Burnett Runs with "The Flash" for Four Issues

With the floor buzzing at Wizard World Chicago that the "Green Lantern: Rebirth" superstar team of Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Scriver may be teaming up on DC Comics' "The Flash" sometime soon, four-time Emmy Award-winning TV writer Alan Burnett confirmed for CBR News that his upcoming run on the comic, announced in the September solicitations as beginning with "The Flash" #244, lasts only four issues.

And with bees swarming on the solicited cover and the ominous title for the story arc of "This Was Your Life, Wally West" hanging overhead, Burnett wasn't sharing much else about the Paco Diaz-illustrated story. Asked point blank if he was writing the final days of Wally West to make way for former Flash Barry Allen, Burnett responded "no comment" but with a twist: "I can't tell you."

"I really can't say too much," laughed Burnett. "No. I better leave that for [editor] Eddie Berganza. If he says I can talk about it, then I will. But I'd rather not. So that's what it's called, huh? 'This Was Your Life, Wally West.' Okay. That's fine [laughs]. I like that."

Burnett, who has penned Emmy Award-winning scripts for "Batman: The Animated Series" "Batman Beyond" and "The Batman," said virtually everything he's written for DC Comics has been Berganza-connected. "He understands I have a day job so when he has something that is kind of limited or something where a little bit of extra time can be made to write it, he gives me a call to see if I am interested," explained Burnett. "So there was a short [opening] on 'The Flash' that came up. I like The Flash. I like the power. I always have. He was one of my very favorite characters when he was Barry Allen."

Burnett did concede, "The only Flash I am dealing with is Wally West, right now. Although who knows, I've got two more issues to go, so who knows who is going to pop up. But right now, I am dealing mostly with Wally."

As for "Final Crisis," which features the return of Barry, Burnett said he didn't believe his "The Flash" arc tied into Grant Morrison's mega event. Burnett also teased, "I do for bees what Steven Spielberg did for ants. I think I must be a little phobic about bees because I don't like being around them."

Spielberg featured an attack by giant red ants in the $700 million-plus blockbuster "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Asked if that dislike was apparent in the book, Burnett responded, "Yes, very mush so."

What Alan Burnett does like is writing comics. "I am having a good time," he offered. "But every time that I write one of these things, there is a lot of homework to do because the DC Universe is really populated. It's hard to keep track. When you read Wally West's history [laughs], there are other planets he is living on, he's got two kids and he won the lotto one time, it's a saga -- let me tell you."

If that's the case, Burnett must have felt like he was back in school at University of Florida or USC when he was writing his three-issue arc on "Justice League of America" earlier this year. "For the 'Justice League' issues I did, just to keep everybody on track," said the writer. "I had at least 30 characters, I went through Wikipedia and I printed out 90 pages of material on these characters to make sure I had everybody right. I am telling you, it's wild."

Burnett said depending on how his day job goes; he'd love to keep writing comics for DC. "I enjoy doing it. There are some guys who can write these in three days -- zoom, it's done," he explained. "I find them just as time-consuming as a half-hour animation script. So I take my time as I go through them.

"What I like about it that I don't get as many notes. And that's a lot. It's a more personal kind of writing then you have on television. I could see myself eventually writing a book a month or something like that but it all depends on what I am doing during the day."

"The Flash" #244, written by Burnett with art by Paco Diaz and Drew Geraci and a cover by Brian Stelfreeze goes on sale September 17.

CBR News has more with Burnett coming soon when he discusses the DC Animated Universe direct-to-DVD release, "Batman: Gotham Knight."

Now discuss this story in CBR's DC Comics forum.

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