Friday, August 26, 2011


In the aftermath of my previous post about Wally West… and the interesting reactions to it, I figured now was a good a time as any to explore the notion of creators reading forums, blogs and fan sites that focus on the materials they’re working on. Furthermore, I want to share my thoughts about using social media as a means of connecting to the fans.


After it was announced that Francis and I would be writing Flash, I started to check out fan forums @ CBR, Comic Bloc, and DC. Why? Because I was curious… I wanted to gauge the reaction of the Flash fan base. Despite being cautioned NOT to do so (by a few writer friends), I went ahead and started rooting around to see what “the people” thought. Across the board their was skepticism and doubt… peppered with some genuine wrath that DC would think to hand over the keys to Flash to a pair of literary unknowns. Was I surprised?

Absolutely not.

The response is pretty much what I thought it would be. Sight unseen, how could anyone really be FOR us? Most were dubious… some folks took a wait and see attitude… and a few were even cautiously optimistic because they love Francis’ art. No matter what the opinion, we never took it personally –


-- I must say that I wasn’t fond of those knee-jerk reactions that trumpeted certain doomsday, claiming Francis was an unreliable artist and incapable of meeting deadlines. Why? Because that just ain’t true. He’s a fully invested and dedicated artist / writing partner that has put his EVERYTHING into this re-launch. I can tell you this because I have seen it first hand. It is a fact. And for those keeping score… he’s currently finishing up the art for issue three. Sorry for the digression, but I just wanted to put that out there.

Back to my point…

Anyway, I never took any of those negative reactions personally. And I don’t think I ever will. We are all different people, with different experiences, interests, tastes and expectations. It’s a great thing when those elements line up and the masses respond positively to what someone has created… but no matter how many people dig what you are doing, there will ALWAYS be those that don’t. Some people will even HATE the eff out of your most beloved creative babies – the ones you labor over, birth and nurture into what you think is your finest example of creative expression. People will metaphorically spit on it, point out every perceived flaw, and dismiss your work in a host of ways.

And you know what… they have every right to.

That’s kind of the whole point, isn’t it? Setting aside the commercial aspect, art is meant to entertain… it’s meant to provoke an emotional response… it’s meant to be judged. At least that is MY understanding of what art is. SO even if the reaction to issue #1 is overwhelmingly negative… even if every Flash fan out there calls for our heads… at the end of the day I WON’T take it personally. I’m not gonna lie and say that I will be happy about it. I’m not going to sit there and say it won’t sting like hell and make me want to (momentarily) lash out at all those, “Jerks that wouldn’t know good writing if it fell out of their asses!” Hey, that would be my normal and fair emotional response. But ultimately, it would be just that… an emotional response to being judged. In this hypothetical doomsday scenario (I say hypothetical because EVERYONE is gonna love our Flash), it wouldn’t take me that long to get down off the ledge. Why? Because I get it.

SO… that is why I am fine with reading blogs, fan sites, and forums. I really do get it. I understand that for every fan offering to kiss the ground you walk on, there is another dude that would just as soon gut you like a fish. That’s just the way it is, folks. And if I want to write commercially, I have to accept that.

And if I didn’t, I would just scrawl my thoughts into a diary and lock it up so that NO ONE could ever see it -- unless they were able to break the sophisticated and nearly impregnable dairy locking mechanism.

Anyway, after all this rambling, I haven’t yet talked about social media, connecting WITH the fans (not just reading their opinions), and my willingness to be accessible to people and be accountable for what I put out into the universe. Looks like there’s gonna be a part two to this, kids….

It’s late. Sorry to cut this off (not short… it’s definitely not short)…



  1. I admire your honesty and willingness to be so involved with the fanbase. There are some writers/artists out there who'd rather stay more private. And that's cool too.

    You make a good point, of course. I like to sing. I've been singing for years, and I'm totally self-taught - no formal lessons. For shiggles, I posted a number of videos of me singing different songs on YouTube.

    Sure enough, there are just as many people who love my talent as there are people who flame the crap out of me (well, let's be honest, the majority is they love it :P). But, like you, I don't take it personally. Actually, I enjoy reading their hate - it's really amusing. I like to comment back and troll them on to continue showcasing their stupidity. But that's me.

    My point is - I know what you're talking about - you're absolutely right. And good for you for having thick skin. After all, you need it if you're bald. :P

    Great post. - David

    PS: After that "straightening out" over by the shed, my bald father and I worked things out, and that should be the last bald joke I make...unless provoked.

  2. I'll never quite understand the immediate "an artist is writing it? Oh no" response. I mean, sure, Tony Daniel's Batman didn't exactly thrill me, and David Finch's Batman... Well, I didn't read past #2.

    But John Byrne is the man who made Superman a character I like(d? Pending relaunch) and Frank Miller... FRANK MILLER.

    I have no clue what kind of writer Francis is or will be, and ditto for you, Brian... But I know if they hadn't let Frank try to write DD once upon a time... There never would have been Year One, or Sin City.

    As mentioned on your last post, I'm not buying Flash... But that has nothing to do with an untested writing team, and everything to do with, well, Wally. I have no clue if you guys will be great, or suck, or fall somewhere in between, but that snap judgment thing of "artist writing... ew" just doesn't make sense to me.

  3. As the self-proclaimed captain of Team Barry, I may be a bit biased...but I can't wait for 28 September. Crisis on Infinite Earths was the first comic I ever read, and as a young Flash fan it shattered my world. I read everything I could to try and rebuild it, including many of Wally's adventures. That being said, Barry will always be The Flash to me. Barry maintained a level of social awareness, be it consciously or subconsciously, during Wally's, and Bart's (who everyone seems to be discounting) run as The Flash. For everyone who references Justice League Unlimited as Wally's claim to the crown, consider the many years I watched Challenge of the Super Friends. Hell, 5 years into Wally's tenure, we had a Flash TV series starring Barry Allen. I don't say any of this to beat up Wally just, to Booch's original point, to remind everyone that Barry has more than earned his stripes and it's honestly his role to give up. That being said, once I saw what John's did at the end of Rebirth and heard his plans to make Barry the master of time, I hoped for a more traditional Flash book starring Wally and Iris as Impulse and a time-jumping one starring Barry. Now that we know that won't be the case, why can't we flip those roles? Let's give Wally the time-jumping book and bring Iris along for the ride. Like a Speed Force driven Doctor Who (and companion). And as far as alter egos go, don't we already have the perfect one for Wally lined up in Hot Pursuit? Make him a Keystone City police office and have him manifest the bike like he does his costume. Or create Wally's "Nightwing" and let us watch him become his own man again. We all loved doing it the first time.

  4. Well put, guys. I appreciate the efforts, guys.

    And I (perhaps foolishly so) remain hopeful that Wally will one day have his shot. And selfishly hope that Francis and I are the ones that get to bring him back into the spotlight (and NOT at the cost of Barry).

  5. As I was saying on twitter (@farwell3d), Brian, it's not anything personal. In fact, the art work that keeps rolling out on this book is fantastic, and looks likely to rival Batwoman for prettiest book in the DCnU. I know these decisions are above your pay grade. Hell, Francis told a friend of mine at FanExpo that "Dude. Everyone under 50 prefers Wally." I know you guys understand, and I want you to know I do understand it's not your fault.

    But I have no other method of voicing my opinion than through the wallet, and right now, for DC comics, it's simple: No Wally, no money.