Today’s guest post is by Ryan Heuer of BuySuperheroCostumes.com.
The fastest superhero to ever grace the pages of comics wears one of the most recognizable costumes, but as the role of the Flash has changed hands from Barry Allen to Wally West, the costumes over the years have incorporated some subtle changes. Of course, no one would be talking about DC Comics’ Flash at all without the original inspiration behind the modern day Flash if Golden Age Jay Garrick had not inspired the superhero’s more popular incarnations.
Iconic Flash Costumes
Golden Age (Jay Garrick)
- Red t-shirt with jagged yellow lightning bolt from top to bottom
- Blue pants
- Red boots with yellow wings
- Silver helmet with yellow wings
Jay Garrick’s Flash costume consists of little more than a set of blue pants, t-shirt, helmet and boots. It comes across as a bit dated by today’s standards (who wears a tucked in long sleeve t-shirt these days?), but it sets the groundwork for the future Flash costumes. The significance of this Flash incarnation is the beginning of the iconic yellow lightning bolt that we see on his shirt, which every other Flash has worn proudly on each of his costumes. The red and yellow color scheme also begins here. The winged helmet and winged boots were a befitting nod to the mythological messenger god, Mercury, who also wore winged footwear, which future embodiments of the Flash have kept.
Silver Age (Barry Allen)
- Red full body jumpsuit
- Redesigned lightning bolt in front of white background
- Yellow athletic boots with matching wings
- Lightning bolt around the waist and forearms
- Red cowl with exposed face and yellow wing accents
- Addition of gloves
Barry Allen begins the transition into the more iconic image of Flash that most comic fans associate with the DC speedster. Barry keeps the red and gold color scheme, but loses the blue pants and t-shirt for a jumpsuit that evokes a more heroic appearance. The lightning bolt theme makes a more prominent appearance on the chest, accented by a white circle to make even more of a focal point, while lightning bolts around the waist and forearms adds another charismatic touch. Barry wears a sleeker, more aero-dynamic cowl, carrying over the wing accents seen in the Golden Age Flash’s helmet. Barry’s boots are now yellow, with a much more fitted appearance and signature wings on the calves.
Crisis Era (Wally West)
- Darker red full body jumpsuit
- Same redesigned bolt on the chest
- Reshaped bolt around the waist
- Yellow boots without wings
Wally West may have started out as the sidekick, but after being thrust into the role of the leading speedster superhero, he brought some new changes to the Flash costume for the Modern Age. Wally’s Flash keeps the lightning bolt encased in a white circle on the chest, but he opts for a deeper red, which creates a sleek modern look. The lightning bolt around the waist changes into a dual lightning bolt, giving some more movement to the suit, while the lightning bolts around the forearms remain unchanged. Wally also gets rid of the wings on the boots. Wally’s changes may have been subtle, but the minor changes really do influence the mood and attitude of the character.
Here’s a side by side comparison of Wally and Barry’s costumes.
Although the costumes above may represent the better known looks of the Flash, the speedsters have also assumed some other interesting costumes through the years and various sagas. From bright blue to black, Lantern stories to cartoons, the Flash has found himself in a whole myriad of different looks!
New 52 (Barry Allen)
All right, so the first Flash on this list may not be as wild or different as the classic Flash costumes, but with the new comics comes a redesigned suit. The New 52, released in fall 2011 is back to Barry, who wears a slightly modified version of the Wally West suit. The new Flash costume features most of the same features of the Modern Age costume, but now the lightning bolts around the forearms have a more pointed shape moving towards the wrist and the boots received a slight redesign, giving them an almost metallic armor appearance. A toned down, gold metallic accent color also replaces the bright yellows that once made up the lightning bolts and boots.
Blue Lantern Flash (Barry Allen)
Red may be the signature color of the Flash, but Barry Allen made an appearance in blue during the Blackest Night even. His Blue Lantern costume brings forth the style of the Blue Lantern Corps with a dual shading of light blue and dark blue, and a runic Blue Lantern symbol on his chest where the Flash lightning bolt would normally rest. He retains the Flash-style cowl wings, but now in white.
Young Justice: Kid Flash (Wally West)
Some people tend to forget Wally’s time as Kid Flash, but it was the genesis of his story to becoming the Flash. Cartoon Network brings Wally back to his role as Kid Flash in their Young Justice cartoon series. Wally wears the classic Kid Flash costume. As always, he wears a lightning bolt on his chest, but now in red with a white background. Notice that the lightning bolt has only one ripple, rather than two normally seen in the comics. Rather than a full cowl, his headpiece leaves the top open to expose his hair, while a set of goggles adds a new functional look. The Flash wings make an appearance on his headpiece, but in red. Red pants and gloves accent his yellow top and boots, while the boots have been redesigned to look a bit more athletic.
An interesting twist to his look from Young Justice is a “stealth mode” now incorporated into the series. The stealth mode version replaces his yellow and red with varying shades of black.
Whether it’s on the pages of DC comics, or on the TV screen, the Flash always has a unique look. The Flash is one of the few heroes who never made big changes to his costume, for one simple reason: he didn’t need to. The Flash costume has always done an excellent job of telling his fans what he’s all about, with perfectly matched color schemes, symbols that represent the Flash character and a look that no other superhero could replicate. But what do you think—which Flash did it the best?
This Flash costume retrospective was put together by Ryan Heuer. Ryan writes for an online Halloween costumes company that sells a wide variety of superhero costumes for men and women.
Update: Since the related-posts system doesn’t seem to be picking it up automatically, you may be interested in Speed Force’s previous article on Wally West’s costumes.