took it back to
"Here's a guy who runs fast, and he's really cool."
[T]hat really is all there is to say about the Flash
when you're a little kid.
Letís see here. I have a few questions for you. I came a little bit early this morning and read FLASH. So Iíve kind of got a jump on you there, I hope.
[Laughs.] I didnít realize that it was just out, Ďcause I got a copy of it about a week and a half ago. Is it just out in the stores today?
Just came out today, actually.
Right.It came from Diamond yesterday, and weíre getting ready to start selling Ďem like crazy today.
Great! We actually got a really nice boost up in sales. Like, sales went up by 15,000 for the book.
Which is really good, you know, Ďcause we were terrified we were going to f-#*! up Markís book for him.
You know, Mark said, "Look after this for a year," and we were terrified of giving him it back with 10,000 sales or something. [Laughs.]
O.K., let me ask you a couple of questions about FLASH.
Sure. Yeah.First of all, Grant Morrisonís your writing partner on FLASH, and he has a well-documented fascination with the character.
Do you have any kind of attachments to the Flash like that, that go back a long way?
Well, I love the Flash ... I think for the same reason Grant had, that comics were very poorly distributed in Britain in the Ď70s, when we were growing up. Iím about ten years younger than Grant, you know, but we— Comics in Britain tend to be in stores for a very long time; you would maybe get an issue of a comic, and then youíd have to wait four years for the next part of it or something. The distribution was really bad before we had comics stores here.
And one of the few comics that you sort of got every month was SUPERMAN and THE FLASH, so we grew up with these guys being our favorite characters. I think for me, Superman actually is my favorite, and the Flash is, you know, a close second or third. I know Grant, thatís his number-one character, [the Flash], but Iíve always loved the Flash too. You know, just the fact heís a Justice Leaguer and he and Superman shared Cary Bates as a writer through the whole time I was reading all of it. [Iíve] a real affinity for the Flash; I really enjoyed it.
And Iíd lost that, really, post-CRISIS. But what I did was I started picking up Mark Waidís FLASH about three years ago—well, actually, when I started getting them sent by DC—and I rediscovered my love for the Flash again. Itís like Markís job on it was so fantastic that I actually went to my local comics store and I bought every one heíd ever done—went back and got them all Ďcause they were so good. Mark did such a great job on it.
Markís FLASH has been very popular. Whatís your favorite thing about Markís FLASH?
I think whatís really happening now is—
You know, I kind of split comics ages up, and itís like thereís four categories. I think weíre now entering the Fourth Age of Comics. The Golden Age ran from Ď35 to Ď55 approximately. The Silver Age was Ď35 to Ď75, and I think Ď75 to Ď95 was really what could be called the Dark Age.
And, you know, it had its good and bad points. The peak of it was probably in the middle of it, where you had WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT and everything. And then the crap really came out as the comics recession happened. You know, the comics recession was caused really by the amount of terrible comics, where people [were] dwindling with ideas, exactly the same as what happened at the end of the Silver Age and the Golden Age—just people run[ning] out of ideas before the next big wave came along.
And I think KINGDOM COME precipitated the entire new wave of this one—you donít know what an age is called until itís finished, you know?—but this new one was entered about Ď95. For me, I think KINGDOM COME and THE FLASH were the kind of harbingers of it, and what really has happened in this age is the heroes have been stripped ... back to what makes you like them in the first place. So where you had all sorts of ridiculous storylines with top characters for so long, Mark took it back to "Hereís a guy who runs fast, and heís really cool." You know? And [laughs]—that really is all there is to say about the Flash when youíre a little kid.
Mark just really gave you that wide-eyed wonder, that optimism that you had when you read these books. And I think Grantís applied the same strategy to JLA. And Iíve tried to apply the same strategy to Superman. Heís the worldís greatest super-hero; JLA are the worldís greatest super-team, you know?
And I think, more than anything, Mark taught everyone that these guys are great. Donít be embarrassed about it; just strip it back to what it is, and that is so cool in itself. You donít have to give him a black costume; you donít have to give him a grim expression: He runs fast. Heís cool.