Wednesday, June 27, 2007

my tribute to impulse


if you are into comics--and who ISN'T?!--and for some reason, haven't heard--who HASN'T?!--the latest issue of the flash (#13) features the death of bart allen.


created by my pal, mark waid, and designed by my tellos brother, mike wieringo, impulse jumped out of the pages of the flash back in the early 90's like some kinda cartoon version of everything flash! in fact, he was created to be just that--a sitcom sorta comic book where mark could make all the jokes and have all the fun that wouldn't quite fit in the more serious flash comic.

bart was fast, he was impulsive, and he was FUN!

impulse's monthly book was then drawn by the great humberto ramos--also fast and fun--and quickly became one of my all-time favorite comic books! soon, i myself got into the business and mark himself suggested me to take over the writing chores when other projects made him have to give up the book. (unfortunately, dc was still mad that i had walked away from young justice and so i didn't get the book...) bart's adventures continued under the guidance of bill messner loebs and drawn by our own burgeoning superstar, CRAIG E. ROUSSEAU!! woo hoo!

one day, i was called up and told that bill was leaving the book and would i be interested in taking on the writing chores...
(i guess they weren't mad anymore...)

write impulse?!
and work with craig?! (whom i had met at an earlier heroescon and got to be friends, hoping to one day have a chance to work together...)
woo hoo!

i called craig to celebrate when he told me that he had just quit the book, seeing some kind of writing on the wall, and feeling that they were looking for a whole new team. waa waaaah!

but i still got to write impulse.

and for about 3 and a half years i had a ball with that little ball of lightning!
bart was fun, he was naive, he was impulse--eager to leap before he looked!
his every adventure was trial and error, always screwing up three times before he'd ever get it right. and isn't that just like life? well, maybe not three times--bart was afforded more screw ups because he could quickly fix things with his super speed.

bart and i became friends.

sure, there were some tough times in my last year or so on the book.
dc threw so many crossovers and editorial edicts at us that it was almost impossible to keep any kind of storyline going.
but it was still fun. i got to hang out with my friend.

much like my run on spider-man at marvel, when dc decided that the sales were too low and that something had to be done with impulse, i couldn't read on. they grew him up and made him kid flash, made him serious, took bart away.

i really think that that was the day that impulse died.

then, i heard from friends and fans, that they made him the flash, that now, along with barry, wally was dead, and bart wore the mantle of the fastest man alive. but i guess that wasn't working, 'cause now he's dead too.

(for a beautifully and truly passionate--mike you are so eloquent--essay on the "darkening" of comics and the characters of light and hope that we love[d] so much, check out mike wieringo's blog at )

as i said, i actually mourned bart's passing years ago.

this, however, is not my tribute to impulse, to my friend, bart.

a week or so ago, editor eddie berganza called to ask me if i'd contribute a page to the upcoming teen titans #50. the idea, he said, was to have the original young justice team of todd nauck and myself add a page of robin and wonder girl reminiscing about what a fun and funny goofball bart had been/could be. what i sent in are a few of the ideas that i'd had for young justice had i stayed on the book, the adventures that the team would've gone on if i hadn't left. adventures that, at times, bart had made somewhat more...tense.

(i've said that a lot of what i'd had planned for yj can now be found popping up in the perhapanauts. maybe you can see a few similarities...)

pick up the book when it comes out--or just read that page in the comic shop, it's 34, i think...

so that's my tribute to bart.

my friend.

i will miss you.


apologies: a bit emotional and also on the run, the grammer in the above post is horrendous--but i didn't have time to go back and fix it!


Bill Nolan said...

I just commented on this subject over at Mike's blog, so I'm not really going to repeat myself here. I will just agree with you that Bart, as a character, was not well-served after the end of Young Justice. The whole "maturing by reading a library full of books" thing and becoming Kid Flash meant it was over for me.

Impluse was one of my favorite comic series of all-time. Waid, Ramos, Messner-Loebs, that Rousseau dude, you Van Sciver, and Barberi all did a bang-up job on that book. To this day Carlo remains one of my favorite artists because of his tenure on this book. (Craig, too, naturally!) I could tell the crossovers made the last year difficult, but I still enjoyed the book.

I actually own way too many pages of original artwork from this series. Whole sequences by Barberi and lots of pages by Craig.

And what the heck ever happened to Max Mercury, btw?

And, Todd, maybe you've explained this before, so just a link would be fine, but what was the deal with you walking away from Young Justice? As much as I love the characters and the artwork, I never manage to make it more than 20 issues into Peter David's series before I give up. I would have liked to have read your version...

