Comics have become, over time, more realistic in many ways. Superman finally, after a 70 odd years courtship, married Lois Lane. Green Lantern dumped that ridiculous weakness to yellow. Speedy, Green Arrow’s old sidekick, had a relapse of drug abuse. I ignore the Marvel characters here because they were always at the other extreme: so many realistic problems at once that it became unrealistic!
Now, Batman was born rich, Superman is rich whether he admits it or not (c’mon, private fortress, private zoo, exotic technologies…yeah, he’s loaded!) But the Flash, in all his various incarnations has always been middle class. Oh, sure, Wally West won the lottery only to have his mother lose it all (they never really explained that one to my satisfaction) but Barry and Jay were both scientists making a decent wage, though far from the big bucks.
Lets look at their powers (Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West and Bart Allen); Super-speed. Now what could you or me do with super speed to get rich? Forget about the Olympics. Unfair competition and heroes don’t play that. Otherwise Superman would be the greatest linebacker ever! But simple stuff that doesn’t compete with somebody else making a living is certainly fair game. So, Barry misses a balloon payment and is about to be foreclosed on…what could he do to make up the shortfall? Well, he could get a job delivering pizzas…for every pizza joint in Central City and Keystone City at once! No overhead, like a car and gas, instant delivery (really, instant!) and the tips would be huge! He would have to stop off at home every few minutes to drop off the money to keep from being weighed down. But that might be considered unfair to the regular pizza delivery drivers.
OK, pick up cans and bottles on the side of the road. Yup! The Flash could clean up every inch of the State of Michigan in about 20 minutes. That would be several millions cans and bottles a day. At 10 cents a pop in Michigan he’d be giving Bruce Wayne a run for it by the end of the month. Oh, sure, he has to take time out to sleep, work his day job and spend time with the Mrs., not to mention putting the kibosh on Captain Cold or Captain Boomerang or what have you, but this is a guy who thinks Mach 5 is a leisurely jog. He can make the time up in nano-seconds. And I’ll bet there are no tax penalties on returnables.
There are other things he could do, like paint a million houses, but I think I’ve made my point. Hey, Barry, go pick up some spare change!
Just for fun.