It may be Batman‘s 75th birthday, but 2014 is also looking to be a big year for The Flash. From Wally West returning to the comics or Barry Allen’s recent appearance in the animated film Justice League: War, he’s making the rounds across all types of media. However, the biggest Flash event is the upcoming Flash TV pilot spinning out of Arrow. Although it hasn’t been ordered to series yet, many fans are hopeful that they’ll get to see the Scarlet Speedster run across their TV screens in his own show come fall 2014.
With a new show comes different ways for fans to express their excitement, such as podcasts. Several weeks ago, I interviewed Beau York and Matt Beall, the hosts of the Flash TV Talk podcast. This week, I talk with the host of The Flash Podcast: Andy Behbakht.
Tell us a little but about yourself.
My name is Andy Behbahkt. I do a number of podcasts, but the one I’m really focusing on is The Flash Podcast, which I launched back in November-December 2013. I’m a huge comic book nerd, I’ve been a huge fan of superheroes since I was a kid. I grew up with all the superheroes, comics, fantasy characters, and so on, and as I’ve grown older and so on, I’ve been getting more and more involved into these things. Getting into the comics, reviewing TV shows and movies and whatever. I’m a DC and Marvel fan. Personally I think it’s okay to be both, for the people reading this, because hey, Captain America 3 vs. Batman vs. Superman, you can watch both. There’s no need to get into a war about it.
How long have you been a fan of The Flash? How did it start?
I was a kid when I first got into it. I was not deep into the mythology or comics. It was basically like everyone else. I started watching the Justice League cartoons and saw him pop up in Superman: The Animated Series when they were racing against each other. That’s how I got introduced to it. In terms of getting deeper into it in the comics and so on, it’s actually a lot through The Flash Podcast. I started getting a lot of books and animated movies with The Flash, and I also have the 1990s television show with John Wesley Shipp, so when they announced that they were doing a Flash spinoff show from Arrow, I started getting more in deep. I’ve always been aware of The Flash because of Smallville with Bart Allen, Justice League Unlimited with Wally West, the animated movies whether it’s Barry Allen or Wally West, so I’ve always been a fan of the character but I was never deep into him.
Of the four main Flashes, which is your favorite and why?
It’s a tie between Barry and Wally. I think we can all agree on this, I think a lot of us grew up first with Wally because he was everywhere. He was on the cartoons, he was, for a long time, the main Flash, so he was the one I saw first. I knew about Barry Allen, who he was and so on. I knew that he was “the first Flash” if you don’t count Jay Garrick because they rewrote The Flash after Jay Garrick and made Barry Allen seem like he was the first one, as far as I understand it. But yeah, it’s a tie between Barry and Wally because Wally has the humor and he has such a big heart and he’s a hero in a different way than Barry is. Barry’s funny and strong for his own reasons, but a lot of us can identify a little bit more with Wally. If you could run faster than a speeding bullet or as fast as The Flash, then of course you would have an attitude like that. You would be cocky, you would be fast-talking and so on. For example, if I could be Wally or Barry, I’d definitely go with Wally because I could identity more with him. But yeah, it’s a tie between those two.
What made you decide to do this podcast about The Flash TV show?
Not a lot of thought went into it. I just remember that the day they announced they were doing a Flash spinoff show, they’ll introduce Barry in three episodes [of Arrow], which has now been changed to only two episodes because of the backdoor pilot, for those who didn’t know. But when they announced that we’re going to see Barry Allen, we’d see a spinoff show after season 2 of Arrow…I’d always wanted to do a DC podcast. After Arrow started, that’s when I got into podcasting, but by the time I wanted to do an Arrow podcast it was already kind of too late because, although it’s never too late to do one, there’s so many out there. Aside from podcasting, I also review TV shows like Arrow on TVOvermind.com. I review Arrow every week, so I can get my Arrow thoughts out of my system every week, so it doesn’t require me to do an Arrow podcast, but I felt that now that they’re going to do another DC show, I felt like, “You know, this could be fun.”
Barry Allen is someone I want to get to know a bit more, and Flash is someone I’ve always wanted to get to know a little bit more. It’s just that I never knew where to begin, but I felt that with a TV show, why not? So I signed up for another Twitter account with @TheFlashPodcast, and as I got closer to Barry Allen’s first episode, I started thinking about how I wanted to do this podcast. But yeah, it was a bit of an impulse and a fast (no pun intended) decision, but I’m happy I made that decision, and so far I haven’t found a reason to regret it.
For those not listening to the podcast right now, the show only just finished filming, so what are you talking about in the meantime in your podcast episodes?
Right now we’re doing something I call “season 0.” I don’t know how often a lot of people use that term, but it’s like a prequel to what’s to come. Around December, I started thinking “What can I do? I have a whole year to build up a fan-base, a connection to the people that are excited for the show and know about The Flash from comics and so forth.” There’s a lot of people who don’t know about the Flash character. Like my big sister, for example. She loves these superhero movies and TV shows, but she doesn’t read the comics. I’ve tried to convince her, but hey, she has her own life.
