Flash First Impressions: Why I don’t like Joan Garrick

Today’s guest post is by Ken O of That F’ing Monkey.

I’m going to make a confession and I realize it sounds irrational, but I don’t like Joan Garrick. I know that sounds bad. You hear something like that and think, “How can you hate that nice grandmotherly lady?” Before we even get into the whys I want to clarify, I dislike her, I don’t hate her. I wasn’t cheering when she came down with fake-cancer. Besides the fact that cancer isn’t really cheer worthy, I didn’t want to see her die.

So what started all this craziness? Her first appearance. I’m not even talking about her issue as a whole; I’m talking about the first page of Flash Comics #1. Our hero, young scientist in training Jay Garrick meets Joan at school and asks her out to the Victory dance. Her response is, “I…I don’t thinks so, Jay…You’re…a scrub on the football team…and captain Bull Tryon’s already asked me!!”

Wow. How nasty is that? She could have easily said, “Sorry, but someone already asked me,” or anything like that. Instead she decides to bust on his football skills. And bless his heart; Jay somehow still wants to impress her. He gains super speed and immediately uses it for football. Maybe it’s because I’m not a football fan? I’ve also though of Joan as cold hearted after that.

I realize Iris didn’t come off any better. In her first panel she’s chastising Barry for being late. I’ve read a number of other people’s complaints about how nasty Iris was during all those early adventures, but for some reason I never disliked her. Maybe it is because I’ve been stood up before and I know what a soul crushing blow to the ego that can be.

How did the other women in the Flashes’ lives fare with their first appearances?

Compared to Iris and Joan, Linda’s first panels with Wally are so boring that my scanner didn’t even see fit to digitize all of the dialogue. It was just a television interview without a hint of attraction or flirtation. Not that you can blame Wally, Linda isn’t exactly looking her best here.

I was torn with Angela. Do I include the panel of Wally snatching her into his arms because he thinks she is some on looker swiping police evidence or since she falls for Walter do I just include the mildly creepy enjoying CPR panels? I went with the mildly creepy.

Then there is Bart and Valerie in the old classic; welcome to my bedroom, who are you again?

Now you know the reasons for my madness. I wonder if Jay ever brings old Bull Tryon up. Hey Joan, know who couldn’t stop that bullet from hitting you in the head? I bet Bull Tryon never stopped the Ultra Humanite…


4 thoughts on “Flash First Impressions: Why I don’t like Joan Garrick

  1. CraigMacD.

    Can’t remember if it was in the original version of the story, but when it was re-told in Secret Origins (#8 I think?) once Joan found out Jay had super-speed she convinced him that he had to use his power…to win football games. Have never really been a big fan of hers.

    Most of what I know of Iris comes from reading Wally’s series and how much he loved her, so I never had any real problems with her, but reading The Flash now and seeing her as a hot 20-something year old (younger than Wally in appearance now) it feels…strange. Almost dirty.

    Linda I didn’t like at first, but she really grew on me and she’s my all-time favorite “Flash Wife”.

    1. Kyer

      My favorite (almost) Flash Wife was that Goat Gal from the Flash world shown in Wild Wests tradebook. I think Barry should have traded in Iris right there. ;P

  2. A. Goldfish

    I totally agree that Joan comes off as mean and cold-hearted in Flash Comics #1 but I feel like there’s actually a lot of character growth within the first bunch of issues. I just finished reading Golden Age Flash Comics Archives vol.1 and Joan quickly becomes the impetus for Jay to check out suspicious situations or help out those in need. One can contribute it to simple maturity. The difference between being in college and experiencing life in the so-called “real world.” I’m blanking on the exact issue (but part of me says it’s Secret Origins #9) that has a line about the silliness of using superspeed to win football games. But realistically it’s not like anyone in the 1940’s would have had the notion to become a superhero as swiftly as the fans of today might. I’m rambling so I’ll stop now…


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