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Ethan Van Sciver recent comments on DC Comics Message Boards

In just a second we’re going to talk about Ethan Van Sciver’s comments on the DC Comics Message Board. But first, check out this gorgeous drawing Ethan posted to his Facebook on Sunday! According to Ethan, “Something I drew last year. It was originally laid out as a page of Wally West for Flash Rebirth, but I finished it as Ronnie.”

That’s so friggin’ cool! As a mid-transformation piece, this is Firestorm’s equivalent of Clark Kent ripping open his shirt to reveal the “S”. Nice!

Ethan Van Sciver Firestorm drawing of Ronnie Raymond (originally Wally West layout)

As reported previously, Fury of Firestorm co-plotter and cover artist Ethan Van Sciver has been spending time over on the DC Comics Message Board in the Firestorm forum. He’s been popping into numerous threads, in addition to his own dedicated thread, “FIRESTORM QUESTIONS FOR ETHAN VAN SCIVER! Ask here!”  You should really visit the message board and check out his comments. He’s been very open with the fans and has shared quite a lot!  We’ve posted some previously and today we’re going to look at some more!

Here are some enlightening comments regarding Fury:

  • Ethan: Fury isn’t a character. It’s something else. Just let me and Joe Harris show you.
  • Ethan: Not an entity either. I have to say, Fury isn’t supposed to speak. Gail made him talk. He’ll never utter another word from here on out.

Here is a comment about further international Firestorms:

  • skaddix: So will see an Indian, Pakistani, and Israeli Firestorms?
  • Ethan:  Yep. You’ll see one of those in #9.

Here is an exciting comment about a possible crossover:

  • mhm22264: An Iranian Firestorm as well as a North Korean Firestorm would make for a great JLI crossover. The concepts of rogue nations making knock off Firestorms is scary as well. This concept has great potential to entertain and put underoos in a twist.
  • Ethan:  We’re down to crossover with JLI! That’s almost definitely happening now. Stay tuned.

Here is a comment in response to a question about the Firestorm costumes:

  • Ethan:  Costume changes are coming!

Finally, here is a revealing post by Ethan about the genesis of the new series:


I’d respond to everyone if I didn’t think it wouldn’t be annoying. Sometimes I feel the need to respond, and other times I just don’t. I’m very shy and retiring, you see.

But it’s a good question, although one that I’m not sure you’ll like the answer to. I’ll tell you anyhow.

Dan Didio offered me Superman. He didn’t specify the capacity in which I’d work on Superman, but he said that’s where he wanted me. I love Superman, but I don’t think I draw him better than most artists. I like to read about him, not draw him. Dan asked what I wanted to do, and I told him I would love to draw FIRESTORM covers. He told Geoff Johns that, and then both of them told me that I should take the entire book. I declined, because I didn’t have an idea at that moment, and really wasn’t inspired by Brightest Day’s treatment of the character. I’m sorry, that’s just true.

But then I thought about it. I love the Cold War, and always thought that what made Firestorm unique wasn’t utilized properly in the series. Nuclear energy, radiation…it’s been frightening Americans (and the rest of the world) for 60 years. The idea that nations have been scrambling to gain control, power, and respect from each other by acquiring nuclear weapons interests me.

Also, the fact that Firestorm’s powers are what I refer to as an “applied power”, meaning that it’s the type of superhero fantasy that can happen to you or I, rather than Superman or Batman’s “powers”, opens up a very broad, very interesting opportunity. While riding in a taxi with Bob McLeod, we started talking about Firestorm, and I told him what I was thinking. And then it hit me, “What if Iran was trying to make a Firestorm?” And it was unstable and dangerous because it was bootleg technology, not to mention the fact that it was in the hands of a nation America doesn’t trust.

I talked to DC and asked about Martin Stein. They told me that he was dead, and that we couldn’t use him, except to refer to him in the past tense. So there was that slight obstacle to work with, although I had an idea for working around that.

We’re left with Ronnie and Jason. Instead of having them merge to become a superhero, making them each half of a superhero, with the awkwardness of whose face was the face being shown at any given time, I liked the idea of each boy being a Firestorm, but, to begin with, discovering that they could merge and become a very dangerous super-Firestorm.

Now, why did I feel free to make the change? Because DC told me I could. Because I spent the year touring and doing DC panels where Dan asked the audience which characters in Brightest Day were the most interesting, and time after time, no one clapped for Firestorm except for me. And because I think this idea, when it’s being done correctly, is far more compelling.

Moment of extreme truth: We got off to a rough start. I’m very shy when in a new collaboration. I didn’t speak up until issue #4, which I plotted entirely by myself, trying to steer the book into the direction that it was meant to go. There was messiness behind the scenes, obviously, and a new writer was brought on board to put the train squarely on the rails that follows my original proposal.

DC knows what’s going on, obviously. There’s a lot of buzz about Joe Harris and issue #7 at the office. We’re asking for a second chance. I think you’ll be amazed.

Ethan Van Sciver

PS, I love the letters columns too.

Wow! That really puts a lot of the new series in perspective. I really appreciate Ethan letting us know all these background details in the development of the new series. I can’t wait to read more, especially the Joe Harris issues!

Keep up with Ethan’s thoughts on Firestorm by visiting the DC Comics Message Board!

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  1. Martin Stein RIP says:

    What’s cool about Ethan is that he just tells you the truth as he sees it, and doesn’t try to sugarcoat his answers in corporate happy talk.

  2. Gail says:

    I’m glad that Ethan is getting to do the book he wanted to do, and I wish them nothing but success.

  3. I appreciate Ethan’s honesty, but it’s yet another indicator that no one at DC these days cares about the Firestorm that I grew up with. Or with the good Professor Stein….

  4. Patrick says:

    So, do we know what the problem was in terms of the original collaborative team? I guess I am interested in the inner workings that lead to some of the changes, and I feel like the issue tends to be tip-toed around. Maybe that’s just how it goes, but wasn’t sure if anyone was more in the “know.”

  5. outburst says:

    I don’t think there’s any tip-toeing around anything here, apart from the fact that Simone’s name wasn’t directly mentioned, it’s pretty clear to me that she was taking the book in a direction of her own and the other contributors weren’t digging it. I personally don’t like what’s said between the lines here because it’s dumping on someone who had good intentions.

    And has the feedback been that bad that they have to apologize and ask for another chance? I’ve been critical a bit on this site but I would still say it’s too early to claim that it’s fallen off the rails.

  6. Patrick says:

    @ outbust — You are probably correct.

    I have found that I tend to enjoy whatever comics I get, and I was fine with the first few issues of the Firestorm re-launch, as well as what has happened since. So the change, although fine from my standpoint, was not one that I necessarily felt was necessary for me personally as a reader.

  7. Martin Stein RIP says:

    Competing directions between collaborators happens all the time. I’ve been involved in a few of those myself. My reaction is sort of, “Meh. Nothing to see here.”

  8. What’s cool about Ethan is that he just tells you the truth as he sees it, and doesn’t try to sugarcoat his answers in corporate happy talk.

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