Q: Brian, how and when did you first become a fan of Doom Patrol?
A: The same way I suspect most people my age did – during their initial appearance in the 80’s version of The New Teen Titans. I was instantly captivated by them, and perhaps even more so by their villains—especially The Brain and Monsieur Mallah (I’m a sucker for talking monkeys).
After that, I haunted the back issue bins and tracked down every issue of The Doom Patrol that I could find. It’s remained one of my consistent favorites, no matter which incarnation or series (with the exception of the John Byrne run, which I didn’t much care for).
Q: What led to the very enviable gig of getting to actually write an issue with Keith Giffen?
A: Mutual admiration. I’ve been a fan of Keith’s work for years, and he’s a fan of my novels. We talk quite often. During one conversation, I mentioned that I wanted to do more comics and less novels. At the time, I’d done some work for Marvel, Antarctic Press and a few other indies. Keith convinced DC to let me pitch something, and I came in with two ideas for Doom Patrol. One of them involved a sentient oil slick that’s devouring the Gulf of Mexico. The other idea was the one that ultimately appears in issue #16.
Q: How did you find working with Keith (or indeed, co-writing in general)?
A: Truthfully, I was a little nervous. Haven’t felt that way about a project in years, but I wanted to nail this one, you know? But Keith was great. He offered advice, ideas and criticism in equal measure, all of it fair and accurate. Let’s be honest—yes, the book is the Doom Patrol, but it’s also Keith’s Doom Patrol. It has his indelible stamp on every issue. He wasn’t afraid to let me play in the world and plotlines he’s created, but he also wasn’t afraid to tell me when I was getting carried away. The man is a pro, in every sense of the word. I wish there were more like him.
Q: Given Keith's art chores for the issue, is the writing split evenly between both of you, or is there a different process in place? How does it work?
I came up with the original plot. Keith and I re-worked it so that it fit into his current continuity (at the time, issue #8 had just hit the stands, so I had no idea about the return of Jost, Mr. Nobody, Rita’s secret origin, or anything else that’s happened recently). Then we did it “Marvel-style”—meaning he drew the pages, Al Milgrom inked them, and then I wrote the dialogue and everything else. First time I’ve worked Marvel-style. It’s harder than it sounds. Before this, I’d always written full scripts.
Q: Brian, you've also written for Marvel Comics and several independant companies in the recent past (Complete list HERE). What have been your most rewarding comic-writing experiences so far, and why?
A: Doom Patrol was a huge personal watermark for me, simply because of the chance to work with Keith and Al, both of whom have kept me entertained for years. The Superman story I wrote for this year’s DCU Halloween Special was fun, because it was an opportunity to contribute to the overall mythos of one of the world’s most enduring characters. And re-vamping Devil Slayer for Marvel was a real treat. I was a big fan of the original character, especially during his appearances in The Defenders.
Q: Are there any plans for you to write any more for the major comic companies?
A: Oh, yes. I’ve got several things in the pipeline. Sadly, I can’t talk about any of them yet. I’ve got more indie titles coming, as well, including a continuation of my Antarctic Press series The Last Zombie.
Part 2 will be up on the weekend, where Brian discusses his plans for Doom Patrol #16, Ted Bruder, "Mountie Ambush Bug" and his feelings about the Arcudi and John Byrne runs!
In the meantime, check out Brian's website at BrianKeene.com