An often reprinted book is Showcase #4 (September-October, 1956), which features the premiere of Barry Allen as the Flash in the "Mystery Of The Human Thunderbolt!" by Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert, with habitually late police scientist Barry Allen being hit by lightning while in front of chemicals in his lab, then, after finding out he has super-speed while saving his girlfriend, Iris West, figuring out an identity and costume (based on a comic he read), going to stop the Turtle.
The first story has been reprinted many times in collections of Secret Origins, and collections of those collections no less, and the whole issue has been reprinted twice on its own, once as DC Silver Age Classics Showcase 4 in 1992 and once as the Millennium Edition: Showcase 4 in January, 2000.
But, between those two reprints, DC Comics started their Archives program (hardcover books that reprint runs of comic books), so, let's speed into what they covered!
The Flash Archives #1
All that and an introduction by writer Paul Kupperberg (who among other credits, co-created Checkmate! and revived the Doom Patrol).
Captain Cold (Leonard Snart) and his Cold Gun (Showcase #8 of May-June, 1957); matter transmuting Mr. Element (a.k.a. Al Desmond in Showcase #13 of March-April, 1958); magical Dr. Alchemy (Showcase #14 of May-June, 1958, who was formerly Mr. Element), Mirror Master (Sam Scudder) and Katmos in Flash #105 (February-March, 1959); Pied Piper (Hartley Rathaway) and Gorilla Grodd in Flash #106 (April-May, 1959), with a Grodd story in each issue until Flash #108 (August-September, 1959).
A heck of a great collection of Flash issues to start with, and many of these tales had been reprinted elsewhere, but never in order in one book until this time!
The Flash Archives #2
This archive also includes an introduction by Bob Rozakis (DC's Answer Man, and writer of many books, like the Teen Titans and Freedom Fighters, and co-creator of the Calculator, a villain who faced many members of the DC Universe...but never the Flash!).
Weather Wizard Mark Mardon and Kid Flash Wally West in Flash #110 (December-January, 1959/1960); saw Wally get his own back-up feature starting with Flash #111 (February-March, 1960) while Barry continued to fight crime (and this time, a cloud menace) in the main story; introduced the Elongated Man (a.k.a. Ralph Dibny) in Flash #112 (April-May, 1960), fought the Trickster (James Jesse) for the first time in Flash #113 (June-July, 1960), fought Captain Cold again in Flash #114 (August, 1960); faced Gorilla Grodd in a massive story in Flash #115 (September, 1960), and saved Central City in Flash #116 (November, 1960), while Wally dealt with a Blue Valley racing group. It was also during this period that the Flash helped found the Justice League of America.
The Flash Archives #3
Also included in this volume is a foreward by Paul Levitz, who, along with leading DC for a while, wrote many stories of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and a few with the Justice Society of America in the 1970s revival of All-Star Comics and Adventure Comics.
Captain Boomerang (George "Digger" Harkness) and how he faced the Flash in Flash #117 (December, 1960); some quieter stories for Barry and Wally in Flash #118 (February, 1961), another return of the Mirror Master, and Elongated Man meeting and marrying Sue Dearbon (to become Sue Dibny) in Flash #119 (March, 1961); a full-length team-up of the Flash and Kid Flash traveling back in time to face "The Land Of The Golden Giants!" in Flash #120 (May, 1961); dealing with "The Trickster Strikes Back" in Flash #121 (June, 1961); the introduction of a villain that put Flash into a spin, the Top, in Flash #122 (August, 1961); and Flash #123 (September, 1961), with a full length tale, re-introducing Jay Garrick to the world (and that he had existed on his own world) with the "Flash Of Two Worlds" from Flash #123 (September, 1961) facing off against Jay's foes of the Thinker, the Fiddler and the Shade; and a Flash-Elongated Man team-up against Captain Boomerang from Flash #124 (November, 1961).
The Flash Archives #4
This archive includes a foreward by Mike W. Barr, who co-created the Outsiders (including Katana, Halo and Geo-Force), as well as having a memorable run on Detective Comics with artist Alan Davis (and even writing the last team-up of the Batman and Flash in Brave and the Bold!).
the Justice Society as well!). Flash faces the Mirror Master, and maybe other foes of Captain Boomerang, the Top, Captain Cold and the Trickster in Flash #130 (August, 1962) while in the same issue "Kid Flash Meets The Elongated Man" and they face the Weather Wizard! Flash teams up with fellow charter JLA member Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) in "Captives Of The Cosmic Ray!" from Flash #131 (September, 1962) in the second solo team-up of these two Justice League members. Then, Flash deals with his weight and with Daphne Dean in two separate stories from Flash #132 (November, 1962).
The Flash Archives #5
This archive also features an introduction by writer Tom Peyer, known mostly for his work on the android version of Hourman in his 25 issue series.
Eobard Thawne, for the first time in Flash #139 (September, 1963) with the "Menace Of The Reverse-Flash"; Flash meets Heat Wave for the first time as "The Heat Is On For Captain Cold" in Flash #140 (November, 1963); and Flash pulls some trickery on the Top and meets Paul Gambi (a tailor for super-villains) in Flash #141 (December, 1963). It was also during these issues that the first Flash Annual comes out, which reprints key Flash stories....
The Flash Archives #6
This volume includes an introduction by Paul Kupperberg, who had done a previous introduction, but is also known for writing the Daring New Adventures of Supergirl as well....
Hopefully, fans are racing to get these books to keep the Flash reprints coming!