Those of you who pick up your comics on Wednesdays have no doubt already noticed: Although Francis Manapul was scheduled to draw both Flash #11 and Flash #12, his art only appeared on the cover of this week’s issue. Instead, Scott Kolins provides the interior artwork this time around.
The one-time regular Flash artist explains on Twitter:
Sorry guys I didn’t do flash 11 and only came back to help on 12. Editorial decided to get me started on the next project
Clearly Editorial wanted to get those last two issues of The Flash out before Flashpoint, and the clock was ticking. Manapul doesn’t say what the “next project” is, but I’m guessing it’s either not tied to DC’s event schedule or has a lot of lead time.
My guess: Someone else will pick up the inevitable post-Flashpoint Flash relaunch, but we may see Francis Manapul back for the equally-inevitable Flash: Secret Origin.
Personally I’m sad to see him go. His art was a big part of what I enjoyed about this run, and I do think that “The Road to Flashpoint” will ultimately suffer a bit for being split between two artists with different styles. It really makes me wish DC and/or Geoff Johns hadn’t tied the series to another event with its own deadlines.
One last note: It’s not clear whether Scott Kolins is doing the art for next month’s series finale (except for the 5 pages that Francis Manapul mentions elsewhere on Twitter), but after the two Rogue Profiles and #11, it seems like a safe bet.
UPDATE: Francis Manapul writes more about the move on his blog, saying:
I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to finish this story arc. However, in order to get the last 2 issues out before Flashpoint they had to be done in an impossible time frame that there was no way I could do it without the work suffering.
As for the series’ now-legendary delays:
I will state on the record that I’ve never had an issue with turning in my work and editorial has never had a problem with me. I may have stumbled a bit out of the gate as I was on the road filming during my first 3-4 issues of the Flash, but with the lead time we had we were able to avoid any major delays. I take my normal 4-5 weeks to pencil, ink, and watercolor a book which is the standard time everybody gets just to pencil it. Much of the delays were due to the multiple stops and starts in the work process that is completely out of my hands. Hopefully I won’t have to address this issue again, but I just felt the need to clarify to try and avoid further vilification.
As for what the future holds for the artist:
Moving forward my next project at DC is in the works. I’m EXTREMELY EXCITED about it, and my editors enthusiasm and endless support has been great! I’ve been developing it with my collaborator and editorial soon after my last issue of the Flash. Hopefully if all goes well, we can get started on doing the new book in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime I’ve done a few covers for Flashpoint as well as other DC titles, I also ended up contributing 5 pages for Flash 12 to help close out the series.
I, for one, will be keeping an eye out for it!