Origin Story: Kid Flash from Young Justice #5

I posted this on Tumblr a few days ago and at got a good response there, so I thought I’d do a slightly expanded version here.

This is Kid Flash’s origin as told by the Kid himself (aka Wally West) in Young Justice #5. Furthermore, it’s a comparison of my pencil art with the digital inks and the final print version.

Script by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani
Pencils by Christopher Jones
Inks by Dan Davis
Colors by Zac Atkinson
Letters by Carlos M. Mangual

This comic was scripted by Art and Franco, but the versions of the origin stories presented in it were based on Young Justice continuity as developed for the TV show by Greg Weisman and the other writers. This was my first issue drawing Young Justice, and I was still trying to master the nuances of the character designs. Complicating matters was trying to draw the characters a year or two younger in flashbacks! Let’s dive in!

YJ #5 pencils-inks-colors pg 10 prev

This issue featured members of the newly-formed team going on a camping trip together and getting to know more about each-other as they tell (origin) stories around the campfire. Aqualad’s story about becoming the protege to Aquaman was just wrapping up as we get to Kid Flash. Wally’s story starts with the origin of the original Flash Jay Garrick, so I got to draw Central City in the 1940s. The “Lampert” Building seen in that panel is a reference to Harry Lampert, artist and co-creator of The Flash with writer Gardner Fox. I love throwing in references like that!

YJ #5 pencils-inks-colors pg 11 prev

Here we see a young Barry Allen meeting Jay Garrick and getting his autograph on a copy of the Golden Age Flash #1 before becoming the second incarnation of The Flash. I drew a simplified version of the Flash #1 cover art and composited it into the artwork in Photoshop so I could get greater detail than I could have done in the raw pencils.

YJ #5 pencils-inks-colors pg 12 prev

This page is a good example of leaving room in the artwork for the lettering that is to be placed later. Panel 4 is the simple version – the shot is tight enough on Barry Allen that it didn’t need a background, so I just left enough space to the side of him that the lettering would fit without covering Barry up. But check out Panel 2 right above it.  There’s a whole bunch of background that gets covered up by the fairly large amount of text in that panel. But none of it was important. You just needed to see enough to know you were in a bedroom next to an open closet. All the important stuff (Wally, the open case with Barry’s notebooks) is at the bottom of the panel, with lots of vertical lines in perspective leading your eye down to it.

YJ #5 pencils-inks-colors pg 13 prev

I remember enjoying drawing the makeshift laboratory in Wally’s parents’ garage. I tried to make it feel kind of ramshackle, with equipment that like it would have been more at home in a high-school chemistry class than a high-tech lab.

YJ #5 pencils-inks-colors pg 14 prev

Those are Wally’s parents on the left in Panel 2, who appeared in the TV show, but who I didn’t yet have reference for when I drew this. On the right is Iris and Barry Allen. Barry’s hair is getting a little orange here, rather than his usual blonde buzz-cut. Maybe he’s been hanging out with Wally too much…

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And finally we see Wally somewhat reluctantly accepted as Barry’s sidekick, Kid Flash.

If you’d like to see more sequences broken down this way, let me know!

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