Known Relatives: Joan Williams Garrick (wife), Major Arthur Williams (father-in-law, deceased?), unnamed adopted son (deceased)
Group Affiliation: Justice Society of America (founding member)
Past Group Affiliation: All-Star Squadron
Occupation: Research Scientist, part-time Director of Garrick Laboratories
Base of Operations: Keystone City, Kansas
Hair: Brown (white at temples)
First Appearance: Flash Comics #1 (January 1940)
Created By: Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert
Identity: Secret until late in Barry Allen’s career, now public knowledge (Flash Spectacular 1978).
See Also: Earth-2
College student Jay Garrick was investigating an experimental form of heavy water, when an accident released hazardous fumes that rendered him unconscious. After inhaling the fumes all night, he awoke in the hospital to discover he could move and react at superhuman speed. He became a crimefighter and a scientist in Keystone City—two roles that intersected surprisingly often, as his civilian life and research would often lead him into adventures as the Flash.
The Flash was a founding member of the Justice Society of America and fought in World War II as part of the All-Star Squadron. Eventually he retired from super-heroics and married his long-time sweetheart Joan Williams. (In recent years, Jay has realized that this decision kept him from brushing up against the speed force.) Early in their marriage, Jay and Joan adopted a baby who subsequently died of pneumonia. For decades Jay refused to talk about him, even to Joan or his teammates, but he has taken strongly to the role of mentor to younger generations of heroes. (Note: Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1 states that Jay and Joan married much earlier, within months of him becoming the Flash.)
The Garricks spent several years frozen when the Thinker, Fiddler, and Shade pulled Keystone City out of phase with the rest of the world, keeping the populace in a sleepwalking-like state. The second Flash, Barry Allen, discovered the forgotten city and awakened Jay, and the two heroes rescued the city together. While Jay was happy to let his successor take care of the twin cities, he would come out of retirement from time to time to work with Barry and his sidekick, Kid Flash...and of course the JSA. It was during this time that Jay Garrick publicly revealed his identity (Flash Spectacular 1978).
Shortly after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Flash and most of the JSA were trapped in limbo. Freed years later, they briefly re-formed the team. Old age was catching up on many of them, though. Many of the JSA heroes (and fortunately their spouses as well) had been kept relatively young by various spells they had encountered on their adventures. These were subsequently removed by the villain Extant. Jay had an extra advantage, though: the speed force itself has kept him young. In his mid-eighties, Jay is physically in his late forties.
Even without super-heroics, Jay stayed extraordinarily active. He continued to run Garrick Laboratories until it was bought out—at three times market value—by WayneTech, after which he stayed on as a part-time director. He’s picked up dozens of languages over the years, and reads nearly every magazine, newspaper, or journal on the planet.
Over the next few years, Jay would occasionally help out the third Flash, Wally West, when he faced threats too big for one hero to handle. He mainly took to the role of elder statesman among super-heroes. Eventually a new JSA was formed with a mix of first- and second-generation heroes, and Jay decided to come completely out of retirement.
A year or two ago, Jay and Joan temporarily relocated to Denver in order to better treat Joan’s leukemia. While there, they took in Bart Allen (Impulse, later Kid Flash). With Joan’s cancer in remission, the Garricks and their young charge returned to Keystone.
Infinite Crisis left Jay as the only remaining Flash†. He continued to protect Keystone City, powered by a metagene, but with the speed force inaccessible, he was limited to Mach 1 (Infinite Crisis #7, 2006). After it returned, he was back up to full speed (Justice Society of America v.3 #8, 2007).Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.
- Primary Sources
- Art Credits
- Origin Tales
- Profiles in Print
- Series Regular In...
- Silver-Age Solo Appearances
- Silver-Age Flash Appearances
- Legacy-Era Flash Appearances
- One Year Later Flash Appearances
- Rebirth-Era Appearances
- Further Notes
- Related Commentary
- “The Fastest Man Alive” - Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), Gardener Fox
- Who’s Who (first series) #8 (October 1985) - Eduardo Barreto
- Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), Gardner Fox*
- Secret Origins #9 (December 1986), Roy Thomas
- Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997): “A Run of Luck,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Who’s Who in the DC Universe #8 (October 1985)
- Flash Annual 3 (1989)
- Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997)
- JSA Secret Files #1 (August 1999)
- The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
- Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 under “Speed Force” (May 2010)
- Flash Comics (1940–1949)
- All Star Comics (1940–1951)
- All-Flash Quarterly (1941–1948)
- Comic Cavalcade #1–29 (1942–1948)
- All Star Comics (1976–1978)
- All-Star Squadron (1981–1987)
- Justice Society of America v.2 (1992–1993)
- JSA (1999–2006)
- Justice Society of America v.3 (2007—)
During the 1940s, the Flash appeared in solo adventures in Flash Comics, Comic Cavalcade, All-Flash and the first few issues of All Star Comics. He was bumped from All Star when All-Flash launched, but returned a few years later.
