The Flash

"The Flash" redirects here. For the live-action series, see The Flash (TV series). For other uses, see Flash (disambiguation).
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
Created by Gardner Fox (writer)
Harry Lampert (art)
Characters Jay Garrick
Barry Allen
Wally West
Bart Allen

The Flash is a name shared by several fictional comic book superheroes from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940).[1]

Nicknamed the Scarlet Speedster and the "Crimson Comet" all incarnations of the Flash possess "super-speed", which includes the ability to run and move extremely fast, use superhuman reflexes and seemingly violate certain laws of physics. Thus far, four different characters—each of whom somehow gained the power of "super-speed"—have assumed the identity of the Flash: Jay Garrick (1940–present), Barry Allen (1956–1985, 2008–present), Wally West (1986–2006, 2007–2012), and Bart Allen (2006–2007, 2009–present). Before Wally and Bart's ascension to the mantle of the Flash, they were both Flash protégés under the same name Kid Flash.

The second incarnation of the Flash, Barry Allen, is generally considered the first hero of the Silver Age of comic books and the superhero has remained one of DC's most popular ever since. Each version of the Flash has been a key member of at least one of DC's premier teams: the Justice Society of America, the Justice League, and the Teen Titans. Wally West has recently rejoined the Justice League, and Barry Allen recently returned to life in the pages of Final Crisis.

The Barry Allen version of the character (with Wally West elements) was featured in a live action television series in 1990, starring John Wesley Shipp. The Wally West version of the Flash (but with many elements of Barry Allen's story) is featured in the animated series Justice League. All four incarnations of the character have appeared in the Young Justice animated series, with the Wally West version of Kid Flash as a main character in the first season.

The Flashes have often been close friends with the various men who have been the Green Lantern; the most notable friendships have been forged between Jay Garrick and Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern), Barry Allen and Hal Jordan (the Silver Age Green Lantern) and Wally West and Kyle Rayner (the modern Green Lantern), Wally and John Stewart in the Justice League cartoons, as well as Jordan's friendship with West.

Publication history

Golden Age

The Flash first appeared in the Golden Age Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940), from All-American Publications, one of three companies that would eventually merge to form DC Comics. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, this Flash was Jay Garrick, a college student who gained his speed through the inhalation of hard water vapors. When re-introduced in the 1960s Garrick's origin was modified slightly, gaining his powers through exposure to heavy water.

Jay Garrick was a popular character in the 1940s, supporting both Flash Comics and All-Flash Quarterly (later published bi-monthly as simply All-Flash); co-starring in Comic Cavalcade; and being a charter member of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team, whose adventures ran in All Star Comics. With superheroes' post-war decline in popularity, Flash Comics was canceled with issue #104 (1949) which featured an Evil version of the Flash called the Rival. The Justice Society's final Golden Age story ran in All Star Comics #57 (1951; the title itself continued, as All Star Western).

Silver Age

In 1956, DC Comics successfully revived superheroes, ushering in what became known as the Silver Age of comic books. Rather than bringing back the same Golden Age heroes, DC rethought them as new characters for the modern age. The Flash was the first revival, in the aptly named tryout comic book Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956).

This new Flash was Barry Allen, a police scientist who gained super-speed when bathed by chemicals after a shelf of them was struck by lightning. He adopted the name The Flash after reading a comic book featuring the Golden Age Flash.[1] After several more appearances in Showcase, Allen's character was given his own title, The Flash, the first issue of which was #105 (resuming where Flash Comics had left off).

The Silver Age Flash proved popular enough that several other Golden Age heroes were revived in new incarnations (see: Green Lantern). A new superhero team, the Justice League of America, was also created, with the Flash as a main, charter member.

