This is a topic I have pondered a lot, through the years. Why did I gravitate to the Flash as my favorite superhero when, despite the longevity of the character, he seems to be off the radar of most superhero fans? Even today, my son has a pair of Justice League pajamas, but the only heroes on his pjs are Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern, all of whom, it could be argued, have cooler powers (though your arguments would be baseless). So why did I latch onto this hero whose only power is superspeed?
I was introduced to DC’s superheroes through the classic Super Friends cartoons of the 1970s and 80s. Watching some of these now, the animation is crude and the stories…juvenile. But they’re still enjoyable through my nostalgic rose-tinted lenses, and these cartoons were some of, if not the, first pieces superheroic entertainment I had at my disposal. At that point, I had no idea about comic books. They weren’t even a thing for me. (I believe my parents, both of whom were teachers, didn’t want me reading such trashy, throw-away fare). Those would come later.
I watched the Super Friends, in its myriad iterations, whenever the opportunity arose. And I loved it. In particular, I loved the Flash. I think it might have been the super-bright colors of his costume – scarlet and gold – and the accompanying orange streak that revealed itself in his bursts of speed across the glass teat. Comparatively, to my mind, Superman was too powerful, Batman wasn’t that cool, not in this cartoon anyway, Green Lantern had potential (odd that I gravitated to him, as well, since they became fast friends in the comic books), especially the crazy things he would craft with his power ring. All cool superheroes, but the guy for me was definitely Barry Allen, the Flash.
I think I also personally related to the character. I was that kid who could outrun most of the others at school. It was an identity, at a young age, which I latched onto with vigor, something at which I excelled. And that made me feel good. In my mind, I was the Flash!
Next: the comics and a better understanding of the character and his alter-ego. Maybe.