The Flash (Bartholomew Henry “Barry” Allen) is a superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Barry Allen is the second and most recognized character known as the Flash. The character first appeared in Showcase #4 (October 1956), created by writer Robert Kanigher and penciler Carmine Infantino. His name combines talk show hosts Barry Gray and Steve Allen.
Barry Allen is capable of running faster than the speed of light, creating vortexes charged with electricity and, at times during the Silver Age, described as faster than the speed of thought. In Flash #150, “straining every muscle,” he ran at ten times the speed of light.
Barry Allen is a police scientist with a reputation for being very slow, and frequently late, which frustrates his fiancee, Iris West. One night, as he is preparing to leave work, a lightning bolt shatters a case full of chemicals and spills all over Allen. As a result, Allen finds that he can run extremely fast and has matching reflexes. Allen invented the cosmic treadmill, a device that allowed for precise time travel and was used in many stories. Allen was so well liked that nearly all speedsters that come after him are often compared to him. Batman once said “Barry is the kind of man that I would’ve hoped to become if my parents hadn’t been murdered.”
His death came in 1985 in Crisis on Infinite Earths where DC removed the him from the regular DC lineup for 23 years. His return to regular comics occurred subsequently in 2008 within the pages of Grant Morrison’s Final Crisis and Geoff Johns’ The Flash: Rebirth limited series. In 2011, Allen played a key role of the crossover mini-series Flashpoint, which resulted in another reboot of the DC Comics continuity, known as “The New 52”.