July 23, 2008

Flash Companion Preview: Mike Baron Interview

Category: Flash History — By @ 10:00 am

The following is a 1-page excerpt from the new book, The Flash Companion. The full interview appears in the second section of the book. It is printed here with permission of the book’s main author, Keith Dallas.

The Flash Companion will be available at the TwoMorrows booth at Comic-Con International this week, and should arrive in stores either next week or the week after. Orders through Amazon are shipping now.

Mike Baron: Wally West’s Fast Living (excerpt)

By Keith Dallas

DALLAS: It seemed pretty obvious that during your run on Flash you were avoiding the classic Flash Rogues. No Captain Cold, no Captain Boomerang, no Mirror Master. Instead you introduced some completely new villains… with the exception of Vandal Savage. What particular reason did you have for starting this Flash re-launch with Savage as the villain?

BARON: I can’t exactly recall, but for starters, he’s a great villain. It may also have been that I wanted to have some continuity in that first issue between Barry Allen and Wally West.

I would like to do a lot more with Kilg%re. That’s my main character that I created for Flash. He and the Chunk.

DALLAS: What was it about Kilg%re that you liked?

BARON: He encapsulates a number of science fiction ideas that lend themselves to exciting story-telling. Dark Horse took a stab at it with a movie called Virus, which is very similar in idea to Kilg%re. It wasn’t the greatest movie in the world. It starred Jamie Lee Curtis.

DALLAS: I remember that movie.

Now what was it about Chunk that you liked?

BARON: He was kind of a projection of me. The ultimate nerd.

DALLAS: [laughs] It didn’t take you long to show that Chunk wasn’t a true villain.

BARON: No, he was just an outsider who wanted to belong.

DALLAS: Is that a sentiment that you felt perhaps the readers could connect to?

BARON: Oh, yeah!

DALLAS: The other two villains you introduced during your run on Flash were Speed Demon — the steroid monster gone crazy — and Blue Trinity — the Russian Soviet speedsters.

Now in 1987 and 1988 the Berlin wall hadn’t fallen yet, but there was definitely a sense that the “Cold War” was winding down. Even though the Barry Allen stories were published during the Cold War, they didn’t really comment on or touch upon Cold War issues.

With Blue Trinity, were you attempting to make a statement about the “Last Days of the Cold War”?

BARON: I was not trying to be “relevant.” My primary purpose is always to entertain. I was just trying inspiration from the last days of the Soviet Union. At the time the Soviets had a lot of desperate scientific experiments going on to see if they could make some kind of technological breakthrough, either in weaponry or medicine, to save the Soviet Union.

Of course it didn’t happen.

DALLAS: So how different was it writing Flash as opposed to writing Punisher or Nexus or Badger? Did you have a different approach?

BARON: No. Like I said, I am always looking for a very strong idea on which to build a story around. If the idea comes to me from contemporary news, that’s fine. If it comes to me from history, fine. If it comes from out of the blue, fine. It just has to be a strong idea.

I’m not sure all of my Flash ideas were strong, but some of them were.

The full interview runs five pages and is accompanied by photos and illustrations from the comics.

As mentioned above, The Flash Companion is available at the TwoMorrows booth at Comic-Con, and should be available in stores sometime in the next two weeks. Amazon is shipping them already.