Final Lap: Scott Kolins talks 'Blitz' and leaving 'Flash' after #200

Readers of the critically-acclaimed "Flash" series were shocked to learn that fan-favorite penciller Scott Kolins would be leaving the series after the upcoming "Blitz" storyline, which takes the DC Comics series through issue #200. While series writer Geoff Johns had offered a few words of explanation and an introduction for new penciller Albert Dose, best known for recent work in the Marvel Comics series "Spider-Man: Tangled Web," CBR News caught up with Kolins to get the first word on why he decided it was time to part with the series.

"I've accomplished most of the things I'd wanted to on the Flash and I had started thinking about what I wanted to do next," Kolins explained to CBR News. "Meanwhile, Geoff has developed a huge new direction for the Flash (which is REALLY COOL!) in the next big story arc which DC' is really excited about. DC rightly wanted the artist for this next phase to stay on for a couple years and I just didn't feel solid about staying on that long. So now seems the time to move on. It's a little scary leaving this book behind. Hell, it's a lot scary. Time will tell if I was a fool or not.

"I don't know if this was the 'perfect story' for me to leave, but, I do leave knowing the book will never be the same. The end of #200 will blow everyone away. Geoff can't believe DC is letting him do this."

There's a lot that Kolins will miss about "Flash" and when asked what he'll miss the most, he replies, "Not knowing if I'm going to be working with my crew! Geoff Johns is an inspiration to me. I talk to the man almost everyday. Most of the time it's about Flash stuff, but we are always talking. He's the most open and energetic writer I've ever worked with. The man knows his $#it. As I've grown as an artist during my 2 and ½ years on the 'Flash' so has Geoff grown as a writer. That impresses me. Doug [Hazlewood, inker] also does an outstanding job. Month after month. The only times we had a fill-in inker (usually Dan 'the man' Panosian) was because Doug was sick. Rememeber the backgrounds I'm known for? Doug has to ink all of that. That's hard work, and Doug has always done right by me. James [Sinclair, colorist & separator] has fast grown to be my favorite colorist in comics. We were even lucky enough to get him to be the seperator of the 'Flash' recently. He and I talk about every issue as he gets them. Going over: who this person is or what's the mood here or there. There's a great bit in 'Run Riot' where James did this wonderful thing. I had this sequence of Grodd burying Fallout in some rubble and Grodd vacating quickly. I wasn't completely happy with the sacrifices I made due to space on the page, and when talking the sequence over with James he was able to add some story telling help in his coloring. He added Fallout's green glow to the rubble as Grodd jumps over it. That's cool. Gaspar did a great job and was there for most of the run.

"Joey [Cavilieri] too is a really cool editor. He gives Geoff and I a lot of freedom with the book, but nudges us when we need it. He put up with a lot of my crap, but was always ready to work. Joey promoted me to 'Flash' cover artist which I will always be grateful for. I have to thank Joey for his trust in my new pencilling style as well. I surprised DC with my new 'open style' with my first 'Flash' pages from 'Blood Will Run.' I thought that was the best way to show DC what I wanted to do, but Joey could have easily asked me to redraw those pages in my older style as that was how I was hired. He didn't and we never looked back. This is the first crew I've been a part of that has really come together like this. I'm really going to miss that.

"The 'Flash' was a real turning point for me. I've been drawing books for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, Malibu and Valiant for some 10 years and was finally getting comfortable with my art and understandling more what I want to accomplish in comics. The 'Flash' was the first consistent place to put it together. I'm extremely proud of my 'Flash' work. It's also the longest run I've had on a book. 29 issues (counting the Secret files #3), 2 of which are giant sized (#188 and upcoming #200)."

