Smash Pages Q&A: Francis Manapul on ‘Clear’

The artist of ‘Flash,’ ‘Justice League’ and more discusses his new creator-owned title with writer Scott Snyder.

Francis Manapul has been drawing comics for more than 20 years now. He became an artist to watch while working on Top Cow comics like Witchblade before moving on to DC Comics. While there, he drew Legion of Super-Heroes, Detective Comics and Justice League, among other titles, but he might be best known for his work on The Flash, which he eventually wrote in addition to drawing it.

After years at DC, Manapul is collaborating with his former Justice League partner-in-crime, Scott Snyder, for a new creator-owned comic called Clear. It’s one of several titles written by Snyder as part of his deal with comiXology Originals, and the second issue became available on the digital comics platform yesterday. Snyder and Manapul are clearly having fun with the neo-noir science fiction environment they’ve created that’s a departure from the bright world of superheroes, as Snyder said in our interview with him that was posted yesterday.

“People think of [Manapul] as doing this bright vibrant exuberant superhero work with a lot of emotionality that has a light, painterly feel,” Snyder said. “With this he’s showing that he has this whole range that hasn’t been explored with darkness and nightmarish kinds of abilities that he didn’t get to do much in superheroes.”

I spoke with Manapul at length about the origins of Clear, the opportunities that working on a digital comic have given him and drawing on the styles of other artists to create the “skins” featured in the first issue.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Scott Snyder on ‘Clear’ and more

The writer and teacher discusses the first three comics released through his exclusive deal with comiXology Originals.

Scott Snyder made a splash earlier this year by announcing eight new comics coming out digitally through comiXology and then in print from Dark Horse Comics.

Three very different first issues have already come out from the line:

  • We Have Demons, which re-teams Snyder with Greg Capullo after the duo’s long run on Batman and other DC projects.
  • Clear, a cyberpunk tale featuring art and colors by Francis Manapul.
  • And Night of the Ghoul, a monster horror tale drawn by Francesco Francavilla.

With these three books out, I checked in with Snyder about the books and how they represent what he’s thinking about right now.

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Are you ready for ‘Scottober’?

Your Best Jackett’s required for a month of new comics from Scott Snyder, comiXology Originals and more.

This October, prepare yourself for a lot of Scott Snyder.

The writer of American Vampire, Death Metal, Batman, Nocterra and more — as well as comic book instructor on Substack — will kick off his new line of comiXology Originals titles with We Have Demons, his collaboration with Greg Capullo, who he worked with on Batman and more. The first issue arrives next Tuesday, Oct. 5, followed by two more titles later in the month.

“October has been deemed ‘Scottober’ at comiXology Originals,” said Chip Mosher, comiXology’s Head of Content, in a press statement. “With the arrival of We Have Demons featuring widescreen action and the kind of jaw-dropping storytelling twists that have made Snyder and Capullo the bestselling creator duo of the last 25 years, followed by Clear, Snyder’s first noir thriller and Manapul’s first ever creator-owned book, which is a dazzling, sci-fi thrill ride into a strange dystopian future, and in the lead up to the most terrifying night of the year, Snyder and Francavilla—two modern masters of horror—collaborate for the first time with Night of The Ghoul, a bold and bloody re-imagining of monsters that celebrates classic creature features.”

Here’s a trailer for the three October — sorry, Scottober — titles:

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DC returns to the Animated Universe in ‘Justice League Infinity’

Almost 15 years after ‘Justice League Unlimited’ ended, DC launches a new comic set in that same world.

Like they did with the recent Batman: The Adventure Continues, DC will revisit their 1990s/2000s Animated Universe — sometimes called the “Diniverse” after Paul Dini — with Justice League Infinity.

The DC Digital First series will feature stories from the world shown in Justice League Unlimited, which went off the air in 2006. JLU producer James Tucker and series writer J.M. DeMatteis will team with artist Ethen Beavers on new stories about Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter and many more.

JLU ran for three seasons on Cartoon Network and was best known for its revolving cast that would grow or shrink as needed, pulling in characters from all over the DC universe. So expect to see that in the comic. Hopefully we’ll get to see a Question/Huntress/Green Arrow/Black Canary team-up at some point as well.

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DC reveals details for ‘Flash’ #750

The 80-page issue will kick off a new storyline, ‘The Flash Age,’ in addition to featuring stories by Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns and more.

As revealed in their solicitations for February 2020, DC Comics has announced the line-up for next year’s Flash #750, a prestige format issue with contributions by Marv Wolfman, Geoff Johns, Bryan Hitch, Francis Manapul, David Marquez, Riley Rossmo and more, in addition to series writer Joshua Williamson.

“The Flash is one of my favorite DC characters,” said Williamson in the press release, “so it’s an honor to work on The Flash #750 with so many returning Flash legends! It’s a showcase of awesome talent, each telling a story that celebrates what we love about the Flash and the Flash family. And what a perfect place to kick off our next epic storyline ‘The Flash Age!’ 2020 is going to be a big year for The Flash. It all starts in this massive issue.”

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DC announces ‘Year of the Villain’ 25-cent comic

The almost-free comic arrives a few days before this year’s Free Comic Book Day.

Just prior to Free Comic Book Day, DC Comics will release a 25-cent DC Year of the Villain comic that spotlights several villains and sets the stage for future stories.

The book will include stories by Scott Snyder, Brian Michael Bendis, James Tynion IV, Jim Cheung, Francis Manapul and Alex Maleev, with a cover by Greg Capullo. Variant cover artists include Maleev and Cheung, as well as Stanley “Artgerm” Lau.

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Landis & friends look back at Superman’s ‘important junctures’ in ‘American Alien’

Check out a preview of the first issue, featuring artwork by Nick Dragotta.

Hollywood screenwriter and Eisner nominee Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra) returns to comics in November with a murderer’s row of artists for Superman: American Alien, a seven-issue miniseries that highlights “important junctures in his development as a person.” Each issue features a different artist working with Landis on done-in-one stories set in Clark Kent’s past.

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