Remember, kids, smoking can give you super powers!

§ November 25th, 2022 § Filed under flash, golden age § 8 Comments

In which the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick, gets his super-speed abilities by not paying attention during his smoke break:


from Flash Comics #1 (January 1940) by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert

8 Responses to “Remember, kids, smoking can give you super powers!”

  • Wayne Allen Sallee says:

    Now do Hourman!

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Here’s a fun interview with Golden Age Flash artist Harry Lampert.

  • DK says:

    This is why all those Soviet attempts at Intrinsic Field removal failed, the subject needs a Cold Beer beforehand.

    Hard Water and NICOTINE, folks. Just the Hard Water will kill ya.

  • Snark Shark says:

    “The Golden Age Flash! Now sponsored by Winston!”

    And I guess, in the 40’s, you conducted scientific experiments in a fancy suit & tie.

    Twitter: “”Can we sing Christmas carols for you?””

    ugh. I hate that crap! even if it WASN’T a sales pitch!

  • Dean says:

    @Snark Shark: It was the 1940s, an educated professional wouldn’t have dreamed of going outside the house without a jacket and tie.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    Why does the color of the liquid in the flasks change? Something nefarious going on there!

    A large part of why I like Golden Age stories is the suit wearing.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    One point about this origin: It certainly seems as if it should be replicable. It is not like Barry Allen’s origin, which was due to an unspecified amount of electricity passing through an uncatalogued assortment of chemicals (well, really it was all due to Mopee’s wizardry, but the point remains the same, it was not something Barry could himself replicate). Once Jay realized what had happened, he should have been recruiting test subjects and having them inhale hard water fumes, to turn them into super speedsters.

    And did the Whizzer ever think of giving other people transfusions of mongoose blood?

    Then again, given that the first use to which Jay put his powers was to win football games, maybe he did not want to share the spotlight. There have been quite a lot of super-heroes operating on the “all for me, none for you” principle.*

    (Yes, I know, we know say that it was the Speed Force and not the hard water that made the Flash flashy, and the mongoose blood only kickstarted the Whizzer’s mutant powers. However, these decades-after-the-fact explanations do not reflect the original writers’s intentions, and do not explain why there were no attempts to repeat the original processes.)

    *This seems to me related the question that should be more frequently put to these characters, “Is this really the best use you could be making of your abilities?” The foremost example of this for me is the Atom, a/k/a Ray Palmer. Consider: You are a scientist who has developed a process to allows you to shrink things to various sizes, while retaining control of their weight. Which of these would be your first reaction: 1) “Well, better book a ticket to Stockholm, and clear a space on the mantle for my Nobel Prize in Physics.” 2) “This is going to revolutionize the shipping industry! I’m going to be a millionaire!” (in 1961; now it would make you a billionaire) 3)”Great, now I have an excuse to put on a costume and punch criminals. I’d better not tell anyone else about it.”

  • Sean Mageean says:

    Was Jay Garrick ever shown to be a smoker after his first appearance in Flash Comics no. 1? Would he run a mile for a Camel?

    I never cared much for the Speed Force concept –and legions of Flash-based characters…just like the whole color-spectrum Lanterns tribes idea seems goofy to me. I guess that’s why I prefer Silver and Bronze Age stories –before things got too hackneyed.

    The best explanation for Jay Garrick and many other JSA members would be that they possessed latent meta or mutant genes which were activated by a key event–in Jay’s case the “hard water” experiment going awry. Roy Thomas sort of did this in All-Star Squadron when it was explained how Al Pratt later got his super strength powers due to latent effects after exposure from Cyclotron during a battle.

    Anybody reading the new Geoff Johns Golden Age/JSA comics? Any opinions on them?