Barry Allen's title also introduced a much-imitated plot device into superhero comics when it was revealed that Garrick and Allen existed on fictional parallel worlds. Their powers allowed them to cross the dimensional boundary between worlds, and the men became good friends. Flash of Two Worlds (The Flash (vol. 1) #123) was the first crossover in which a Golden Age character met a Silver Age character. Soon, there were crossovers between the entire Justice League and the Justice Society; their respective teams began an annual get-together which endured from the early 1960s until the mid-1980s.

Allen's adventures continued in his own title until the advent of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The Flash ended as a series with issue #350. Allen's life had become considerably confused in the early 1980s, and DC elected to end his adventures and pass the mantle on to another character. Allen died heroically in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (1985). Thanks to his ability to travel through time, he would continue to appear occasionally in the years to come.

Modern Age

The third Flash was Wally West, introduced in The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (Dec. 1959) as Kid Flash. West, Allen's nephew by marriage, gained the Flash's powers through an accident identical to Allen's. Adopting the identity of Kid Flash, he maintained membership in the Teen Titans for years. Following Allen's death, West adopted the Flash identity in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 and was given his own series, beginning with The Flash (vol. 2) #1 in 1987.[1] Many issues began with the catchphrase: "My name is Wally West. I'm the fastest man alive."

Due to the Infinite Crisis miniseries and the "One Year Later" jump in time in the DC Universe, DC canceled The Flash (vol. 2) in January 2006 at #230. A new series, The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, began on June 21, 2006. The initial story arc of this series, written by Danny Bilson and Paul De Meo with art by Ken Lashley, focused on Bart Allen's acceptance of the role of the Flash.

Flash: Fastest Man Alive was canceled with issue #13. In its place The Flash (vol. 2) was revived with issue #231, with Mark Waid as the initial writer. Waid also wrote All-Flash #1, which acted as the bridge between the two series.[2] DC had solicited Flash: Fastest Man Alive through issue #15. All Flash #1 replaced issue #14 and The Flash (vol. 2) #231 replaced issue #15 in title and interior creative team only. The covers and cover artists were as solicited by DC, and the information text released was devoid of any plot information.[3][4]

In 2009, Barry Allen made a full fledged return to the DCU-proper in The Flash: Rebirth, a six-issue miniseries by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver.[5]

Fictional character biographies

While several other individuals have used the name Flash, these have lived either on other parallel worlds, or in the future. Garrick, Allen and West are the best-known exemplars of the identity.

Jay Garrick

Main article: Flash (Jay Garrick)

Jason Peter "Jay" Garrick was a college student in 1938 who accidentally inhaled heavy water vapors after falling asleep in his laboratory where he had been working. As a result, he found that he could run at superhuman speed and had similarly fast reflexes. After a brief career as a college football star, he donned a red shirt with a lightning bolt and a stylized metal helmet with wings (based on images of the Greek deity Hermes), and began to fight crime as the Flash. His first case involved battling the "Faultless Four", a group of blackmailers. Jay kept his identity secret for years without a mask by continually vibrating his body while in public so that any photograph of his face would be blurred. Although originally from Earth-Two, he was incorporated into the history of New Earth following the Crisis on Infinite Earths and is still active as the Flash operating out of Keystone City. He is a member of the Justice Society.

Barry Allen

Main article: Flash (Barry Allen)

Bartholomew Henry "Barry" Allen is a police scientist who has a reputation for being very slow, deliberate, and frequently late, which frustrated his fiancée, Iris West. One night, as he was preparing to leave work, a lightning bolt shattered a case full of chemicals and spilled them all over Allen. As a result, Allen found that he could run extremely fast and had matching reflexes. He donned a set of red tights sporting a lightning bolt (reminiscent of the original Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel), dubbed himself the Flash (after his childhood hero, Jay Garrick), and became a crimefighter active in Central City. In his civilian identity, he stores the costume compressed in a special ring via the use of a special gas that could compress cloth fibers to a very small fraction of their normal size.

