Keith Giffen on Finishing Morrison's Authority

The Authority #1

It's been a long time coming. The Authority story that was started by Grant Morrison over two years ago is being finished by writer Keith Giffen, who will be on the comic for a 12-issue run. Wildstorm confirmed last week at the ComicsPRO summit in Memphis that Keith Giffen is taking over The Authority beginning with issue #3 to complete the already-started run by Morrison. Although an artist and start date for the next issue have not been announced, Hank Kanalz of WildStorm indicated that the third issue wouldn't be released until the story is finished, to avoid any more delays. Fans have been asking about the series since the December 2006/March 2007 release of Morrison's first two issues of The Authority, which featured art by Gene Ha. But in September 2007, Ha announced that he didn't think the third issue would ever be released. "There is no #3 script; there may never be a #3 script," he said. Well, that's changing now that Giffen's on board. Giffen, who recently finished up the Ambush Bug and Reign in Hell mini-series, was just in the news when DC announced that the writer/artist would helm a new Doom Patrol ongoing series beginning later this year with artist Matthew Clark, as well a co-writing Metal Men back-up stories with his frequent collaborator, J.M. DeMatteis. Newsarama talked to Giffen about the Authority job, how he's continuing Morrison's story, and where the team goes from there. Newsarama: So you're taking over the Authority where Grant Morrison left off? Keith Giffen: That's the plan. I think Grant got two issues out before things got in the way, and [Wildstorm editor] Scott Peterson called up and asked me if I'd be interested in continuing the book. He knows that I've got a real soft spot for the Authority. I like the characters and I like the concept. And once I talked to Grant and made sure he was OK with it – and got a little bit of his feedback, especially with the first story, as to where he pictured it going – I just took it and ran with it. So I'll run it through to the end of a 12-issue run. NRAMA: We talked about Midnighter when you took over that series for awhile. Have you written the Authority besides that? KG: A little. I wrote Midnighter as part of the Authority. And I've also handled the Authority in a couple of Lobo specials and little odds and ends here and there. It's a group I like. It's almost like the Legion of Super-Heroes. It's a group that, when it's laid out in front of me, I really, really find it hard to say no. NRAMA: Although Reign in Hell had its dark moments and you've certainly established your darker side in some other recent projects, it's hard to ignore you're the mind behind Ambush Bug. Is the Authority quite a switch? This will continue to be a dark comic, won't it? KG: Oh yeah. The Authority is a book that sort of traffics in darkness, or if not darkness, then sort of uncomfortable truths sometimes. And I plan on staying true to that. There will be little humorous moments -- I can't help that; that's pretty much what I do. But no, it's not a funny book; not by any stretch of the imagination is this going to be a funny book. Grant started off with this specific tone, so the idea here is to continue that. NRAMA: When you say continue that, is it going to pick up on that story based in realism as the Authority visited a world that looked like ours?
The Authority #2 KG: Well, I stepped into a book that was in the midst of a type of storyline that is probably my least favorite in comics. And that is, heroes come to our earth. Because this is in a comic book, it's obviously not our earth. But I've always hated it when Superman ends up on the real earth Well, if that's the case, why aren't you doing it as a fumetti? You know? So I had no idea what I was supposed to do with this. Aside from humorous stuff, like the Ambush Bug stuff, where things are supposed to be very, very in-your-face, I've always felt that the minute a writer writes himself into a project, it's over. I sort of apply that with bringing fictional characters and saying that now they are roaming around in the "real" world. It just rubs me the wrong way. I think it actually gets the bottom of the barrel in terms of story ideas. But then when I talked to Grant about it and found out where he was coming from and how he was approaching this story, I found out that although it was kind of that – they're on real earth, but they're kind of/sort of not – I'm anxious to find a comfort zone there. NRAMA: So you're ending the story the way Grant intended? Or are you saying that you didn't like that storyline? KG: Oh, no, that was in no way meant to be a shot at Grant. When I first read the first two books, I thought, "I'm not going to enjoy this story. I don't like these kinds of stories." But when I talked to him and saw where he was going with it, I thought, "Oh, OK." I was a couple of steps behind him... again. But I'm enjoying it now. The story that Grant started wraps up in two more issues, then it moves into another adventure. NRAMA: So what can you tell us about the full 12-issue run, Keith? What will be the idea behind these stories you're writing? KG: This book is about the Authority having trouble with the Carrier and they're trying to find their way home. It's almost like the Odyssey, in a way, as trying to find your way home and going through various adventures. And this is what Grant had planned. This is in keeping with the basic structure that he told me over the phone. But then, I'll put in my point of view. NRAMA: So this storyline in a "real-feeling" earth is four issues, then the next eight issues sees the team visiting different universes? KG: Yeah. NRAMA: OK, let's talk about the history of this book, Keith. Have you always been an Authority reader? KG: Yeah. I came kind of late to the party. I came to the Authority during the storyline where they were fighting God. And then through the collected editions, I caught up. But from the first time I discovered the book, I always liked it. I liked the free rein it had. I think that Ellis and Millar, in terms of Authority stories, set the bar pretty high. I think it was the idea of having a book where, you know, you took Batman and you made Midnighter by removing the "lie," you know? "I won't kill." It was just a book where you could spin stories and not have to worry about where any given character is going to have to be next Thursday in his own book. And of course, the ideas being put forward were great. NRAMA: We heard the artist is going to rotate? KG: There are various artists. It's going to be various artists for the different story arcs. The story arc that was begun will be finished by one artist, then when they move on to another universe, another artist will move in. It's not that we can't get one artist to stick. It's that we figure that for each reality, a different look would sort of reflect the fact that you're in a different circumstance or situation. NRAMA: For your fans, now that you're writing Doom Patrol, Metal Men and Authority, will you have any other projects coming up? KG: There are two more projects rolling down the pike that I'm not allowed to speak about right now, but I'm sure DC will be announcing them soon. One of them, people will say, "What's he doing on that book?" And the other one will be, "Oh my God! Is he insane?" Those will be the two reactions to the upcoming books. NRAMA: Anything else you want to tell fans about the Authority? KG: The fans seem to ask about this book regularly, so I think it's something they want to see wrapped up, and I hope they're satisfied with the way I do it. Related: Dr. Doom Patrol - Keith Giffen Looks to Healthy New Era New York Comic Con 2009 - Wildstorm Panel with Jim Lee
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