This summer, DC kicks off Flashpoint, a line-wide alternate reality tale with The Flash at the center. We recently caught up Flash artist Francis Manapul and asked him what it's like to draw the Scarlet Speedster and what we can anticipate from DC's next big story.
How would you say drawing the Flash is different from illustrating other superheroes?
There are only so many ways you can portray a guy running — what makes it really interesting to draw the Flash is how you create that sense of speed. When you draw Batman, a large part of drawing him is the buildings and the architecture of Gotham and how that creates his motion. Similarly, a lot of drawing the Flash is portraying his environment.
What we're doing right now is a road to Flashpoint. Geoff Johns and I will be working on our Flash story during Flashpoint. We're currently working on the next storyline about [motorcycle-riding speedster] Hot Pursuit — he's a cop and I designed him with a very clean look.
What's difficult about designing new speedsters is that DC heroes are so iconic. With DC characters, whenever you change a little thing, it just looks wrong. We tried to keep his look simple and put all the design work into his motorcycle.
How would you sum up Flashpoint?
Speed. Family. Broken timeline. Pretty vague, but it's all there!
What is Francis Manapul's advice for breaking into comics?
I'm going to say really old when I say this, but when I first started out, the only way to find out how to break into comics was to read interviews with artists in magazines. But now, you can put your artwork online instantly. It's one of those things where if your stuff is good and you're constantly putting it out there, somebody's going to find it. You also have to be proactive, attend conventions, and constantly draw. The real question isn't "How do you break in?" It's "How do you become better at drawing?"
Manapul's artwork can be found monthly in The Flash and in The Dastardly Death of the Rogues graphic novel, which is out today. Photo by Joyce Wong.