I Love Ya But You're Strange - How The Flash Has One of the Silliest Superhero Origins of All-Time

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Flash, we look at just how silly Jay Garrick's origin was!

Okay, first off, let me note that there are plenty of other silly Golden Age origins. That is duly noted. Even other silly Golden Age origins for other speedsters. But because I very well might feature those other silly origins in the future in this very column, please refrain from pointing out other silly Golden Age origins. Today, we're looking at just one specific silly Golden Age origin, the origin of Jay Garrick, the man known as the Flash!

First off, you have to love how Jay Garrick is introduced...

Nice dressing down, Joan!

Anyhow, this leads to the Flash's origin...

Besides the fact that his origin was set into motion when he decides to take a cigarette break in the middle of his experiment IN THE LAB WITH ALL OF THE CHEMICALS, the key thing about this origin is that "hard water" is pretty much just water. It is water that simply has high mineral content in it, like calcium and magnesium (based on where the water originally percolated). If you boil hard water, it is still just basically steam.

So Jay got his speed powers from, in effect, a steam bath.

That's pretty awesome.

The second Flash, Barry Allen, smartly just made it more generic - "a mixture of chemicals" with lightning mixed in there. Same with Daredevil - generic chemicals are always the way to go. Don't try to name the chemicals being used!

If you have a suggestion for another strange comic book story for me to feature here, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com!

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