The Flash has always been one of my favorite comic book characters. In the Superhero line-up, he's waaay up there, just a notch above the Krytonian and below Gotham's Greatest Detective for me. I prefer the Silver Age version of the hero, though there have been four men to carry the mantle of The Flash: Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, and Bart Allen. Barry is considered the Silver Age Flash. In fact, he started the Silver Age of comics for DC. He was the first of the Golden Age characters to be brought into the new age. Without Barry Allen's Flash, we would never have had Hal Jordan's Green Lantern, or Ray Palmer's Atom. DC's famous Multi-verse problem came about because of the Flash and was solved by the Scarlet Speedster as well. Although, the Flash does not appear in A Dancer in the Infinite, there is a character named Barry Allen, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that some of that Multi-verse stuff isn't in there too.
Anywho, there's an excellent little slide-show history of the Flash here if you're interested:
Enjoy! I'm off to watch Jeopardy!