Earlier today we shared with you our exclusive interview with Arrow showrunner Marc Guggenheim on the new Arrow: Season 2.5 digital tie-in comic. And since Arrow‘s upcoming CW TV spin-off show The Flash arrives on October 7 (a day before the season 3 premiere of Arrow, as befitting the Scarlet Speedster of Central City) we’ve now got an interview with, yup, you guessed it — The Flash‘s showrunner, Andrew Kreisberg, on his digital tie-in comic, The Flash: Season Zero. Set between the events of the show’s first and second episodes, co-written by Flash writers Katherine Walczak and Brooke Elkmeier, and illustrated by Phil Hester, it looks to explore an even more colorful assortment of characters than those found in its TV counterpart (including a circus borrowed from DC’s Starman universe). Launching today via the DC Comics App, comiXology.com, ReadDCEntertainment.com, iBooks, Google Play, Kindle Store, and the Nook Store for $0.99, the first monthly print issue collecting Flash: Season Zero will debut on Wednesday, October 1. Check out our chat with Kreisberg and Walczak below.
Nerdist: For the uninitiated – and there will be many coming to the Flash for the first time through his TV show – how do you describe the digital comic?
Andrew Kreisberg: Basically it takes place after the pilot and before episode 2. We hopefully did a pretty good job by the end of the pilot of setting up Barry’s world and the world of the Flash – his allies both at the Central City Police Department and his “superhero” team over at S.T.A.R. Labs. For us, these are canonical stories that take place within the world of the Flash. But he’ll be facing off against villains that we wouldn’t necessarily be showcasing on a TV show, at least early on. So hopefully the comic book feels like an episode of the TV show with the same cast of characters. And there’s definitely gonna be little hints at things to come, and links to the TV show proper.
Katherine Walczak: The reason to read the comic is both to get your Flash fix when the TV show’s not on, and to enrich your relationship with the show. In the comics, we really give extras. But I don’t want to give anything away. [Laughs]
N: Will we learn about Barry’s backstory?
AK: Yeah. It’s sort of a tricky dance. We don’t want to take away from anything that’s gonna be happening on the TV show. But with Barry, these early issues of the comic book really focus on how he’s feeling about what’s happened to him. Barry’s always felt a little bit like an outsider, whether it’s because of his interest in science or what happened to his mother and his father. A lot of these early issues are focusing on how he’s feeling different and strange now. Which is why we have him going up against a coterie of circus freaks who were similarly changed by the particle accelerator explosion. Because in a way Barry himself feels like a freak.
N: Is it safe to assume you guys are taking advantage of the limitless storytelling budget comics offers to further explore the powers of Barry and his foes?
AK: A hundred percent. That’s actually half the fun of doing it. We get to do some truly amazing things on the TV show. Our visual effects people are really gonna blow people away with the things they’re able to pull off with a TV budget and TV schedule. As with any project, there are limits, whether it’s time or money. And there’s some crazy ideas we’ve had in the writers room that were like, “Oh, we can do that in the comic book!” Especially for the villains, just some of the set pieces — to be able to do some of these things is really exciting.
Photo of Andrew Kreisberg by Sophia Quach
N: Will the digital comic focus primarily on Barry, or will the show’s supporting cast also be featured?
AK: Oh, everybody’s gonna have a moment to shine. The overall emotional mythology in the first series’ run is focused more on Barry, but everybody gets their moment to shine. There’s only so much material that can go into a forty-minute TV show, and whether it’s humorous moments or quiet character beats, a lot of times, due to time, that stuff ends up on the cutting room floor. The comic book gives us an opportunity to include some of those moments and have some of those beats. A lot of ideas that are in the comic books are ideas that we would have put in the TV show but we couldn’t for whatever reason. So in a way it’s almost like getting a set of DVD extras of the scenes that were cut. Hopefully people who are watching the show and enjoying the show will look at the comic book and see that they’re getting extra Flash in reading the comic book; and that it’s not something that’s completely divorced from the TV project.
N: Can you talk about how you came to work with artist Phil Hester?
KW: Working with Phil Hester is tremendously exciting. We’re just happy that he wants to work with us. [Laughs] Because he’s always really taking the scripts we give him to the next level. The drawings of these characters that he does are amazing. He’s really gotten the tone of the TV show right. Which is something we wanted to do. It’s more colorful and lighter than Arrow, so his style really lends itself well to that.
N: One of the things that has fans salivating is the new superheroes who will be introduced on the show – like Robbie Amell’s Firestorm. You mentioned “hints” at things to come — will we get Easter eggs dealing with such characters in the digital comic?
AK: Oh yeah. The comic book’s gonna be filled with them. There are things that are mentioned on the TV show that will definitely be popping up in the comic book. Like I said, we have so many ideas. We are so excited by everything about the Flash, the world and all the characters and all the character relationships and all the villains and all the potential heroes. Again, there’s only so much that can fit into the TV show every single week. The comic book gave us the opportunity to tell stories that we wouldn’t normally tell on the TV show, but also have those little moments. Hopefully once the TV show airs and there’s mention of Easter eggs on the TV show you’ll see that reflected in the comic book and vice versa.
N: Thank you both very much for your time.
AK: Thank you so much!