Because I’m sure you didn’t think I’d go after Fear Itself and leave this alone.
Last week’s Comic Shop News did their usual “this will be the awesomest thing ever!” article on Flashpoint. (Actually, they were right about Stargazer, and most of their other love pieces are still less biased than the late, unlamented Wizard magazine.) This time Cliff Biggers translated an interview Vanenta Rogers did with Geoff Johns into an article. I decided to track down the original interview for context sake. So let’s see how the latest universe-shattering event that will alter the DC Universe until next Wednesday when the next universe-shattering event that will alter the DC Universe comes out is pushed on us.
“The first rule about Flashpoint,” the writer told us this week, “is don’t talk about what happens after Flashpoint.”
If I had a time machine I would stop Fight Club from ever being made, just so I wouldn’t have to hear this lame joke ever again!
– Johns says his mini-series is the “most accessible event I’ve ever done,” saying there is no other comic necessary to read before or during his story.
– The writer has been working on the concept for years.
Is there some rule that every mini-series has to say this? “Working on the concept for years.” As as far as not needing to read anything else, Fear Itself says the same thing, and in both cases I’m going to wait for the Linkara review.
Want to know more? So did we. Newsarama talked to Johns and bombarded him with Flashpoint questions, hoping the tight-lipped creator would share more about this summer’s DC event.
They’re not going to tell you anything that hasn’t been cleared. Every news service and gossip program does this, to the point where it’s embarrassing. THEY WANT TO KEEP THEIR JOBS. Remember, this is DC Comics, the company that changed the ending to Armageddon 2001 when the news leaked as to who Monarch was supposed to be…and that was before the internet as we know it today!
Newsarama: Geoff, the concept of Flashpoint is new to most readers, since we’re just hearing about it, but you’ve been working on this quite awhile, haven’t you?
Geoff Johns: I really have. I came up with the idea behind it when I was fleshing out Barry Allen a long time ago. Andy and I have been talking about it and working on it for a long time. Andy’s already cruising through issue #4 out of 5.
Nrama: You guys are that far ahead? Readers will be relieved to hear there’s little possibility for delays.
Johns: You know, I hate to talk about schedules, because as soon as you do, something happens to completely mess things up. But as of right now, I’m about to start the script for issue #5, so I’ll be on the last issue before the first issue even hits. And like I said, Andy’s drawing issue #4 right now, out of five issues.
I included the schedule talk for the heck of it. “Andy” is Andy Kubert, a rather famous classic comic artist. The part I want to point to is “I came up with the idea…when I was fleshing out Barry Allen”. We know Johns is more than ready to take an idea he had in high school and use it regardless of whether it makes sense. We also know he, along with his partner in crime Dan Didio, have wanted Barry back at least since they arrived at DC. Make of that what you will.
Nrama: Let’s talk about the beginning of the Flashpoint concept. One thing that stands out about this mini-series is that so many writers are involved. Even editors are writing some of these tie-ins.
Oh, the comments I could come up with thanks to that last sentence. It’s followed up with both the interviewer and interviewee talking about how everybody wanted to be part of this project because it was sooooooo good. That brings up images of the actor who says “I never wanted to be involved, but an opportunity to work with this director/producer? I just had to take it.” I’ll only believe that when they’re talking about Mel Brooks, and even then there was the animated version of Spaceballs. Man, what a black mark on my favorite Brooks movie. (None of you are surprised I picked that over Blazing Saddles or The Producers, are you?)
Nrama: When these other writers got involved, was it a matter of you telling them the story that they could write? Or were these their ideas?
Johns: A lot of it was ideas they had about exploring the world beyond what I could tell in the pages of Flashpoint. My mini-series really centers on a core group of characters in this world, and a lot of the other ones come in and out. And then there were so many glimpses of other characters that could be explored, and there was an opportunity to look at what changed them and why. And I think that was what was enticing to so many people.
The tie-ins aren’t just, like, “look, so-and-so is this way.” It’s exploring “how did they get there, and why?” That’s the idea that drove a lot of the people who are involved. What would happen to make a hero in our universe go this far?
I hope they’re doing something to keep the continuity straight, like Marvel is supposed to be doing with Fear Itself. Otherwise this will make Countdown look like 52.
Nrama: How is it all being coordinated?
Johns: Eddie Berganza‘s really the coordinator of this one. He did Blackest Night as well. Because it’s so vast, there’s a lot of coordination happening. I work with Eddie and Rex Ogle, and there are a lot of other editors involved, like Brian Cunningham and Pat McCallum. A lot of people.
