As cowriter with Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn is one of the top creators in comics today. He helped make Flash one of DC's best-selling comics, and even helped bring a certain young, thought and planning challenged Speedster to the forefront of DC's teen heroes. What's in store for the speedsters of the DCU when he and Mark Waid return? Well, I'll let Brian tell you in his own words.
Sean: What first got you interested in comics, both as a hobby and as a career?
Brian: When I was seven, my parents used to go to a Chicago-area department store callled "Tops," and in a front corner of the place they had the standard 1960s kid-distraction set-up: the dime horse and rocket rides; the silent, black and white cartoon booths; snack bar and sno-cone counter; and...row upon row of COMIC BOOK VENDING MACHINES! Each of these machine held six comics, cover out, and there were SIX of these machines standing side by side--it was a wall of comics! 36 comics winking and smiling at me and issuing their siren call, how could I not be lured by such a heavenly sight?! The fact that both of my parents read comics as kids and thought them perfectly okay stuff for me made it even easier to develop my addiction.
As is probably typical, I realized when I was about eleven that actual people made those comics by coming up with the ideas and drawing the pictures. Soon after that satori, several friends and I started making comics for our school friends--one copy at a time--to be passed around. We produced something like eight issues of these giant 96 page anthologies, staring heroes we "created" (original stuff like "Bird-Man" and "Stink Thing"). We made up the stories, drew them and colored them by ourselves on folded typing paper--they were very crude, but we had a blast and were the heroes of our class. That was the first time I realized that making comics WAS a cool job, and I probably started wanting to do it about then. It only took about 20 more years to come true.
Sean: What was your first professional work in comics?
Brian: I edited and occasionally co-wrote an independant black-and-white comic known as "Trollords" back in 1986-87. That's the work that got me noticed by DC, first as an editor, later as a writer.
Sean: When are you and Waid returning to Flash?
Brian: With issue #142--the WEDDING OF THE FLASH AND LINDA!
Sean: What can you tell us about the big story arc you guys have in mind and will it feature ALL the major speedsters (Impulse, Jesse Quick, XS, Flash, Max, etc.)? Will any Flashes from the future be appearing soon -- like John or the guy from Secret Files?
Brian: The story arc is called "Chain Lightning," and it will run from issues 145-150 (ending in a double-sized aniversary ish). Issues 143 and 144 act as a prelude. It will indeed star all of the speedsters past, present and future--all the way to the thirtieth Century. We will be seeing John Fox, but also many more Flashes of the future than have previously been revealed. The story spans all the generations of the Flash legacy, tracking an ages old--and previously unknown--rivalry between the Flash lineage and a villainous family bent on revenge. Wally will move through the ages, and have one last adventure with a most logical, if unexpected, guest star--and face a deadly crisis across time itself! "CH" will explain a lot, define even more and change EVERYTHING for the man who wears the Flash lightning. It'll be great!
Sean: The Life Story of the Flash hinted as some pretty cool things happening soon for Wally. What's this about him having one last adventure with Barry and sacrificing his life to save the universe (from Secret Files)? And if he does, does he come back (especially since Iris made no mention of his death in the book)?
Brian: THAT'S the stuff I was referring to in my previous answer. It all comes--more or less--true in "Chain Lightning!"
Sean: When Waid returns to Impulse, will you be cowriting with him like on Flash and JLA: Year One?
Brian: Um...sorry, Waid ISN'T returning to Impulse. He never intended to. Bill Loebs has the assignment and is starting to do some interesting things with Bart and Max.
Sean: Will Arrowette be returning soon? An Internet rumor says that she'll join Young Justice. You thoughts?
Brian: I don't have a clue about that--but, from what I've gathered, I doubt that she'll be joining Young Justice. Bill might bring her back in Impulse, but who knows?
Sean: What's in store for Impulse? Life Story of the Flash hinted at some dark things to come for Impulse. What's this about an evil twin and Impulse losing a friend?
Brian: This stuff will happen in "Chain lightning." Evil twin is a gross over-simplification, though. It's something much more devious and original than that! As for losing a friend--you got me. I don't remember that converstaion. Maybe he and Preston go to the mall and get separated for a while...?
Sean: Since this site focuses on the teen heroes of the DCU, let's find out your feelings on some of DC's teens heroes?
Brian: Robin? Nice, smart kid. Needs to loosen up and have more fun.
Damage? Okay, lemme get this straight: when he gets excited he gets bigger and bigger...until he explodes? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha--talk about your subtle metaphors for adolescence!
Wonder Girl? Donna Troy was always cool, but I don't know much about the new kid. I'll check out the upcoming mini-series and get back to you.
Impulse? Hands down the coolest kid-hero around. though I may be a bit prejudiced on his behalf.
Jurgen's Titans? Sorry, I don't think I even know who's in this group.
Captain Marvel Jr.? I like Cap Jr. well enough, but imagine the hassle--he can't even tell anyone his name! "Yes officer, the crooks are tied up in front of the bank. Yes sir, I'm Captain Marv--KA-BOOM!
Sean: Why do you think teen heroes (especially sidekicks) are becoming popular again?
Brian: ARE they? The only thing I can think of is that readers are finally relating to characters closer to their own age--hence the popularity of "Gen 13" and "Generation X" and the like. Does this actually mean that all teen characters are popular, or only the cool ones from cool titles? I dunno...
Sean: Which comics or characters would you most like to have a chance to do?
Brian: I love Daredevil, always have.
Sean: Any future plans or projects we should be looking for?
Brian: I'm scripting "Crimson," the Humberto Ramos created teen-angst/vampire series from Wildstorm/Cliffhanger starting this May. Humberto's doing his best artwork ever, it's amazing!
