Artist Paul Ryan passed away this weekend, at the age of 66. He was the regular artist on The Flash for two years in the late 1990s, working with Waid/Augustyn on such stories as “Presidential Race,” “Flash of Two Cities” and “Hell to Pay” and with Morrison/Millar on “Emergency Stop” and “The Human Race.”
For Flash Appreciation Day, Nothing But Comics asked the Hero Initiative three questions about what they do, how you can help, and of course, the Flash:
1. For readers that may be unfamiliar with the Hero Initiative, can you tell us how the organization helps comics creators?
Long story short, we’re a medical and financial relief organization for comic book creators. We’ve literally kept people alive. There was a moment at the San Diego con a few years ago that was surreal for me. An artist that we benefited came up to me to thank me for the help we had given him. He was shaking my hand, with tears streaming down his cheeks. He had been living on about $90 a week, and was eating one meal a day. He didn’t know what to do, or where to turn, and he was ready to take his own life. He had literally written the suicide note when he stumbled upon us. We were able to get him back on his feet, and he’s alive today, doing much better.
We’ve literally paid back rent when people were 48 hours from being evicted, paid electric bills when people were 24 hours from having utilities shut off, and paid for desperately needed operations that weren’t covered by medical insurance as well.
2. How can people help the Hero Initiative? Besides financial contributions, are there any resources or activities that might be helpful to the organization?
I always tell people, “Five bucks.” Is the easiest and best thing people can do. People can donate via the “What Can I Do?” page on our Website.
We also need volunteers for events and conventions to help us staff these events. Folks can find information on the same page.
3. Since it’s Flash Appreciation Day, I’d like to ask the Hero Initiative team if you have a favorite iteration of the Flash character (Jay Garrick, Barry Allen, Wally West, or Bart Allen)?
Here’s what some members of our Board of Directors had to say:
George Pérez, former Teen Titans writer, artist:
Barry was always MY Flash. He’s the one I grew up with and there is something a bit poignant about being the artist who “killed” him back in the ’80s. Since I was drawing Wally as a member of the New Teen Titans, he will always be Kid Flash to me.
Mark Waid, former writer Flash:
How could it not be Wally West? Here’s my resume: Jay was stately, Barry was solid. But Wally was fun.
Walt Simonson, Ragnarok writer/artist:
Tossup between Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, giving Barry a slight edge. He’s the character I read when I was young, so he’ll always be the Flash to me. However, I was around when Jay Garrick was reintroduced into the DCU, and I have to say that as a kid reading the books, I thought it very cool that a second mature Flash with gray temples had appeared.
Jim Valentino, Image Comics co-founder:
Jay Garrick. I read Flash #123 when I was about 10 and just loved the character. Simple, homespun. Everything from his personality on down to his costume–a red jersey, dungarees and doughboy hat with wings. It looked homemade, like something anyone could wear without getting embarrassed. The most likable character in the JSA, the heart of the team.
Dennis O’Neil, longtime comics writer and editor:
I guess I’d go with Barry, but I confess to a warm spot in my heart for Jay because he was one of the first superheroes I encountered. (Hey, I was really, really young. Really!)
There you have it: A run-down of what the Hero Initiative does, plus a few Flash-y thoughts. Please take a look at how you can help by donating, volunteering, or participating in other programs that can help the charity.
Two quick updates on Mark Waid, who wrote Wally West’s adventures as The Flash for about 100 issues and almost the entire decade of the 1990s.
1. He’s seen the Flash TV pilot, and thinks it’s great.
Not only is the #Flash pilot EXCELLENT, but (for this) the dead-mom retcon doesn't grate. Great show, and Tom Cavanagh is astounding.
— Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) May 23, 2014
Replying to Greg Berlanti:
— Mark Waid (@MarkWaid) May 23, 2014
2. Waid and Barry Kitson’s Empire vol.2 launches next week on Thrillbent. The original miniseries told the story of what happens after when the world’s greatest super-villain conquers the planet. What’s left? The description for volume 2:
But where is his strength coming from? The sole loyalist who kept him anchored to humanity is one year gone, and on the anniversary of Golgoth’s loss, several seemingly coordinated new threats are surfacing around the globe. Each presents its own unique threat to the throne, and if Golgoth wants to maintain the crown, he will have to divide his forces–and his attentions–in dangerous new ways.
The out-of-print Empire volume 1 will also be available on Thrillbent as part of the all-you-can-read $3.99 monthly subscription for the entire catalog.
While co-writing The Flash, Brian Buccellato self-published Foster, a six-issue horror miniseries.
Only five issues saw print, though he published the conclusion digitally as a PDF. This July, OSSM is releasing the whole story as a trade paperback. Fanboy Comics has the cover and a preview of the book.
FOSTER, a haunted war veteran trying to forget the world at the bottom of a bottle, becomes the guardian of a 6 YEAR-OLD BOY who is the offspring of a woman and a PRIMAL RACE OF SUPERNATURAL CREATURES that lurk on the fringes of society and need him to repopulate. In a world where technology is stuck in the analog ’70s and danger lurks around every corner, three rival factions want the half-breed child. Now Foster must navigate the shadow world, twisted scientists and his own past in order to keep the boy safe while winning his trust, nurturing his humanity, and trying to prevent him from giving in to the monster within.
Brian Buccellato and Van Jensen both have projects on Kickstarter right now that you should check out.
Van Jensen’s The Leg is an original graphic novel with art by Jose Pimienta, about the disembodied, sentient leg of Santa Anna. The book is finished, and the goal of the campaign is to raise money to print and distribute it to backers. Think of it as a pre-order with optional benefits.
Once upon a time in Mexico—more specifically, in the 1880s during the Pastry War—President Santa Anna lost his left leg when it was struck by French cannon fire. Santa Anna gave his missing limb a full military funeral (true story!). But when the Mexican people rebelled against Santa Anna (because he did insanely vain things like giving his limb a military funeral) and threw him out of office, protesters exhumed his leg, dragged it through the streets and cast it aside (also a true story!). It hasn’t been seen again…until now!
Our story is set in 1938, when the Leg has reappeared, clad in a tall leather boot. When the Leg learns of a new threat against Mexico, it embarks on an epic journey across the country, battling with villains both modern and magical in its quest to save the country and redeem Santa Anna’s tarnished legacy.
Will the Leg succeed in its quest? The answer lies inside THE LEG: The Remarkable Reappearance of Santa Anna’s Disembodied Limb.
Brian Buccellato’s Sons of the Devil is a short film and ongoing comic book series. The crowdfunding campaign is to get the film produced and get the comic book started.
SONS OF THE DEVIL is a character driven psychological thriller that is told in multiple timelines across 25 years.
In 1989, the FBI raid the remote compound of deranged Cult leader DAVID DALY– only to find him comatose among the 93 murdered followers he sacrificed in a devil’s bargain. The only survivors are six infants rescued the night before the bloody massacre.
Twenty-five years later we meet one of those infants…
UPDATE: Bleeding Cool has an interview.
Media Blitz! Venditti and Jensen talk with Newsarama and Comicosity about Wally West, Future Flash and more!
So writers, Robert Venditti and Van Jensen have both obviously been very busy since the release of their controversial first issue of The Flash yesterday. Both Newsarama and Comicosity have interviews with the new Flash writing team as they discuss the New 52 introduction of Wally West, the mysterious blue and silver speedster dubbed Future Flash and even Iris and Patty Spivot. We have some tidbits after the jump that stood out to us.