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Nearly two years into DC Comics’ New 52, plenty of titles have changed direction and creators have come and gone. One of the stalwart pairings of the new DC continuity has been the creative team on “The Flash,” comprised of co-writer and colorist Brian Buccellato and co-writer and artist Francis Manapul. Since the DCU relaunched in the wake of “Flashpoint,” an event that placed Barry Allen firmly at its center, there were plenty of expectations for the character in the New 52. Buccellato and Manapul haven’t disappointed, delivering one of the strongest and most consistent titles on comic stands today.
Last Thursday Buccellato showed his commitment to the Fastest Man Alive by getting a tattoo of the Flash on his right arm. Fittingly, the tattoo is based on a drawing by Manapul, who has been at Buccellato’s side for their entire journey through the New 52. CBR INK spoke with Buccellato — Booch to his friends — about the reasons he decided on the newest tattoo in his collection and what the Flash means to him.
CBR Ink: Brian, why did you decide to get a Flash tattoo? While it’s certainly the most high-profile book you’ve worked on, you’ve been in comics for years and worked on plenty of titles as both a writer and colorist, so why the Flash?
Brian Buccellato: While it’s true that I’ve been working in comics for 19 years, most of that was spent as a colorist. But anyone who knows me knows that my true passion is writing and that I have been working on my craft for well over a decade. I’ve put in way more than those 10,000 hours they say you need to get good at anything… but just because you have those skills doesn’t mean people are suddenly going to start handing you paying gigs. I’d written a few one-shots and done ghost writing, but it I didn’t get my first real break until Francis Manapul was offered the opportunity to write “Flash” for the New 52 and asked me to co-write it with him. That was the game changer in my career.
He’s one of my best friends and he knew that I possessed the ability, and only because of his faith in me was I able to break through and change people’s perceptions of me. I’ve always been a writer who colors, and now I have the body of work to support that. So, to make a long story, longer… this tattoo is a tribute to Francis and the Flash, who helped changed the way the industry looked at me.
Why not go with one of your original characters, like someone from your self-published creator-owned title “Foster?”
As much as I love Foster, creating and publishing it wouldn’t have been possible without “The Flash.” So Flash wins… this time. If I ever sell Foster as a TV show… he’ll totally get a spot!
Of all the great imagery you and Francis Manapul have created for the Flash, How did you settle on this image for the tattoo?
I was trying to figure out which image to use, when a friend of mine who owns a comic shop suggested this one. He had seen a print of it in my apartment and knew how much I liked the image. It’s one of my favorite single images that Francis ever drew. Also, there is something iconic about the image. The silhouette elements seemed like a natural fit for a tattoo. A big thanks to Vaughn at Cool Cats Comics, for taking me to get the tattoo at his friend’s shop.
Who is the tattoo artist?
His name is Bear and he operates a shop out of his garage in El Monte. He is amazing and can do anything. If anyone is interested they can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 244-0795. I’ve seen his work… he’s one of the best.
Getting back to the image, which appeared in solicits, why was it never used?
It was originally intended for issue #3 of “Flash.” I’m not sure the exact reasoning, but I think the powers that be felt it was too early in our run to do such a graphic (less traditional) cover.
Do you have any other tattoos?
I have five tattoos total. The first one I got on Venice Beach about 18 years ago. My friend was visiting from NYC and he coerced me into getting one. It’s a simple Chinese character that reprints the Year of the Dog (my birth year). I also have my son’s birthday, a graphic image of his mother… and above Flash I have John Lennon’s self-portrait from the “Imagine” album.
Any plans for more tattoos, comics or otherwise, in your future?
No plans for any comic tattoos — unless DC hands me the reigns of Superman or Batman. [<i>Laughs</i>] My next one is going to be the NYC skyline from 1933, in honor of my father.