The Flash is a name shared by several fictional comic book superheroes from the DC Comics universe. Created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Harry Lampert, the original Flash first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940).
Nicknamed the Scarlet Speedster, all incarnations of the Flash possess "super-speed", which includes the ability to run and move extremely fast, use superhuman reflexes and seemingly violate certain laws of physics. Thus far, four different characters—each of whom somehow gained the power of "super-speed"—have assumed the identity of the Flash: Jay Garrick (1940–present), Barry Allen (1956–1985, 2008–present), Wally West (1986–2006, 2007–2012), and Bart Allen (2006–2007, 2009–present). Before Wally and Bart's ascension to the mantle of the Flash, they were both Flash protégés under the same name Kid Flash.
The second incarnation of the Flash, Barry Allen, is generally considered the first hero of the Silver Age of comic books and the superhero has remained one of DC's most popular ever since. Each version of the Flash has been a key member of at least one of DC's premier teams: the Justice Society of America, the Justice League, and the Teen Titans. Wally West has recently rejoined the Justice League, and Barry Allen recently returned to life in the pages of Final Crisis.
The Barry Allen version of the character (with Wally West elements) was featured in a live action television series in 1990, starring John Wesley Shipp. The Wally West version of the Flash (but with many elements of Barry Allen's story) is featured in the animated series Justice League. All four incarnations of the character have appeared in the Young Justice animated series, with the Wally West version of Kid Flash as a main character in the first season.
The Flashes have often been close friends with the various men who have been the Green Lantern; the most notable friendships have been forged between Jay Garrick and Alan Scott (the Golden Age Green Lantern), Barry Allen and Hal Jordan (the Silver Age Green Lantern) and Wally West and Kyle Rayner (the modern Green Lantern), Wally and John Stewart in the Justice League cartoons, as well as Jordan's friendship with West.