Anyone who went through the quazi-zombie story please tell me if this answers my question and how?
Nrama: You keep saying “world” and not universe, and there are a lot of guesses about what would create a place where so much has changed. On the surface, this seems to be an altered timeline by someone messing with the past. Would you call this a time travel story?
Johns: Um… it’s hard to say. In a way, it is. It really builds off what we’ve done in both The Flash and Rebirth, and it comes full circle to that.
Ah, the story where Barry is now the source of the famous Speed Force, and thus the source of every speedster’s powers while at the same time telling us that Barry couldn’t become a hero because of growing up with proper values and love of a superhero but because his father was falsely accused of killing his mother, none of which was EVER part of Barry’s story. Do I have to say anything?
Nrama: Solicitations have indicated that Booster Gold knows the Flashpoint world isn’t his own. The concept behind an altered timeline goes right along with his series. Did you think of him all along as someone who could be involved in Flashpoint?
Johns: Yes, that was the one book that I knew would be tied into the mini-series. I knew [Booster Gold creator] Dan [Jurgens] was coming back [to write and draw Booster Gold], and I talked to him a lot about this story. It just felt like he’s the natural person to have be involved in this, and that his book would just fit right along with it. If you’re going to tie in anything, that’s the book to tie-in.
Well, they can’t get everything wrong, if only due to the law of averages.
That was one of my goals. I think it makes it more fun to read. I think it’s fun to introduce some of these characters to people who don’t really know them. I think it’s fun to explore them in totally different way. And it also just shows how capable and powerful these other characters are.
Look at Mera, before Blackest Night and after. She’s in a totally different place.
. . .
But you know, it isn’t just attention. What I mean is, you can’t force people to like characters by just throwing them in the spotlight. You see people try to do that and it just doesn’t work. (One of my problems with Wolverine-SWT)
What I like to do is take characters that I love, characters that I already have a passion for, and concentrate my effort there. Whenever I wrote my top favorite characters down, on the list was some of the top characters, but there were a lot of obscure characters too. I want to share the passion I have for these characters. And I think the only way to elevate characters is to pick the ones you love. Pick the ones you have ideas for, that you have stories for, that you know and have an emotional core for.
You see why they could be bigger and relatable. You take all that potential that you see and you try to lock it into the story that people are reading. I think that’s the real key to getting these characters out there.
I really don’t have a problem with taking characters you like and trying to create more fans, I really don’t. In fact, I encourage this so long as we don’t get into Wolverine or Grimlock levels of pet character worship. It’s the tearing down of other people’s’ favorites, like the Legacy Characters or Dr. Light (villain version) that piss me off.
Nrama: Will we see things in Flashpoint that clarify other things we’ve seen in “our” universe? I’m thinking specifically of mysteries we’ve seen about Abin Sur’s past. Since he’s still alive, would those mysteries be answered in Flashpoint?
Johns: Yep. Yep. Part of the fun of Flashpoint is not just to explore this world, but to explore the details of why things went the way they went. The stories behind these characters, and why they went different places.
Nrama: And because of that, you might see some “whys” revealed from the past in the “regular” DC Universe?
Because this is the guy you want exploring the past of the DC Universe and explaining things. The guy who needed to explain Barry’s bowtie, why he was a hero, the origin of the Speed Force, who Superboy’s “actual” baby daddy is, and why Dr. Light (villain version) went from the happy rapist to a big goofball.
Nrama: Is Wonder Woman’s anomaly that she’s experiencing right now at all linked to Flashpoint?
Johns: Um… you’ll have to read Wonder Woman.
Dodging a Flashpoint spoiler, or not willing to give JMS or his replacement on Wonder Woman a way out of the hole that title has dug? You decide.
Nrama: We saw June solicitations, and it alleviated some fears people had about whether this event would halt other comics, particularly in the Batman universe. Will the structure we saw in the June solicitations continue that way?
Johns: Yeah. We didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the other books. We didn’t need to.
I just wanted to end on a high note, because there’s little in “high notes” (ignore drug joke here, because that’s a huge insult) about this interview.
- “Geoff Johns Cancels Flash As Part Of Flashpoint? What’s Next For Barry?” and related posts (insidepulse.com)
- The Weekly Wrap-Up:The “Road To Flashpoint” has potholes. (bwmedia.wordpress.com)