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In addition to the solicitation and cover for issue #15, today brings a new interview with Flash scribes Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato at Comic Book Resources. Looking back at the past year on the title, which climaxed in last month’s Flash #12 and Flash Annual #1, the duo discuss the many-faced challenges of ushering in and keeping pace with the Fastest Man Alive.
Media Blitz! features highlights from recent Flash news items. Follow the jump for personal revelations, a nuts-and-bolts look at the cast of the New 52 Flash universe and a possible timetable for the culmination of this team’s Flash run.
On the success of and workload involved with the first year of Flash:
Francis Manapul: It’s been creatively fulfilling, but it’s been physically taxing. The only parts [of this book] that I haven’t been a part of are printing it, stapling it and running it to the stores. I have never had this much involvement in a book before, and it does take its toll physically. It’s one of those things, funnily enough, where we channelled it into the story. The responsibility that we have to do a book of this magnitude is very, very difficult, where we have to keep the quality high at the same time as we stick to the schedule. It’s probably been one of the toughest years of my life, professionally speaking.
I wasn’t expecting it to be this difficult and this intense. I’ve been pretty much living, breathing and eating “The Flash,” and it’s defined my life over the last year. It’s been challenging, but we just hope that the story that we leave behind can be considered a pretty epic run.
Brian Buccelato: It would be physically impossible for Francis to do 12 issues in a year because it does not take four weeks to do a book. That’s the reason we scheduled Marcus [To] to do two issues, because it’s physically impossible to do 12 issues in a year without dying.
FM: It’s been really rewarding. Brian and I put ourselves on the line physically and emotionally to get this book done every month. I have more white hair now than I did when I started this project. To say that we’ve put everything we have into this book is a huge understatement.
On “reimagining” Barry Allen for The New 52:
BB: I don’t think we needed to update him. If you understand the character and know the history of what Barry has been through, and know the great moments of his existence, just by doing that, you know where he is coming from. You know his point of view. Then, you just apply a modern sensibility to the point of view of a character that already has a way of thinking. We didn’t reinvent the wheel with Barry; we just brought him into 2011. Stories are more sophisticated than when he was created. Audiences are more sophisticated. Readers expect more because they’ve seen a lot more. We take that all into consideration when we decide how Barry is going to act and react.
FM: The interesting thing about Barry Allen is that I take a lot of my cues from the old “Showcase” books. What we both really like about Barry is that he has such a sense of pureness about him, especially as compared to the rest of today’s market. Everybody else is so edgy. We just felt there was a need for a very pure — I don’t want to say naive kind of hero, but he is one of those classic characters that you loved as a kid. He’s purely good. We wanted a character where people would say, “I want to be like that.” Something a little more classic from back in the simpler days.
On the “Speed Mind”, shown most recently in today’s solicitation:
FM: When we added that ability to his repertoire, people thought we were making him too powerful. But in effect, we were actually giving him a bigger weakness. It comes with an inability to really process that much information. A normal human brain can only process so much before it freezes up. With Flash, we’re exaggerating that with all the possibilities and options that he has, there’s only so much you can do physically. And when you’re overwhelmed mentally, you’re bound to freeze.
Essentially, what we were trying to answer was, “How do you stop the fastest man alive?” By getting him to not move. That was a by-product of the question that we asked ourselves.
BB: In “The Flash” #3, he doesn’t freeze up because he doesn’t know what to do, he freezes up because his mind is moving so fast, he thinks he’s reacted already. The problem with using the speed-mind is that he is untrained, and maybe he’ll never be able to master this skill. If he lets it go for too long, he loses a sense of what’s real and what’s in his mind. But it is a great power.
CBR asks how long their run will be:
We’re starting to hear about some creative shifts on the different New 52 titles. Do you have long-term plans to stay with “The Flash?”
BB: We’re on the book for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to jump off.
FM: We said two years, and we’re going to try and stick to that. It may be a little longer, and it may be a little bit shorter.
BB: Talk to us after “The Flash” #00 [double zero] comes out. [Laughs]
For much, much more, including the changes made to (Golden) Glider, the demotion of Captain Cold, Barry Allen’s relationship history and the “death” of the Barry Allen identity, go to Comic Book Resources now!
Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are featured in a new interview over at Newsarama where they discuss the title’s next steps on the road to the one-year mark of the New 52. Within, the cover for the upcoming Flash Annual, due in September, is revealed. It features the first looks at new versions of Mirror Master, Heat Wave and a re-imagined Golden Glider, alongside Captain Cold, Turbine and the new Weather Wizard, forming a Gauntlet of Super Villains for the New 52 Flash.
The interview is pretty substantial, so we’ll highlight the big moments here. Be sure to check out the full version, including more on the Speed Force and other recent developments, over at Newsarama!
On their vision of the Speed Force, versus previous incarnations:
Buccellato: First of all, we wanted it to be something coherent and something that you can actually visualize and get a grasp on. So for us, a lot of it was practical. I think in the past it had been just, like, some blurry lines and speed force lines. And that’s really nebulous and sort of confusing. So when we decided that the speed force was literally going to be the forward motion of time and space, then we needed a visual representation. And that’s what we tried to come up with.
Manapul: The mechanics of how it works, even though this is new, it’s actually a combination of the ways it’s been explained in the past. It’s been explained as outside time. And now, it’s what’s running time forward. And it’s been mentioned that Barry Allen was the engine. And now, this shows Barry Allen to be the runner. So he’s still the chosen one. So we took a lot of the elements of the past.
On the possible lessons learned from Flashpoint:
Buccellato: We’re sort of saying that Flash innately learned his lesson from Flashpoint, like, without saying it. He just knows, somehow, that if you go back in time, you can screw everything up. It’s our little way of acknowledging the New 52 and everything that happened.
Manapul: Let’s be honest. We both gave a chuckle when he says, “We can’t go back in time and mess things up!”
On the Pied Piper, Hartley Rathaway (tip of the iceberg, here):
Manapul: He’s going to be a recurring character. He’s going to become part of the supporting cast. One of the things that Brian and I are really working on doing is having Barry’s supporting cast reflect the journey that he’s experiencing.
The conversation and the conflict that David Singh and Hartley are having are reflective of Barry Allen’s journey right now. But to answer your question, yes, Hartley will be coming back as a key character in the supporting cast.
On Weather Wizard:
Manapul: Issue #10 is Barry Allen dealing with the ramifications of all the things he just learned. So the issue really deals with the burden of this responsibility.
This will take our story to Guatemala, where Weather Wizard is currently residing. He is also reimagined a little bit. He’s a Guatamalan. And he’s currently running his family’s drug cartel business. And what happens is Patty’s inquiries and investigation lead her there.
On Heat Wave and (Golden) Glider:
Nrama: Before that, you have issue #11, which introduces the new Heat Wave. What kind of guy is he?
Buccellato: He’s a crispy guy.
Manapul: And Heat Wave hates Captain Cold. He hates him. He absolutely, absolutely hates Captain Cold.
I don’t think we’ve announced this before, but issue #12 focuses on Lisa Snart. She’ll be the last rogue that we’ll be putting the spotlight on before the Annual.
Nrama: Ah, the Golden Glider. Can you give us any hints about her?
Buccellato: Well, she’s not Golden Glider. She’s just Glider. And she’s the most different, probably, of any of the characters.
Manapul: But she’s still very much golden.
This is definitely one of the most revelatory interviews with the duo so far! Share your thoughts on the news and redesigns in the comments section, and check out the full piece over at Newsarama.
In an interview published today, Flash writer and artist Francis Manapul spoke with Comic Vine about Captain Cold and his fellow Rogues. DC revealed Captain Cold’s redesigned duds last week, and announced that he and the Rogues would be making their return to the magazine with issue #7.
On the redesign, which generated a lot of discussion on this site, Manapul had this to say:
FM: Well I ran all my designs by the higher ups, and they all chimed in with their two cents. I didn’t get too many notes. We were split on keeping the parka as some felt it was a very iconic part of who he was, and the other half felt that it made him look dated. In the end I came up with what I felt was a good compromise to keep those that didn’t want the hoodie happy, but at the same time make him look more modern yet still staying true to his iconic look. Some of the other Rogues the changes were a bit more extreme, I allowed the story to dictate how they would look, I strongly feel that design follows function.
