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Old June 20th, 2011   Sterling Gates is offline   #30
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Sterling Gates
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joined: Jan 2004
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 33

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I've been a Bart Allen fan for more than half of my life, and I'm seriously looking forward to seeing him in his own title again.

Since you opened the floor up for questions, what (if anything) do you enjoy most about writing Bart Allen? What, in your opinion, is the most interesting thing about him?
ddf
Fastest View Post
Hm. Not an easy one. For me, Bart brings an almost childlike sense of wonder to the Flash Family in a way that no one else in that group does. He's amazed and excited by things that no one else is amazed or excited by, and as a result he can be easily distracted.

Luckily, Bart's got superspeed, so he can correct himself and get his head back in the game fairly easily, but it's Bart's mindset and reactions to characters and events that I really like and enjoy writing.

thanks a lot, mr. gates, i think i'll take advantage of your kindness right away by asking a question

something i was always courius to ask a professional comic book writer is: do you really need to use splash pages so much?
take the kid flash #1 preview, which opens with a 2 pages spread. was it really necessary? i understand you needed to open with an establishing shot of sorts, but 2 pages? and in this case it's not like the artist is SO good that his art alone justifies the need of letting him loose or something.

i mean, 22 pages weren't that much of a space to tell a story in the first place, and now DC's comic books shrunk down to 20 mere pages of story (marvel is going there more and more often, too).
sometimes DC comic books i use to read are told so "fast", with so many splash pages and all, that it takes about 5 minutes for me to go through them. i mean, i feel i don't even have enough time to sink into the story that the read is already over.
i'm coming to understand people who quits floppies to read paperbacks, but i also understand publishing houses like DC also want their floppies to sell, so why don't try to make every single one of them a more satisfying read?

also, i don't really see splash pages as a modern storytelling device. so it's not like you need them to make the reading experience more fresh and stuff.

i'd really like to hear your opinion on that

p.s. i wanted to tell you i liked very so last year's supergirl annual i wish you wrote the main legion book!
ddf
Mr. Kayak View Post
Yes.

I love love LOVE splash pages. The impact they can have on a reader -- especially if you've been building up a big reveal or action beat -- is huge. Big moments in stories, to me, require big images that smack you in the face as hard as possible. The bigger images both sell the shot and impress upon readers that what they're looking at is important. I never use a splash page needlessly, either. If I'm going to use an entire page (or two pages) for an image, it's there for a reason.

Take Supergirl #47 for instance (one of my favorite issues I've ever written!). That issue ends with Supergirl's mother, Alura, crumbling to the ground next to her husband's coffin. She's grieving, yes, but the weight of her immoral/unethical actions are really what's taking the toll. It's a big moment for the character and hopefully is a big moment to the reader.

But here's something I bet no one noticed: it's on Page 23 of a 22-page comic book.

When I was writing that issue, I realized I was running out of room. I asked DC if I could have an extra page so that I could make the moment a splash page, rather than bury it at the bottom of page 22 (which already had four panels). That Big Moment demanded a Big Image to me. My editors thankfully agreed and DC granted me the extra page, and Alura got her Big Moment there.

Plus, splash pages, and double page spreads, are part of the arsenal of comic writing that no other medium can easily duplicate. Psychologically, you see a double page spread and it feels like it's a big deal.

The Kid Flash Lost preview isn't the start of #1, by the way, it's pages 4 and 5. As it's the first time we see Bart -- our series' hero -- in the story, I wanted to be sure it was a nice big shot of him. The fact that he's racing Barry Allen (or is it Barry Allen?) made me want to see that be as big as possible.

Not to mention, I've got seven captions on that page, as well as the issue's credits, Bart's origin box, and the Flashpoint origin box! I HAVE to make it a double page spread, or else it'll just be a page full of text!

I try never to have more than four splashes in one issue as a rule of thumb. Too many and it starts to feel like cheating to me...well, unless you're doing an all-splash page issue, like Superman #75 or that issue Bendis did in Avengers.

I hope that answers your question, Mr. Kayak!
-Sterling

PS - Glad you liked the Supergirl Annual #2! Though, I gotta point out, that thing was FULL of splash pages!

PPS - Man, I used the word "big" a lot in this post!
 
Yes, that's my REAL name! :)
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