Allen sacrificed his life for the universe in the 1985 maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths, and remained dead for over twenty years after that story's publication. With the 2008 series Final Crisis, Allen returned to the DC Universe and returned to full prominence as the Flash in the 2009 series The Flash: Rebirth, which was soon after followed by a new volume of The Flash ongoing series, where Allen's adventures as the Scarlet Speedster are currently published.[6][7]

Wally West

Main article: Wally West

Wallace Rudolph "Wally" West is the nephew of Iris West and of Barry Allen by marriage, and was introduced in The Flash (vol. 1) #110 (1959). When West was about ten years old, he was visiting his uncle's police laboratory, and the freak accident that gave Allen his powers repeated itself, bathing West in electrically charged chemicals. Now possessing the same powers as his uncle, West donned a copy of his uncle's outfit and became the young crime fighter Kid Flash. After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths where Barry Allen was killed, Wally took over as the fastest man alive. Following the events of Infinite Crisis, Wally, his wife Linda, and their twins left Earth for an unknown dimension.

Wally, his wife and twins were pulled back from the Speed Force by the Legion of Super-Heroes at the conclusion of The Lightning Saga.[8] This set the stage for Wally West's return as the Flash after the events of The Flash: Fastest Man Alive #13 (see Bart Allen), in All Flash #1, and with The Flash (vol. 2) series, which resumed with issue #231 in August 2007. It subsequently ends with issue #247, and West, along with all the other Flash characters, play a large role in 2009's The Flash: Rebirth.[6]

Bart Allen

Main article: Bart Allen

Bartholomew Henry "Bart" Allen II is the grandson of Barry Allen and his wife Iris. Bart suffered from accelerated aging and, as a result, was raised in a virtual reality machine until Iris took him back in time to get help from the then-current Flash, Wally West. With Wally's help, Bart's aging slowed, and he took the name Impulse. After he was shot in the knee by Deathstroke, Bart changed both his attitude and his costume, taking the mantle of Kid Flash. During the events of Infinite Crisis, the Speed Force vanished, taking with it all the speedsters save Jay Garrick. Bart returned, four years older, and for a year claimed that he was depowered from the event. However, the Speed Force had not disappeared completely, but had been absorbed into Bart's body; essentially, he now contained all of the Speed Force.

Bart's costume as the Flash was a clone of his grandfather's, similarly stylized to Wally West's. Not long after taking the mantle of the Flash, Bart was killed by the Rogues in the 13th (and final) issue of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive. However, he was later resurrected in the 31st century in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #3 by Brainiac 5 to combat Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains. Writer Geoff Johns confirmed that Bart will return to the past and play a large role in The Flash: Rebirth.[9]

In the television series Smallville, Bart is a troubled teen who trades crime for money. After saving Clarks' father though, Clark finds that there is good in him. After meeting Lex, Bart steals an important artifact that plays a big role in other episodes. But with Clark's help, he gets Bart to change his ways. The Kent family was willing to adopt him, but he didn't want to stay in Smallville. Bart is faster than Clark. They acquire a weird friendship, which will lead him to be Flash and join the Justice League . On the series, of course, this Bart Allen would also become known as Impulse after foiling.

Others to carry the mantle of the Flash

Jesse Chambers

Main article: Jesse Chambers

Daughter of the speedster Johnny Quick, Jesse Chambers becomes a speeding superhero like her father. She later meets Wally West, the Flash, who asks her to be his replacement if something were to happen to him (as part of an elaborate plan on his part, trying to force Bart Allen to take his role in the legacy of the Flash more seriously). She briefly assumes the mantle of the Flash, after Wally enters the Speed Force.[10]

Unnamed Allen of the 23rd century

The father of Sela Allen, his wife and daughter were captured by Cobalt Blue. He is forced to watch his wife die and his daughter become crippled. As he and Max Mercury kill Cobalt Blue, a child takes the gem and kills Allen. This Flash is one of the two destined Flashes to be killed by Cobalt Blue.