I wanted to learn about these characters, but sometimes you don’t know where to begin. Should I begin with The Flash: Rebirth, should I begin with Flashpoint, should I begin with Justice League Unlimited? So I felt that I should do this as an introduction to The Flash world in individual episodes every week. Right now we’re doing character spotlights, and I’m going to release my third one at the time of this interview.
So that’s the format. We talk about the character by bringing in a guest host. We’re kind of doing a Brave and the Bold-type system because right now I don’t have a co-host, so I’m bringing in people I know that can, first off, do a podcast (come on and talk about it in a podcast form), second, that they know about The Flash and are knowledgeable enough that I can bring them on and say, “Hey, let’s talk about Jay Garrick.” I had an amazing host for that: Dave. He came in and did a great discussion about Jay and so on. So we try to go through these characters, and sometimes we will get through some of he major story-lines from the comics, such as Rebirth, Flashpoint and so on. Like my Twitter profile says: “Covering everything Flash related, with animation, video games” and so on. You’re going to get pretty much everything in season 0, and if there are any Flash TV news related stuff, we talk about it at the beginning of the show. So that’s basically the system now, but the structure will be different in season 1 of The Flash Podcast.
Where you’ll probably dedicate time to recapping the episodes?
Yeah, exactly. The point of this podcast was always to focus on the TV show. It was always going to be about the TV show, but I felt that I have a whole year. I can do my zero year (if you want to use comic terms) and let people get to know me as a host and get to know these Flash characters and books and so on. Hopefully it will help some people understand this world better. Maybe they’ll go and pick up some of these books and TV shows.
You’ve started to build up a following with your podcast over social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. What are your thoughts on that? How has that helped you?
Well, it’s helping. Some of them are going slower than others. I think the Twitter page is the one that’s going the fastest. That page has grown a lot. It’s growing bigger than I expected at this time. It was so weird, when I first got on Twitter for The Flash Podcast and I tried to find if there were any other Flash podcasts, I thought, “Really? In ten years there hasn’t been another one?” I just couldn’t find anything, and I thought it was a surprise. I thought Flash was big.
The Twitter page has been the most successful, and the Facebook page takes awhile, but we’re now over 500 likes, so that’s cool. Once we get to season 1, I want to be able to have a better interaction with the Facebook fans as well and have conversations. As much as I love the interactions on Twitter, I would like to talk to people on the Facebook page as well. Which page were you referring to?
Well, I first found you on Twitter, and that’s really started to get up there. Over 2,000 followers now.
Yeah, it’s weird. I still don’t believe it. It makes me happy. I thought that maybe by the time I got to March or April, I would have 500 followers or something. It was a surprise. The social media is helping for sure, but sometimes it goes slower than I want it to and sometimes it goes faster than I expected.
Obviously there’s a lot of interaction with those who are following you. What do you enjoy most about that?
Everything. I love talking about everything, whether it’s about a “vs. battle” or it’s about which villain you want to see on the show, which villain you don’t hope they bring on or which supporting character you want to see. Whatever they want to talk about, I love that. Sometimes I can’t get back to everyone, but I try my best. Something I don’t know if other people realize is that right now, I’m doing mostly all of this by myself. I do have two guys working on this sort of “brain trust” group that I have, but mostly it’s me. I’m the one who posts things on the Facebook and Twitter pages, and now recently the new website that I launched. Sometimes it takes awhile for me to get back, but I try to do my best to interact with everyone because if you’re a Flash fan, you’re worth my time.
You already brought this up, but you launched a website for The Flash Podcast last weekend. Why did you decide to create it? Was it so people could have easier access to the podcast, or was it another reason?
That was one of the reasons, to be sure. Prior to the website, I had kept my podcast page from Soundcloud, because that’s where I upload my episodes, but I felt that it looks so boring in a way. I had a domain name, I felt that it would be fun to have a website. I wasn’t sure in the beginning if I should get a website because I had never been the main admin for a website. What would I do if it crashes or something? But I have good people helping me with that whenever I need help. So yeah, I started working on it during the winter hiatus of all the TV shows, and I started looking at themes, and eventually found a theme that I wanted to get and started working on the website. I had some setting issues, but by the time I reached March, I was done and thought, “You know what? Let’s run this baby.”
Yeah, it looks so much better than the Soundcloud page. It’s a bit more social friendly, it’s easy on the eyes, and I like posting my episodes there as well. It feels more professional.
What do you think it is about The Flash that has made him such an enduring character for decades now?
I think it’s the characters behind the mask, whether it’s Jay Garrick or Barry Allen or Wally or Bart, all of them have a certain humor to them. The power of speed is phenomenal. Whether you see it in live-action or animated form or something like that, it’s just fun to see how they view the world at such a fast pace. Something that people may not realize is that yes, they are fast, but they’re still human at the end of the day. They can be killed just as easily we can. They’re not super strong, they don’t have the ability to be a detective like Bruce Wayne or something. At the end of the day they’re still very human, and I feel that’s a nice aspect for it.
It’s a deep question for sure, and once in a while I think about it and ask, “Hey, why do people love The Flash?” Well, it’s the humor, it’s the power, I think it’s how he’s been written. I think the Rogues are one of the reasons they love Flash so much. I mean, have you seen them? Captain Cold, Reverse-Flash, it’s phenomenal. I think that’s why they love The Flash. It’s the man, or men in this case.