October 12, 2011

Interview: Teen Titans Artist Brett Booth on Wally West

Category: Interviews — By @ 9:00 am

As an artist working on DC Comics’ New 52, Brett Booth regularly deals with speed in the form of Kid Flash in Teen Titans.  Written by Scott Lobdell, Titans features Booth on both covers and interiors. as well as character designs.  The veteran artist is next featured in issue #2, due October 26th.

Booth has also received attention recently for his unofficial portrayals of Wally West, the third and now erstwhile Flash, as posted on his blog.  Starting with a post on August 24th, Booth has given his fans a couple of different looks at his redesign of West as Flash, including finished versions with colors by Andrew Dalhouse.

We caught up with Booth via email and talked about what makes a Flash costume, his take on Wally West and his favorite Flash stories.

Q: In your first post featuring a Wally West Flash re-design, you said that if you could choose one book to draw it would be a Wally West Flash comic.  What about the character appeals to you personally, and what are your favorite Wally West stories?

BRETT BOOTH:  Wally’s run on the Flash was the first DC book I read. It was issue 3, I later bought the first 2, but that was my first DC book. I had my parents get me a 3 year subscription after that. The Flash was always my favorite when I was young, but the character of Wally, taking on his mentors role was what sold it to me.

I love the Speed Force stories, learning how that works and how it can be used is just super interesting to me. Anytime Wally did something he didn’t think he could, be it outrunning a giant robot creature in #3 to that beginning of the Porcupine Man story to fighting Savitar. Wally overcoming impossible odds is what I like about him:)

Q:  As you’ve tweaked the design over the course of a few posts, have you taken any inspiration from previous Flash portrayals or designs?  In your eyes, what “makes” a Flash uniform?

BB:  A Flash uniform needs lightning bolts and ear ‘wings’ of some kind. Most of mine are pretty much the same design, just with the bolt being messed with. Large like Jays, yet similar to his original Kid Flash design (not the mini Flash suit.) Plus you need something for the speed force energy to come off of. 😉

Q:  Your unofficial Wally West designs have generated discussion amongst Flash and DC fans on the web.  He was also ranked as the #6 most popular DC Comics character in a recent poll over at Comic Book Resources.  If you were given the task of writing Wally West back into the New DC Universe, what would be your approach?

BB:  It would depend on what parameters DC had. This Earth, Earth 2. I doubt the family would be kept in tact, (sorry Brian!) I would like to come up with a new origin, having the exact same one as Barry’s just seems to push things a bit too far into convenient for me. I might go so far as to make him related to one of the other older Speedsters, or still go with Barry but do something about the Speedforce selecting it’s ‘users’. Right now I’d like to have several ideas that are flexible enough to be plugged into whatever direction DC has planned. Since Max was the oldest, and has a connection to the Speedforce from way back, I’d try that route first.

Q:  We interviewed longtime Flash artist Greg LaRocque recently, and he of course redesigned Wally West’s duds for the classic Flash #50.  He mentioned that he had developed a Chunk series with Scott Lobdell that never materialized.  Now that you are working with Mr. Lobdell, and given your appreciation of that era of Flash, what are the chances of seeing a teenaged Chunk in the new Titans?

BB:  That’s my favorite Wally costume! Scott hasn’t mentioned Chunk, but I would bring him back, along with Speed Demon if I could. I would like to delve into the mechanics of the speed force how does it work, were does it come from what all can it do? Scott does like the odd ball characters so you never know. I’m still trying to get him to tell me who Bart’s been living with! He’s very closed lipped sometimes, drives me mad!:)

Q:  What is your favorite speed trick of all time?

BB:  Speed focused is power;) I love to draw the many, many punches. I don’t think the speedsters are ever actually portrayed correctly. If they can move that fast, the bad guys just couldn’t ever even get started. The bad guy would blink and then be captured, not good for stories but it would be bad ass to do a few times for the lesser baddies. I do like that Wally can ‘borrow’ speed from others as well;)I hope some of that makes sense, I tend to ramble and jump from one subject to another and back, If Bart has half this problem writing things down must be hell for him!



Make sure to check out Booth’s blog for more inside looks at his Teen Titans, and Wally West!