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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
Abilities Ability to run at the speed of light, augmented by the extra-dimensional Speed Force.

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


Fictional character biography

The Flash

Jason Peter Garrick[2] is a college student prior to 1940 (retconned from 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) and begins to fight crime as the Flash.[1] The helmet belonged to Jay's father, Joseph, who fought during World War I. He has been seen using the helmet as a weapon/type of shield, as seen in Infinite Crisis. 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. In the early stories, it seems to be widely known that Garrick was the Flash.[3] 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 who tried their hand at one job after another, and never successfully.

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. Today Garrick is often drawn by artists to resemble Paul Newman in late middle age.[citation needed]

Justice Society of America

The Flash soon became one of the best-known of the Golden Age of superheroes.[citation needed] He was a founding member of the Justice Society of America and served as its first chairman.[4] He was originally based in New York City[5] however 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. 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 retarded 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.


First appearance in Flash Comics #1 (Jan 1940). Cover art by Sheldon Moldoff.

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. That he and Green Lantern (Alan Scott) were good friends is clear, however.

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

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. 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"

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.


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. 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 difficult for Checkmate 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.

Trade paperback and hardcover collections

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
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

Powers and abilities

As the Flash, Jay can run and move his limbs at superhuman speeds, and possesses superhuman reflexes. His aura prevents air friction from affecting his body and clothes while moving. Unlike Barry, Jay is a metahuman and while he has a connection to the Speed Force, it was not on the level of the other Flashes. Jay possesses the ability to 'steal speed' from other speedsters. When the Speed Force was absorbed into (and only accessible by) Bart Allen following Infinite Crisis, Jay's top speed was the speed of sound. After Bart's death and Wally's return, the Speed Force returned to its normal functions and Jay can now reach near-light speeds that let him keep up with even Zoom. However, since his body is slowly, but steadily becoming frail with age-related issues, he cannot strain his body as he used to: an overuse of his speed may bring forth grave complications, like cardiac episodes. [6]

Jay's words in Infinite Crisis #7 indicate that his metagene was always present but inactive until the Speed Force was 'destroyed' or perhaps until the formation of New Earth took place. He later confirmed this theory in The Flash: Rebirth #1, when he marks his first meeting with Barry Allen as the moment in which he was finally able to overcome his metagenetic ability to run at the speed of sound. He suggests that the absolute mastery of the Speed Force shown by Barry took some undisclosed part in connecting the older speedster to it (it's later revealed that the Speed Force actually is Barry Allen, or later the leftover kinetic energy left by his super speed, encompassing all the space-time, and Jay Garrick, since his meeting with Barry, had become subconsciously able to tap into it[7]).

In other versions

In the final issue of 52, 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,[8] 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" in the series, opposed to openly using "Jay Garrick." 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.[9] Some suggest that this Post Crisis Earth-2 Jay Garrick is the son of the original Garrick who died in the New Earth history which would explain his drastic youth in comparison to the New Earth Garrick Flash.[citation needed]

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.[10]

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.

In other media


  • 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. Also on the Flash live action series, Barry Allen's brother, whose murder in the pilot inspired Flash's career, was named Jay, likely in homage to Jay Garrick. Further, a street sign in that show's Central City showed the name Garrick.
  • In the Justice League episode "Legends", the creators chose to use an analog called The Streak (voiced by David Naughton) rather than Garrick, who wore a football-style helmet rather than a WWI helmet.
  • Jay's helmet appears in the Flash museum, in the Justice League Unlimited episode, "Flash and Substance."
  • Jay appears in comic book animated form in Justice League Unlimited #12 to help Wally/Flash and the other Justice League members against Mirror Master.
  • On Smallville, one of the aliases used by Bart Allen is Jay Garrick. Jay Garrick himself makes a cameo in the Smallville Absolute Justice TV movie being arrested along with many other JSA members. He is mentioned to be a research scientist and later his helmet is shown in Hawkman's closed museum. He is played by actor Billy Mitchell.
  • The Jay Garrick version of the Flash appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold [11] in the teaser plot of "Trials of the Demon!" voiced by Andy Milder. 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 later appears in the episode "The Fate of Equinox!" to help Batman fight against the titular villain. He will return as a member of the Justice Society in the episode "The Golden Age of Justice!".


  • Jay Garrick appears in the opening credits of the animated film Justice League: The New Frontier. In this, like the comic books, he is a member of the Justice Society of America which at this point has retired due to the death of Hourman.

Video game

Comic adaptions


  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 1 (87) (September, 2006), DC Comics
  3. ^ Gardner F. Fox (w), Everett E. Hibbard (p,i). Flash Comics 1 (6) (June, 1940), All-American Publications
  4. ^ Gardner F. Fox (w). All Star Comics 1 (3) (Winter, 1940), All-American Publications
  5. ^ Flash Comics 1 (5): 4/4 (May, 1940), All-American Publications
  6. ^ Justice Society of America (vol. 3) #30 (2009)
  7. ^ The Flash: Rebirth #4
  8. ^ 52 (52): 13/3 (May 2, 2007), DC Comics
  9. ^ Brady, Matt (2007-05-08). ""THE 52 EXIT INTERVIEWS: GRANT MORRISON"". Newsarama. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  10. ^ Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #6
  11. ^
  12. ^ IGN: DC Universe Online Artworks (PS3)

External links

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