Garrick's last Golden Age appearance. Garrick would not appear again for ten years, and never got another solo series.

In 1956, DC Comics reinvented the Flash character, giving him a new costume, name, and background. Named Barry Allen, he was completely unrelated to Jay Garrick. In fact, Garrick never existed as far as the new books were concerned. Barry Allen's first appearance shows him reading a copy of Flash Comics, lamenting Garrick was "just a character some writer dreamed up". Readers welcomed the new Flash, but still had an interest in the old one. Jay Garrick made a guest appearance in Flash #123. Garrick was treated as residing in a parallel universe, which allowed the character to exist without any continuity conflicts with Barry Allen yet allowed him to make guest appearances in Silver Age books. Garrick only made guest appearances for most of the 60s and 70s, but in 1976 he became a regular character in the revived All-Star Comics, partaking in adventures with the Justice Society set in modern times. In 1981, he and the Justice Society appeared in All-Star Squadron in stories set in World War II.

In 1985, DC Comics merged all of its fictional characters into a single shared universe. Jay Garrick now shared the same world as the new Flash. DC wrote the character out of continuity in the one-shot Last Days of the Justice Society, but brought the character back in the 1990s due to fan interest. Unlike characters such as Batman or Superman, DC decided not to update Jay as a contemporary young hero, but portrayed him as a veteran of World War 2 with a magically-prolonged lifespan. Jay Garrick became a regular character in JSA and Justice Society of America.

The new Jay Garrick, from the cover of Earth 2 #2.

In 2011, DC Comics again rebooted their fictional characters. Garrick now once again lives in a parallel universe which he does not share with any other Flash. He is no longer an old World War 2 veteran but a fresh young superhero wearing a redesigned costume.

Fictional character biography[edit]

The Flash[edit]

Jason Peter Garrick[2] is a college student prior to 1940 (later retconned to 1938) who accidentally inhales hard water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory where he had been working (later stories would change this to heavy water vapors). As a result, he finds that he can run at superhuman speed and has similarly fast reflexes (retcons imply the inhalation simply activated a latent metagene). After a brief career as a college football star, he dons a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings (based on images of the Roman god Mercury) then begins to fight crime as the Flash.[1] The helmet belonged to Jay's father, Joseph, who fought during World War I.[3] He has been seen using the helmet as a weapon/type of shield, as seen in Infinite Crisis.[4] He has also used it to direct a beam of light at Eclipso.

His first case involves battling the Faultless Four, a group of blackmailers (Sieur Satan, Serge Orloff, Duriel and Smythe) who plotted to steal an Atomic Bombarder and sell it. In the early stories, it seems to be widely known that Garrick was the Flash.[5] Later stories would show him as having his identity secret, and that he was able to maintain it without the use of a mask by constantly "vibrating" his features, making him hard to recognize or clearly photograph. The effectiveness of this is debatable as he later blamed his lack of a mask for Joan (his girlfriend) deducing his true identity.

During his career he would often find himself embroiled in semi-comical situations inadvertently initiated by Winky, Blinky, and Noddy, a trio of tramps known as the Three Dimwits, who tried their hand at one job after another, and never successfully. It was later revealed that a professor found the last container of heavy water vapors and used it to gain superspeed, becoming the Rival. He briefly took away Jay's speed after capturing him, making him super-slow, but Jay used the gases again and was able to regain his superspeed and defeat the Rival.

Like the Flashes who followed him, Garrick became a close friend of the Green Lantern of his time, Alan Scott, whom he met through the Justice Society of America.

Justice Society of America[edit]

The Flash soon became one of the best-known of the Golden Age of superheroes. He was a founding member of the Justice Society of America and served as its first chairman.[6] He was originally based in New York City,[7] but this was later retconned to the fictional Keystone City. He left the JSA after issue #6, but returned several years later (issue #24, spring 1945) and had a distinguished career as a crime-fighter during the 1940s.

Several pieces of retroactive continuity filled out early Garrick history. A story explaining the retirement of the JSA members, including the Flash, explained that in 1951, the JSA was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for possible Communist sympathies and asked to reveal their identities, which was later revealed to be partly caused by Per Degaton. The JSA declined, and Garrick, who recently married his longtime girlfriend Joan, retired from superhero life. As a trained scientist, he ran an experimental laboratory for several decades. All-Star Squadron Annual #3 states that the JSA fought a being named Ian Karkull who imbued them with energy that slowed their aging, allowing Garrick and many others - as well as their girlfriends and sidekicks - to remain active into the late 20th century without infirmity. The 1990s Starman series notes that the Shade prompted Garrick to come out of retirement in the 1950s, but the details of his activities during this time are hazy at best.

