Often imitated but never doop-licated, the cucumber-esque cool of Marvel’s oddest, briniest hero persists well past the expiration date of similar-looking produce found in your neighborhood bodega. Some 13 years after Doop’s first appearance in the pages of X-FORCE, that needlessly avant-garde cameraman headlines his own five-part limited series, once again saving the world from utter destruction, all from his crow’s nest in the very margins of the Marvel Universe.
You might think you know the story behind X-Men: Battle of the Atom, but you may have missed the crucial X-Factor. Wait. Wrong book. Suffice to say, Doop played a major role in that conflict and the personal life of one Kitty Pryde. Soon all shall be revealed.
We spoke to Milligan and Lafuente for the behind-the-scenes scoop on the auteur/teacher/investigator/visionary/hero that is Doop.
Marvel.com: Why Doop?
David Lafuente: Because even in a universe inhabited by zillions of crazy characters like machine-gun dolphins and talking bombs, Doop is still unique. That's very interesting. Maybe it's the combination of his look with the kind of stories he's involved in; the way he lives in the margins, the charm. It’s been more than a decade since he first appeared and he remains mysterious. He definitely has something.
Peter Milligan: Ever since I wrote X-FORCE, which morphed into X-STATIX, Doop has been a character that's close to my heart, and probably several other organs to boot. The very idea that such a bizarre being could still be going strong in the Marvel Universe is, I suppose, a kind of testament to his strange power. Maybe his staying power can be put down to the fact that he’s so hard to pin down or fully understand: the fact that we can never know what he truly is means he can be anything we wish him to be. This is evidenced in Doop's weird speech, which allows us to interpret it as we wish. So, maybe we should ask not: Why Doop? But rather, why not Doop?"
Marvel.com: Doop is center-stage, of course, but who's sharing the spotlight this time around?
Marvel.com: How much of Peter Milligan resides in Doop? How much has Doop rubbed off on you?
Peter Milligan: I'd like to state categorically that Doop has never rubbed off on me, though I'm sure he—or she? or it?—would like to. Seriously, I think Doop and I both carry each other's genes. There is a lot of Peter Milligan in Doop. But there's also a sizable dollop of Doop in m—(some examples: people often don't know what the hell I'm saying, and strange rumors persist about my peculiar leanings.
Marvel.com: If we were to take a cross-section of Doop, maybe an X-ray, what would we see inside?
Peter Milligan: That depends. Sometimes me. Sometimes Mike Allred. And sometimes a series of twisted mirrors, reflecting the horrified faces of all those peering in.
David Lafuente: I think we had a good look of that in the silent issue, X-FORCE #123!
David Lafuente: The strangest is a spoiler because it's the end of the first issue. I think the best answer I can give here is strangest page, which is one in which Doop travels through different moments of Battle of the Atom. None know that he's there, making it a very bizarre scene. And many more to come.
Marvel.com: They say comedy is far more challenging than drama. Can you speak to the challenges of scripting and drawing comedy?
David Lafuente: We are still early in the process, so we haven't talked a whole lot. But in my experience it's not that key for a successful collaboration. I tend to think of the scripts as set in stone. I translate them into visual story-telling to the best of my ability and may add a background detail here and there but I always try to keep them as written. You can see it in the recent AVENGERS ANNUAL I did with Kathryn Immonen. We are friends and talk often but we didn't have much to discuss during the making of the book. I liked what Kath and the editor planned in the outline. She delivered the script, I answered with the visuals suggested in the script and that was it. It comes down to trusting your collaborator’s voice. This is the way I collaborated with [Brian] Bendis, [Dan] Abnett and [Andy] Lanning—so pretty much the same with Peter.
About the challenges, I've worked on very mainstream books like ALL-NEW X-MEN and others more exotic like HELLCAT, but never in one that combined those two ends of the spectrum in the way Doop does. Layouts have been tricky, knowing what's too bold and what's too tame, but I'm managing. In terms of figure drawing style, it's the same old me. And there will be Easter eggs hidden around as it's already customary in my books. I really like those things and they make second readings a must.
Read ALL-NEW DOOP #1 by Peter Milligan and David Lafuente with covers by Mike Allred this April!