Here’s a Speed Force first: An original interview (Not a link! Not a reprint!) with outgoing Flash writer Tom Peyer!
TOM PEYER: You never really know if a villain is recurring until he or she recurs. I didn’t plan to kill him — but even that doesn’t always stop a villain from coming back. I was just thinking of him one story at a time.
SF: While the Flash has had many enemies over the course of his career, few have had the staying power of the original Rogues. A few years ago, they were practically regulars in the book. If they had been available when you took over as writer, would you have used them early on, or held them in reserve for later stories?
PEYER: Well, we did use Grodd. But the Mirror Masters and Captain Colds had appeared a lot in recent years, so it felt like creating Spin was the right approach. Plus, I wanted to grind my axe about cable news, and the Weather Wizard didn’t quite fit. But if I’d wanted to write a polemic against the Weather Channel… oh, don’t get me started.
SF: How did you approach balancing the story between the Flash and his kids? Do you think that the family dynamic ultimately resulted in more or fewer story possibilities?
PEYER: More, just because so few super-heroes are parents. You always want a Flash story to be something that would never happen to, say, Hawkman. So the kids helped. But the book is called The Flash, so it’s important to give him his own screen time and to let him do something big, fast and heroic every issue.
SF: What was your favorite part about writing The Flash?
PEYER: Wally himself. We’ve known him his whole life, which has taken him everywhere. And he’s been lucky to have some great writers — hi, Waid! Hi, Geoff! Wally is the most complete, well-rounded character in comics outside of Peter Parker.
SF: Online fan discussions can get rather brutal. Do you keep an eye on fan message boards or blogs, or do you generally keep away from them?
PEYER: There are nice moments. Writing about one of our issues of Flash, a very nice blogger said that he was moved to read a comic that really understood what it’s like to be a parent. I don’t have children, so I took that as a great compliment. The negative posts don’t bother me anymore. The readers paid their money and have a right to express themselves. That doesn’t mean I’ll agree with them. I don’t voraciously consume the comics internet — when I’m not working, I like to read about other things — but I like it.
SF: How do you feel about Barry Allen’s return?
PEYER: If they bring back his crewcut I’m all for it. And I’d like to see him in penny loafers. I don’t think that’s been done.
SF: What’s your all-time favorite Flash story?
PEYER: An early Kid Flash story where Wally fought beatniks. Go, Wally! Kill the beatniks! [Editor’s note: That would be “King of the Beatniks!” from Flash v.1 #114]
SF: Leaving the Flash doesn’t seem to have left much of a hole in your schedule. You’ve got Stephen Colbert’s Tek Jansen currently coming out from Oni, and September sees the launches of Galveston from BOOM! Studios and Marvel Apes from Marvel. Can you tell us a little about these projects?
PEYER: Well, you’ve seen Tek Jansen unless you’re tasteless enough to skip it — and if you are, I can’t help you. Galveston is a made-up action story involving two real historical figures — pioneer Jim Bowie and pirate Jean LaFitte, who really knew each other. I’m writing it with Seattle Times pop culture writer Mark Rahner, an expert on genre and cool violence. And Marvel Apes is a hilarious, action-packed mini written by Karl Kesel. I’m doing back-up stories, and they parody those comics where the Watcher poses on the moon and talks directly to the reader about the grandeur and the drama and the tragedy.
SF: Are there any other projects coming up that you would like to talk about?
PEYER: I’m going to be cleaning the kitchen soon. It’s a huge undertaking, but I think I’ve come up with a new approach to the classic elements of kitchen-cleaning that no one’s ever tried before. So I’m excited!
Conducted via email, August 27, 2008