Earth-Two[edit]

Garrick emerged from retirement in 1961 to meet the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, from a parallel world. Garrick's world was dubbed Earth-Two, while Allen's was Earth-One. The rest of the JSA soon joined the Flash, although their activities during the 1960s (other than their annual meeting with Earth-One's Justice League of America) were unrecorded, although it is clear that he and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) were good friends.

Garrick was a key member of the JSA's 1970s adventures (as chronicled in All-Star Comics and Adventure Comics), as well as helped to launch the careers of Infinity Inc. Following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, all the parallel worlds are merged into one, and Keystone City became the twin city across the river from Allen's Central City. An updated story suggests that Keystone in this new continuity was rendered invisible and wiped from the memories of the world for many years through the actions of several supervillains.

21st Century[edit]

In the early 21st century, many of Garrick's JSA cohorts have retired or died, but Garrick remains active with the latest incarnation of the group. He is physically about 50 years old thanks to the effects of several accidental anti-aging treatments, but his chronological age is closer to 90. He was one of the few surviving members of the Justice Society of America after Zero Hour.[8] Of the three original JSA members still on the team (along with Alan Scott and Wildcat), Jay takes a more fatherly approach toward his teammates and the DC superhero community in general.

Infinite Crisis and One Year Later[edit]

Main articles: Infinite Crisis and One Year Later

Jay and his wife Joan have guardianship of Bart Allen after Max Mercury's disappearance. During the events of Infinite Crisis Jay states that the Speed Force is gone after a battle in which many speedsters, living and dead, wrestle Superboy-Prime into the Speed Force and disappear. Jay is left behind when he reaches his limit and cannot follow. Bart Allen returns, aged several years, and had absorbed the entire Speed Force during his pursuit of the escaped Superboy-Prime. Jay claims that without the Speed Force, his own power is less than before: like Wally West in the Crisis on Infinite Earths aftermath, he can only run close to the speed of sound. He also stated that as the Speed Force is no longer retarding his aging, his speed is diminishing with time. After Bart left Keystone City for Los Angeles, Jay once again is the city's sole guardian. After hearing news of Bart's demise, Jay collapses with grief, consoled by Jesse Chambers.

Jay is continuing his work as a member of the re-formed Justice Society of America, under the leadership of Power Girl. After the death of the Flash, Bart Allen, Jay's full speed returns. Jay is currently the mayor of Monument Point, where the JSA is now based. He faces problems due to the JSA being based in the Town, but after talking to another Official who says as he is not a Politician Jay doesn't have to worry about being re-elected he gains confidence.[9] Soon after this he holds a funeral for Alan Scott who was killed defeating the villain D'arken, and tells the Justice Society they must endure.

Clone[edit]

In the Outsiders: One Year Later story arc, a clone of Garrick appears as an antagonist, created by the Brotherhood of Evil. He appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s and is brainwashed into working for a Malinese dictator. The clone is defeated by the combined efforts of the Outsiders. He possesses Jay Garrick's super-speed, but none of his memories or expertise.[10] His unconscious body is placed in the custody of Alan Scott, Checkmate's White King.

Due to lingering issues in the cloning process, made more unpredictable by the metagene itself, the clone is infected by a fast acting version of the clone plague deteriorating and shortening the lifespan of clones in the DC Universe. This makes it difficult for Checkmate to find a way to wake him and undo his brainwash, because even with his special suit tailored to stave the degenerating process, he would be doomed to a slow death whenever he awakens from his suspended animation.

The New 52[edit]

Following DC Comics' rejuvenation of its universe, the character of Jay Garrick has been reintroduced in the first issue of the Earth 2 comic book. Portrayed as a 21 year-old recent college graduate, this version of Garrick is spurned by his girlfriend, Joan, and possesses very little in terms of career prospects. The character receives his superspeed from Mercury, a dying Roman god who sees bravery in Jay, and is also the last god to fall following a war with Apokolips. He claims he has been held for the past 10 years by a greater threat than Apokolips. Jay escapes a World Army Helicopter that sees the event as Mercury dies and tells Jay to run. He saves a couple from Apokorats, saying he will do it in "a Flash", the man then mentions he heard the hero say something. Later, Jay arrives in Poland and meets Hawkgirl.[11]

Trade paperback and hardcover collections[edit]

Collected editions that reprint issues of Flash Comics and other comics featuring Jay Garrick. The Archives are hardcover, all the others are softcover trade paperbacks:

Title Material collected
Original
The Golden Age Flash Archives (vol. 1) HC (1999) Flash Comics #1-17
The Golden Age Flash Archives (vol. 2) HC (2006) Flash Comics #18-24
All Flash Comics #1-2
The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told HC (1990) and TPB (1991) Flash Comics #1, 66, 86
Comic Cavalcade #24
Showcase #4
The Flash (vol. 1) #107, 113, 119, 124, 125, 137, 143, 148, 179
Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular
The Flash (vol. 2) #2
The Flash: The Greatest Stories Ever Told TPB (2007) Flash Comics #86, 104
The Flash (vol. 1) #123, 155, 165, 179
The Flash (vol. 2) #91
DC Special Series #11
Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups (vol. 1) Flash (vol. 1) #123, 129, 137, 151
Crisis on Multiple Earths, The Team-Ups (vol. 2) Flash Vol. 1 #170, 173

Powers and abilities[edit]

As the Flash, Garrick can run at superhuman speeds and has superhumanly-fast reflexes. The limits of his speed have fluctuated over the years, though he has usually been kept second to DC's "flagship" Flash, Barry Allen.

In his earliest appearances, Jay could move swiftly enough to intercept bullets. He could carry people away with him at super-speed without causing injury due to extreme acceleration. He could make himself invisible by vibrating his body at high frequencies. Over time, Jay Garrick finds the fuel for his powers (and those of other speedsters) is the Speed Force.

In the 2012 series Earth 2, Jay's powers are a blessing from the god Mercury. He can magically transform his clothing into his costume at will.

Other versions[edit]

52 and Countdown[edit]

In the final issue of DC's year-long series 52 in 2007, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 identical realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-2". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects similar to the pre-Crisis Earth-Two now called Earth-2 to distinguish the two separate realities. Included in one panel showing is a new counterpart to Jay Garrick among other Justice Society of America characters. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the panel in which they appear,[12] but is later specifically used in the Countdown: Arena series where the new Earth-2 Flash is specifically identified as Jay Garrick and does not allow others to call him "Flash". Despite being an almost exact duplicate to the original World War II Garrick, it is shown that the new Earth-2 Garrick is much younger, having no gray hair at all.[13] Other Jays are also shown in the 52 multiverse. A second young Jay Garrick lives on the unspecified Earth that Wally West went to with his young children at the beginning of Bart Allen's tenure as the Flash. This Jay is separate from the young post-Crisis Earth-2 Garrick, as the post-Crisis Earth-2 heroes make no mention of Wally or his children on their Earth.[14]

The multiverse established in 52 is later replaced following DC's 2011 Flashpoint storyline. Following this, a new multiverse is established and all series were relaunched as part of DC's The New 52 publishing event. The post-52 pre-Flashpoint Earth-2 Jay Garrick ceases to exist, as did the mainstream Jay Garrick. A new but entirely different Earth-2 Jay Garrick then becomes the continually published version of the character (see publication history).

Elseworlds[edit]

In the Elseworlds book JSA: The Unholy Three, Jay Garrick is portrayed as a post-WW2 United States intelligence agent stationed in Russia, working under the code-name Mercury. He is instrumental in bringing down the story's rogue Superman.[15]

Flashpoint[edit]

In the Flashpoint reality, Jay Garrick is apparently dead with inhaled hard water, when Kid Flash was being controlled by the Speed Force and reduces Jay's speed to give the Flash power to stop the near-past Flash himself.[16]

Smallville: Titans[edit]

Jay runs a school for the "gifted" with Conner Kent/Superboy, Speedy, Blue Beetle, Miss Martian & Zan and Jayna as his students.[17]

In other media[edit]

Comic adaptions[edit]

Television[edit]

Animation[edit]

