Jay Garrick will be on THE FLASH Season 2! But who is he?
CW’s The Flash has become a fan-favorite TV show and excitement for season 2 has boosted since certain casting decisions were revealed at San Diego Comic-Con International. Namely, that Jay Garrick will appear in the show, played by Teddy Sears (Masters of Sex). But for you who don’t know the comics too well, who is this mysterious speedster?
Jay Garrick was the very first comic book superhero called “the Flash.” Introduced in Flash Comics #1 in 1940, he was a college student at Midwest Univeristy who was interested in science and sports, though he was known for being a “leadfoot” on the football field. During an experiment with hard water (later re-written to be heavy water), he accidentally knocked over some chemicals and the fumes knocked him out. He continued to breathe in the released gases and, by the time that he woke up in the morning, his body changed. He could now run past the speed of sound, catch bullets out of the air, and run up the sides of buildings.
Jay didn’t need to lose a family member or inadvertently cause the death of someone to realize that his power could be used to help others. He quickly became the Flash, “sultan of speed,” and was arguably the first comic book superhero whom readers saw actually enjoy his abilities recreationally rather than only using them in battle. Interestingly, he didn’t wear a mask. By vibrating the molecules of his face at an accelerated rate, he caused his features to look like a blur to everyone he met as the Flash. Since he was “the modern-day Mercury,” he wore a winged helmet. Later comics revealed that this helmet had originally been worn by his father in the battlefields of World War I.
When Barry Allen was introduced as the Flash in 1956, it was quickly established that he existed in a different universe. Later on, he traveled to a parallel world that he dubbed “Earth-2.” It turned out that Jay Garrick and all of his friends from 1940s comic books lived on Earth-2. He and Barry became friends, with Jay acting as an elder statesman at time. Not a father figure exactly, but certainly a veteran who’d been around the block and could offer the voice of experience. Often, they would team-up whenever there was a menace that threatened both their homes.
In 2011, DC Comics rebooted its superhero comics. This new reality, called “the New 52,” introduced a new, young Barry Allen on the mainstream Earth. It wasn’t long before readers also learned that there was now a new version of Earth-2, one where Jay Garrick wears a different costume and has only recently received his super-speed. In the New 52 version of Earth-2, Jay got his powers not from science but as a gift from the god Mercury.
So you’re all caught up, now! Only time will tell what the TV version of Jay Garrick will be like and what mysterious threat there is that he needs Barry’s aid in defeating.