(Does not include reprinted Golden-Age stories.)
- Flash #201 (November 1970): “Finale for a Fiddler!” Robert Kanigher
- Flash #205 (April 1971): “Journey Into Danger” (unpublished GA story)
- Flash #214 (April 1972): “The Tale of the Three Tokens!” Robert Kanigher (unpublished GA story)
- Flash Spectacular 1978: “Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier,” Cary Bates
- Flash #123 (September 1961): “Flash of Two Worlds!” Gardner Fox
- Flash #129 (June 1962): “Double Danger on Earth!” Gardner Fox
- Flash #137 (June 1963): “Vengeance of the Immortal Villain,” Gardner Fox
- Flash #151 (March 1965): “Invader from the Dark Dimension!” Gardner Fox
- Flash #170 (May 1967): “The See-Nothing Spells of Abra Kadabra!” Gardner Fox
- Flash #173 (September 1967): “Doomward Flight of the Flashes!” John Broome
- Flash #215 (May 1972): “Death of an Immortal!” Len Wein
- Flash #229 (October 1974): “The Rag Doll Runs Wild!” Cary Bates
- Flash #235 (August 1975): “Vandal Savage—Wanted Dead and Alive!” Cary Bates
- Flash #236 (September 1975): “Nowhere on the Face of Earth!” Cary Bates
- Flash #237 (November 1975): “The 1,000-Year Separation!” Cary Bates
- Flash #247 (March 1977): “The Mad, Mad Earth of Abra Kadabra,” Cary Bates
- Flash Spectacular 1978: “Beyond the Super-Speed Barrier,” Cary Bates
- Adventure Comics #460 (December 1978): “A Nightmare To Remember!” Cary Bates
- Flash #305 (January 1982): “Don’t Take My Wife—Please!” Cary Bates
- Flash 50th Anniversary Special (1990): “Sow the Wind,” Len Strazewski
- Secret Origins #50 (August 1990): “Flash of Two Worlds” (revised), Grant Morrison
- Hawkworld Annual 1 (1990): “A Hawkman of Two Worlds?” John Ostrander
- Flash #73 (February 1993): “One Perfect Gift,” Mark Waid
- Flash #74–79 (March–July 1993): “The Return of Barry Allen,” Mark Waid
- Flash #90 (May 1994): “On the Run,” Mark Waid
- Flash #95–97, 100 (November 1994–April 1995): “Terminal Velocity Parts 1–3,6", Mark Waid
- Flash #108–111 (December 1995–March 1996): “Dead Heat,” Mark Waid
- Impulse #10–11 (January–February 1996): “Dead Heat,” Mark Waid
- Flash #112 (April 1996): “Future Perfect,” Mark Waid
- Flash #122 (February 1997): “Running Away From Home,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #126, 127–128 (June–August 1997): “Trial Run” and “Hell To Pay Parts 1–2,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Speed Force #1 (November 1997): “A Stranger With My Face,” John Byrne
- Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997): “Lost Pages,” Brian Augustyn
- The Life Story of the Flash (1997): “Stolen Thunder,” Mark Waid
- Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends (1997), Ron Marz, Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn
- Flash #130–132 (November–December 1997): “Emergency Stop,” Grant Morrison and Mark Millar
- Flash #134 (February 1998): “Still Life In The Fast Lane,” Grant Morrison and Mark Millar
- Flash Annual #11 (1998): “Haunts,” Brian Augustyn
- Flash #136–138 (April–June 1998): “The Human Race,” Grant Morrison and Mark Millar
- Flash #139–141 (July–September 1998): “The Black Flash,” Mark Millar
- Flash 80-Page Giant #1 (August 1998): “Dark of the Sun,” John Byrne
- Flash #142 (October 1998): “Get Me To The Church On Time,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #143 (December 1998): “Like Wildfire,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #145–149 (February–June 1999): “Chain Lightning Parts 1–5” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999): “Riddle of the Retro Robberies,” Brian Augustyn
- Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999): “The Answer,” Mark J. Kiewlak
- Flash #152 (September 1999): “New Kid In Town,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash Annual #12 (1999): “The Apes of Wrath,” Brian Augustyn
- Flash/Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold #3 (December 1999): “A World of Hurt,” Mark Waid and Tom Peyer
- Flash #157–159 (September 1999–April 2000): The Dark Flash Saga, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
- Flash #161 (June 2000): “Honeymoon in Vegas,” Pat McGreal
