Speed Force held a contest to celebrate our fifth anniversary in June, and though it took a while to finish (sorry about that), things are finally back on track. We are pleased to announce the winners, and to share everyone’s stories!
The question posed to readers was simply why do you like the Flash?, and thirteen people responded with some wonderful entries. There were beautiful stories, photographs, and fan art which were a delight to see. We will reprint them all here for everyone to enjoy, broken up into several posts for ease of reading.
In third place: Scotty Lamm!
When I was a kid I was not athletic at all. I was easily the slowest kid in my class. So when I found the Flash, I was immediately taken by the notion of being faster than anyone. I used to drive my mother nuts sitting by windows during storms. She thought it was dangerous while I was hoping for a magical bolt of lightning.
I wanted to be the Flash as badly as Wally did. I also looked up to Barry the same way he did. Here was a guy who did the right thing simply because it was right. No tortured past, no pathos, just a man trying to do his best. On top of that he did it with science. As a geek I was thrilled to see my favorite character using skills I could actually gain if I put my mind to it. I loved science and the Flash was a big part of that love. The two blended together and made each richer.
I was 14 when Barry died in the Crisis. It was a beautifully written and drawn and a fitting death. I was taken aback for a while but kept reading to see what would happen. When Wally became the Flash things changed. And I wasn’t happy.
I hated Wally at first as a lot of people did but kept reading out of loyally to the character. I slowly realized though that Wally was growing up and so was I. I began to actually identify with as he tried to fill Barry’s boots. He was overwhelmed at times the way I was overwhelmed in my own life. Eventually we both got more comfortable being who we were while trying to emulate our hero. Neither of us always succeeded but I’d like to think we always tried to do the right thing.
In short, I love the Flash because not only has it given me an example to grow into but because it gave me someone to share the journey with. Maybe it is silly to invest that much into anything fictional, but If I have lived a better life because of my attachment to a couple of made up people, then isn’t that a good thing?
So thanks for reading and thanks for asking?? And thanks for celebrating this character who has meant so much to me.
Disclaimer: no issues of the New52 were harmed or referenced to write this. And BRING BACK WALLY!
In second place: Colis!
As far as I can remember, I have always seemed to have an inherent love for superheroes, probably because my father took me to watch Tim Burton’s Batman when I was four. When your cousin loves Superman, is stronger than you, and your only defense from a noogie/wedgie is to run away (luckily you are faster than him) it only seems natural that you would be drawn to the Flash; well that and the fact that he wore his underwear on the inside of his costume. But unfortunately just like the Flash TV show ended, so did my fondness for the Flash, if only to make room for more popular Saturday morning cartoon characters like the TMNT, the X-Men and Spiderman.
Fast forward to a Superman: TAS episode called “Speed Demons”, and a “Hey, I remember that guy moment” when the Flash runs in and spits out one of my favorite lines of all time “Man of Steel, feet of lead”. My official first Flash figure, from the Total Justice Line of figures, was bought soon after using some hard earned allowance money and my love for the Flash was back. Then Justice League hits the air with a certain Scarlet Speedster in the lineup. “Dibs on the Amazon” was one of many hilarious quips to come as well as a 5” JLU action figure for me. Though when you’re in High School and University, a love for superheroes can take a backseat to other “cooler” endeavors, as miserable as it made me and no matter how out of place I felt. One of fondest memories of High School/University was leaving a party and drunken frivolity to catch the JLU Episode “Divided We Fall”, which was on at midnight on Saturday night for some odd reason here in Canada, and had arguably the greatest Flash moment of the entire series. That moment cemented the Flash as my favorite super hero of all time though when JLU ended “out of sight, out of mind” sadly set in.
Thank goodness for family and the genetically encoded penchant for superheroes. In 2008, two younger brothers, I’ll call them Nightwing and Aquaman, and two 7” figures, based on Ed McGuiness’ art that towered over my Total Justice/JLU Flashes, later, I was on the hunt for the JLA Classified Flash figure. Though I never found it at that time I did come across the Identity Crisis Flash figure based on the art of my favorite Flash artist Michael Turner. I placed my figure in my office at work though I didn’t know why at the time, I just knew that it needed to be there no matter how juvenile it seemed to me. A comment/dare from a colleague around Halloween prompted me to make my own Flash costume that year (though I was too much of a coward to wear it), the reason for why I felt I needed to place the Flash figure in my office was revealed, though I just didn’t know it yet.
