io9 recently caught up with Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, the tag-team creative muscle between DC's relaunched Flash comic book. The guys told us about why classic superheroics are intrinsically all-ages, where Flash's Rogues are now, and what the future holds for Barry Allen.
When you guys had the opportunity to write the Flash, what sort of narrative instincts did you want to bring to your run?
Brian Buccellato: We definitely decided we wanted an optimistic, hopeful, and noble story because that's who Barry Allen is to us. It was important for us to go in that direction, and not toward the darker or more tortured hero. He's a guy from the Silver Age who does the right thing because it's the right thing.
Francis Manapul: The first thing we did was figure out what our theme is, what Barry Allen is about. What do we want to get from him? Once we figured that out, we built a story around that. Our story is about bringing him to the future, in an emotional and physical state. You'll see that with both the Flash and Central City.
One of the first things I noticed was that your run really has an all-ages feel to it.
FM: When we wrote it and drew it, it wasn't about us making it all-ages, it was about trying to tell a good story. At the end of the day, we're trying to create the classic superhero story in the modern world. We want to make it accessible to everybody both in design and themes.
BB: It wasn't like we said, "We're going to keep the sex out of Flash!" But yeah, when we constructed our story line and arc, there wasn't a place for say, bloody gore. I have an 11-year-old son, and I'd rather have a book that I've co-written that my son can read. I don't want to say, "You can't read this because on Page 18 Flash is topless." [Ed's Note: This was a joke. Resist keyboard mashing.]
FM: I really enjoyed my collaboration with Geoff Johns on Adventure Comics — that book gave me the feeling of hope. That's what we want to do.
In the first arc, we see the Flash up against a shadowy antagonist. However, he's more known for his colorful Rogues. When will we see them?
BB: Absolutely, you'll start to see them before the second arc and it will manifest later on. We didn't want to come out of the gate with them because we wanted to do something different — that is, show who Barry is through the antagonist.
FM: In the first arc, you're seeing a piece of the world. We're showing you one street and then branching off into different avenues and alleys later on.
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.
Francis, you bring a very kinetic design to the Flash's movement. What sort of layout tricks will readers see?
FM: Would you like to see? [Francis pulls out a multi-paneled page from issue #4 of the Flash using his costume ring to break a window and outrun a bomb] When we hear the ticking of a bomb, we begin running immediately. With the Flash, he can start running once the bomb starts exploding — even after!
Finally, are you guys at liberty to totally make up on the spot where Wally West is at the moment?
BB: We have made up where his! But we don't know if we'll be allowed to do it.
FM: It's submitted, it's there!
The Flash #3 hits stores November 23.