HeroesCon 2011: Ethan Van Sciver Talks About Writing DC's Brand New Firestorm

Ethan Van Sciver can’t talk about Firestorm. Like, really, really can’t talk about it. The first issue of DC’s relaunched Fury of Firestorm series finds the acclaimed artist back in the writer’s chair for the first time in nearly two decades (with one exception we’ll get to in a second). He’ll be co-plotting the book with Gail Simone, bringing a new vision of the teen hero to the DC Universe. Except he can’t tell us how, or why, or any of the details.

Don’t think we didn’t try, though:

MTV Geek: What’s it like getting back into writing after such a long time?

Ethan Van Sciver: Well, I’m going to take it very slow. I wrote seven pages for Blackest Night last year all by myself, and it was fun, but it was a little bit stressful. Working with someone like Gail Simone who is a skilled, and very, very talented writer, I think I’m going to learn a lot. And hopefully – maybe next year – use this as a launching pad to write something myself.

Geek: Now you and Gail have been rumored to be working on something together for a very long time. Is this that thing?

EVS: [Laughs] No, no, this is something else. We’ve been working on something that I’ve been drawing and inking for about six or seven months now, so we have been working on that. But in MegaCon in February, Dan Didio, who’s the Co-President of DC Comics, came to me and offered me a number of choices that I might want to do for this big DC relaunch.

So I said, “I’d kind of like to do Firestorm covers?” And Dan said, “Firestorm covers, are you kidding me? Why don’t you take the whole book?” And I had no intention of doing that until I talked to Gail Simone, and the two of us, we came up with a really cool, new concept that actually got us excited to make that pitch to DC. And it really is… It’s different. If you’re a Firestorm fan, it’s going to be a little bit different for you, but we think that you’ll like it. And if you’re not a Firestorm fan, this is the perfect time to check it out and become a Firestorm fan.

Geek: What is it in particular about Firestorm that draws you to the character?

EVS: His head’s on fire! [Laughs] I like everybody whose head’s on fire. I like Firestorm, I like Ghost Rider, I like Phoenix… If you have a flaming head, that’s cool. But also, he’s the Nuclear Man. He represents – to me – the nuclear anxiety of the 1980s, and even all the way before that, all the way back to the 1950s. There’s a lot of energy, there’s a lot of emotion that this character can invest in people if done correctly. Just that alone, being a fan of the Cold War like I am, interested in it – I love the history of the Cold War. Getting a superhero like Firestorm is a dream come true.

Geek: Working with Gail Simone, what’s the process like? Do you throw a script at her, or back and forth?

EVS: I’m co-plotting, and Gail is scripting. The first thing that we did, we created a big overall story. From there, we sit down and piece together the individual stories. But overall, my role was to reinvent the way Firestorm’s powers work… And I can’t really say much more than that. I’m struggling to find words that are vague! [Laughs] I think I’m more of an idea guy, and Gail is helping me take those ideas and develop them into stories. We work well together that way.

Geek: There’s a very specific word used in the title of this book. It’s “The Fury of Firestorm.” Are we going to see a lot of “fury” in this book?

EVS: You could not be more correct, yeah. You’ll find out exactly what it means in issue one.

Geek: Are we going to see new Firestorm characters? Old characters?

EVS: You’re going to see a lot of new characters, a lot of old characters, a lot of familiar faces, but it’s all going to be brand new.

Geek: What else is coming up for you? Is it all Firestorm all the time?

EVS: [Laughs] Well, it’s all Firestorm all the time, except for this other project I’m working on with Gail Simone. That will be done when it’s done. I really want to get it out by Halloween, so maybe it’ll get solicited in a month? But it’s more important that it be good, than it be finished right now.

Geek: Can you give us any tease for that?

EVS: [Laughs] Ummm… Nope.

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