Sela Allen

Sela Allen is an ordinary human in the 23rd century until Cobalt Blue steals electrical impulses away from her, causing her to become as slow to the world as the world is to the Flash. Hoping to restore her, her father takes her into the Speed Force. When her father is killed, she appears as a living manifestation of the Speed Force, able to lend speed to various people and objects, but unable to physically interact with the world.[1]

Blaine Allen

Blaine Allen and his son live on the colony world of Petrus in the 28th century. In an attempt to end the Allen blood line, Cobalt Blue injects Allen's son Jace with a virus. Lacking super speed, Jace was unable to shake off the virus. In despair, Blaine takes his son to the Speed Force in the hopes that it would accept him. It takes Blaine instead and grants super speed to Jace so that he can shake off the sickness.[11]

Jace Allen

Jace Allen gains super speed when his father brings him into the Speed Force to attempt to cure him of a virus injected into his body by Cobalt Blue in an attempt to end the Allen bloodline.[11] In memory of his father, Jace assumes the mantle of the Flash and continues the feud against Cobalt Blue.[12]


After an alien creature invades Earth, a history buff named Kryad travels back in time from the 98th century to acquire a Green Lantern power ring. He fails, so he tries to capture the Flash's speed instead. After being beaten by Barry Allen (The Flash (vol. 1) #309, May 1982), he travels back further in time and uses the chemicals from the clothes Barry Allen was wearing when he gained his powers. Kryad sacrifices his life to defeat the alien creature.

Bizarro Flash

Bizarro-Flash was created when Bizarro cloned Flash. He had a costume the reverse colors of Flash's, however he had a gavel symbol because Flash was holding one when he was cloned. The modern version of Bizarro Flash has the symbol of a thunderbolt-shaped mustard stain.

Powers and abilities

All incarnations of the Flash can move, think, and react at light speeds as well as having superhuman endurance that allows them to run incredible distances. Some, notably later versions, can vibrate so fast that they can pass through walls in a process called quantum tunneling,[13] travel through time and can also lend and borrow speed. Furthermore, all members have an invisible aura around their bodies that prevents themselves and their clothes from being affected by air friction as they move at high speed.[volume & issue needed] Speedsters can heal more rapidly than the average human.

On several occasions, the Flash has raced against Superman, either to determine who is faster or as part of a mutual effort to thwart some type of threat; these races, however, often resulted in ties because of outside circumstances. Writer Jim Shooter and artist Curt Swan crafted the story "Superman's Race With the Flash!" in Superman #199 (Aug. 1967) which featured the first race between the Flash and Superman.[14] Writer E. Nelson Bridwell and artist Ross Andru produced "The Race to the End of the Universe", a follow-up story four months later in The Flash #175 (Dec. 1967).[15] However, after the DC Universe revision after Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Flash does successfully beat Superman in a race in Adventures of Superman #463 with the explanation that Superman is not accustomed to running at high speed for extended periods of time since flying is more versatile and less strenuous, which means the far more practiced Flash has the advantage. After Final Crisis in Flash: Rebirth #3 the Flash is shown as being much faster than Superman, easily outstripping him as Superman tries to keep up with him. He claims that all the close races between them had been "for charity".

Speedsters may at times use the ability to speed-read at incredible rates and in doing so, process vast amounts of information. Whatever knowledge they acquire in this manner is usually temporary (Bart Allen seems to be the exception, though in earlier years, Max Mercury believed that Bart's speed learning would not stick).[volume & issue needed] Their ability to think fast also allows them some immunity to telepathy, as their thoughts operate at a rate too rapid for telepaths such as Martian Manhunter or Gorilla Grodd to read or influence their minds.