  • In the Justice League episode "Legends", the creators chose to use an analog called The Streak (voiced by David Naughton) rather than Garrick. The Streak wore a football-style helmet rather than Garrick's WWI helmet.
  • Jay's helmet appears in the Flash museum, in the Justice League Unlimited episode, "Flash and Substance."
  • Jay Garrick is a reoccurring character in Batman: The Brave and the Bold voiced by Andy Milder, and one of the heroes Batman most frequently teams up with. In the teaser plot of "Trials of the Demon!" where he and Batman stop the Scarecrow and Scream Queen on Halloween. After learning the pumpkins are infected with toxin, Garrick rounds up every last one in town. When the townspeople demand to know what happened, he finds Batman already gone. Flash briefly appears in the "The Fate of Equinox", in which he lends his powers to Batman to help him against Equinox. He returns as a member of the Justice Society in the episode "The Golden Age of Justice". In "Requiem for a Scarlet Speedster", it is acknowledged that Jay Garrick is the original Flash and that he was succeeded by Barry Allen, who disappeared in a battle with Professor Zoom. Batman, Jay Garrick and Kid Flash (Wally West) use the cosmic treadmill to travel to the 25th century and help Flash (Barry Allen) battle Professor Zoom.
  • Jay and Joan Garrick appear Young Justice, voiced by Geoff Pierson and Kath Soucie respectively. They are introduced in the episode "Downtime", where Jay is thrown a birthday party by the Allen and West families. Jay is referred to as a "retired speedster" by Joan, and does not appear to possess the slowed-aging that his comic book counterpart does. He temporarily comes out of retirement in "Bloodlines" in order to help Barry, Kid Flash, and Impulse during a battle against Neutron. Nightwing later mentions that the Garricks have begun acting as Impulse's guardians in the episode "Depths."

Live action[edit]

  • On the 1990s Flash live action TV series, the villain the Trickster paints a statue of Mercury red and yellow as a way to mock the Flash (Barry Allen). The statue resembles Jay Garrick's costume. The series also created and featured Barry Allen's older brother 'Jay Allen' named after Jay Garrick as a homage to him; and his murder in the pilot episode inspired Barry's career as the Flash. Furthermore, a street sign in that show's Central City showed the name Garrick, as well as a cop reporting from the corner of Gardner and Fox.
  • In Smallville episode "Run", one of the aliases used by Bart Allen is Jay Garrick. The actual Jay Garrick appears in the episode "Absolute Justice" played by Billy Mitchell. He is a super hero in the 1970s and a research scientist whom the government arrested for fraud and resisting arrest in a mission to take down the JSA. He, like the others, tried to take the blame for all crimes, though they were never convicted. As the law was now aware of his superhero identity, Jay retired from heroics. In 2010, Clark Kent and Chloe Sullivan find old black and white police footage of Garrick, along with his criminal record. Very little is said about him, but it was confirmed by Stargirl that he was still alive, and it was hinted that he had children. In the eleventh issue of the comic book continuation, it is revealed that Jay's leg is disabled, which explains how the government is able to arrest him due to he could no longer run as superhuman speed. It is also revealed that Bart Allen got Jay's name, along the aliases "Barry Allen" and "Wally West", through a subliminal stimuli from the Speed Force. He also becomes a recluse after quitting superheroic.[18]
  • In The Flash episode "The Flash is Born", a sign on a brewery in Keystone City says "Garrick's Wharf", an obvious reference to Jay Garrick.

Films[edit]

  • Jay Garrick makes a cameo appearance in the opening credits of the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. He is seen being forced out of heroics by the government.

Video Games[edit]

Action Figures[edit]

  • A Jay Garrick action figure was produced as part of the DC Universe Infinite Heroes series.
  • A Jay Garrick action figure has been produced in the DC Universe Classics style as the first figure in MattyCollector.Com's DC Universe Signature Collection.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jimenez, Phil (2008). "The Flash". In Dougall, Alastair. The DC Comics Encyclopedia. New York: Dorling Kindersley. pp. 124–127. ISBN 0-7566-4119-5. OCLC 213309017. 
  2. ^ JSA #87 (September 2006)
  3. ^ The Flash (vol. 2) #208 (May 2004)
  4. ^ Infinite Crisis #4 (March 2006)
  5. ^ Gardner F. Fox (w), Everett E. Hibbard (a). Flash Comics 6 (June, 1940), All-American Publications
  6. ^ Gardner F. Fox (w). All Star Comics 3 (Winter, 1940), All-American Publications
  7. ^ Flash Comics 5: 4/4 (May, 1940), All-American Publications
  8. ^ Zero Hour: Crisis in Time #2 (September 1994)
  9. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #49 (May 2011)
  10. ^ Outsiders #36 (July 2006)
  11. ^ Earth-2 #2 (June 2012)
  12. ^ 52 52: 13/3 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  13. ^ Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). "The 52 exit interviews: grant morrison". Newsarama. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  14. ^ The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #6 (January 2007)
  15. ^ JSA: The Unholy Three (2003)
  16. ^ Flashpoint: Kid Flash Lost #3 (August 2011)
  17. ^ BRYAN Q. MILLER Brings the TEEN TITANS To SMALLVILLE
  18. ^ Smallville Season 11 #11 (March 2013)
  19. ^ DC Universe Online at the Internet Movie Database

External links[edit]