Fans of The Flash are in for a treat with the release of a new teaser poster, featuring none other than the original Flash himself, Jay Garrick.
The poster, a throwback to a 1960s Flash cover, depicts Barry Allen (played by Grant Gustin) and Jay Garrick (Teddy Sears) running toward an unidentified blonde.
The brainchild of Golden Age artist Harry Lampert and writer Gardner Fox, Jay Garrick first appeared on the scene in 1940 in Flash Comics, an anthology series, wearing his father's old World War I winged helmet — a simultaneous homage to American patriotism and Hermes, the Greek god of messengers, roads, and travelers.
The first incarnation of the Flash received his own solo series in 1941; he was discontinued over a sudden post-war drop in the popularity of the American superhero. The character was revived in 1956 by Carmine Infantino and Robert Kanigher, inadvertently becoming the first rebooted superhero in the DC Universe.
The progenitor of the teaser poster is the 1961 cover of Flash issue #123. Titled Flash of Two Worlds!, the installment featured the first meeting between the original Flash and the rebooted Flash — Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. In the story, Allen is transported from Central City to Keystone City, the metropolis where Garrick resides. After that first encounter, both Flashes realize that they exist in parallel worlds — Earth-1 and Earth-2.
This also means that the cover homage might be an allusion to the plot of the episode wherein Jay Garrick first appears.
What makes this particular teaser poster specifically (and metafictionally) unique is that it is a reference to a reference — the cover of issue #123 is itself a tribute to an earlier DC cover for the war anthology series Our Fighting Forces #48, published in August 1959.
The line featured the characters Gunner and Sarge, two American "Mud-Marines" stationed on a small island in the Pacific. Our Fighting Forces ran from 1954 to 1978. Aside from the unique POV angle of the artwork, it is unclear why this issue inspired the cover for Flash #123.
What can we say? It's a multiverse out there.
The Flash returns to The CW for its second season on October 6, 2015.