For the past decade, DC has gifted me with multiple incarnations of The Flash: JLU, Young Justice, The Batman and now a live-action version. But my reason for liking The Flash is more than a childhood fascination for a man in red tights – it’s out of pure respect for him as a character.
I was raised in a small town, was a hyperactive gamer, and loved to talk a person’s ear off. Then, in 2003, I caught my first glimpse of him. He sped across the screen at Mach-2, dodging every hit, every shot, but never missing my eye. I’m talking about the scarlet speedster, the sultan of speed, the savior of DC – The Flash.
The Flash has one of the most tragic origin stories in comics, even compared to Batman. When Barry was a young boy, his father was accused of killing Barry’s mother. The Flash grew up an honor student, got a job as a CSI, and became a symbol of hope to his city. In the CW show, The Flash is an amazing interpretation of how the comics handled the character, but this isn’t why I came to obsessively watch the CW series.
A Flash of Inspiration
For almost a decade, I’ve been writing comic manuscripts. One of my stories focuses on a group of teenaged superheroes, with the leader of the group named Kid Blurr, a speedster just like The Flash. But for me to even understand how Blurr would work, I had to learn how Flash worked. So, I dedicated an entire year to learning everything about The Flash, Barry Allen, Wally West, Bart Allen, the Speed Force, and DC Comics as a whole.
Writing nearly 10 years of comics and creating almost 200 unique characters was fun, but I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted to see the words come to life. Then, three years ago, the bomb dropped – Flash would be getting his own TV series based in the “Arrowverse.” This was a monumental event for me. The introduction of a major DC character showed that Warner Brothers and DC Comics were dropping Christopher Nolan’s infamous character embargo that kept characters in the movies from appearing on TV. The Flash (Grant Gustin) and his friends at S.T.A.R. Labs protect their home of Central City from legendary members of the Rogues, who are also the main villains from the Flash comics.
Bringing the Comics to Life
With my favourite hero now on the small screen, I could see everything he did in the comics in live action. No more imagining how he’d look running through a wall. No more trying to figure how the Reverse-Flash would be if he existed. It was all there; it was all there for me to reference my work. In areas where I fell short, I could look to the show and strengthen what I lacked.
In similar fashion, if the show failed to push through a plot or character, I would create a similar instance and add where the show could have improved. I am lucky to have friends who enjoy what I do and share their thoughts and ideas on the changes, so I’m not completely writing in the dark.
Staying Close to the Source
The Flash TV series has been successful because the writers stick to the source material, something DC/WB doesn’t often follow through with. I love The Flash because of his origin story and the type of person it makes him. The show has given us a faithful representation of that inspiring story. It’s that connection to the comics that keeps me and millions of other fans glued to the screen the moment Barry and his team show up. That connection inspires me to continue writing.
Flash is my hero because I saw his potential long before he had his own TV show. I wrote a comic where my main character is a speedster; the main power was to run fast. He forces writers to think and be creative with how they use him. He’s gone from stopping cars to traveling between dimensions – that’s a huge leap.
His show introduced me to a new type of realism that could only help me be a much better writer. Superman inspires people to be the best they can be, but The Flash tells everyone that we’re human. When we make mistakes, we need to keep running.