Colin said...

Yeah, I have to agree with you and Bill here, Todd. The whole reasoning for turning Impulse into Kid Flash was flawed. As I see it, the change was part of this apparent effort to return the DCU to being similar to the pre-Crisis DCU... but with lots more rape and violence.

Scott Weinstein said...

Well, looks like I'm thirding everyone's feelings. It's a shame they need to kill off all these characters. Why not just have him go on vacation for a few years. So, one day someone can have fun with his adventures again.

I really loved the Impulse series. It was laugh out loud funny. A rarity in the late 90s. Hell, a rarity today. I haven't followed any of the Flash family since that era. So, I can't speak for how the character changed. I can say, I wish there were more characters like that today. It's too bad DC and Marvel have forgettern the "comic" part of comic books.

Rich Faber said...


I only worked on Impulse for two issues with you and Carlo, but boy, I sure felt connected to that book. I loved the character, and moreso, the way you wrote him. I miss that kind of innocence in today's comics characters. Impulse was definitely one of the more pleasant experiences of my career.

So sad the way DC and Marvel feel the need to darken everything up of late. I feel very fortunate to be working on all ages books now. It suits my personality so much more.

As for Impulse, I sold some of my last few pages at the NY Comicon in February. I've kept just a couple for myself. Now, they'll be a little treasure I can take out and look at fondly, but I'll still be sad that I'll no longer have a chance to work on any new adventures of Bart.


Heywood Jablomie said...

I loved hearing from my 2 faves on this today, being Mike and yourself. I haven't read the issue, DC kinda blew it for me after Identity Crisis, so I haven't been following. I've been trying to get the whole run of Impulse but all the shops around still sell them for a lot, and ebay never has full runs in my price range haha. Too much darkness and grim behavior in the big 2 these days. I don't mind it if it's for a serious purpose, or a certain character, but it shouldn't be the only thing ever addressed. There's not much fun these days, and that's what's needed I feel. I find myself enjoying my many back issues of my collection more then what's new this week or the next. With a few exceptions I always think to myself if I should just stop, but guys like yourself, Mike, Craig and a select few others keeps the comic nut in me alive.


Mike Wieringo said...

Very touching sentiments, Todd...

Well done, sir.

Matt Wieringo said...

Yet another reminder of why I buy fewer and fewer DC and Marvel books each week. Oh well, at least Bart wasn't raped and burned before he died. Um, was he?

craig rousseau said...

funny... with all our phone calls lately, we talked about this for only a bit... but we're on the same page... i've missed bart for a long time now, so this isn't a big deal...

and heck it's comics, who's to say that our bart's not gonna pop again up in the future when they get past this whole grim death driven era?

todd said...

and I echo craig here--with the state of the industry and the anything-can-happen possibilitties in and of comics, you never know what could happen...

and bill, i've done a lot of interviews where i've answered the question of "what happened with young justice?" (and i think i answered it best in twomorrows upcoming teen titans companion vol II, but i can't find my file of it or i'd copy that section of it here...) long story short, i had done a LOT of work for it, outlining the first 16 issues--several times actually--making sure that all offices at dc were happy with what we were doing. the flash offices had to check off on what we did with impulse, the superman offices for superboy, the batman offices for robin, and so on with evey other character we were planning on bringing in. the bat offices were the most taxing, stating that robin was a character based in a real world and could not go on adventures where the boys would be shrunk or turned into bugs or visited other planets/dimensions. in the end i think that both editor eddie berganza and i were too young, too new, and there were some decisions, about stories and such, that he didn't tell me about until the last minute.i didn't feel comfortable working that way and so i departed the project. it was a really sad decision. i really loved working with those kids.

Bill Nolan said...

Todd, thanks for the quick rundown. That Bat Office never seemed to let anyone have any fun...

Brian said...

Hmmm, the Bat Office. I guess if you look at "Dark Knight" as the real start of the "darkening" of comics at the big two, then then Batman editorial is as good a place as any to lay the blame for the current state of affairs.

portalcomics said...

Hey Todd,

Nic (from Heroes) here... I thought your blog was excellent. Maybe a bit personal, maybe a bit emotional but a great statement about how we as creators and fans can get attached to a character. Sometimes as creators (especially early in our careers), we tend to jump from character trying to make a name for ourselves and such... but sometimes along the way, one of those characters gets to us and changes us in a way that people outside our little comic world would not understand a comic book character could. I too miss Bart...he of big feet and bigger hair!!