Flashes and other super-speedsters also have the ability to speak to one another at a highly accelerated rate. This is often done to have private conversations in front of non-fast people (as when Flash speaks to Superman about his ability to serve both the Titans and the JLA in The Titans #2). Speed-talking is also sometimes used for comedic effect where Flash becomes so excited that he begins talking faster and faster until his words become a jumble of noise (Wally West once became so surprised that he generated a small sonic boom with his voice). The Barry Allen version of the Flash was also known to be able to control lightning, though this was not an ability that he utilized often.

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-2, including the Flash 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, but the Flash is visually similar to the Jay Garrick Flash.[16] Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-2.[17]

A variant of the Flash - a superfast college student named Mary Maxwell - was seen in the Elseworld book Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating The Flash.

Tanaka Rei

The Flash of Earth-D, Rei was a Japanese man who idolized Barry Allen, whose stories only existed in comic books on this world. Rei was inspired by Allen to become the Flash, much like Allen was inspired to become the Flash by his idol, Jay Garrick. Allen and Rei met during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" when Barry was coming back from the 30th century and arrived in the wrong universe. As Earth-D was under attack by the shadow demons, Barry called on the Justice League and Tanaka called on the Justice Alliance, his world's version of the Justice League. They built a cosmic treadmill and were able to evacuate much of Earth-D's population. The Justice League left, but 39 seconds later, Earth-D perished.

Rei made his only appearance in Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths (February 1999). The story was written by Marv Wolfman, with art by Paul Ryan (pencils) and Bob McLeod (ink).

Lia Nelson

The young, female Flash of the Tangent Universe is not a speedster, but instead "the first child born in space" and a being made up of and able to control light. As a side effect, she can move at the speed of light, which actually makes her faster than most of the other Post-Crisis Flashes, as only Wally West has ever survived a light-speed run without becoming trapped in the Speed Force.[18] She recently reappeared in Justice League of America #16, somehow summoned out of the paper 'green lantern' of her universe - an artifact that survived the Crisis that erased the Tangent Universe from existence.[19] Lia Nelson also appeared in Countdown: Arena battling two versions of the Flash from other Earths within the Multiverse.[20] In the 52-Earth Multiverse, the Tangent Universe is designated Earth-9.

Superman & Batman: Generations 2

In Superman & Batman: Generations 2, three different Flashes appear: Wally West as Kid Flash in 1964, Wally's cousin Carrie as Kid Flash in 1986, and Jay West, the son of Wally and his wife Magda as the fifth Flash in 2008. Barry Allen makes a cameo appearance out of costume in 1964.

Green Lightning

Ali Rayner-West, Green Lightning, a descendant of both Kyle Rayner and Wally West, who has both a power ring and superspeed, as seen in Green Lantern: Circle of Fire. She was however a living construct created by Kyle Rayner's subconscious who later re-fused into his mind.[21]


A teenage version of Jesse Chambers appears as the Flash of the Ame-Comi universe. As with most of the other characters of that Earth, she sports an Anime-inspired costume.[22]

The Crash

The 1980s series Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew presented the parallel Earth of "Earth-C-Minus," a world populated by funny animal superheroes that paralleled the mainstream DC Universe. Earth-C-Minus was the home of the Crash, a turtle with super-speed powers similar to those of Barry Allen's, and a member of his world's superhero team, the Just'a Lotta Animals. The Crash as a youth had read comics about Earth-C's Terrific Whatzit, similar to how Barry Allen enjoyed comics about Earth-Two's Jay Garrick.[23]

Danica Williams

An African-American teenager named Danica Williams appears as the Flash in the Justice League Beyond series, acting as Wally West's successor during the 2040s (following the events of Batman Beyond). She is employed at the Flash Museum in Central City, and like Barry Allen, is chronically late.[24]


The following writers have been involved in the ongoing The Flash and Flash Comics series:

Writer Issues written Years
Gardner Fox Flash Comics #1-80, The Flash #117, 123, 129, 137-138, 140, 143-146, 149-152, 154, 157-159, 162, 164, 166-167, 170-171, 177 1940-1947, 1960-1968
Robert Kanigher Flash Comics #84-91, 93, 96-97, 103-104, The Flash #160-161, 192, 195, 197-204, 206, 208, 214 1947-1949, 1966, 1969-1972
John Broome Flash Comics #91-104, The Flash #105-128, 130-142, 146-149, 152-156, 158-161, 163-166, 168-169, 172-174, 176, 178, 182, 187-194, 1948-1949, 1959-1970
E. Nelson Bridwell #175 1967
Cary Bates #179, 209-212, 216, 218-305, 307-312, 314-350 1968, 1971-1985
Frank Robbins #180-181, 183-185 1968-1969
Mike Friedrich #186, 195, 197-198, 207 1969-1971
Steve Skeates #202, 204, 207, 209-211, 216 1970-1972
Len Wein #208, 212, 215, 217 1971-1973
Dennis O'Neil #217-224, 226-228, 230-231, 233-234, 237-238, 240-243, 245-246 1972-1977
Gerry Conway #289-299, 301-304 (Firestorm backup stories) 1980-1981
Dan Mishkin #306 1982
Gary Cohn #306 1982
Martin Pasko #306-313 (Doctor Fate backup stories) 1982
Steve Gerber #310-313 (Doctor Fate backup stories) 1982
Mike W. Barr #313 1982
Mike Baron Vol. 2 #1-14, Annual Vol. 2 #1 1986-1987
William Messner-Loebs Vol. 2 #15-28, 30-61, 80-Page Giant #2, Annual Vol 2 #2-3, Special #1 1987-1992
Len Strazewski Vol. 2 #29, Special #1 1989
Mark Waid Vol. 2 #0, 62-129, 142-159, 231-236, 1000000, 80-Page Giant #1, Annual Vol. 2 #4-6, 8, Special #1, Flash Plus Nightwing #1, The Flash Secret Files and Origins #1-2, The Flash TV Special #1, The Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends #1, The Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold #1-6 1992-1997, 1998-2000, 2007-2008
Mark Wheatley and Allan Gross Annual Vol. 2 #7 1994
Mark Millar Vol. 2 #130-141, 80-Page Giant #1 1997-1998
Grant Morrison Vol. 2 #130-138 1997-1998
Brian Augustyn Vol. 2 #142-143, 148-149, 160, 162, 80-Page Giant #1-2 Annual Vol. 2 #10-12, Flash Plus Nightwing #1, The Flash Secret Files and Origins #1-2 1996-2000
Pat McGreal Vol. 2 #161, 163 2000
Chuck Dixon Annual Vol. 2 #13 2000
Geoff Johns Vol. 2 #1/2, 164-225, The Flash Secret Files and Origins #3 Iron Heights, The Flash: Our Worlds at War #1, Vol. 3 #1-12, The Flash Secret Files and Origins #2010 The Flash Rebirth #1-6 2000-2005, 2009-2011
Stuart Immonen Vol. 2 #226 2005
Joey Cavalieri #330-331, Vol. 2 #227-230 1984, 2005-2006
John Rogers Vol. 2 #233-236 2007-2008
Keith Champagne Vol. 2 #237 2008
Tom Peyer Vol. 2 #238-243, The Flash 80-Page Giant #2, Annual Vol. 2 #8, The Flash Secret Files and Origins #2 1995, 1999, 2008-2009
Alan Burnett Vol. 2 #244-247 2009
Francis Manapul Vol. 4 #1-Present, 0, 23.1: Reverse-Flash #1, Annual Vol. 4 #1 2011-Present
Brian Buccellato Vol. 4 #1-Presnet, 0, 23.1: Grodd #1, 23.2: Reverse-Flash #1, 23.3: The Rogues #1, Annual Vol. 4 #1-2 2011-Present


The comics and characters have been nominated for and won several awards over the years, including:

