By Jermaine McLaughlin
Life comes at you fast. Three years ago, Joshua Williamson was the fresh new voice chronicling the further adventures of Barry Allen in Flash: Rebirth for DC Comics. Almost 80 issues later, Williamson has most assuredly established himself as a part of Barry’s lore for years to come as one of the longest tenured writers on the character. This is a fact further cemented by elements of his run on the comics now making their way into live-action iterations of the Flash as well.
The Beat caught up with Joshua Williamson during New York Comic Con to reflect on his tenure so far, provide some teases for the future of The Flash, and touch briefly on working with his newest collaborator on Batman/Superman.
Jermaine McLaughlin: So did it really hit you how long you’ve been attached to The Flash when one of your characters, Godspeed, made the jump from your run to the TV Show?
Joshua Williamson: It’s strange, right? To know that I’ve added to this mythology is kind of magical. When you come on to these iconic characters, you want to add something, hopefully leave something behind, right? So to know that some I’ve know something I’ve adding made its way onto the show, it’s so surreal. I couldn’t even ever wrap my head around it. It tripped me out.
McLaughlin: How’d you find out it was going to happen?
Williamson: Somebody sent me a picture of the suit. I’m like “Great, that’s cool cosplay!” So they wrote back, “No, no, that’s going to be on the show!” And I was like “Ha. Yeah, sure.”
McLaughlin: So the really did have to convince you?
Wiliamson: For sure. But I’ll tell you the one thing that’s tripping me out. When I was a kid, I had this notebook where I would draw characters out and do bios on note cards, where I’d plot out my DC stories and Marvel stories. So of course I have a Flash villain that I created called Bloodwork. Years later, I tried to get him into the Justice League/Suicide Squad crossover we did and that just didn’t work out.
Two years ago, an opening presented itself in the Flash book. So after some redesigns by Neil Googe and Jim Lee, my character from when I was a kid is in the Flash for four issues. Jump to last spring, DC gave me a heads up: “Bloodwork is going be on the show.” I’m thinking, “Oh my God. Cool. So he’s the villain of the week.”
McLaughlin: When did you find out it was going to be a bit more than that?
Williamson: San Diego! So I’m at Comic-Con, and that Saturday they released the teaser trailer for season six. Who’s narrating the entire teaser? Bloodwork. How weird is that? He’s actually the villain for the whole first half of the season. Let me tell you, I have never texted people so fast in my life, saying LOOK AT THIS TRAILER!!!
McLaughlin: So bringing it back to the comic, what can we look forward to in the coming year as you continue your run (no pun intended) on The Flash?
Williamson: At the beginning of the year we do like to do one issue that says, “This is what the upcoming year’s about.” In the first year, we did the Annual to set up Flash War. The next year, we did another issue that set up Flash: Year One, and issue #88 will be our special set up point for the coming year.
McLaughlin: From there, where do we go?
Williamson: You’re going to start seeing some subplots from all the way back in issue one start to come together. Godspeed will be back. There’s also a villain we’ve been teasing since #50. I can say there were clues earlier than #50 about this new villain we’re bringing into the book. After that we’ll tease stuff in the Flash mythology going back years, even before I was in the book. You’re going to see all the signs start to build together.
McLaughlin: And that’s just the first half of the year?
Williamson: Yeah. The rest of the year, we’re dealing with the Flash Rogues. This Rogues storyline will build into some really big stuff I have planned for Barry next year. In this story, Barry is going to be confronted with trying to live up to the legend of The Flash, which is harder than you might think.
McLaughlin: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about how you ended up working with David Marquez on Batman/Superman.
Williamson: When we were developing Batman/Superman, I went to Brian Michael Bendis’ house and we started talking about artists for the book. He asked me who I would want to draw Batman/Superman. I showed him my list of artists, but I told him there’s one artist I wanted to work with, and that was David Marquez. But I told Brian, while I really want to work with him, I know that if he ever comes over from Marvel to DC, he would want to work with you first. Brian was like, “Not necessarily.” So the next day, Brian actually saw David (we all live in Portland), and asked if he’d be interested. He was like, “Hell yes!”
McLaughlin: So it came together that quick?
Williamson: Yup. David and I met a week after that. I went over his house after we put both of our kids to sleep. I went out to his house and sat down in his office. I told him, “Alright, I’m going to tell you everything. This is all the plans we have for next two years. This is how important this book is. I don’t want to do it without you. This is what it is.”
And right there he said, “I’m down. Let’s do it,” and it’s been great ever since. We text constantly; we throw ideas back and forth. He’s an awesome collaborator. He takes things from my script and escalates them. He improves upon the script. David is the best, and I’m so happy he’s on the book.