Come NYE 2008, too much alcohol lead to a nearly fatal incident that inspired me to a year of sobriety to stop a life spiraling out of control. When you drink as much as I did and you’re not going to bars anymore, you need something to fill the void. Then lightning struck; visit comic book shops and start collecting Flash items. Every week led to a different comic book shop and subsequently a new Flash item. When I was done with all the shops around my home city I went on eBay and the internet, and yes, eventually I got my JLA Classified Flash. Also while all this was going on I hit the internet, reading everything I could find on the Flash, on every Flash, from Jay to Barry to Wally to Bart and much like the my love for the JLU character, Wally became the Flash I enjoyed reading about the most and the one I resonated with. And of course, upon trying to read up on the Flash I eventually stumbled upon Flash: Those who Ride the Lightning and Speedforce.org, which I haven’t stopped following since. I bought 52 Flash items that year, not including comics but including figures, clothes, statues etc., and stayed sober 364/365 days. Those 52 items combined with items I received as gifts started my Flash Collection, or “The Collectch” as it has been come to be known as. And remember that Flash costume I made? I finally had the guts to wear it to work and I won first prize in our entire Head Office Halloween Costume Contest. More importantly, I had the guts to wear the costume out to a Halloween Party, where I met one of my best friends; she was a huge Flash fan (almost as big as I had become at this point) and just had to meet me cause of my costume. To this day she still remains one of my closest friends and still calls me “Flash” rather than by my real name.
It’s 2013 now. I have amassed a Collectch of 250 items, not including my comics and have read/or own every single Flash v2 Comic (Wally’s Run, I did dabble into Jay, Barry, and Bart, but the stories just didn’t capture my attention the way Wally’s run did). I find it remarkable that the time my real affinity with the Flash started was the same time Speedforce.org started, I really had no idea but it just seems to fit with everything. I guess to answer the question of why I like the Flash is because of what the Flashes means to me. I was at a real low point in 2009 and right when I discovered who I really was, I discovered who the Flash really was, or I should say, who the Flash really were. Though Wally will be forever my favorite and the one who I am most like, I see bits of Jay, Barry, and Bart in me all the time. I know my story may seem long, but I felt it was necessary because the Flash is always there in my fondest memories. In India, lightning is the flashing of the Third Eye of Shiva, the Light of Truth – Wally West (Flash v2 #164). That’s what the Flash to me. Truth. We all want that “lightning strikes moment” when the truth hits us and we discover who we really are and what we can do. Wally had his “lightning strikes moment”, literally, but he still had keeping fighting to get faster and be better as he grew older; that’s why Wally is my favorite. And in 2009 when the sobriety helped me find my altruistic side, a side that really defines me to this day, I had my moment of truth, and it slowed the world down for me from that chaotic spiral I was in. I can’t remember being as happy before that moment as I am now. I do drink now from time to time, and my world still feels like it I’m caught in a hurricane every so often, but it’s always the Flash that slows the world down for me, allows me to gather myself and inspires to find the strength to face it. And isn’t that what superheroes were created for? To inspire us to be better?
The winner: Nicholas Kuilder!
Basically I love The Flash because reading the comics helped me out of some really dark places in my life. The characters and story gave me a sense of direction and meaning.
I specifically grew up reading The Flash starring Wally West. I instantly found a kindred spirit in that we both have red hair – which at the time was a rare trait with heroes – were the only child in our family and we both had big boots to fill.
I had jumped on board with reading The Flash comics pretty late in life, but had been orientated with the character through the TV show in the 90’s which I loved running around the house pretending to be Barry. It was in my teenage years when depression had begun to sunk in and I would skip school and smoke weed that I had begun to read the comics and found a lot of the stories or character developments with Wally to be eerily similar to things that were going on with my life and some of the struggles paralleled what I was feeling.
When I moved away from home things got pretty bad for me, a number of times I attempted suicide and my behaviour was incredibly erratic. Wally helped me get things back on track. It always seemed that no matter how bad things became, you couldn’t just run away from them – even if you had super speed.
When I was 19 I got a The Flash tattoo on the back of my neck as a reminder of this message and also as a symbol of hope that things can get better. I have since graduated university and am now a primary [elementary] school teacher, and any chance I get I bring in stories of The Flash or other heroes that students might find to be their kindred spirit, or characters they can draw inspiration from.
For over 10 years now I have collected The Flash comics, and am slowly building up a solid base of other Flash memorabilia. I have run in 2 half-marathons wearing a red shirt with The Flash symbol and love when the crowd recognises it and cheers me on – I’ll be competing in another later this year.
I could keep waffling on but I’m sure there are other entries to read 🙂
I love The Flash because it has helped define who I am and who I’m going to be.
My name is Nicholas Kuilder. And I’m the fastest man alive.
All three winners will be receiving Flash-related prizes. Stay tuned for the next batch of entries — although they didn’t win, they’re still great stories and deserve to be read!