  • 1961 Alley Award for Best Cover (The Flash (vol. 1) #123)
  • 1961 Alley Award for Best Single Comic (The Flash (vol. 1) #123 by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino)
  • 1963 Alley Award for Cross-Over of DC Heroes for The Brave and the Bold (with Hawkman)
  • 1964 Alley Award for Best Short Story ("Doorway to the Unknown" in The Flash (vol. 1) #148 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino)
  • 2008 Salou Award for Best Super Hero (Flash - Danny Holmes by BUAFC)

In other media

Main article: Flash in other media

Throughout his 70 year history, the Flash has appeared in numerous media. The Flash has been included in multiple animated features, such as Superfriends and Justice League, as well as his own live action television series and some guest star appearances on Smallville. There are numerous video that feature the character.

In the Challenge of the Superfriends series which ran from 1978–1979, he appears in every episode and has spoken lines in only twelve out of the sixteen episodes of the series. He also had two arch enemies from the Legion of Doom, Captain Cold and Gorilla Grodd.

The Flash also appeared for one season (1990–1991) on the CBS network starring double-Emmy Award winner John Wesley Shipp as Barry Allen. Produced by Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo, the series was a mild amalgamation of the Barry Allen and Wally West versions of the comics in that the female lead was Tina McGee (portrayed by Amanda Pays) and Wally's need for large amounts of food after expending so much energy running all over Central City was transferred to Barry. After his lightning-induced chemical accident, Barry got into crime fighting after the death of his police officer brother, Jay; it is presumed that Jay was named for the original comic book Flash, Jay Garrick. A handful of the Scarlet Speedster's rogues gallery made guest appearances throughout the series: Captain Cold (Michael Champion) ("Captain Cold"), Mirror Master (David Cassidy) ("Done With Mirrors"), and the Trickster (Mark Hamill) ("The Trickster" and "Trial of the Trickster"). The Flash also fought a clone of himself who wore a blue costume.

A few episodes were written by comics legend Howard Chaykin and the TV costume was designed by Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer). While a critical success and vigorously backed by the network, the series had the dubious distinction of being aired against ratings powerhouses The Cosby Show on NBC and Fox's The Simpsons. The Flash was preempted by Christmas specials and the Desert Storm war in Iraq, and constantly moved all over the schedule, and was cancelled after its first and only season. Warner Brothers released the series in a 6-disc DVD box set on January 10, 2006.

The series' main musical theme was composed by Danny Elfman, with the remainder of the episodes' music being composed by Shirley Walker (this collaboration would also occur on Batman: The Animated Series). When the Flash made a guest appearance in the Superman: The Animated Series episode 'Speed Demons', Walker incorporated some of the themes from the live-action series into the episode.

In the music scene, the band Jim's Big Ego released a song called "The Ballad of Barry Allen" on their album "They're Everywhere". The song portrays Barry as a tragic character, whose perception of the world is so accelerated that all of reality appears to proceed at a snail's pace, causing him to gradually slip into depression. The band's frontman, Jim Infantino, is the nephew of Flash co-creator Carmine Infantino, who provided the cover art for the same album.

The Flash is a playable character in the Mortal Kombat and DC Comics crossover game Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. The first official render for The Flash was released to the public on Monday July 7, 2008. From his bio we know that Flash in MK vs DC is Barry Allen. He also playable in Injustice: Gods Among Us by NetherRealm Studios again as Barry Allen.

2 Flashes make appearances in DC Universe Online. The Flash, Barry Allen, fights alongside the heroes against Gorilla Grodd's army, and is a bounty for the villains. The 'Original Flash', Jay Garrick, appears at the Watchtower, selling powerful armor to Level 30 Heroes with the Metapower origin.

