Why was Mark Waid missing from DC RetroActive: The Flash 1990s?

Well, that answers that question. Since Mark Waid was the Flash writer for most of the 1990s, but isn’t writing the 1990s issue of DC RetroActive: The Flash (Waid’s often-overlooked writing partner on the book, Brian Augustyn, is doing it solo), fans have been wondering: Why is he missing? Did he decline to return to the character? Did DC not want him on the book?

Esteban Pedreros of Comic Verso asked the writer on Twitter.



So now we know: DC didn’t offer Mark Waid the book, but he would have done it if asked.

Waid has been largely absent from the DC Universe since his run on Brave and the Bold and his brief return to The Flash in 2007-2008. In part, that was around the time he became EIC at BOOM! Studios, and was busy with those duties and writing his creator-owned books. But there was some public dispute with DC over the Flash, Countdown and related books, and it may be that the current regime simply doesn’t want him back.

Curiouser and curiouser…


24 thoughts on “Why was Mark Waid missing from DC RetroActive: The Flash 1990s?

  1. Brandan

    You would think that Waid would be a sure thing. I mean, they bothered to get Ron Marz & Darryl Banks for Green Lantern. Kyle Rayner fans have been begging for that for years now but I guess Wally fans have a few more years of suffering before they get what they want.

  2. Mark Engblom

    I think the situation with Waid is much more complex than DC’s connection with guys like Marz and Banks, who’ve been out of the limelight for some time (and probably need the work and exposure an event like this brings).

    The parting of Waid and DC wasn’t the most amicable, and with Waid working on some high profile Marvel books (not to mention Waid’s lingering bitterness toward DC in various interviews), it’s no mystery why DC would give the assignment to someone else. And really, after his most recent run on the Flash was such a disaster, why all the concern to get Waid back on the 90’s Flash Retroactive?

    I can’t explain why the Wally West character has virtually vanished from the DCU. I don’t see any reason for it and think it’s genuinely unfair to his biggest fans. That said, is it really THAT bad? “Suffering”?

    I’m praying Wally gets a bigger role during Flashpoint (and beyond) just so I don’t have to hear about all this “suffering” anymore. Of course, if and when Wally does return, it most likely won’t be enough, he won’t have a big enough role, his wife didn’t appear, his hair isn’t red enough, etc, etc, etc.

    Yeah….Wally got shafted. But considering DC subjected the Barry Allen Flash to both the humiliating “Trial of the Flash” (a truly wretched story) then a quick snuff-out in Crisis #8 (as almost an afterthought to the Supergirl death an issue before), getting the royal shaft is virtually a Flash tradition.

    It’s just that now it’s your turn.


    1. Steve

      It’s not the Sharks vs. the Jets, though. Not as much as some people want it to be. I’d say the bulk of Flash fans enjoy both characters, which means they go through the same disappointment twice.

      1. Steve

        Which means the first time it happens, they get mad. And when it happens a second time, instead of feeling vindicated, they get even madder.

  3. cm22

    Politics aside I think this is really nice to see from a certain perspective. Waid has made his stance on DC’s current editorial direction pretty clear, his problems with DiDio and the handling of the flash franchise (including Bart, who will in my eyes always be his baby), but I think it says a lot that despite that he still loves not only comics, and writing, but the character of Wally enough that he would have come back to write the book.

    A lot of people wouldn’t have (ya know, had he actually been asked) but it’s stuff like this that will always make me respect Mark Waid for really being passionate about Flash (and Wally in particular).

  4. Esteban Pedreros

    I didn’t think that Waid’s last run with the character (pun inteded), was all that great, but you have to respect, to the death, a guy who gave you comics like “The Return of Barry Allen”, “Born to Run” or “Terminal Velocity”. They are the core of what I love about Wally West as a character, and he is my favorite character in comics.

    @Mark Don’t be spiteful. You don’t care about Wally, fine. A lot of people do, I do, and I’ll complain as long as I care, and as I see it I’ll care for a long time. Go read Barry and don’t bother yourself with us, bitter Wally fans, we’ll play in our corner.

    Personally, I think that Waid’s run didn’t work because he had to explain Wally return for starters, which was a difficult story to come up with, and he had a choice to make, how to write a Wally story where he is a responsible father, when he wrote the Flash the character evolved from from a bachellor to a newly wed. But kids are a problem for comics, the don’t grow or grow too fast but they age the character. Wally is now a mid-30 responsible Dad, and he is treated as a older person than Barry.

    Anyway. I think that was a problem for Waid and he took a chance, he decided to make the kids part of the story, and in my opinion that didn’t work out, but what can you do, you can’t kill or undo them, can you?

    Let’s just blame Geoff for making Linda pregnant.

    1. Mark Engblom

      Not trying to be spiteful at all…just pointing out that Wally fans don’t have a corner on the “Screwed-over Flash” market. My point was that DC has done poorly by both the Barry and Wally versions of the Flash. The fact that it’s completely unnecessary to favor one over the other is recognized by all of us (I like Wally too, by the way), but DC….in its infinite Bizarro wisdom…obviously sees it differently. No spite….but sometimes I wonder if this site should be retitled “Wally Force” instead of Speed Force.

      1. Kyer

        Funny….I don’t recall ever reading Wally fans saying that Wally got screwed and only Wally got screwed, Wally is the only DC character ever to get screwed while DC always worshipped Barry. If there is anything that turns me off of Barry (fans) it is this instant ‘rebuttal’ over Barry’s death in COIE.
        THE BARRY FANS DID NOT KILL OFF WALLY STORIES NOW. (If you discount Editorial fanboys.)

