With a superheroic slate of projects in both the TV and comic book worlds, writer/producer Andrew Kreisberg may be becoming as swift a multitasker as Barry Allen.
Coming off of his success as executive producer on The CW’s highly regarded “Arrow” and segueing into a similar role on the network’s just-about-to-launch spinoff series “The Flash,” Kreisberg’s facility for bringing fresh life to some of DC Comics’ most enduring superheroes has also extended to the comic book realm itself, with stints on titles including “Green Arrow & Black Canary,” “Justice League of America’s Vibe” and “Batman Confidential.”
Kreisberg’s next projects will be both on the page and in pixels: he teams with “The Flash’ staff writers Brooke Eikmeier & Katherine Walczak and artist Phil Hester for “The Flash: Season Zero,” a digital-debuting series that bows in print on Oct. 1, and he collaborates with writer Ben Sokolowski and artist Daniel Sampere on the monthly “Green Arrow” title beginning with issue #35, also on sale October 1.
During an exclusive chat with Comic Book Resources during a presentation of “The Flash” pilot at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, Kreisberg unveiled his plans for both titles and threw in some thoughts about the Flash’s ever-growing television rogues gallery.
CBR News: Before we talk about “The Flash” TV show, tell me about the Flash comic book you’re working on.
Andrew Kreisberg: It’s called “The Flash: Season Zero” it’s definitely tied into the show — hopefully it’ll feel canonical, and at least in these early issues it’s really sort of like events that happen between the pilot and the second episode. So there’ll be fighting metahumans, but what’s fun about it is one of the early stories was actually something that was tossed out in the room by two of our writers, Brooke Eikmeier and Katherine Walczak, and it was something we knew we could never pull off on TV, despite all the amazing things that we do pull off, so the opportunity to do it a comic just made a lot more sense.
What’s the thrill of being able to do a comic book while also working in Hollywood?
I started reading comics, so we wouldn’t be standing here having this conversation if it weren’t for comics, so the notion that you’ve left that behind and you’ve taken it and the alchemy to me is sort of wrong. They should always be furling each other, and it’s part of the reason one of the “Arrow” writers and I have taken over the “Green Arrow” comic at DC: to bring some of what we’ve learned on the TV show and mix it with the comic book. As much success as I’ve had, the thrill of walking into Golden Apple or Meltdown or Hi-De-Ho and seeing my name on a comic, it’s just — I can’t explain it to my wife [Laughs] but it’s still just so cool.
Coming into the “Green Arrow” comic and seeing that even before that they started to incorporate a lot of elements that were derived from the TV show or were in the spirit of the TV show, taking that and now you get to take that and run with it — what’s been fun about seeing your TV creations integrate into the comic book and to be able to go and do more with that yourself?
It’s fun because in a way it’s sort of like its own crossover episode: you always like those episodes of “Star Trek” where the “Next Generation” group got together with the “DS9” group, and to have scenes that have Felicity and have Dig but also has Naomi and Fyfe and Emiko — the TV characters and the comic book characters and they’re all existing in their own way. It’s just fun. It feels like an all-star comic. And what’s also fun about it is that we also have Oliver in the comic book getting to interact with Bruce Wayne and with some of the other big DC Comics characters that we obviously could never do on the TV show. Watching Felicity get to be in a scene with Lex Luthor — that’s fun for us!
Anything specific about the plot or the villains you’re using that you want to tease?
We have a brand new villain that we’re introducing — The King, to Oliver’s Queen. And we’re really excited about that. We think that we have a really good story and I think we’re really excited for people who watch the TV show who’ve never read the comic to check out the comic, and then people who read the comic and for whatever reason haven’t caught on to the show — we love the idea of cross-pollination. And the Felicity that’s in the comic isn’t quite the Felicity that’s in the TV show — we were very clear in the beginning that we did not want to do an adaptation of the TV show. We wanted to do this new “Green Arrow” comic book that had an echo of the TV show, so it feels current and of its time.
For “The Flash” TV show, tell me about the rogues. Now that you’ve found actors to fit your vision of these characters, tick through some of them and give us a sense of what got you excited about them and the actors you’ve cast.
The hardest thing is that some of these characters have been around since the ’50s and ’60s, and they could very easily head into camp. And when you hire people like Wentworth Miller [as Captain Cold] and Dominic Purcell [as Heat Wave] and Rob Knepper [as Clock King], some of these outlandish comic book characters become very grounded and very scary and very real. I mean, with Wentworth, no pun intended, he’s just so cool — he’s so cool, like Clint Eastwood. He’s like an Old West gunslinger, and that’s sort of how we portray him. You’re only as good as your villain, and especially in movies, some of the Batman movies have had some of the greatest actors: Heath Ledger and Liam Neeson and Tom Hardy playing these villains and they really feel like threats. And sometimes on TV it’s harder to make that happen, and we’ve been so blessed on “Arrow” with John Barrowman and Manu Bennett, and on “Flash” on Episode Four we’ve got Wentworth Miller, and in Episode Five we have Clancy Brown [as General Wade Eiling]. So we just feel so blessed that we’ve been able to attract the kind of talent we have, because in addition to the visual effects, if you don’t have these amazing actors it’s just a cartoon.
“The Flash: Season Zero” #1 and “Green Arrow” #35 both arrive in October from DC Comics.