Okay folks, if you aren’t excited at the prospect of THIS episode, I don’t know what else to say….okay, I have a LOT more to say, after the jump. The Flash of Earth-2 finally takes the spotlight after his brief appearance in the season premiere, and it looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship…after a few bumps along the way, that is.
SOME SPOILERS AHEAD
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The classic Flash #123 brought Golden-Age Flash Jay Garrick back from obscurity and established the DC multiverse, setting in motion JLA/JSA team-ups, villains of Earth-3, Crisis on Infinite Earths and more. It’s fitting that the story lends its title to tonight’s episode of the Flash TV Show, which properly introduces Jay Garrick and the multiverse to TV audiences.
Carmine Infantino’s cover has been referenced many times over the years, by professionals and fans alike — including the TV show’s posters! It’s popular enough that I once toyed with the idea of running a weekly “Flash of Two Worlds” homage feature on the blog, but never quite got started. Still, you can see a small selection by looking at our posts tagged Flash of Two Worlds.
Jay Garrick, the Flash of an alternate reality, debuts in the second season of the Flash TV show. He may be coming to the CW second, but he’s actually the first scarlet speedster to wear the lightning in DC’s earliest comic books.
Way back in 1940, Jay Garrick [character bio] made his debut in the iconic Mercury-style winged helmet. Back then “Flash Comics” was an anthology book, and he traded off the cover spot with Hawkman each month. But the Flash was popular enough he soon got his own series, appropriately called “All-Flash.”
Jay Garrick was a scientist working in the private sector, not rich but well enough off as time went on that he could move within society circles. He told his college girlfriend Joan Williams about his secret right away, and she quickly became his lifelong confidante. She was less likely to get into trouble and need saving than she was to find people who needed help and point them toward the Flash.
In the 1940s he mostly fought gangsters and corrupt businessmen in Keystone City. It was several years before the Thinker appeared, and back then he was simply a criminal mastermind. Super-villains didn’t really start to show up in their modern form until the end of the decade, and even then they still had henchmen as often as powers. The stories ranged from serious crime tales to out-and-out slapstick comedy, especially when a trio of Three Stooges lookalikes joined the supporting cast. It wouldn’t be remotely out of place for the Flash to pelt a criminal with rotten tomatoes or tie him to a lamppost in his underwear.
Superheroes fell out of favor toward the end of the decade, and the Flash faded from view. DC went for an experimental reboot in 1956, introducing police scientist Barry Allen. Jay Garrick might have been forgotten, except…
Silver Age Multiverse
In 1961’s Flash #123’s “Flash of Two Worlds” introduced DC’s version of the multiverse. DC’s current stories were said to take place on Earth-One, and the older stories were said to take place on Earth-Two. Barry Allen crossed over, met Jay Garrick, and teamed up for what became a regular tradition.
Over the next few decades, Jay Garrick was a regular guest star in The Flash. Sometimes he’d visit Barry on Earth-One. Sometimes Barry and Wally would visit Earth-Two.
And something unusual happened: Because Earth-Two wasn’t DC Comics’ main setting, they allowed time to pass. Jay Garrick and Joan Williams married. Other heroes from the Justice Society had children, and those children grew up to become super-heroes themselves.
In 1985, DC Comics rebooted again, combining characters from various timelines into a single history. Because Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West were distinct characters, they all got to be part of the new history instead of being collapsed into a single younger character. Other heroes’ pasts were rewritten and combined. The Flashes were simply placed on opposite sides of a river instead of in alternate realities.
DC quickly shuffled the Justice Society offstage after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but after a few years they brought them back… and the original heroes of the DCU became mentors to a new generation. Jay Garrick, once a brash youngster who wisecracked at costumed crooks while throwing pies at them, grew into an elder statesman, training younger superheroes.
New 52 / Society
Everything changed in 2011 when DC rebooted once again in the wake of Flashpoint. Jay Garrick and Barry Allen no longer share a planet. Jay once again lives on Earth-2, and we’re reading the adventures of a much younger hero on a world recovering from a devastating interstellar war.
Teddy Sears is the first actor to portray Jay Garrick in live action, but this isn’t the first time the character has appeared on TV. He’s shown up on the cartoon Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and he was name-checked (along with a cameo of his helmet) when Smallville revealed a secret history of super-heroes. When Smallville continued as a comic book, they tracked Jay down to help Impulse (Bart Allen), and he came out of retirement to teach a new generation of heroes in Smallville: Titans.
It seems he just can’t get away from the mentoring gig!
I ran out to Long Beach Comic Con over the weekend. It’s really grown. The floor was twice as big as last year, I could swear they doubled the tracks of programming, and there was a great crowd even on Sunday. It’s a great con for comics and art especially — this is the one I’ve mentioned where Artist’s Alley isn’t just off in a corner somewhere, it’s the centerpiece of the main floor.
Norm Rapmund was there, selling a new print from the current Flash art team featuring all the New 52 Flashes, including one I don’t think we’ve seen yet. I don’t know where I’m going to put it, but I couldn’t pass it up. (Though I did pass up the metallic edition. It was very shiny, both literally and in the Firefly sense, but it was also 3x the price.)
Update: It turns out the day I didn’t go, there was a Rogues cosplay meetup!
Full photo album on Flickr, featuring meteorites, Deadpool doing some light reading, Spider-Everyone, a tricked-out Star Wars car, Harley in Wonderland, and some Pizzazz. Update: Full write-up over at K2R.
CW has released the first photo of Teddy Sears as Jay Garrick – in the ever-classic style of a “Flash of Two Worlds” homage cover!
The image was released at the Television Critics Association’s semi-annual press tour.
Who else is excited to see Jay Garrick coming to TV? What do you think of his live-action look?
High-res image via The Flash Podcast.
Update: DC’s site talks a little about Flash #123 (Carmine Infantino & Gardner Fox) and its legacy as the book that introduced the multiverse to DC Comics.
I spent the weekend at WonderCon, and while I didn’t make it to the Flash TV cast signing (they capped the line 20 minutes before I made it to the convention center), I did make it to the cast and crew Q&A session on Sunday, which I’ll be posting about soon. I also spotted quite a few Flashes, Kid Flashes and Quicksilvers among the cosplayers. (and a Thundra, who I kept trying to figure out whenever she walked by until I finally just walked up and asked her what her costume was).
The full photo gallery is up on Flickr, but here’s a highlight of some of the speedsters who slowed down long enough to be caught on camera: Read the rest of this entry »