Special Edition NYC: Francis Manapul

Posted June 17, 2014 by Henry Varona in Comic Books

We the Nerdy writer Henry Varona was lucky enough to attend Special Edition NYC this weekend as a member of the press. While there he met with writer and artist Francis Manapul, best known for his work on the Flash as well as his current run on Detective Comics alongside collaborator Brian Buccellato. What follows is a brief interview with Manapul, who took time out of his busy convention schedule where he had plenty of commissions (Included a beautiful Batman piece that Henry watched Manapul create).


We the Nerdy: Thank you for taking some time for us today. So you’ve been working on Detective Comics with Brian Buccellato lately and your third issue just came out. How are you feeling about the book now, a few issues in?

Francis Manapul: I love it. I find that Batman is a great character to write and draw and I’m able to sort of take a more controlled approach to both my writing and my art.

WTN: Do you feel like you’re taking more control than you did with Flash?

Manapul: Oh, absolutely. There’s no aspect of the book that I’m not involved in, you know? It also feels like I’m working on an indy book because I’m filling a lot of plates on it.

We the Nerdy Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010 by Francis Manapul

Though he loved the Flash, Manapul says he needed a change after so much time on the character.

WTN: Are there any unexpected challenges that you’re finding now that you’re a few issues in?

Manapul: The things I run into are not being able to use certain characters. I’m not working on a character that other books are using. Whereas on The Flash there was an autonomy to it, with Batman he’s on five, six other books. That’s why I made an effort to look at characters that nobody else was using. If you don’t want to be a part of a big crossover and tell a clean story then that’s really the only way you’re going to be able to do it.

WTN: You’re style has evolved a lot over the years, going back to when you used to work on Legion of Superheroes. Has the change in your style been a conscientious decision? Do you feel like you have to stay fresh in the changing marketplace?

Manapul: A lot of it is dependent on the project. After Legion of Superheroes I started inking my own work which I thought was a big change-up for me. I was able to take more control over things. And with Detective, being able to be a part of the coloring aspect aside from the writing or drawing has allowed me to expand my skill set more and think more graphically, especially on the covers.

We the Nerdy Detective Comics 32 by Francis Manapul

Manapul feels like he is given more freedom to create truly iconic covers with his Detective Comics work than Flash could afford.

WTN: Yes, I personally think that these are the best covers of your career. You’ve headlined our Comic Book Cover-Up feature a number of the times in the past few months.

Manapul: Well, thank you. With Batman, the new editor Mark Doyle was much more open to unique cover layouts and in fact encouraged it. So for me, that was such a real treat, because I tried to do more iconic covers like this on the Flash. But it being a much more traditional superhero book I had to stay within that look.

WTN: Are there any stones you felt you left unturned with your Flash work?

Manapul: To an extent I think there were more stories that I wanted to tell, but it’s just one of those things where creatively I needed something else for a change of pace. I’ve been with the character, the Flash, for over four years now, as an artist and as a writer, so I just needed some change.

WTN: Are there any Marvel characters you’d like to take a stab at?

Manapul: There’s really only two. Spider-Man is at the top of my list and then Captain America. That’s pretty much it. I’m an X-Men fan but I don’t know if I’d want to draw it. There are a lot of things that I’m a fan of but I don’t know if I’d be interested in drawing them.

WTN: Would you want to pursue independent work?

Manapul: Sure, absolutely. It’s a natural progression as a creator. It’s just right now, I’d love to work on some creator-owned books, but writing and drawing a monthly book for DC has a tendency to take up a lot of time.


We the Nerdy and Henry Varona would like to say thank you once more to Francis Manapul for his time, as we wish him the best in his future endeavors!

About the Author

Henry Varona

Lover of comics, Legos, and movies, Henry Varona is supremely awesome in every way. He spends his days designing his own comics, and his nights dreaming about Chris Hemsworth and Captain Cold.