Impulse is shown in Young Justice: Invasion as the grandson of Barry Allen, and Iris West. He comes from the future to save his grandfather from Neutron (A.K.A. Nathaniel Tryon). Once he travels back he does succeed in saving Barry Allen, and stopping Neutron, this was supposed to save the future, but it is shown that the future remains the same. When he tries to travel back to his time (2056), his time machine doesn't work, it is shown in a backstory that he knew he was going to be stuck in the past, because the wires would be fried, though he doesn't reveal this to anyone on The Team, at that moment, he is considered an official member.

In popular culture

Numerous references to the Flash are presented on the television show The Big Bang Theory. A particular reference is main character Sheldon Cooper's Flash t-shirt, which has become a staple of merchandise clothing.

The false name Barry Allen is used by character of con artist Frank Abagnale, Jr. in the movie "Catch Me If You Can". When a coffee shop waiter notices the notes of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, he reveals that Barry Allen is the Flash, giving Carl a vital clue to his unknown subject's identity.

The first appearance of the Flash is one of the most valuable comic books in the world. In 2006, a near-pristine copy of Flash Comics #1 was sold in a Heritage Auction for $273,125. The same book was then sold privately for $450,000 in 2010.[25]

Renan Kanbay wears a Flash costume while playing Carrie, the manager of a comic book store, in Joe Lipari's Dream Job (2011).[26]

The band Jim's Big Ego wrote the song "The Ballad of Barry Allen" detailing the hardship having to watch time moving so slowly from the perspective of Allen. The frontman of the band, Jim Infantino is the nephew of Flash artist Carmine Infantino.

In the movie "Daddy Day Care" one of the day care kids named Tony wore a Flash costume for the majority of the film.


Main article: Rogues (comics)

Like Batman, the Flash has a reputation for having fought a distinctive and memorable rogues gallery of supervillains. In the Flash's case, some of these villains have adopted the term "Flash's Rogues Gallery" as an official title, and insist on being called "Rogues" rather than "supervillains" or similar names. At times, various combinations of the Rogues have banded together to commit crimes or take revenge on the Flash, usually under the leadership of Captain Cold.

The Rogues are known for their communal style relationship, socializing together and operating under a strict moral code, sometimes brutally enforced by Captain Cold. Such "rules" include "no drugs" and, except in very dire situations or on unique occasions, "no killing".

Considering the blue collar nature of the Flash's Rogues, more than a few have protested the inclusion of Professor Zoom and Abra Kadabra, often labeling them psychotic, as time travel generally works against their crimes and, at least in the original Zoom's case, they found him dangerous and too willing to kill.

In contrast, several new Flash villains have been considered Rogues, including Murmur, Double Down, and Peek-A-Boo, but they play second fiddle to new incarnations of Captain Boomerang, Zoom, Mirror Master, and Inertia (a variation on Reverse-Flash, clone of Impulse).



  • Newsarama, March 30, 2009
  • Flash: Re-Birth (2009 mini-series)
  • Flash
  • "How Do You Kill A Legend?" The Flash (vol. 1) #309 (May 1982) - Cary Bates
  • "Chain Lightning Part 2: Time Like a River..." - The Flash (vol. 2) #146 (March 1999), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • "Chain Lightning Part 3: Shooting the Rapids..." - The Flash (vol. 2) #147 (April 1999), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • "Generations" - Flash 50th Anniversary Special (1990), Mark Waid
  • "Race Against Time Part 3: Speed Metal" - The Flash (vol. 2) #115 (July 1996), Mark Waid
  • DC One Million #1 (November 85,271/1998) - Grant Morrison
  • "The Sacrifice" - Speed Force #1 (November 1997), Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn

External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • DMOZ
  • Crimson Lightning - An online index to the comic book adventures of the Flash.
  • Alan Kistler's Profile On: The Flash - An analysis of the history of the Flash by comic book historian Alan Kistler.
  • Alan Kistler's Guide To The Crisis
  • Index to Barry Allen's Earth-One adventures
  • Conversation with Flash writers Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo about Bart Allen as the new Flash.
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