CCI: Geoff Johns on "All Flash"

Sun, July 26th, 2009 at 7:28am PDT

Comic Books
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer
32

"Flash: Rebirth" #6 is not the end for Geoff Johns and Barry Allen's partnership

Superstar writer Geoff Johns has become synonymous with Green Lantern since he revitalized the character with Hal Jordan’s “Rebirth” in 2004. And even though he’s just launched the lantern-fueled mega-series “Blackest Night,” moving forward, he’ll be channeling his inner speed force as it’s about to become all Flash, all the time.

Not only is Johns writing the bestselling “Flash: Rebirth” miniseries, which features the return of Silver Age icon Barry Allen to the DCU proper, days before Comic-Con International it was announced he was also scripting and executive producing a Flash movie for Warner Bros.

If that’s not enough Flash for you, Thursday he announced he would be writing “Blackest Night: Flash,” a tie-in miniseries to his mega-series that will be illustrated by long-time collaborator Scott Kolins.

And this weekend DC revealed he’s also writing a “Flash” ongoing series after “Flash: Rebirth” and “Blackest Night: Flash” are complete.

It should also be noted that in conjunction with the most recent announcement, DC announced Sterling Gates, Johns’ long-time assistant who is now writing “Supergirl,” will be working on a “Kid Flash” ongoing, as well. No artist was named for either project.

CBR News spoke with Johns from the convention floor to catch up on all the Flash news, and he shared exclusively the title of his first arc on “Flash” is ‘The Dastardly Deaths of the Rogues’ and that all the Flashes in the Flash Universe will be major players in the book.

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CBR News: Geoff, speedster fans must be reveling in all this Flash news. On top of all your other projects, now you’re writing a “Flash” ongoing too.

Geoff Johns: Yes, It’s very exciting. I can’t say much just yet but I’m writing the “Flash” monthly, and it will come out after “Blackest Night: Flash” and “Kid Flash” by Sterling Gates will come on the scene after that. We’re going to be working in unison like Pete [Tomasi] and I work on “Green Lantern” and “Green Lantern Corps.”

We’re going to slowly dive into the Flash universe. And no one else knows this yet but the title of the first arc in the “Flash” monthly, ‘The Dastardly Deaths of the Rogues.’

Can you say whether it will feature Barry or Wally?

I don’t want to spoil “The Flash: Rebirth,” but all the Flashes in the Flash Universe will be major players in both Flash books.

I love working on The Flash. He’s my favorite character. And working on the movie and working on the comic at the same time is a dream come true for me.

The other project you announced this weekend was “Blackest Night: Flash.” When you were developing “Blackest Night” as a maxiseries, was a Flash tie-in series always in the plans?

Yes. It’s always been part of the project. There’s so much you can do with “Blackest Night” and the Black Lanterns. If we were going to explore other characters, it was going to be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, JSA and Titans. And so I always knew Flash was going to be a part of it. And I knew Scott was going to do it. We have a lot of dead Rogues and a lot of live Rogues, and Flash has to fight them, so it should be fun.

And by Flash, are we talking Barry Allen or Wally West?

It’ll be Barry and Wally. This will really focus on their relationship. We’ll also see some other speedsters. And there’s a new speedster, who will be joining the Flash family in “The Flash: Rebirth” too.

A new character to DCU all together?

I don’t want to say what. I’ll just say a new speedster.

You and Scott obviously have a special bond. I mean, you always have a great relationship with the artists you work with, Ethan [Van Sciver] and Ivan [Reis] and Dale [Eaglesham] and Gary [Frank] and all the others, but you and Scott, appear to anyway, to feed off one another. Is it the character of Flash that you both love? Or just similar takes on storytelling? What is it that makes Scott such a perfect fit for you?

I think for me and Scott, it goes deeper than that. Scott and I started off together. We started off working on “Stars and Stripes.” So we did issues of “Stars and Stripes” and then we did “Flash” when nobody else wanted to do it. They said, “You and Scott are following Mark Waid.” And it was going to be a disaster. But we did our own take and our own spin and took Flash in a different direction, especially with the Rogues and Keystone and everything else.