Check out the complete post at Comic Vine, right now!! More after the jump:
Last week, both Manapul and co-writer Brian Buccellato went into the details of the redesign with Comic Book Resources. Buccellato talked about the backstory of the Rogues, which appears to be remaining intact:
Co-writer Brian Bucellato also teased the lack of Cold’s traditional primary weapon, hinting big things in store for the Rogues. “We are spinning a tale that includes many of them. We’ve already offered a glimpse of The Trickster, and there are more on the way — but I’m not saying which ones,” said Buccellato. “Ultimately, the evolution of Captain Cold (as evidenced by the character designs) is tied to the other Rogues and is not some ‘retcon.’ There’s a reason why he doesn’t need that gun anymore — and that reason involved his pals.”
The two go on to describe their thought processes when revamping certain aspects of the Flash universe, the supporting cast, and Manapul’s previous Rogue redesigns for “The Dastardly Death of the Rogues”. The post also includes early concept art for the new Cold design, which can be seen below. Be sure to check out the full article over at Comic Book Resources!
Flash co-writers Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato are featured in a new interview at IGN, where they discuss the recent developments in Flash’s powers, new antagonist Mob Rule and the role the twin cities of Keystone and Central will play in their series.
Posted on Wednesday, the same day as the release of new issue #3, the interview is spoiler-free and delves deeply into the collaboration between Manapul and Buccellato.
Though it doesn’t contain specific spoilers (the focus of the Newsarama piece), the IGN interview does address the events of issue #3, the revelations of issue #2 and the advent of Flash’s super-speed cognition:
Buccellato: Issue #3 has a reveal of what the downside to that power is. We’re not really taking it to a place where it’s going to affect him personally in his relationships. It’s not going to be like his speed brain disconnects him from Patty or Iris or anything like that. We’re taking a different road with it so you’re just going to have to read issue #3 and it will make more sense what the downside is.
Manapul: Yeah read issue #3. And that said, these things are still evolving; nothing is set in stone. It’s still evolving and issue #3 reveals a lot of it’s down side and beyond that, well I don’t know what’s deadlier than what happens in issue #3.
The two also discuss their approach to building Flash’s home, and the environment in which he functions:
Manapul: As we were writing the story it just became necessary for us to build this world around Barry. It just helps us dictate the backstory and the richness of the culture that they have in Central and Keystone. We’re really playing up the fact that the city itself actually reflects the journey that the Flash had. Many readers are familiar with how Barry became the Flash, but not many are familiar with how Central and Keystone City came to be. It gives us an opportunity to expand the world around him and really build it up and make it more meaningful.
Buccellato: It’s literally world building for the Flash. And we also have plans for where the city is going to go. So in order to show where it’s going we need to show where it came from. Plus we have a cool story to tell.
For more on the plotting of Flash and insight into the collaboration, as well as the unique dynamic between the two creators, make sure to head over to IGN. Once you’re done, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll need to run out and pick up Flash #3, in stores now!
Both sites touch on the status of the Rogues Gallery, the much-lauded artwork and both feature a mention of Wally West. The two had this to say, regarding the revamped Rogues, to i09:
Will there be any new Rogues or have any been radically redesigned?
FM: I’m still basing it on past continuity, but we’re evolving them. When you read the first arc, it’s about The Flash trying to evolve. You realize in the second arc, that that’s what the Rogues have been doing this entire time.
BB: Trying to keep up with the Joneses.
FM: But obviously it went wrong and they’re not together. We’re going to see what that’s all about and how they came across the powers that they now have.
The Comic Impact interview, from the Long Beach Comic Con, can be seen below:
Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, the creative team behind DC’s new Flash, talk to Comic Vine about the new series and unveil a page of exclusive artwork from the second issue. The duo answers questions about villains new and old, the challenges in handling both writing and art duties and the application of “super-speed thinking” as seen in the solicitation for issue #2.
CV: Does Barry always think at super-speed or does he have to activate the Speed Force?
FM: This is something we’ll be dealing with in our first arc. We know he physically taps into the Speed Force, but we haven’t quite seen the extent of what he could do if his mind tapped into it as well. This is a pretty major theme we plan to tackle, which has lent it self extremely well to visual experimentation.
Longtime Flash artist Greg LaRocque needs little introduction for readers of this site. Hot on the heels of his return to the character in DC Retroactive: The Flash - The ’80s, we caught up with the man once again to talk about the story, his past and future work, as well as the apparent fate of Wally West.
UPDATE: Added some comments from LaRocque, which were originally made in response to the Speed Force review of the issue.
This week, former Flash editor and writer Brian Augustyn will return to the character he built for over a decade.
