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Wacky sci-fi and romance, too: Jeremy Adams talks 'The Flash 2022 Annual'
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Wacky sci-fi and romance, too: Jeremy Adams talks ‘The Flash 2022 Annual’

A novel take on the West marriage.

Ongoing for years, Linda Park-West and Wally West’s relationship has gotten a heck of a lot more complicated turn now that Linda has super powers. (It’s something that Wally only recently discovered.)

Comics fans will get an even deeper look at the beloved, ever-dynamic relationship with the release of The Flash 2022 Annual out on August 30th (retailers have till August 8 to order).

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Their love story is told, cleverly enough, through Linda’s in-story novel, where Wally learns some big things about his wife. Not only that, but the issue explores how Mr. West’s love for Mrs. West has grown ever grander as the lovebirds once more face new life challenges.

To explore what Wally learns, writer Jeremy Adams (who is joined on the issue by artist Serg Acuña, colorist Matt Herms, and letter Justin Birch) discussed the upcoming extra-sized annual issue. We tackled a slew of topics, including why Linda’s career change from journalist to novelist was so important as well as where The Flash 2022 Annual fits in with the current Dark Crisis tie-in story arc.

This interview has been edited and trimmed down. You can listen to the full chat on the AIPT Comics podcast this Sunday.

AIPT: Why is now the right time to explore Linda and Wally’s relationship?

Jeremy Adams: She’s obviously always been a cornerstone of the Flash family for years and years. And for me, as the guy that started writing it, part of the way that I’ve written The Flash, in general, is me learning about these characters on my own and how I want to write them or how they want to tell me to write them and falling in love with them. The very first arc was really about me trying to figure out my take on Wally’s voice and how he operates within the DC universe. And then suddenly, I found myself falling in love with his kids, and I love Kid Flash, and I was always planting these seeds for Linda and what’s going on with Linda and not just her powers, but she obviously has a career shift.

Part of that was intentional because I knew there are a lot of female paramours in the DC universe that are reporters. I wanted to do something a little different. I just wanted to go kind of Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. This will be kind of cool. She has a background in journalism. I remember doing movie reviews for a local paper, and I wanted to do fiction, and I wanted to do creative writing. And so many of us in the field of writing have aspirations to write novels or whatever.

Jeremy Adams 'The Flash Annual' 2022

Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: Having read The Flash Annual #1, I’d say if you are an aspiring writer, you’ll probably wanna pick this book up.

JA: Yeah, <laugh>, I mean, the meta piece of this book is that not only when I write and anybody writes, generally they’re putting so much of themselves into a story, whether it’s like, a dramatized version of something that’s happened to them in the past or whatever, but we also draw upon our own experiences. And so, so much of this emotionally is my relationship with my wife. And this is kind of a love letter to her because spouses are very involved, especially with people in the creative arts. It’s a very crazy, insane world. Then on top of that, it’s Linda taking all these experiences from her life with Wally and incorporating them into her own story. So obviously, there are some deep cuts and big callbacks to things that have happened in the Flash story back in the day.

AIPT: What is going on exactly in this annual? It’s not your conventional story as there’s a story within a story going on here, right?

JA: Yeah. There’s a story within a story. So we’ve teased the fact that Linda has been moving toward becoming a novelist, and she’s had interest from agents, and now we’re at a point where she has copies of the book and Wally hasn’t read it. He’s been too busy trying to find Barry and doing stuff in the Dark Crisis and dealing with this guy at Iron Heights penitentiary like all this stuff’s been going on. So this is his moment. He sits down to read her book. That’s what this annual’s about. This is Linda’s book, an abbreviated version. It’s his chance to just read it and to glimpse at another part of Linda, and he falls in love with her even more. It’s weird because it’s not your typical romance novel, even though you think that’s what it will be.

AIPT: Yeah, it gets pretty action-packed and has a pop culture adventure feel.

I wanted to do a romance. I had this great plan for it to be this romance novel. And it was just gonna be a straight romance novel, it’s like straight down the middle, and I started writing, and I was like, I cannot do that. More and more, I felt like Linda wouldn’t do that. That wouldn’t be what she did. The moment I realized, oh, she would be incorporating, just like I’m incorporating so much of my stuff into this. She’d be incorporating so much of her life with Wally. And it’s so bananas that there’s that moment where it goes from romance to sci-fi wacky adventure.

And Wally goes, oh my gosh, my wife’s a nerd. It was like me going like, oh my gosh, Linda’s a nerd. It was a revelation that she’s not a passive participant in the Flash book. She’s not a passive participant in the Flash family. She is at the forefront, and this is her spotlight. She’s this dynamic woman that keeps it together and does these amazing things.

Flash

A page from The Flash Annual #1 featuring the cover to Linda’s book. Courtesy of DC Comics.

AIPT: How important is this story to the Flash Dark Crisis tie-in story arc?

JA: This takes place after the Dark Crisis tie-ins. It’s obviously going on till the end of December, but this particular book is gonna be our on-ramp back into the main Flash story that’s been going on that maybe people forgot about some of the stuff going on prior to looking for Barry Allen. So I think it’s important because there’s a huge revelation regarding Linda and her power set.

AIPT: How serious are you about pursuing the rest of the story you set up?

JA: I’m locked in, you know, I said this passive threat when I started where I was like, Wally’s gonna be great as long as I’m writing. I wish people knew how little it takes for a book to be considered successful and how little it takes for a book to be considered unsuccessful.

AIPT: It can drop

JA: Right. And the minute it becomes not successful, then all these plans I have for that family, maybe come into question.

AIPT: We haven’t talked about Serge Acuña’s art. There are so many amazing full-page spreads in this annual. And there’s so well placed. When you were scripting this, were you thinking, all right, we need a full page now and then maybe four more pages later, or did it kind of come organically?

JA: It’s coming more organically now than it did when I first started. Like, you read that Black Adam DC 1 million, it’s like I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m starting to figure out the rhythm by which I want to do it. You have this art that starts coming back. That’s so expressive. And it almost feels manga-ish. There’s so much expressiveness to it. But then Acuña does a page where it’s like Wally and Linda in space, and I’m like, oh my gosh. Or, a Cobra, you’re like, that’s crazy.

AIPT: That was really cool in the issue.

JA: I hope I can work with him again because this felt like somebody that was hungry in a way. And it was passionate. And that’s what it felt like when I got the pages back. What’s in my head and what comes out on the page is so interestingly different because I can barely dress myself and to have people that are craftsmen like that. Translating my gobbly book into works of art is beyond me.

The one thing that I constantly think about is this is a visual art form. And it’s such a showcase for these artists. I’m sure you’ve run across this as a fan, especially when I was growing up and people were so dismissive of comic books as literature or whatever. It’s so different than literature because there are words, but then there’s this dynamic piece of artwork that elevates the words beyond mere words.


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