Extinguishing a Speedster’s Smokes

Comic Coverage posted a humorous look at the role smoking had in the Golden-Age Flash’s origin. Jay Garrick was working late, took a cigarette break, and knocked over a beaker of “hard water.” Interestingly, later retellings of his origin downplayed and finally deleted the cigarette.

First, here are the original 1940 panels from Flash Comics #1 (copied from Comic Coverage), showing grad student Jay Garrick taking time out for a smoke:

Jay Garrick pauses for a smoke

Four decades later, in 1986, Secret Origins #9 would retell his origin. Mindful of the details, but also concerned about modern sensibilities about health, writer Roy Thomas kept the cigarette break, but added Jay thinking, “I know I should give up these things…”

Jay really wants to quit

A decade later, the cigarette had disappeared completely. Flash Secret Files #1 (1997) featured a condensed retelling of all three (at the time) Flashes’ origins, and this time, Jay simply succumbed to the hour and nodded off, dropping the beaker.

Jay falls asleep on the job

(Via Crimson Lightning)

Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings.


8 thoughts on “Extinguishing a Speedster’s Smokes

  1. Margaret

    Sigh, the panic over cigarettes in popular media is pretty dumb.

    What’s next? No one in comics ever eats a burger or has a coffee?

    I don’t deny that cigarettes are awful for you, but junk food and caffeine are equally so.
    .-= Margaret’s latest blog post: DC vs. Marvel and STFU =-.

    1. Kelson Post author

      When I have coffee, my neighbor doesn’t drink any of it. But when my neighbor smokes, I end up inhaling it anyway.

      And I’ve never heard of a secondhand cheeseburger.

      1. Margaret

        That’s fair, but smokers who don’t suck do it on their back patio or at the way, way back of the smoker’s section.

        The visceral reactions against the personal choice of smoking annoy me. Folks being annoyed at rude smokers who don’t move so they’re not forcing it on others, that I get and fully support.

        I HATE when I’m at Disneyland having a cigarette and some dickhead smoker brings their kid into the smoking section. I literally stub the thing out halfway, cos while the kid is certainly inhaling his horrifically irresponsble parents’ smoke, I’m sure as heck not ok with adding to it, ya know?
        .-= Margaret’s latest blog post: High Five! Wrap-Up! Week of 9/14/09 =-.

  2. Jesse

    Yeah, I always wondered what the panic over cigarettes is when the form of art is not something explicitly for children. It’s kind of insulting, like this is implying that comics are still for kids – that we can’t handle seeing smoking. Plus, storylines in which people overcome their smoking – as in Watchmen, or if they said Jay gave up smoking once he became the Flash and needed lungs to run hundreds of miles a day – are positive, no?

  3. Yrani Gami

    Yeah, why the big deal about smoking? Who cares? I couldn’t care less if The Flash smokes in his stories or not! I also didn’t find it “shocking” that Wally had different lady friends in the late 80s, early 90’s! What will we be told next? That there’s WAYYY too much violence in comics?

  4. Kestrel

    I always liked that it was hard water fumes that gave Flash his powers. If all it takes is a little extra minerals in your water to give you super speed, then my water out here in the country should’ve made me the fastest man alive years ago. 😉


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