From 1989 - 1996, Augustyn was the editor on highly regarded runs by writers William Messner-Loebs and Mark Waid, including the landmark issue #50, “Born to Run,” “The Return of Barry Allen” and “Terminal Velocity.” In 1996, with issue #118, Augustyn joined Waid as co-writer. Save for a year-long break over 1997 - 1998, he would remain on the title until issue #162 (2000).
Augustyn will be joined by artist Mike Bowden on this week’s Retroactive installment. We reached the writer via email and asked about the new issue, his Flash run and the fate of Wally West.
Q: How has it been returning to work on the Flash? Can you tell us anything about the story we’ll see in your Retroactive issue?
BRIAN AUGUSTYN: I love the Flash, and feel very attached to the Wally West version, of course. I set myself a challenge to find a place in my run on the Flash where Wally was unaccounted for so I could place the Retroactive story “between the cracks,” as it were. So my story takes place between the end of “Racing Through Time,” and the middle of the “Dark Flash Saga.” As Wally goes missing he winds up in a strange alternate world, meets a brand new speedster, fights a god-like villain and an old Flash villain. And it all hinges on the Speed Force.
Q: Accounting for your tenures both as editor and co-writer (with Mark Waid), you worked on Flash for right around 11 years. What were the challenges in coming up with a story for the Retroactive issue that you had not already had a hand in telling?
BA: That’s why I was so determined to find a place just outside of continuity where the story could fit. While Wally was missing and presumed dead during those issues, he never explained where he’d been when he returned. Other than that I felt immediately that to fit into that period of Flash stories, there were themes that we relied on and I felt it was only logical to make them part of my one-shot. Those themes were the extensive lineage of speedsters, the unifying mysticism of the Speed Force and Wally and Linda’s love for each other.
Q: What do you think about the way the Wally West character has been handled recently?
BA: I’m sorry to see that he’s been essentially phased out of the DCU, other than that, I always enjoyed what Geoff Johns did with Wally.
Q: A major theme in your Flash work was the importance of Wally West’s relationship with Linda Park. We interviewed Flash artist Paul Ryan, and he made a point to say about these stories, “No matter how cosmic the villain or catastrophic the disaster it all came down to the human experience.” How concerted was the effort to keep a foot in both worlds, to keep Wally West both ultra-powerful and a relatable character?
BA: Mark and my strategy in creating our perspective on Wally was to write him from the inside—that is, write it from his POV and to remember that Wally was a man first, and super being second. As a result, we figured that Wally should find a relationship which would be his human center. It was actually less difficult to do because we knew the characters deeply as a result of that focus.
Q: Another major theme was the aspect of “replacement” Flashes, from John Fox to the “Chain Lightning” story, culminating with the Dark Flash Saga. These, along with Wally’s trial for negligence and his temporary banishment from Keystone City, were fundamental challenges to Wally’s very existence as Flash, both in-story and out. Were these stories designed to strengthen the Wally West character, or to show how far Flash concepts such as legacy, time-travel and family could be taken? Or both/neither?
BA: A lot of those stories were in fact done to explore the human side of superhero stories—writing the character from the inside. We were also gradually growing Wally up—in the early run of the title, Wally was intentionally a shallow jerk. The legacy and unity of the Speedsters, along with the familial nature of the characters, were all part of the humanizing aspect and a shared belief in the connectedness of life in general. Time travel we did because Mark Waid loves time travel stories and it was a unique thing that Flashes do.
Q: Mark Waid has stated he was not approached by DC Comics to do the Retroactive issue, and that he would have agreed to if asked. Given your lengthy collaboration on the character, what was it like to take this look back without Waid? Do you know why DC did not ask him to join you on this issue?
BA: Working with Mark on Flash was some of the most fun I ever had working in comics, and working in comics in general was never less than a blast. We created comics that we would love and challenged each other to stretch and grow constantly. Mark and I also worked hard to make the character ours, to thoroughly understand him down to the bone. We were very connected to the work. As a result of our long-shared love for the characters, comic and our process, I couldn’t write the Flash without in someway still collaborating with Mark. I have no idea why DC didn’t approach Mark, I had been given the impression that they had. Maybe they assumed he was tied up contractually at Marvel or Boom!
Q: Do you know which of your stories will be reprinted?
BA: I asked for the delayed honeymoon issue I did with Scott Kolins (issue #160, I think), but I don’t know if they’re using it. I guess I’ll find out when the issue hits the stands this week.