I'm writing a bunch of one-shot cross-overs for Event: Painkiller Jane/Vampirella (in May, from Harris and Event); Painkiller Jane/Hellboy (in August); and Painkiller Jane/Darkchylde (in Sept). I'll also be writing an ongoing Jane monthly sometime later this fall.
And, of course, FLASH! Plus a bunch of stuff that's a bit too nebulous to discuss right now...
Brian, these next set of questions are coming from Scott McCullar's Unofficial Green Arrow Compendium at http://members.aol.com/scottroxie/index.html
Scott: Brian, most everyone I've talked to has really enjoyed the JLA: Year One series. For Green Arrow fans, this has been an extra bonus in getting the early tales of Oliver Queen as Green Arrow again with his new friends in the JLA. We love that the classic Golden Age/Early Silver Age outfit is being used in "Post-Crisis" Continuum history of the "early days". Thank you first of all. It is such a nod to the classic 1941-1969 era. Who had the idea to make sure you put Ollie in this set of threads with the clean shaven classic look?
Brian: I think we just DID it. Nobody insisted on any thing else.
Scott: You guys have given us the first Post-Crisis meeting of Ollie and Dinah (which was outrageously funny). Will we see more of the early relationship develop and a new history there in JLA:Year One or perhaps any other spinoffs with their love affair's beginning? Perhaps Ollie losing his fortune could be covered?
Brian: You'll see a teensy bit more between Ollie and Dinah, but not that much. We're trying to be true to the time, and their relationship really blossomed much later in JLA time. Ollie didn't lose his fortune until later either, so it wouldn't be part of year one. I'm glad you're enjoying GA's appearances, though he's been only sparingly used. He is important to DC history so we need to acknowledge that, but his is only a cameo role in YO. Given how little he actually appears, I'm glad you're enjoying it, and surprised you've discerned a bigger part for him than we think we've written. But, hey as long as you're enjoying it...
(I'm reminded of the story of the man who got a tiny walk-on role in a play as a janitor who sweeps up the street-scene set as the final curtain falls. When friends asked him what the play was about, he said; "It's about this janitor who cleans up the city..." There are no small parts, after all, only small players...)
Scott: Who had the idea to have Green Arrow "slum" along with the JLA? I hope to see his induction as a member and wonder if any of the classic JLA #4 material with the diamond tipped arrow would be used...
Brian: I can't say who thought of including GA, but his appearance was only natural given the time placement of our story; and his later importance to the team. Sadly, we won't be seing any of that other stuff, though we will hint at its immenence. Again, the GA innaugural story (and issue #4) fall just outside our year one time frame, happening just after the League's first aniversary. If we were doing a year TWO (we're not), GA's induction would be the first issue.
Scott: Personally, I really miss Star City. I understand why Mike Grell moved Ollie and Dinah out in the Longbow Hunters ten years ago for the realism, but I sure would love to see the city used again. I'm glad you guys are using it in the series. Star City has a personality of its own much like every other fictional DC City.
Brian: Our pleasure.
Scott: Can you tell us in the "Post- Crisis" history, has Dinah Laurel Lance moved to Star City to set up her flower shop and her new crimefighting career as the second Black Canary OR did she live here all her life where her mother, the Golden Age Black Canary, was a JSA crimefighter?
Brian: Gee, I have no earthly idea. I assume she's moved, since Gotham is her home town--isn't it? Waid knows this stuff better than I do, sorry...
Scott: In IMPULSE #28, we got to see another continuation of Green Arrow's past with the retired Miss Arrowette and her daughte making a very surprising guest appearances. The original Miss Arrowette was used in classic early 1960's tales of WORLD'S FINEST #118 & #134. Were you a fan of these classic tales?
Brian: I actually don't remember those stories, though I did read the GA stories in Adventure Comics and later in World's Finest. I liked them well enough, but didn't get that turned on--they were only like six-pages or something, not much to hang on to. I remember that they had pretty good art, though, Jack Kirby in the late fifties and Lee Elias in the sixties. I do remember always enjoying the more down-to-earth heroes like GA and Hawkeye, etc., for whatever that's worth
Scott: You answered questions of why the original Miss Arrowette retired and you made her a character that I now love to hate. Will we see either of these two return in IMPULSE or any other title?
Brian: I haven't answered any of these questions, I don't know anything about Arrowette, senior or junior. Tom Peyer's the guy that dug her up, and Bill Loebs is writing Impulse, maybe THEY know more...
Scott: I've read reports that there is a counter proposal for the JLA:Year Two series under considerations being discussed over the internet. Rumor has it that this would be a Hal and Barry tale. Can you confirm if that is a possibility?
Brian: There won't be a Year Two for the time being. A Hal and Barry story is being talked about, but nothing final has been decided.
Scott: If so, will it perhaps have Oliver in that? There are so many great early adventures that JLA:Year One has opened the possibilities for...
Brian: I don't think Oliver would be in a Hal and Barry story, but I'm not working on this deal, so I dunno... What you need (for reasons that I don't quite grasp) is an Oliver Queen-Green Arrow Year One--and I doubt DC will go there. On the other hand, I hear that new GA writer (filmaker) Kevin Smith will definitely return Oliver to the role, so...?
Scott: Here's my last question from the "Green Arrow" bombardment of questions, will the Mysterious Finacier of the JLA ever be revealed? My money is on Multi-Millionaire Oliver Queen.. <grin>
Brian: Are you reading the same Year One that we're writing?!<grin> You're getting so much more out of it than we're really aware of putting in. But hey, if you're having this much fun, far be it from me to say stop--knock yourself out! In answer to your question, though, all I will say is read the series to issue 12 and find out who the financier is!
Take care and keep reading--