Tag Archives: Paul DeMeo

50 Years of the Flash at Comic-Con 2006

Flashback Post from 3 years ago. Some of the stuff is old news about the launch of Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, but a lot of it is also a look at Flash history with a number of writers and artists who have worked on the character: Geoff Johns, Carmine Infantino, Mark Waid, Joe Giella, Brian Bolland, Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo.

I missed the first half of Saturday’s “50 Years of the Flash” panel because we missed the red line and got stuck waiting to transfer at America Plaza. The shuttle might have gotten us there faster (maybe even on time), but we were pretty sure they wouldn’t let us on with our coffee.

What I did see of the panel was still mostly retrospective, and mainly Mark Waid, Geoff Johns, and Danny Bilson. Carmine Infantino told a couple of stories (one of which he’d told at Thursday’s panel, about the “war” between him and Julius Schwartz: he’d try to draw ever-more-nasty cliffhangers on his covers, and every time, Julie would come up with a story to go with it. So finally he drew one with the Flash and the Golden Age Flash both racing to save some guy, and said, “There! Top that!” The rest, of course, is history).

After a while they started talking about the new Flash book. While the most common answer in the Q&A session was, “Wait and see,” Bilson and DeMeo did answer a couple of questions that I’ve seen people asking about.

For the “legacy pages” in the first two issues, they did a whole bunch of research, sometimes finding conflicting info. (They didn’t mention this one, but the issue of “Who named Impulse” is probably one of those cases.) Any changes in continuity are accidental, and not intentional.

The reason Bart’s acting so morose in these first few issues is that he’s got this problem to deal with, and once he starts to work through it, his impulsive nature will start taking over again.

I almost got the new #1 signed, but staff kept telling everyone to clear the room, and as near as I can tell, Bilson and DeMeo took a different exit than I did.

Bilson and DeMeo told a good story about how when they pitched the TV show, the powers that be wanted the Flash to be running around in a gray sweat suit. So they got Dave Stevens to design a suit and his rendering convinced them to go with it. Even then, the network resisted bringing costumed villains in until they showed it could work. And apparently what killed it wasn’t bad ratings, but network politics. Someone wanted his show, so he could get a better bonus. A real pity, as the second season opener would have been a two-hour special with the Trickster, Captain Cold, and Mirror Master—a Rogues Gallery episode.

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Catching Lightning in a Bottle…Again

Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #1In recent weeks I’ve come to realize that I’m voicing some of the same complaints about Flash: Rebirth that I saw other people voice about Lightning in a Bottle, the story arc which attempted to launch Bart Allen as the Flash after Infinite Crisis.

No, seriously. Here are some of the things I’ve found myself saying (paraphrased a bit):

  • I don’t recognize Barry Allen in this book. He’s so mopey. Where’s the Barry I remember?
  • Why do all these flashbacks contradict past stories? Didn’t the writer actually read any issues of Flash with Barry in them?
  • After reading a fraction of it, I’m not enjoying the new direction.

These are some of the problems I’ve had with this book, and yet it drove me insane to see people make the exact same complaints about Bart’s book just a few years ago. Not that I loved Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, I had some serious problems with it…but I was willing to give it a chance to settle in and see what it turned into after the origin story was finished.

So I’m trying to figure out: why does it bother me now when it didn’t bother me then? Why, 3 years ago, was I willing to wait 6 issues for Bart to lighten up when the writers said he would do so by the end of the story? Why, today, am I not willing to wait 6 issues for Barry to lighten up when the writer has said that Flash: Rebirth is about the rebirth of Barry’s humanity? Why, in 2006, did I compare a 6-part comic book structure with a standard 1-hour TV show structure, say that the first issue was basically the teaser…and point out that we hadn’t actually seen the new direction, and wouldn’t until the end of the 6-part story…when today I’m losing interest at the 3-issue mark?

I’m really not sure.

Maybe I cut Bart’s series some slack because I was expecting things to change since he was new to the role, whereas this time around, it’s all about putting Barry back in the spotlight, so I’m expecting things to be more familiar.

Maybe I was willing to forgive Danny Bilson and Paul DeMeo more because I knew they were new to writing comics, and could see that they were learning as they went.

Maybe it’s because I’d rather see Bart replace Wally than Barry replace Wally. As annoyed as I was that they chose to relaunch the book with Bart, at least they were moving the legacy forward. If you look at the Flash as a legacy, they’ve taken one step forward and two steps back in the last three years.

Maybe it’s just that after three years of watching DC mismanage my favorite character, I’m too bitter to cut the latest relaunch any slack.