The Flash

Personal Data

Jay Garrick. Husband of Joan Williams Garrick. 

Residence: Keystone City 
Occupation: Scientist, retired 
First Appearance (Golden Age): Flash Comics #1 (January 1940) 
First Appearance (Silver Age): The Flash vol. 1 #123 (September 1961) 
Joined JSA: Founding Member 
Pre-Crisis Fate: Active until Crisis 
Post-Crisis Fate: Still active 

History

Jay Garrick was born in 1918. Little is known of his early life until he became a science major at Midwestern University. In those days, Garrick was a sub-par member of the University football team and attracted to Joan Williams, the daughter of a U.S. Army major. Williams snubbed Garrick for the football team captain, rejecting Garrick as a "scrub." Though somewhat untalented at football, Garrick excelled in science. His work with one of his mentors, Professor Hughes, led to new insights about the nature of "hard water." One night, 
in a late experiment, Garrick paused to indulge his smoking habit around 3 AM. Lighting the cigarette, Garrick knocked over some of the "hard water," spilling it and several other chemicals. Garrick was overcome by the fumes and lay unconscious in the laboratory for hours until Hughes arrived to check his progress the next morning. Garrick was rushed to a local hospital and lay in a coma for weeks. When he regained consciousness, one of the doctors confided to Hughes that Garrick's test results were highly unusual, indicative of an extremely accelerated metabolism. When Garrick was released, he immediately discovered that he had the power of super-speed, as he caught Joan Garrick getting on a bus in the blink of an eye. Over the next few days, Jay Garrick explored his powers, participating in a college football game which he won by using just a bit of his accelerated abilities. As time passed, Garrick graduated Midwestern and moved on. Joan Williams joined her father in Washington, and the two parted ways.

Garrick landed a job as an assistant professor at Coleman University in New York. After reading news of the fledgling mystery-men, he was inspired to create a costumed identity of his own, the Flash, to battle crime. A few weeks later, Joan
Williams visited from Washington with dire news: her father had been kidnapped by a gang of criminals known as the Faultless Four. Joan appealed to Garrick to rescue her father in the guise of the Flash. As she explained, an assassin fired a gun from a passing car at Joan Williams. Garrick stopped the bullet and agreed to help the Flash. When the assassin returned, disguised as an undertaker to verify Williams's death, Garrick followed him as the Flash. Doing so led him to follow the assassin, a member of the Faultless Four, to the group's hideout. There the Flash rescued Major Williams and returned him to his home. Afterward, the Flash returned to the Faultless Four's hideout and learned of the Four's intention to create a distraction at Coney Island to cover a second attempt on the Williams. The next day, the Flash thwarted the attempt at Coney Island and then returned the Faultless Four in their hideaway. As he confronted them, Sieur Satan, the leader of the Four, threw a switch and electrocuted the three other members of Four in an attempt to also slay the Flash. The hero, however, had followed Satan as he slipped out to throw the switch, and pursued Sieur Satan as he fled. Ultimately, the Flash drove Satan's car from the road, seemingly killing him (Flash Comics #1). 

Afterward, Garrick and Joan Williams became a steady couple, and she often covered for him as the Flash. Unlike many heroes at the start of their careers, the Flash was openly accepted by the Keystone Police and deputized as a police detective in the summer of 1940 (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #1).  In late 1940, Flash was selected by U.S. Intelligence to join Batman and Green Lantern on an undercover operation in England, an act which resulted in their capture by Nazi forces and transport to Berlin. The three were later rescued by Dr. Fate and Hourman and joined the pursuit of Hitler's Valkyries across the ocean. The defeat of the Valkyries led to the formation of the Justice Society of America, of which the Flash was a charter member (DC Special #29). He left the JSA in 1941 and was semi-active for the rest of the war (All-Star Comics #6). The Flash also became a regular member of the All-Star Squadron after its formation (All-Star Squadron #3). The Flash participated in the JSA's pursuit of Ian Karkull in late 1941, a case in which he again encountered Sieur Satan, who had not been killed in 1940. As Karkull died, Garrick and Joan Williams were exposed to the radiation which added years and vitality to the rest of their lives (All-Star Squadron Annual #3).

In addition to his activities as a super-hero, Jay Garrick also participated in a series of social gatherings held by the Keystone City Liar's Club (Flash Comics #44). The Liar's Club was a organization dedicated to honing of the abiility to tell tall tales. Many contests in the Liar's Club were won by Garrick for simply reciting his adventures as the Flash (All-Flash #18, 30, Comic Cavalcade #9, 13, 19).

In 1942, The Flash battled a villain that had the power of darkness at his command. The Shade, an immortal whose real name has never been revealed, used a cane endowed with the power of Erebus to rob Keystone under a veil of impenetrable night (Flash Comics #35). Later that year, he tangled with Peter Merkel, a small-time thief who used his naturally "triple-jointed" limbs to facilitate his robberies as the Rag Doll (Flash Comics #36). In 1943, Keystone City District Attorney Clifford Devoe masterminded a series of crimes while using his position and intellect to overcome legal obstacles afterward, a practice that earned him the monicker of "The Thinker" (All-Flash #12). Each of these criminals became recurrent foes for the Flash throughout his career.
In 1945, the Flash rejoined the JSA full-time (All-Star Comics #25). Jay Garrick became am independent researcher in Keystone City and was engaged to Joan Williams. In 1947, The Flash encountered two more significant adversaries: The Star Sapphire and the Fiddler. The Star Sapphire claimed to be an alien princess from a temporally displaced planet of which she was the sole inhabitant. She attempted to revive life of her world by sapping the oxygen out of Earth and transferring to her world (All-Flash #32). The Fiddler was really Isaac Bowin, a petty thief who had learned the secret of hypnotic music while in an Indian prison. In his first encounter with the Flash, he used the serendipitous concert by his twin brother to confuse the Flash (All-Flash #32). He was ultimately defeated but returned to battle the Flash later that year (Flash Comics #93). 
Another important adversary was Rose Canton, also known as the Thorn. Canton was a classic schizophrenic, a split personality. The "Rose" part of her character was a gentle assistant to Professor Hollis, a botanist on Tashmi Island. While there, Rose developed her second personality, the Thorn. The Thorn despised the insipid Rose and murdered her beloved mentor. She then traveled to Keystone City and engaged the Flash on two occasions, eluding capture each time by slipping back into her "Rose" persona (Flash Comics #89, #96). In their third encounter, she again "became" Rose, but the Flash had determined her secret. Contacting Green Lantern and Wonder Woman, he arranged for Rose to be treated by Amazon psychotherapists on Transformation Island. Rose, however, had become infatuated with Green Lantern and returned to him many years later (Lois Lane #113, Infinity Inc. Annual #1).

