SDCC: JMS Announces "Flash: Earth One," Talks "Sense8" Renewal Hopes

Who's faster, Superman or the Flash? J. Michael Straczynski may have gotten to Superman first, but his next Earth One graphic novel for DC Comics will feature the company's scarlet speedster.

Straczynski told a packed room of around 300 fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego that "Flash: Earth One" will focus on the Barry Allen version of the speedster. The graphic novel, he said, should be on shelves in 2016, and will feature the fourth franchise to make the leap to the OGN line which JMS helped launch with "Superman: Earth One."

"It's a very different take on the character," he promised. To convince the audience of his enthusiasm for the character, he described how when he was a kid he repeatedly used to practice catching a falling glass of water because he saw the Flash do it in a comic.

When asked for further information about the project, DC Comics declined to comment.

For the rest of the panel, Straczynski talked up current projects with his fans. Much of the conversation centered around his latest project, "Sense8," a 12-episode Netflix series he co-created with Andy and Lana Wachowski. The story focuses on a diverse cast of eight people around the world who suddenly become linked emotionally and mentally.

"It's such a pleasure dealing with gender issues, privacy issues, sexuality issues that really have not been seen before [on television.]"

Straczynski said that the show is up for renewal with Netflix, and he should know in the next two weeks if the streaming video company will order a second season. He said he's hopeful, though, because Netflix representatives have told him that the viewers are watching the 12-episode first season "straight through -- three, four, six times."

In addition to "Flash: Earth One," Straczynski teased other upcoming projects, saying that he's adapting the "Red Mars" novels by Kim Stanley Robinson for the screen, and working on a revival of the early 1970s TV show "Night Gallery."

There was one project in partiular that he described in the loftiest of terms. "I'm working with [British network] ITV on a dream project for me," he said. He wouldn't name the show, saying only that the secret project is based on a British TV series from a few decades ago.

When an audience member asked if the show was "The Avengers," Straczynski laughed. "Diana Rigg single-handedly brought me into puberty," he said as the audience roared in approval.

Of all the tales he shared throughout the panel, perhaps the most unexpected story came at the very beginning, when Straczynski arrived about five minutes late, and out of breath. Echoing an incident from the Chicago Comic-Con in 1995 when Straczynski tackled a thief who tried to steal artwork from a dealer's table, he said that he had just tripped a man who stole a woman's purse in San Diego's Seaport Village and was running past him.

"The purse scattered, he scattered, and I had to wait for the cops to give my statement," he said. Whether it's catching a falling glass of water or stopping thieves, it appears heroics are more than just story-fodder for Straczynski.

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