Media Blitz!: Manapul and Buccellato Year in Review, Look Ahead at CBR

In addition to the solicitation and cover for issue #15, today brings a new interview with Flash scribes Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato at Comic Book Resources.  Looking back at the past year on the title, which climaxed in last month’s Flash #12 and Flash Annual #1, the duo discuss the many-faced challenges of ushering in and keeping pace with the Fastest Man Alive.

Media Blitz! features highlights from recent Flash news items. Follow the jump for personal revelations, a nuts-and-bolts look at the cast of the New 52 Flash universe and a possible timetable for the culmination of this team’s Flash run.

On the success of and workload involved with the first year of Flash:

Francis Manapul: It’s been creatively fulfilling, but it’s been physically taxing. The only parts [of this book] that I haven’t been a part of are printing it, stapling it and running it to the stores. I have never had this much involvement in a book before, and it does take its toll physically. It’s one of those things, funnily enough, where we channelled it into the story. The responsibility that we have to do a book of this magnitude is very, very difficult, where we have to keep the quality high at the same time as we stick to the schedule. It’s probably been one of the toughest years of my life, professionally speaking.

I wasn’t expecting it to be this difficult and this intense. I’ve been pretty much living, breathing and eating “The Flash,” and it’s defined my life over the last year. It’s been challenging, but we just hope that the story that we leave behind can be considered a pretty epic run.

Brian Buccelato: It would be physically impossible for Francis to do 12 issues in a year because it does not take four weeks to do a book. That’s the reason we scheduled Marcus [To] to do two issues, because it’s physically impossible to do 12 issues in a year without dying.

FM: It’s been really rewarding. Brian and I put ourselves on the line physically and emotionally to get this book done every month. I have more white hair now than I did when I started this project. To say that we’ve put everything we have into this book is a huge understatement.

On “reimagining” Barry Allen for The New 52:

BB: I don’t think we needed to update him. If you understand the character and know the history of what Barry has been through, and know the great moments of his existence, just by doing that, you know where he is coming from. You know his point of view. Then, you just apply a modern sensibility to the point of view of a character that already has a way of thinking. We didn’t reinvent the wheel with Barry; we just brought him into 2011. Stories are more sophisticated than when he was created. Audiences are more sophisticated. Readers expect more because they’ve seen a lot more. We take that all into consideration when we decide how Barry is going to act and react.

FM: The interesting thing about Barry Allen is that I take a lot of my cues from the old “Showcase” books. What we both really like about Barry is that he has such a sense of pureness about him, especially as compared to the rest of today’s market. Everybody else is so edgy. We just felt there was a need for a very pure — I don’t want to say naive kind of hero, but he is one of those classic characters that you loved as a kid. He’s purely good. We wanted a character where people would say, “I want to be like that.” Something a little more classic from back in the simpler days.

On the “Speed Mind”, shown most recently in today’s solicitation:

FM: When we added that ability to his repertoire, people thought we were making him too powerful. But in effect, we were actually giving him a bigger weakness. It comes with an inability to really process that much information. A normal human brain can only process so much before it freezes up. With Flash, we’re exaggerating that with all the possibilities and options that he has, there’s only so much you can do physically. And when you’re overwhelmed mentally, you’re bound to freeze.

Essentially, what we were trying to answer was, “How do you stop the fastest man alive?” By getting him to not move. That was a by-product of the question that we asked ourselves.

BB: In “The Flash” #3, he doesn’t freeze up because he doesn’t know what to do, he freezes up because his mind is moving so fast, he thinks he’s reacted already. The problem with using the speed-mind is that he is untrained, and maybe he’ll never be able to master this skill. If he lets it go for too long, he loses a sense of what’s real and what’s in his mind. But it is a great power.

CBR asks how long their run will be:

We’re starting to hear about some creative shifts on the different New 52 titles. Do you have long-term plans to stay with “The Flash?”

BB: We’re on the book for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to jump off.

FM: We said two years, and we’re going to try and stick to that. It may be a little longer, and it may be a little bit shorter.

BB: Talk to us after “The Flash” #00 [double zero] comes out. [Laughs]

For much, much more, including the changes made to (Golden) Glider, the demotion of Captain Cold, Barry Allen’s relationship history and the “death” of the Barry Allen identity, go to Comic Book Resources now!


2 thoughts on “Media Blitz!: Manapul and Buccellato Year in Review, Look Ahead at CBR

  1. Savitar

    Interesting answer about the Speed Mind and how it affects Barry’s grasp on reality. I’m still unsure about this new ability but I’m willing to see where they take it.

    There’s no denying their commitment to this title and character. It shows on every single panel of every single page. Here’s to hoping they’re on for the long marathon.

  2. Owen

    I completely agree with Savitar. My first reaction when I read the original article was “WHAT!?! They are planning on leaving after only two years?

    Before anyone feels the need to point this out, I am well aware that this is an unreasonable reaction 🙂 However, it did tell me quite forcefully how much I have bought into their storytelling abilities, and the story that they are telling.

    I would really love them to have a long time on the book. I would really love to see them doing the celebratory issue 50, by which point they will have defined the characters and the Gem Cities for as long as this version of the DCU continues.

    Rock on!


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