With me and Scott, it’s almost like a childhood friend. It’s a different kind of bond, and I think with the Rogues, and Flash in particular, we’re just extremely comfortable together in that universe. We’re really happy to be working with those characters and we feel like we helped usher in those characters and again, especially with the Rogues.

We actually first worked together when I first got into comics. So there’s just something special about working with Scott.

In “Blackest Night: Flash,” it’s the Rogues versus the Black Lantern Rogues and Flash is caught in the middle. And Captain Cold will be facing off against Black Lantern Golden Glider. And Scott can do that. Scott can excel at that. There’s just something about working with Scott that’s just really a lot of fun and kind of magical for me. I love working with Scott Kolins.

When you were plotting “Blackest Night,” were the dead Rogues characters that immediately came top of mind as possible Black Lanterns?

Absolutely, because there are so many dead ones. You’ve got Mirror Master, you’ve got Trickster, you’ve got Captain Boomerang, you’ve got a lot of dead Rogues and a lot of speedsters too.

How long did you know that you’d be bringing Barry Allen back to DCU? Does it date back to when you were planning “Green Lantern: Rebirth”?

No, it was after that, but it was at least two or three years ago now. “The Flash: Rebirth” actually takes place before “Blackest Night.” You can see the differences in Barry between “Flash: Rebirth” and “Blackest Night.” But how he gets there and why is in “The Flash: Rebirth.”

What’s the reader reaction been like in San Diego? Have fans been positive about the return of Barry? Any negative feedback from Wally fans thinking maybe he’s not getting the attention he deserves?

It’s been really positive. I’m really happy with the feedback I’ve been getting on both “The Flash: Rebirth” and “Blackest Night.” But Flash in particular, because people are just really excited about The Flash and what’s happening with The Flash. And that’s for all the characters – Barry, Wally, Bart, Max, everybody.

It’s really exciting and I feel like we’re just getting started on The Flash. We have all this stuff coming out with the Rogues, Gorilla Grodd, we have plans for everybody. It’s great stuff. And obviously, the Flash movie I’m working on too. We’re just at the starting line and taking off. Green Lantern has a lot of heat and a lot of discussion and a lot of everything and I think Flash is next for that level of excitement.

And really, that’s where you’ve always placed Green Lantern and Flash, right there with the Trinity – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

Greg Rucka said something yesterday that was really profound. And I thought he was right. It’s not the Trinity. It’s Flash, Green Lantern, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Those are the Big Five. And I don’t think you can say it’s just the Trinity any longer. I think over the next couple of years, Flash and Green Lantern are going to graduate to those huge iconic roles. I think Green Lantern already has, for sure.

Can you share any details about the Flash movie you’re writing for Warner Bros.?

I can’t really get into the movies too much. I’m sure we’ll be getting into more of that later as the information rolls out but for now, a lot of the elements I’ll be playing with moving forward, will be reflected in all the work I do there.

Because I have to ask, does the movie feature Barry or Wally? Or both?

All I can say is that you know what I’ve done. The “Smallville” episode with the Legion last season gave you a tiny taste of the kinds of elements I’ll bring in to a live action project. And I’m obviously bringing everything I can from the Flash mythos into what I’m working on with the film. It’s definitely Flash. Everything you love about Flash and everything that is vital to Flash. It’s a culmination of everything that I’ve worked on in Flash and the stuff that I’m about to work on with the Flash.

One more question on the movie before I let you go. Does the Flash movie you’re working on exist in the same universe as the Martin Campbell-directed Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds?

Again, unfortunately, I can’t say too much just yet, but if you’re a DC fan, it’s all very, very positive. All the stuff that Warner Bros. is doing, that Jeff Robinoff is leading, it’s all for DC fans. They’re going to be so happy. Paul Levitz and Gregory Novak are really working with everybody and everything that DC is doing is trying to take it to the next level and I think that’s where it’s going.

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TAGS:  cci2009, geoff johns, flash, barry allen

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