In late 1948, the Flash married Joan Williams, and the two took up residence in the Keystone City suburbs. The Garricks had no children of their own but briefly adopted a son who died of pneumonia (revealed in JSA #25).The Flash retired as that city's resident super-hero, ceding that role to the Spider. When the Spider was revealed as corrupt, the Flash returned to active duty. (The Shade #3). The Flash was an active member of the Justice Society during its last case and was present at the HUAC meetings in 1951. He declined to reveal his identity during those meetings and retired along with the rest of his fellow JSA members.

During the early 1960s, Keystone City was subdued by the Fiddler, The Thinker, and the Shade. The residents were lulled into a deep sleep while the three looted the city. The dissonance produced by the device keeping the city subdued was detected on Earth-1 by Barry Allen, the Flash of Earth-1. By adjusting his vibrations to the same "frequency," the Earth-1 Flash traveled to Earth-2 and tracked down Jay Garrick. The two combined forces and defeated the three villains, and Keystone City was restored to normal (The Flash vol. 1 #123). At this point, the Flash returned to active duty. The Flash ventured to Earth-1 shortly thereafter and helped the Flash of Earth-1 defeat the Trickster and Captain Cold (The Flash vol. 1 #129). Shortly thereafter, Vandal Savage captured several other recently-active members of the JSA. The Flash then solicited the aid of Earth-1's Flash and the two overcame Savage, freeing the Justice Society. This landmark case marked the returned of the Justice Society to active duty in the world of law enforcement (The Flash vol. 1 #137).

The Flash continued in active duty, both engaging a number of his traditional adversaries (the Shade [The Flash vol. 1 #151], the Fiddler [The Flash vol. 1 #201], Vandal Savage [The Flash vol. 1 #215, #235-36], the Rag Doll and the Thinker [The Flash vol. 1 #229]) and aiding the Flash of Earth-1 in a number of cases (Abra Kadabra [The Flash vol. 1 #170, #247], the Golden Man [The Flash vol. 1 #173], Gorilla Grodd [Flash Spectacular #1]). As a member of the Justice Society, Garrick also participated in numerous adventures with the Justice League of America.

Jay Garrick revealed his identity to the public in an issue of We magazine in the late 1970s (Flash Spectacular #1), an act which later caused him some grief with the Thorn (All-Star Comics #73). Up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Jay Garrick was one of the most active members of the Justice Society, taking part in almost every case. After the Crisis, the various Earths were merged into one. Keystone City is now the sister city of Central City, traditional home of the Earth-1 Flash. Shortly after the Crisis, the Flash joined his JSA comrades in an attempt to forestall Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Norse Gods (Last Days of the Justice Society #1). This act kept the JSA in Limbo for three years. Joan Garrick believed her husband dead, informed of his absence only by an impersonal government telegram (The Flash Annual vol. 2 #3). When the Flash returned to Earth (Armageddon Inferno #4), he at once took up his membership again in the Justice Society (Justice Society of America 1-10, Justice League Europe #47-50). The Flash also took on a mentoring role of the current heir to the legend of the Flash, Wally West (beginning in The Flash vol. 2 #73), and spent a very brief stint with Justice League America (Justice League America #78-79, 91).

During the crisis known as Zero Hour, Flash joined the JSA in the first strike against Extant. Like the rest of the JSA, Flash was aged to his normal chronological age. Upon the defeat of the JSA and their retreat to Earth, the Flash ripped off his insignia, the lightning bolt on his chest, and announced his retirement (Zero Hour #3). It seems, however, that the Speed Force that drives the Flash's velocity has retarded the effects of Extant's spells, and like any legend, the Flash was unable to avoid the lure of action; he has again joined Wally West in the pursuit of justice (The Flash vol. 2 #100, #108-111). Garrick recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with Joan and has even taken over the role as Keystone City's prime protector on occasion.

In 1999, the appearance of the Dark Lord and the death of Wesley Dodds signaled a new era in JSA history. Jay Garrick, along with the remaining surviving members of the JSA, reformed the legendary super-team with the inheritors of their fellows to fight new threats to the world (JSA #1). The direction this means for the elder speedster will be unfolding in the days ahead.

Powers/Skills

The Flash possesses the ability to move at tremendous speed. This allows him not only to run at near light speed, but also to "vibrate" his body's molecules, enabling him to pass through solid matter. The Flash's speed has deteriorated somewhat with age.

Weaknesses/Limitations

The Flash, when not moving at super-speed, is an ordinary mortal and can be wounded as such.

Principal Adversaries

List of Appearances for the Earth-2 Flash (Alphabetical 1939-2004)

List of Golden Age Appearances (Detailed, 1939-1955)

Golden Age Flash Merchandise/Memorabilia (Pics and Links)