CW’s The Flash really wants to make it clear just how hard it’s aiming to nail that comic book feel with the first look at the original version of the character.
It’s been known since Comic Con that in season two, The Flash will incorporate DC’s crazy multiverse into the plot, in the form of multiple versions of the titular hero. For instance we’ll see Wally West, who in DC comics was originally The Flash’s sidekick Kid Flash, but ultimately became the third incarnation of the hero in 1986. Now we get our first look at Teddy Sears, announced in July as playing Jay Garrick, the original Flash who first debuted on comics pages in 1940.
Some background: DC Comics was created from the 1946 merger of three different companies – All American Comics, Detective Comics, and National Comics. Originally, The Flash was an All American character who got his speed powers from accidentally inhaling “hard water vapors” during a smoke break (feel free to snicker). After debuting in the first issue of the anthology series Flash Comics, he starred in his own comic series, All-Flash, from 1941 to 1947. Following the merger, All-Flash was cancelled, as was Flash Comics in 1949, and the character was retired in 1951.
In 1956, DC decided to revive the concept, completely rebooting The Flash as forensic detective Barry Allen in the long running series The Flash. (In fact, Jay Garrick was expressly shown to be a comic book character in Barry Allen’s world.) But, still owning the rights to the original, DC decided to bring Jay Garrick back in a classic issue of The Flash called “The Flash of Two Worlds,” which is notable not only for bringing together both versions of the iconic hero, but for officially debuting the concept of DC’s labyrinthine chain of alternate universes. Jay Garrick was now established as coming from “Earth Two,” DC’s official home for the 1940s versions of characters whose most well known versions took shape in the 1950s and 60s.
The image above juxtaposes the cover of “The Flash of Two Worlds,” with a recreation showing Grant Gustin and Teddy Sears in their respective costumes. While details remain scant, the series version of Garrick has been described as a mysterious figure who comes to warn team Flash of a great danger only the Flash can stop. It’s widely assumed that Garrick will come from one of the alternate dimensions teased during The Flash season one finale, particularly as Garrick’s Hermes-inspired helmet was teased at the end of that episode.