Unstoppable Doom Patrol has brought DC’s weirdest super team into the Dawn of DC. Here, we have an exclusive interview with writer Dennis Culver, breaking down different aspects of the series and what to expect moving forward:
Unstoppable Doom Patrol #1 showed us a new version of the team, one more focused on helping the “monsters” of the world. This reminded me a lot of Alcoholics Anonymous, and other similar groups, where people are often sponsored or coached by recovering addicts. What was your thought process behind this new status quo, and will we be seeing any group therapy style sessions throughout this series?
Think more physical rehabilitation than substance recovery. As we’ve now seen in issue 2, Flex Mentallo is on hand for the physical therapy helping metahumans learn to live and function with their new abilities as well as using them to defend themselves from a hostile world. As far as the psychological component, issue 2 also introduced us to the mysterious Dr. Syncho who helps people in a one on one capacity. No plans for group therapy just yet!
Many people were introduced to the team with Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol run, whereas a whole new audience fell in love with the TV show. Outside of their new mission what makes your version of the team unique?
I think of our current Doom Patrol team as a synthesis of all those previous elements that have come before in the comics as well as the TV show. Saving the World by Saving the Monsters feels like the next logical progression of the group if you’ve been reading each series. Also I intended for the comic to feel friendly for not only fans of the show and the comics but also first time readers. The Doom Patrol think of themselves as superhero first responders and I think that idea is unique beyond just them.
You recently announced an extra, 7th issue. Where does this book go from here? Is it possible that this will become an ongoing series or do you have a definitive series ending with issue #7?
The bonus issue will actually happen at issue 4 and then we take a break for Knight Terrors in July where you’ll find Robotman guest starring in the KNIGHT TERRORS: ZATANNA two issue series. We weren’t planning to come back until after the even but because we added the extra issue we’ll be back at the end of August.
This series has always been intended as a mini to accommodate Burnham’s schedule and allow him to create his amazing detailed art. Our intent is a series of 6 (or 7) issues each yeah like a season of prestige tv assuming sales stay strong enough to warrant that.
One of the greatest aspects of the first issue was the scratch off Crazy Jane Variant. Gimmick covers are always a ton of fun and people on Twitter seem to be going crazy for this one. Do you have other wacky ideas for some fun variant covers?
We have a planned trilogy of character driven variant covers: the Jane Scratch for issue 1, the glow-in-the dark Negative Man for issue 2, and now a Foil Robotman cover for issue 3. If we get another series then I imagine we’ll definitely do some more of these for the other characters.
Batman’s philosophy was blown off of its hinges in Unstoppable Doom Patrol #1. Can we expect to see some more higher caliber heroes taken down a peg in the future?
That’s certainly not the Doom Patrol’s intent but they aren’t afraid to step on the established heroes’ toes with their new mission. Expect them to have some strong disagreements with the Green Lanterns in issue 3!
Chris Burnham’s art blends perfectly with the aesthetic of this new status quo. What was your reaction the first time you saw his pages?
Burnham and I shared studio space with some other artists for a number of years and after watching him draw all that time, I know what he’s capable of doing. That being said, I am always impressed with Burnham’s work. He goes for it on every single panel. I firmly believe he is doing his best work yet on Unstoppable Doom Patrol. He should win all the awards for this next year!
As an artist yourself, how does the creative process with Chris work? Do you just let him go crazy or are you more involved with character designs and panel layouts?
Chris and I were already talking to each other nearly every day before we started this so now we’re in constant communication. I know what he does and doesn’t like doing so I usually suggest character designs to get him started since that’s not his favorite but I rarely sketch out anything as far as page layouts. Only if I’m having a hard time articulating something and even then I don’t usually have to show him. Burnham is one of the best storytellers working in comics. I know whatever solution he comes up with will be better than mine and way harder to draw 🙂
Something many fans of this series may not be aware of is your unofficial letters page, The Doom Scroll, which is available on your Substack. This is not only a fun place for fans to chat, but it’s also reminiscent of message boards that have given fans creator insight into certain series. What made you want to go this route and how are you enjoying the community that’s joined so far?
I think building a healthy fan community in comics is more important than ever and I’ve always loved letters columns so I wanted to give it a try on this book since there are already so many passionate fans of the series out there. So far it’s going great and I’m always happy to answer questions if I can do it without spoiling our plans for the book!
You can sign up for my substack right here: https://dennisculver.substack.com/
Considering that Unstoppable Doom Patrol is part of the larger story of the Dawn of DC, what can we expect from the future of the team?
The Dawn of DC story is still unfolding so I can’t give away too much about that but expect to have the Doom Patrol feel more integrated into the DCU than ever which I think is a very good thing!
You can find Unstoppable Doom Patrol #1 and #2 available now. The final order cutoff for Unstoppable Doom Patrol #3 is Sunday, April 30, 2023 so make sure to call your local comic book store to preorder today!