The Flash creative team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato made the rounds again this week, popping up over at MTV Geek! and at Yahoo! Associated Content to talk about the science behind the new Flash series and its roots in the real world. The MTV article also included an exclusive look at Flash #5, which is located just below:
As mentioned in a related post on The Source by Flash editor Brian Cunningham, Flash is being touted by its creators as a “Googleable” series. Buccellato went into greater detail in the MTV Geek! interview:
Geek: Since superhero comics, as you know, are essentially based in an unreal world, how much of this is taking a real concept and pushing it beyond the real in some way?
Brian Buccellato: Personally, I like the areas where we can use real science to justify things that we want to do. We already have a result… Things like The Speed Force, you’re not going to find something in real science to explain it, so it kind of just is what it is. But regeneration, or cloning, in our world there are levels of that, and we can find reasons that are plausible, and use it in our story.
Its cool for kids, because if kids see a word… I know when I was a kid, if I saw a word I didn’t understand I would look it up, and now I would know something new. So for a kid to see a straight science term, and then want to know what it means, he can Google it – which is why we call it a Googlable series – and learn something new. It just adds to the reading experience.
Manapul cast the duo as researchers rather than amateur scientists:
FM: We’re by no means scientists, but we’re just trying to find logical things to solve our problems. We’re doing research. It’s part of writing. Sometimes we’ll find stuff, sometimes it’ll find us. There’s been weird moments where I’ve been watching Popular Science, or something like that, and I say, “Holy crap, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for.” Everything we’ve found has helped move the story forward. We certainly don’t try to fit something in that doesn’t help the main story points. You want to help it, but we still want it be grounded and real.
The two also discussed Mob Rule, and using him as a unique antagonist to “overwhelm [the Flash]”, and finding new ways to portray Flash’s powers and his own point-of-view:
BB: One of the things with Flash is that everyone knows he can run fast, so he’s got a unique set of problems when you’re writing that character… Because he’s so fast, your average villain can’t do much with him. You don’t want to repeat things that have been done before, so in our brainstorming sessions, we kicked around the idea, wouldn’t it cool if… It was intentional, we didn’t want to do what everyone has done with the Flash. We wanted to tie in cognition to the theme of the story. So I think it was very organic, but also a conscious decision to not rely on all the same old Flash gimmicks.
FM: Absolutely. One of the things Brian and I discussed when we were starting book was, we’ve seen his powers in so many different ways, but I really, really wanted the readers to see the world as he sees it… And Augmented Cognition was a great tool to be able to get that idea across.
The Yahoo! interviews cover much of the same ground, though Buccellato makes an interesting point about Flash’s role in the New 52 relaunch:
There’s a place in the New 52 for all kinds of books. I feel like the idealized hero is underrepresented. It’s one of the factors of where comics and entertainment have gone in the last 20 years or so. We’ve gone from the superhero to the tortured hero. Many of us have had enough of that. We’re in a different world now. This is an opportunity to take an iconic character and show what makes him great. We want hope and positivity.
Manapul ties together the two concepts of science and hope in the third part of the Yahoo! interview:
It gives you this feeling that, in spite the global situation, we can rely on hope and be optimistic that everything will be okay. I think that’s absolutely something we need to have in our book. You come away from some of the books that are out now feeling horrible. It just seems like everything is bad all the time. Obviously, in a continuing story things need to end that way. There’s still no reason why it shouldn’t end in a way readers can hope for a better tomorrow. We didn’t want a comic about what it would be like if there were real super heroes. We didn’t want that. We wanted a comic book that was about what we HOPE super heroes would be like if they were real.
Be sure to head on over to MTV Geek! to check out the interview with the duo, and the exclusive look at Flash #5.