A big reason for the warm reception that Kolins has received over the past few years on "Flash" has been for his consistency and in his ability to get work produced well in advance, without losing any of that quality, leading some fans to dub him "the fastest penciller alive" in honor of the hero he draws. But Kolins isn't sure how to describe what his impact on "Flash" will be and says that he feels, if anything, people will look back and see someone who always did their best to make people smile. "I don't know if a person is supposed to describe their own 'legacy,' but I hope that I did right by the book. I think I've added something to the book for future use. I gave Weather Wizard, Trickster, and The Top new or updated costumes. I helped create Tarpit and Cicada. I helped create Peekaboo. We cleaned up Cyborg. Brought back Chunk. Moved Wally and Linda to the City. People seem to mention my Keystone City alot, I think Geoff and I have given the city more character than it's ever had before. Now everyone knows what that city is about. Other than that I hope I told entertaining stories. Cool stories. 'Blood Will Run,' 'Birth Right,' 'Caged,' 'Fallout,' 'Absolute Zero,' and 'Run Riot.' Our whole first year is collected in 2 trade paperbacks 'Blood Will Run' and 'Rogues.' I'd like readers to mention my run on the book as penciller and smile. That would be enough. :)"

If you want a more specific answer from Kolins, just ask him about the highlight of working on "Flash" and he'll answer with a big smile and one word. "Geoff," replies Kolins. "My friendship with Geoff will always be the highlight of working on the 'Flash.' After I razzed him about how great 'Iron Heights' was he reciprocated with 'Birth Right' which was downright awesome. I asked for a Grodd story. He gave me 'Caged'! Our Grodd stories are my favorite issues. I'm a monster kinda guy. Just love 'em. Both 'Caged' and 'Run Riot' are great kickass stories. He's always giving 100% and willing to listen to my babble and then willing to work with it! No other writer I've worked with has been as open and gracious as Geoff. He knew I wanted a break from the Flash a while ago and we worked on 'The Thing: Freakshow' together. We had a great time. Here's something else: The man flew to my town after we were both on 'The Flash' and took a weekend to just chat about what we wanted to do. No one else does that!"

Speaking of things no one else does, if the hype is true, Johns & Co. have put together a whammy of a story with "Blitz," the return of Zoom. This will be a huge change in the Flash's life- so big, that everyone with knowledge is keeping their mouth shut. "The best and biggest Flash villain, Zoom, returns to change Wally's life forever in 'Flash #197'," says Kolins of "Blitz," making sure he doesn't say too much. "Zoom changed Barry's life (The Flash before). Mark Waid's best Flash story was about Zoom ('The Return of Barry Allen'). Now Zoom will be the end of this Flash, as the world knows him."

Not to be outdone by the writing of superstar Geoff Johns, Kolins says he's using this last arc to show fans his passion for the series and for Flash, making sure they remember the name Scott Kolins. "I've got nothing to lose. This is it. My last chance to say anything about about the Flash. I don't have to think in the back of my mind 'How am I going to top this next month?' Geoff and I are commited that this will be the biggest superspeed fight of all time. That's partly why #200 is double sized. This is a fight no other character in Comics could attempt. Marvel or DC. Anywhere. Superman? Not a chance. Wolverine would be roadkill. Silver Surfer? I don't think so. None of them could touch Zoom, let alone even see him. Wally West, The Fastest Man Alive, The Flash is the ONLY man who has a chance. A chance. That's what I'm going for.

"I will try everything in the book to rock this fight like no other."

While some might be tempted to ask about Kolins' life after "Flash," there isn't going to be one- he's a reader for life. "I'm extremely into Geoff's 'Flash' and yes I will definitely be reading it after I leave. I've already read the next scripts and it's gonna be a really cool book. As for my life after 'Flash,' I'm really excited about the possibilities in front of me. I should know in the next couple weeks when the contracts are signed. Stay tuned!"

Before he heads back to the drawing board, Kolins has some parting words for the loyal fans who have stood behind him on "Flash":

"Thank you! You Flash readers are a really loyal bunch. Your support of this book and my run on it have been awesome. I will never forget this experience. As always I hope to see you all at San Diego! (Sorry I wasn't there last year, I had pressing family matters) And I hope you'll like my next gig. Again Stay tuned!"

don't miss our interview with Geoff Johns.

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