Without a textual translator or an ear for space babble, most denizens of the Marvel Comics Universe can’t understand a word Doop says, but you don’t have to understand the little green blob to be nervous around him.
The cast of Marvel’s X-Men books may have plenty to be nervous about this April when Peter Milligan and David Lafuente launch the five-part “All-New Doop” miniseries. The titular videographer of the X-World got his start in Milligan and Mike Allred’s acclaimed “X-Statix” series of books where the alien-seeming character provided both visual comic relief and some conspiratorial mayhem as he filmed the cast’s adventures for reality TV. Since then, Doop has popped up in the Marvel U from time to time — usually as a drinking buddy of Wolverine — and his presence always indicates strange tidings.
With “All-New Doop,” Milligan told CBR News that the weird, tragic and surreal qualities of his “X-Statix” work would be back in full force. The writer explained that this mini ties right into “Battle of the Atom” as Doop attempts to connect with Kitty Pryde. But will Doop’s attentions mean good things or ill for Kitty and the rest of the X-Men? As the writer tells it, probably a bit of both.
CBR News: Peter, to start I have to say that I’m kind of amazed it’s been 12 years since you and Mike Allred’s “X-Force”/”X-Statix” run started, and it’s even crazier that Doop continues to live in the Marvel Universe. Did you ever expect people to latch onto that little glob of character when this whole thing started out?
Peter Milligan: You’re right. It’s pretty incredible on both counts. “X-Statix” had some really strong characters: Mister Sensitive, Tike Alicar, Edie Sawyer (U-Go Girl). I was really close to all of these guys. They really seemed to have rich interior lives. And yet, as you say, it was that amorphous green blob farting around in the background that seems to have the longevity. I didn’t foresee that. But the deeper I get into Doop — while writing this present story — maybe some kind of answer starts to emerge. The other characters I mentioned were very specific. That’s what made them feel real, and made them so interesting. Doop is the opposite of specific. His language. His role. Even his bloody sexuality. It’s all as amorphous as his silly green body. And maybe that’s the trick. He’s almost anything we want him to be. And luckily right now what Marvel want him to be is in his own all-new miniseries.
That said, looking back at the character’s history shows a certain element to Doop –Â I don’t know if you’d call it conspiratorial or just weirdly highly efficient — that’s allowed him to be a survivor where other members of X-Statix did not. What do you think is it about how the character functions that’s allowed him such a natural ease into other parts of the Marvel Universe?
In other words he’s like Claudius, of “I, Claudius” fame. A Roman who seemed to harmless, so ineffectual, so much part of the background that he survived while other greater Romans were losing their lives to a series of power mad (or simply mad) Emperors. Yes, I like that. There is a bit of the Claudius about him. The original even had a stutter. And Doop had his own peculiar way of talking. Like Claudius, though, Doop is a lot more than the pitiful and humorous character that many dismiss him as. In this present story we’ll see just how wrong those people were who dismissed him as simply an ineffectual green blob.
So why come back to him at this moment in time? Have you and Axel Alonso been plotting to do this return for a while?
I’m not sure I can really answer that. I’ve always toyed with the idea of bringing back X-Statix or Doop or both. It was a case of the right time and the right green blob.
On the story side, it seems that Doop will be less involved with his old drinking buddy Wolverine here and more involved in the life of Kitty Pryde. Seeing as she just did a major about face in terms of her position in the X-World thanks to the “Battle of the Atom” story, can we assume that Doop’s tracking of her is not entirely above board?
It’s true, at the heart of this story is Doop’s relationship with Kitty Pryde. But there’ll be others too: from Cyclops, to Iceman, to the future X-Men from “Battle of the Atom.” In fact this story is intimately linked to the goings on in “Battle of the Atom.” In fact, it might be said that it’s impossible to fully understand everything that happened in “Battle of the Atom” until you’ve read the story of the “All-New Doop.”
The X-Statix run on the whole and your Doop stories in particular always worked to blend a real satirical take on superheroes with the kind of hard-hitting emotional fallout that can be told with action genre stories. And usually those two ideas made strange bedfellows in terms of tone. How are you “bringing the weird” in this series with respect to that?
If you’ve read much of my stuff, you’ll know that I’m particularly interested in “strange bedfellows.” I don’t need to strain myself to “bring the weird” to the story. Doop’s presence, his outlook, his actions, his expectations — they all have an implicit level of the weird. In fact, there’s nothing worse, less funny, and less weird than someone trying to be weird. That’s worse than someone trying to be funny. The overall feel of “All-New Doop” is comic-tragic-surreal.
The other area I’d think a book like this allows you to play with is storytelling. With Doop’s unique language and his floaty, lurking presence, I doubt you could build a lot of straight action beats around him. Do this character and book let you challenge yourself a bit in terms of the language of comics?
The book certainly pushes the boundaries of what usually can happen in a comic book. Doop allows you to bend the rules, but they have to be bent in such as way that characters like Kitty Pryde and Iceman, etc. can function. This book is about how Doop functions. It’s about how he lives on the margins. It’s about what happens to a scene or a character just as the “camera’s eye” has moved on. It’s about Doop’s world. And it’s about him wanting to share that world with an X-Man.
Speaking of which, David Lafuente seems hit the sweet spot in terms of being a mainstream artist with some very flexible storytelling and cartooning chops for a series like this. What’s been your expectation for where he picks up Doop as a character?
Oh yes, David is the perfect fit. The very first drawings I saw of Doop and the other characters in this book he nailed, a perfect balance between riotously insane and realistic.
Overall, how do you view this story’s place within the overall X-Statix tapestry you’ve told over the years. Is this a last hurrah for Doop and company, or will this story function as a more additive chapter in this crazy canon?
I’m certainly not seeing it as any last hurrah. I hope that by the end of this story people will be eager to know even more about the blob and with the rest of X-Statix. If the timing’s right I’d relish the chance to re-visit Mister Sensitive, Edie, Tike, Doop and some of the other gang again.
“All-New Doop” arrives in April from Marvel Comics.