        If anyone has gotten the ‘shaft’ at Kelson’s site it is the Jay fans. Jay could use more love, maybe amongst all the Barry and Wally posts. (Probably Bart too.) Despite what Johns/Didio would have everyone believe, Jay started the whole Flash name. (Not that I blame you, Kelson; Barry and Wally have been the (wanted and unwanted respecitively) focus of DC so that is what most of us talk about. But I’d love some Jay/Joan/Shade pics!) 🙂

      2. Kelson Post author

        For the record: 490 posts containing the word “Barry” and 394 containing the word “Wally.” 209 with the word “Bart” and yeah, only 196 containing the word “Jay.”

    2. Kyer

      I started out unthinkingly loving Geoff Johns until all this mess started, I took off the rose-colored glasses, realized: the only thing I loved in Geoff’s John’s Wally years was Crosswinds thru Ignition: Hunter Zolomon’s descent into madness in wanting to ‘help’ Wally in what was truly a weird way. Otherwise he centers on the villains and is more graphically violent than I care for.

      Mark Waid has shown himself to be a true gentleman and fan of Flash. I am now more than ever disgusted with Didio and the near utter lack of ‘fun’ DC Comics has shown us of late. If not for Booster Gold and Power Girl… sigh.

      1. Kyer

        In addition, the S_Daily website has posted a couple of scenes from the last Doom Patrol book. At points it looks like Keith Giffen is saying something about a certain Man In Charge. Plus, I really liked the gallows humor of the tag line he did. “Next Issue: Oh. Right. Never Mind.” Salutes K. Giffen and all others who still believe that comics should be fun.

  5. Lia

    That’s a shame. I don’t care for Waid’s work on the Flash (no disrespect intended, I just don’t like it for a variety of reasons), but it obviously would have made people happy.

      1. Lia

        That’s definitely part of it, but there are a bunch of reasons. For one, I don’t like Wally much (sorry guys, please don’t kill me) and I thought Waid made him really unpleasant. I also didn’t enjoy the romantic melodrama with Wally and Linda that infused a significant chunk of Waid’s run — all that “you are my anchor” stuff just leaves me cold.

        And then Waid did things like killing off Golden Glider off-panel for no readily apparent reason, and then when someone called him on it on Usenet, he said (and I quote) “And who the hell CARES about Golden Glider, anyway?” That sort of thing really leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I know Mr Waid is a good person and I wish him no ill-will, but I really don’t care for his run on the Flash.

        Anyway, now I’ve made myself the most unpopular person on the site. Sorry :>

  6. Realitätsprüfung

    Mark Waid seems like a standup guy, but also a smart one – I suspect he’s aware that detailing his issues with DC management publicly would probably move him down their list of favorite people to call. At least with regards to Flash.

    Which is a shame; I’d love to see another story from, say, the pre-wedding era by him and someone like Paul Pelletier.

    But still, Brian Augustyn was a co-writer on the book with Waid for a long time, and is a fine writer too. So we might get a really good story anyway.

  7. married guy

    It’s the horrible schoolyard mentality rearing it’s ugly head again.
    Why the comicbook industry is like like baffles me. As a business, you should be utilising your assets, not overlooking them when they state their opinions.

    Making Bart the Flash WAS a monsterously HORRIBLE idea which tanked so hard, editorial saw no other option than to kill off the character and throw Wally back in, without thinking HOW they were going to do it.

    Waid saying it was a stupid idea is no big secret!!

    It would’ve been nice to see Waid writing Wally again. Maybe he could have given us the story why Wally HATES time travel so much. I’ve ben waiting for that story for more than a decade!

  8. married guy

    sorry about the typos, I’m in Melbourne at the moment and it’s 9 degrees. I can’t feel my fingers!!

  9. Savitar

    Waid saying that he’d take the assignment if offered it says quite a bit about the man’s character to me. Based on everything I’ve read, his last work on Flash was a horrible experience all the way around. So his willing to take another Flash assignment says a lot about his love for the character (which is why I love his original run on the book)

    Sadly, we won’t see this. Augustyn is a solid writer so hopefully this will be a good story.

    I too vote for more Jay love. The First, the Original, and one of the best costumes ever in comics.

    You see, I’m a FLASH fan, and that includes not only Jay, but also Barry and Wally. There is no separation in my opinion, just one Family, one Legacy, an idea DC seems to have forgotten of late.

  10. Esteban Pedreros

    I think some people are reading this post as “We hate DC because they didn’t get Waid to do the comic, and he was the only one I wanted to see”.

    IMHO, I would have preffered to see waid, but I’m only interested in the ’80s retroactive book because it’s one more book from Messner-Loebs and LaRoque, two people who don’t receive much credit for the work they did with the character.

    Waid wrote The Flash for most of the ’90s, it would have made sense to have him back, I am, or was, curious about why he wasn’t. Other than that, DC can do whatever they want. In most cases DC tried to put together teams of artists that had significant runs with each character on each decade. Some weren’t available, some are very dearly missed. Waid is alive and kicking and so are some of the pencillers he worked with.

    I guess that having Waid for that one-shot would have made wish even harder that Mike Wieringo wasn’t dead…

    Anyway. I’ll be buying the Grant/Breyfogle Batman and the Messner-Loebs/LaRoque Flash, maybe something else, but I wouldn’t bet on it.


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