“Doom Patrol” #1 is finally upon us, courtesy of scribe Gerard Way and artist Nick Derington. With the debut issue also comes the launch of Way’s Young Animal imprint at DC Comics, where he, and a stable of inventive creators, aim to offer superhero storytelling like never before.
Appearing at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Way sat down with CBR’s Kiel Phegley to talk about his reimagining of “The World’s Strangest Heroes,” opening up about the origins of the comic, its legacy, and the overall creative approach of Young Animal.
Asked how his take on “Doom Patrol” came into fruition, Way said, “It came about pretty organically. I had been talking to [Vertigo Comic editor] Shelly Bond for years about doing something. We didn’t know if it was going to be an original thing, or if it was going to be ‘Doom Patrol.’ Shelly’s really great at getting something moving fast. She had done a really good job the other times we tried to do ‘Doom Patrol.’ She would start building teams, and she started getting scripts.”
While Way had plenty of ideas of “Doom Patrol,” his professional life in music at the time made it difficult to work on his take. “The last time I tried to write ‘Doom Patrol’ was a really tough time, because the band had just broken up. I was going through a lot of emotional stuff, I didn’t have time to write, I was writing a solo record, so we didn’t really have time — it didn’t work out and that was on me.”
Thankfully, Doom Patrol wasn’t definitely doomed. “We kept talking and I ended up at a convention with [DC co-publishers] Dan [Didio] and Jim [Lee], and we ended up talking about what I was going to do at DC. There was a ‘Batman’ project there for a while that I was talking about, and always ‘Doom Patrol’ kept coming up. They asked what I really wanted to do, and I said ‘Doom Patrol.’ We were trying to figure out where it would live. Vertigo had changed and become this really awesome creator-owned place, so it felt weird going back to [the former] way of doing things.”
The idea of forming Young Animal, a full-fledged imprint at DC, came from co-publisher Jim Lee. “Jim suggested, ‘Why don’t you do an imprint?’ Then I went home and started thinking about it for a couple weeks, and I started looking at characters. And then I was like, yeah…I think an imprint’s going to be really fun.”
“I’m a big fan of collectives and groups of people — like-minded artists and creators — doing similar things and having similar goals. I’m a big fan of record labels and the Sub Pop record label of the ’90s. I wanted this to be the Sub Pop of comics.” He added, “It really celebrates the art of making comics. This team effort, this collective group of people, almost like a hive-mind, making really different comics, strange comics and weird comics.”
Though Way’s “Doom Patrol” is its own beast, there is definite inspiration laden in the pages. “It really celebrates the legacy of ‘Doom Patrol.’ And as much as I can fit in, I want to celebrate all the runs,” Way said. “Right now I’ve got stuff in there that nods to Grant [Morrison], Rachel Pollack, and the original series. Even stuff that references Keith Giffen’s run. And there are a couple runs that I’m catching up on — the [John] Arcudi one, and John Byrne, the [Paul] Kupperberg one. But I am completely taking it to a new place. It doesn’t feel like any of those writers’ books.”
“Doom Patrol” #1 is on sale now; you can preview the issue here. “Doom Patrol” #2 hits stands on October 12.
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