- Flash Annual #13 (2000): “Haunted Pampas,” Chuck Dixon
- Impulse #67 (December 2000): “Friends Like These...” Todd Dezago
- Flash #168–169 (January–February 2001): Wonderland parts 5–6, Geoff Johns
- Flash: Iron Heights (2001), Geoff Johns
- Flash #183 (April 2002): “Crossfire Prologue: Tricked,” Geoff Johns
- Impulse #84 (May 2002): “In the Line of Fire,” Todd Dezago
- DC First: Flash/Superman (July 2002): “Speeding Bullets,” Geoff Johns
- Impulse #88–89 (September–October 2002): “Running Out of Time” and “...Godspeed,” Todd Dezago
- Flash #189 (October 2002): “Messengers,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #198–200 (July–September 2003): “Blitz” Parts 2–4, Geoff Johns
- Flash #208 (May 2004): “The Red Carpet,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #220–225 (May–October 2005): “Rogue War,” Geoff Johns
- Flash #228–230 (January–March 2006): “Finish Line, Parts 2–4,” Joey Cavalieri
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1–6 (August 2006–January 2007): “Lightning in a Bottle,” Danny Bilson & Paul DeMeo
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #7–8 (February–March 2007): “Speedquest,” Danny Bilson & Paul DeMeo (cameos)
- DCU Infinite Holiday Special (February 2007): “Father Christmas,” Ian Boothby
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #10 (May 2007): “Full Throttle Part 2: Cold Case,” Marc Guggenheim (cameo)
- The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #13 (August 2007): “Full Throttle: Fastest Man Alive,” Marc Guggenheim (cameo)
- All-Flash #1 (September 2007): “Justice, Like Lightning,” Mark Waid (cameo)
- Countdown #43 (July 4, 2007): “The Funeral,” Paul Dini with Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray
- Flash #233 (December 2007): “The Fast Life, Part 1: Garrick,” Mark Waid & John Rogers (flashback, solo)
- Flash #238–241 (May–August 2008): “Fast Money Parts 1–4,” Tom Peyer
- The Brave and the Bold #13 (July 2008): “American Samuroids,” Mark Waid
- Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #2 (October 2008), Geoff Johns
- Final Crisis (7-issue miniseries, July 2008–March 2009), Grant Morrison
- Flash: Rebirth (6-issue miniseries, 2009), Geoff Johns
*Jay’s first appearance in Flash Comics #1 is reprinted in The Golden Age Flash Archives Volume 1 and The Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told. See Golden-Age Reprints for a complete(?) list of reprinted stories.
Thanks to Doug Nasluchacz for the info on Jay and Joan’s son.
Note on Time Travel. Like other speedsters, Jay can travel through time using his speed. Without guidance, such as the Cosmic Treadmill, he cannot control where he ends up. There are, however, at least two Golden-Age stories in which Jay travels through time with perfect control. One appears in the Flash Comics Miniature Edition (1946), “The Criminal from Tomorrow!” (see Dmane and the 70th Century). The other is the unpublished JSA story, “The Will of William Wilson” (thanks to Marcelo Cury for pointing that one out). A third story, “A World With Two Futures” (All-Flash #23, 1946; see Karma), shows him traveling through time but overshooting his destination several times. These stories may no longer be in continuity, or Jay may have simply lost the ability as he grew older. (See the statement on Golden Age accuracy).
† One Year Later, Jay indicates that with the speed force gone, he is once again the fastest man alive. This may not be strictly true. Zoom II’s powers are based on stretching or shrinking time, simulating super-speed, and were clearly not affected. Several other speedsters have been seen during that year, though it is of course possible that Jay remains faster.
- Early Flash (And Jim Membership): early villains and Jay’s old college pals.
- Extinguishing a Speedster’s Smokes: the vanishing role of a cigarette in the Flash’s origin.
- Making a Golden-Age Flash Costume: Helmet, Boots and Shirt.
- Humble Beginnings: Make Way for Mr. McLightningpants at Comic Coverage.
- Beyond the Speed of Sound: confirming Jay’s top speed in the Golden Age.
- All Jay Garrick Posts at Speed Force