J.M. DeMatteis Finds His Inner Magnus on "Doom Patrol"

Originally conceived by writer Robert Kanigher and illustrator Ross Andru as filler for 1962's "Showcase" #37, the Metal Man have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Following high-profile appearances in books ike "52," it was announced at New York Comic Con that the Metal Men have joined "Doom Patrol" as a backup feature in the highly anticipated new DC Comics series from industry legend Keith Giffen and rising star artist Matt Clark.

What makes long-time fans of the super-robot team even giddier is the fact the series-within-a-series is being co-written by Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art by Kevin McGuire, reuniting the Eisner Award-winning team behind "Formerly Known as the Justice League" and the classic 1980s series, "Justice League International."

Currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Ardden Entertainment, DeMatteis recently shared with CBR News some details about his upcoming Metal Men stories featuring Dr. Will Magnus and his robot team of Gold, Iron, Lead, Tin, Mercury and Platinum.

CBR: Keith Giffen has said the "Doom Patrol" lead story of the series is new reader-friendly. Can the same be said for the Metal Men backup?

Absolutely. We want you to be able to jump in and just enjoy these stories for what they are. No knowledge of forty years of continuity required. If there was, I don't think I'd be able to write this.

So the 2006 miniseries from Duncan Rouleau and the Metal Men's story in "52" doesn't play into this?

I think we'll be pulling anything from the past that works for us without getting entangled in it.

Is it fun to be back with the old "Justice League International" team? Has anything has changed?

Well, Keith and I have been working together pretty much non-stop since we reunited for "Formerly Known as the Justice League" back in 2002, most notably on "Hero Squared." By the way, the first issue of the new "Hero Squared" miniseries, "Love and Death," is on sale now.

And every time we get back together with Kevin [Maguire], it's like we were all just working together yesterday. We just slip into the old rhythms and off we go.

How do you and Giffen split writing duties?

Right now we're splitting this the way we used to split up the old "JLI" stories. Keith cooks up the plot and then draws it out as a little mini-comic with these wonderful minimalist drawings and enough basic dialogue and notes to get the story across. I then take that plot and run with it, embellishing what's there and adding new elements as I see fit. Sometimes I hew closely to Keith's plots and sometimes I end up layering a whole new story on top of it.

Keith then picks up on what I added and folds the changes into the next plot and we go from there, like a game of tennis. On "Hero Squared" - did I mention that the first issue of the new "Hero Squared" miniseries, "Love and Death," is on sale now? - we tend to spend a lot more time discussing the story before Keith begins the plot. With "Metal Men," the fun is that I'll have **almost** no clue what Keith's up to until I see the plot and he'll have **almost** no clue what I'm doing till he sees the script. It keeps things fresh and allows us to surprise each other. Keith and I are both incredibly boring guys and we have to get our thrills where we can.

Pairing Doom Patrol and Metal Men seems like a natural fit. Will the two teams crossover? Maybe Doc Magnus and Robotman?

No plans for a crossover at the moment. We want to establish our take on the characters and their world.

Are you telling longer arcs in the Metal Men backups or done-in-ones?

There will be elements that build and evolve from month to month, but we're aiming for stories that are generally wrapped up in a couple of issues.

Can you share any details about the first story?

Read it and be surprised.

What type of reader picks up "Doom Patrol" #1, featuring the Metal Men backup?

Someone who doesn't require big events and over-the-top angst in their comics. We're just having some fun here. Strong characters involved in solid adventure stories with lots and lots of snarky dialogue.

What do you love about the Metal Men?

There's a whimsical quality to the characters, almost like something out of a children's fantasy novel. And yet the whole concept of robots that are aware and believe themselves to be as alive, as conscious, as humans, is fascinating.

Are you using the classic roster?


Do you have a favorite member?

They're all terrific characters, and I suspect that, as we continue on through the coming months, as I get to know the characters better, I'll be surprised to discover which ones become favorites. Right now, it's probably Tin. I tend to root for the little guy. Oh, and did I mention that the first issue of the new "Hero Squared" miniseries, "Love and Death," is on sale now? I did? Then forget I said anything.


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