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Dan Didio on the New Flash Team

Dan Didio on the New Flash Team
January 2006 – courtesy of http://www.newsarama.com


So, DCU Executive Editor Dan Didio wasn’t joking with those Crisis Counseling teases about DC’s Crises not being safe for Flashes after all.

Just so we get this out of the way….spoilers ahead for Infinite Crisis #4.

With Infinite Crisis #4, Wally West, who’s been the Flash in the costume at DC for the past 19 years, exited stage left, doing…something with the Speed Force (absorbed by it, bounced off of it to some other place and time, who can say?). Kid Flash Bart Allen was also absorbed into it, and Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, was left on Earth saying that the Speed Force was gone.

It was the payoff to Didio’s hints that Flash fans didn’t want to come true.

“That was the fun part,” Didio said referring to his teases. “We said a lot of things in jest, and some things were misdirection, and some were true, and the best thing was to mix them all up together so nobody was sure which was which.”

Didio said that, while his joking manner about the Flash’s fate in Infinite Crisis may have left some with the impression that his reverence toward the character was…less than what an Executive Editor’s should be, the Flash’s “death” in Infinite Crisis happened for a very clear reason.

“I’ve always felt that the Flash have marked significant turns and changes in DCU history – the start of the Silver Age is marked by Barry Allen’s first appearance,” DiDio said. “It was the Flashes who brought out the whole Earth-1/Earth-2 concepts for DC. Wally West’s assumption of the mantle as the Flash kicked off the DCU after the original Crisis, with a new approach was taken with the character that was new and fresh. In looking at the magnitude and scope of what we were doing here, I felt that it was important to identify that this was an important turn in DC’s history as well. I look at the changes in Flashes as something that signifies that.

“Likewise, something else that I felt very strongly about, especially following Geoff’s run on the book was the need to move the Flash to a new and exciting direction.”

And driving that final nail in the coffin lid, the latest issue of Flash, #230, which came out last week, was the final issue of the series.

It’s over, Flash fans.

Well, okay – as “over” as things get in comics, where a popular character’s series ending can only mean one thing – a new #1.

But – as those who listen to Didio’s words as closely as Wall Street listens(ed) to Alan Greenspan will remember one thing he said about new series – if DC is going to start a new series, then it has to be a clean break from the past, something different and fresh from what came before.

With Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo and Ken Lashley as the team of The Flash, Didio’s pretty sure he’s got the “different and fresh” angle covered.

Breaking down the team, Bilson and De Meo are the writers, and not wholly inexperienced when it comes to the Flash. Together, the two were part of the production and writing team of The Flash television series that ran for a season in 1990. As for how they made the jump from one medium to the other…

“It was serendipity,” Didio said. “I was in [VP – Business Development, Wildstorm] John Nee’s office and we were talking about a different matter, coordinating some DC and Wildstorm stuff. Meanwhile, we’d been at loggerheads over who would take over Flash and who would take him and push him in a new direction. John was explaining to me how he was working with Paul and Danny on a new creator-owned series from Wildstorm. He started talking about them, and it was a light bulb moment. Here we were struggling to see where we were going with the Flash, and here were two people already working with DC who’d had a chance to really examine the strengths, examine the powers, the depth and interests of the character himself, and also figure out how to make him work.

I thought they’d done a wonderful job on the television series, and after meeting with them in Los Angeles, we all came to the same goals rather quickly. We both have the same interests in the characters, and we’re all on the same page, and it made the decision very easy. Here were guys with a level of pedigree with the character, and had the same intentions and goals that we were setting for the character here at DC.”

Though very tight-lipped about the premise of the new series, let alone who will be under the mask, Didio said that they did approach the writers with a few broad stroke directions they were looking to include in the new series. “We had an attitude, and a personality, and we had some key ideas on what we needed to implement in the series,” Didio said. “They were completely on board with everything we had suggested, because when they were considering writing the series, these were the things that they wanted to do as well, so we’re all on the same page from the very start.”

And rounding out that creative team?

“Ken has a dynamic art style that we felt really convey the motion and the energy, and a new vitality for the series,” Didio said. “For…decades, really, the Flash has been defined not only be who wears the suit, but also by who’s drawing him, and who’s writing him. It was important for us to make sure we had all the right pieces in place. We were out there looking for someone who we thought would be able to capture this level of energy, and we were thrilled to find out he was available.”

The book’s former editor brought Lashley in to DC and began working with him, Didio explained, and when he saw the samples that Lashley and the editor had put together, the deal was done, as far as Didio was concerned.

“The weird part for me is that I wasn’t even familiar with Ken’s earlier work at Marvel and other places. He came in, to me, at least, as an unknown, and just sold me on his interpretation of the character.”

Okay – and finally, we did push Didio for some teases about the new series, as well as the hero’s identity, and got two bits for the new series – which Didio characteristically twisted. First off, expect legacy to play a major role.

“The series is built on the concept of ‘legacy.’ It is the recurring theme of Flash, it is the strength and the weakness of the character,” Didio said.

And number two? Perhaps we were premature in wondering who the person under the mask might be. That is, wrong in the sense that we wondered about a “person” in the singular.

“The costume will be very familiar,” Didio said with a chuckle, “Although you may not want to get too attached to the first Flash you see…”

Check back Wednesday for a chat with Didio about the upcoming new creative teams for Superman (Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco) and Detective Comics (Paul Dini and Rags Morales).

 


End of titanstower.com transmission. About this author:  Bill Walko is an author and artist and the man behind titanstower.com. He's been reading and drawing comics since he was 5 years old and hasn't stopped since. Read more from this author