50 Years of the Flash at Comic-Con 2006

[Picture of the Flash (Barry Allen) from Showcase #4]I missed the first half of Saturday’s “50 Years of the Flash” panel because we missed the red line and got stuck waiting to transfer at America Plaza. The shuttle might have gotten us there faster (maybe even on time), but we were pretty sure they wouldn’t let us on with our coffee.

What I did see of the panel was still mostly retrospective, and mainly Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, and Danny Bilson. Carmine Infantino told a couple of stories (one of which he’d told at Thursday’s panel, about the “war” between him and Julius Schwartz: he’d try to draw ever-more-nasty cliffhangers on his covers, and every time, Julie would come up with a story to go with it. So finally he drew one with the Flash and the Golden Age Flash both racing to save some guy, and said, “There! Top that!” The rest, of course, is history).

After a while they started talking about the new Flash book. While the most common answer in the Q&A session was, “Wait and see,” Bilson and DeMeo did answer a couple of questions that I’ve seen people asking about.

For the “legacy pages” in the first two issues, they did a whole bunch of research, sometimes finding conflicting info. (They didn’t mention this one, but the issue of “Who named Impulse” is probably one of those cases.) Any changes in continuity are accidental, and not intentional.

The reason Bart’s acting so morose in these first few issues is that he’s got this problem to deal with, and once he starts to work through it, his impulsive nature will start taking over again.

I almost got the new #1 signed, but staff kept telling everyone to clear the room, and as near as I can tell, Bilson and DeMeo took a different exit than I did.

Update: I forgot to mention some of the other stories. There was a good one Bilson and DeMeo told about how when they pitched the TV show, the powers that be wanted the Flash to be running around in a gray sweat suit. So they got Dave Stevens to design a suit and his rendering convinced them to go with it. Even then, the network resisted bringing costumed villains in until they showed it could work. And apparently what killed it wasn’t bad ratings, but network politics. Someone wanted his show, so he could get a better bonus. A real pity, as the second season opener would have been a two-hour special with the Trickster, Captain Cold, and Mirror Master—a Rogues Gallery episode.

Update 2: Adding more stuff as I remember it (and have time to type).

No news on the Flash movie. As far as Waid and Johns were willing to say, Goyer has finished the script (we knew that last month) and it’s “a great story.”

[Cover for Flash v.1 #163]Julius Schwartz’s favorite cover of all time was Carmine Infantino’s “Stop! Don’t pass up this issue! My life depends on it!” cover from Flash #163.

Speaking of Infantino, he stayed very quiet when Bilson and DeMeo talked about the TV show. On Thursday he said he had seen it, and thought it was “a bad copy of Batman.” My guess is he only saw the pilot (which did copy too much from the 1989 Batman film), or maybe the first few episodes, before they started bringing in more classic elements like the Rogues. He was classy enough not to say anything about it at this panel, with the show’s creators present, and they were classy enough to thank him for creating “the best villains” in comics.

Flash 193 - Captain Cold CensoredGeoff Johns’ interest in Captain Cold goes back to the first Flash book he read, Flash #193. The cover shows the villain holding up a picture of the Flash blocked by the word “censored,” and saying, “They wouldn’t let me show what I did to the Flash! Do you dare read this issue and find out for yourself?”

Apparently when Waid left the book, several writers were lined up to take over, but they all backed out because they didn’t want to follow such an iconic run. Geoff Johns was new at the time, with only Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E under his belt (and that had been cancelled), but agreed to do the 6-issue run while they found someone. When they asked him to stay on the book, people thought he was crazy to take it. At this point Waid(?) said, “It doesn’t seem to have hurt your career.”

During the Q&A session, one fan led into her question with a remark that, “…the Flash is my favorite character, ever.” Mark Waid shot back with, “Wait, you said Legion yesterday!”

Joe Giella was on the panel, but didn’t say anything during the time I was there. I didn’t even know who he was until, at the end of the panel, I got a chance to see the name cards.

Flash #182 Captain ColdJoey Cavelieri did the layouts for all of Brian Bolland’s Flash covers. This frustrated Bolland, since he’s used to laying them out himself. His favorite of the covers he did was the Captain Cold spotlight (Flash v.2 #182).

The Trickster will be appearing in the new series as soon as they can work him in.

Jay Garrick is very much a part of the new series.

When I walked in, Mark Waid was telling his story about how he had spent years building up the Wally/Linda relationship, and got the point where he was afraid that when he left, the next writer would drop an anvil on Linda’s head. (I’m actually paraphrasing from another time he told the story, since I was busy trying to find a seat.) He was relieved that Geoff Johns did the opposite.

Update 3 (July 31): I remembered some more stuff. Each creator on the panel was asked what one thing he regretted about his time on the book. Geoff Johns said he regretted leaving the book. Mark Waid said he regretted leaving a plot thread unresolved: the wedding present from Wally and Linda’s first ceremony.

See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups

11 thoughts on “50 Years of the Flash at Comic-Con 2006

  1. Ununnilium

    “The reason Bart’s acting so morose in these first few issues is that he’s got this problem to deal with, and once he starts to work through it, his impulsive nature will start taking over again.”

    …thank you oh four-color gods.

    Reply
  2. *** Dave

    I remember another Comic-Con, years ago (and at the previous venue) when they introduced the Flash TV show. It would be both cliche and annoying to say that the audience was electrofied — but they were. I’ve never gotten over the damned thing getting cancelled, even if they played fast and loose with continuity in a way that would have the Internet howling today for their blood.

    Reply
  3. Kelson Post author

    Eh, I figure if the Internet can handle the differences between the Superman comics, the Superman/Justice League cartoons, Smallville, and Superman Returns, it could have handled the differences between the early Wally West Flash and the Flash TV show.

    On the other hand, I’ve occasionally gotten email from people confused about the difference between Bart Allen’s appearances as Impulse or Kid Flash in the comics, and his guest spot on Smallville. Marvel’s Ultimate line must make their heads explode.

    Reply
  4. West

    Good info. Thanks for sharing with those of us not fortunate enough to have attended.

    From what I’ve heard, though, it’s time for a new location or some well-thought-out chances to the traditional one (i.e. a bridge of some sort that keeps people from having to wait eight minutes for that train to go by).

    Good stuff.

    -West

    Reply
  5. Kelson Post author

    Ugh! Yeah, we got caught on the wrong side of the train coming back from lunch on Thursday, at the other end of the convention center. Depending on whether “day 2” is counting from Wednesday or Thursday, it could be the same train. (I stopped paying attention to what kinds of cars were on it pretty quickly.)

    Still, it was easier to get around this year than last year, when the trolley system was completely overwhelmed by the double assault of Comic Con and several days of Padres games.

    Reply
  6. findlayboy

    I was not there (sadly), but Comic Book Resources is reporting that in a “DC Nation” panel someone gave “an affirmative answer to a question concerning Wally West’s return to the DCU”. Kind of a vague way to put it, I guess. In what capacity Wally will return… it doesn’t say.

    Reply
  7. The Shark

    I haven’t ready any of “Infinite Crisis” or the new Flash series, but I doubt that Wally is gone for good. We know that Bart will one day be Flash, but I don’t think the world is ready for it yet. Wally hasn’t been around long enough, and in any case I think his passing will be much more glorified than what it sounds like it was. I’m thinking something like Barry’s death.

    What I want to know is what the names of the twins are. They’ve been around for HOW long now, and we still don’t know? Come on.

    -The Shark

    Reply
  8. Pingback: Happy (belated) Birthday, Carmine Infantino! « Speed Force

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