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Talking Flash With Mark Waid

Talking Flash With Mark Waid
by Vinnie Bartilucci – courtesy of – 09-04-2007

Mark Waid is back on Flash – and for many Flash fans, all’s well with the world. Taking over the reins of the character again after one of the most successful swerves in recent comics history, we took a few minutes to get an idea on what we’ll be seeing in the book, and what happened in between those first two issues we’ve seen so far.

Newsarama: First off, there’s quite a narrative jump between All-Flash and Flash #231. About how much time has passed between those two?

Mark Waid: I would say about a month, no more than that.

NRAMA: I figured just closing the loan on a house would take about that long…

MW: Hey, he’s the Flash, he’s got connections, I figure Wayne Enterprises can cut through some of the red tape for this guy…

NRAMA: There’s quite a lot going on in that house. You got all that tech in the basement, the kids have settled into a schedule for themselves, sleeping in their little harnesses. When are we going to find out where all that came from, because it all obviously didn’t come back at the end of The Lightning Saga.

MW: That’s true, and that’s part of the plan. I didn’t think there was much point in taking the entire first issue to do a bunch of clunky exposition, but we are going to start to see things spell out starting with our issue three. Writer John (Blue Beetle) Rogers and I are collaborating with Doug Braithwaite on a four-part, six pages each backup that tells the history of this world through the point of view of the Flashes over the years. Jay Garrick is the first one to have visited that world, and then Barry, and they’ve built up a relationship with the Flashes over the years, as we sort of hinted at in our first issue. That’s where the history starts to spell out, and that spills back into the main story.

NRAMA: Is this a new world you created or did you find something that you pulled out and fleshed out a bit?

MW: No, it’s a world I created, but I like the fact that is has the evocative feel of that Julie Schwartz/John Broome era.

NRAMA: Where’s Iris these days?

MW: We have plans for her in the series, but again, it was 22 pages, and two new kids, and a whole new status quo to set up. I was just very leery about throwing everything and the kitchen sink in, in the first arc. Iris won’t show up again until issue four, and that sort of closes out the first three issue beat of the arc. But she would be playing a part. She would be a terrible grandmother if she were not playing a part in her grandchildren’s life.

NRAMA: Back to the backup story you’re doing with John. How’s that working; who’s plotting, who’s doing dialogue, are you switching up?

MW: We’re switching up. John and I have been friends for a long time, and we’ve been looking a chance to work together, pool our skills. Basically the process is he comes over, we sit on my couch, we watch Torchwood for a couple hours, and talk about everything else under the sun.

What John brings to it is a better grasp of hard science than I have, and what I bring to it is a better grasp of Flash history than John has, so we just bounce it back and forth.
The four parts, as I said, the first one is a Jay story, the second one is a Barry and Iris story, the third one is a Wally and Impulse story, and the fourth one is more of a modern, “what happened just before Lightning Saga” story.

NRAMA: Are you planning on talking more about that four year period and what happened to Bart when he “grew up?”

MW: Not in the immediate future. We have some real concrete ideas about what happened during that period, but we’re trying as hard as we possibly can, at least for the first few months, look forward rather than back. And I figure that, as Bart’s “Dad”, and as the guy that probably misses him most, I’m hoping that cuts me a little slack with the fans in terms of any fears that I might be coming off a little callous about it. Because nobody loved Bart more than I did. Does that make any sense? We run the danger of making it so much about Wally’s mourning of the past.

And that story’s not over yet. Bart’s story, as far as we’re concerned, is not over with yet. The Inertia story is not over yet. There’s thread that we’re gonna pick up on. A lot of more astute fans were a little skeptical that it was a good idea for Wally to leave Inertia in the Flash Museum…and that decision may or may not come back to haunt him. Or he may or may not have changed his mind by now. We will see.

NRAMA: You’ve obviously got some plans to have Iris and Jai…it is pronounced, “Jay”, right?

MW: Yeah, let’s talk about that for a second. Because that came to us via Alan Brennert. [Writer of quite a few Batman and Secret Origins stories in the 80s, later an Emmy award-winning writer and Producer for LA Law] Alan is a good friend of mine, and he’d done a lot of research into Korean names and culture for one of his novels. And we were just talking one day at the comic shop about how I needed a name for the boy. “Iris” was a given, but I didn’t want to name the kid “Barry”, or “Bart” again, because I think there’s a limit to the number of Barrys the Flash universe should be having. And it was him who came up with Jai as an authentic Korean name. So, perfect. I wanted one name to be from Wally’s side of the family and one from Linda’s, and the fact that we were able to settle on one that paid homage to both sides of the family is great.

NRAMA: Well you’ve obviously got plans for the kids to be meeting up with a little peril in the future. You got the meeting up with the JLA in a few issues…

MW: Yep, and that’s not necessarily gonna sit well with the JLA. It’s not the Teen Titans days. A bunch of fans have kind of called on the idea, “Gee is it really a good idea for Wally to take an eight and a ten-year-old into the field now?” And the answer is, “Not really”, and we’re on it, and that’s part of the story. And that’s the questions the Justice League has when they show up as well. That’s the agenda there is to answer that question.

NRAMA: Well, you’ve obviously set up a lot of foreshadowing, that last little interaction between Wally and Linda, “We both know why they have to be heroes”. Can you promise one thing; can you promise none of it involves refrigerators or safes?

MW: (Laughs) Absolutely, yes. I can’t speak for what happens if I get hit by a refrigerator or get stuffed in a safe… The Flash book isn’t really about tragedy. That’s never what the book’s really been about.

NRAMA: What was your first reaction when Dan (DiDio) suggested great unpleasantness for Wally’s family?

MW: “That’s not how it works.” He never really suggested it for Wally, he certainly suggested it for Bart.

NRAMA: In a recent interview you’d said that he actually suggested you drop a safe on Linda and the kids…?

MW: I don’t think I said that, what I said was, “If you want me to do that, I’m not going to do that, please be aware that is not where I am going to go.” It wasn’t a command; it was a statement of fact on my part. I just think that’s callous and disrespectful of what’s come before. And it also doesn’t fit with the book; there have been tragedies in the Flash’s life, but essentially the grim-n-gritty angst month after month has never been what The Flash is about.

NRAMA: So you’ve still got this book for the indefinite future?

MW: Far as I know, yeah.

NRAMA: And you’re still working on Brave and the Bold obviously…

MW: – Yep, and that’s going quite well. George is working on the Doom Patrol issue even as we speak, for the Doom Patrol/Flash crossover…

NRAMA: But which Doom Patrol?

MW: Well, Geoff Johns actually did a nice job in Infinite Crisis and then in Teen Titans folding them all back together again. So we’re dealing mostly with the original core group, but with their modern characterizations. I particularly love the characterization of Negative Man in the Titans cartoon show; a guy who is sarcastic and bitter all the time. Or Grant’s characterization of the Chief as, essentially a manipulative bastard.

NRAMA: And obviously you’ve got that other new job – as Editor in Chief at BOOM! Studios…

MW: Exactly, I’m very stoked about that as well. That goes well, we’re getting ready to start announcing the next big wave of BOOM! launches. And Potter’s Field, the book I did with Paul Azaceta should be coming out in two weeks. I haven’t had a creator-owned thing like that out in a very long time.

NRAMA: That would be Empire with Barry Kitson, right?

MW: Yeah, and with Barry at Marvel and me at BOOM!, it could be a while before we get there again…


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