KEITH GIFFEN Puts CAPTAIN K'ROT on a Stick for DC Fans

Threshold #3

Keith Giffen has an axe to grind.

Or perhaps it's more fitting in this case to say he's got a "carrot" to grind. And readers are already buzzing about it.

When DC released March solicitations last week, the cover and description for Giffen's Threshold #3 featured a character called "Captain K'Rot."

The new character is Giffen's way of paying tongue-in-cheek homage to Captain Carrot, the star of the humorous '80s comic Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew.

So far, comic fans aren't sure what to make of a gritty-looking version of Captain Carrot. But Giffen told Newsarama he's not trying to make Threshold "gritty"... but is instead trying to make the comic more "fun." And that's the axe he's grinding — how comics should get back to being "fun."

Threshold is the new space-based comic Giffen is launching in January with artists Tom Raney and Scott Kolins. The series will spin out of next month's Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1 and the final issues of DC's canceled Blue Beetle title.

Threshold will have back-up stories by Giffen and Kolins that feature Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern from DC's Green Lantern stories.

art from "The Hunted"

But the main story by Giffen and Raney, titled "The Hunted," will focus on Jediah Caul, a new Green Lantern who meets and teams up with a wide variety of revamped DC characters — including Giffen's version of the Omega Men, Blue Beetle, Space Ranger, Lady Styx, DC's original Starfire, Space Cabbie, Star Hawkins, and dozens of others.

And Captain K'Rot.

Of course, K'Rot's appearance in Threshold doesn't necessarily mean that the former Captain Carrot and his furry crewmembers don't still exist on DC's Earth-26 (as established pre-New 52 in the 2007 mini-series Captain Carrot & The Final Ark).

Instead, Giffen is merely introducing what he calls a "new character with a familiar name." And while Giffen admitted he added a little bit of Lobo to K'Rot's design, he warned that fans of other Giffen-created characters like Lobo or Rocket Raccoon should not expect the same type of story from Captain K'Rot and his cohorts in Threshold.

"Threshold is not Annihilation or Guardians of the Galaxy," Giffen told Newsarama. "This is a different animal."

"Animal" pun intended?

Giffen said he's also trying to add "fun" to Legion of Super-Heroes, which he's co-creating with Paul Levitz beginning in March. (Check back soon with Newsarama for more on Giffen's plans for Legion.)

To clarify K'Rot's role in Threshold, Newsarama talked to the writer/artist about Threshold — and we let him vent a bit about "fun" in comics. To accompany the interview, DC provided a little fun of its own —exclusive preview pages from Green Lantern: New Guardians Annual #1 and Threshold #1, both debuting in January.

Newsarama: Keith, on the cover of Threshold #3, we saw this new character called Captain K'Rot. I know you told me in our interview a couple months ago that you were going to introduce a new character in issue #2 that you believed would be a breakout character. Is Captain K'Rot that character?

Keith Giffen: Yeah, yeah. He appears in issue #2. I think Captain K'Rot will be — maybe I'm wrong, but I just have a feeling he'll be one of the breakaway characters from Threshold.

art from "The Hunted"

Look, everyone loves a psychotic, booze-swilling rabbit.

Nrama: The Internet was buzzing when the image first appeared in March solicitations. People were pretty alarmed to see a new take on Captain Carrot.

Giffen: I think it was one of the last characters anyone expected to see in the book.

Nrama: You told me he's a brand new character, but just with a familiar name. As you created the new character, what was your motivation?

Giffen: I just loved the idea of taking a rabbit, which is this cute little pink-nosed, wonderful furry thing, and just laying a little bit of Lobo over the top of it. That makes for a very interesting character I think.

I just said to Tom Raney, who was designing the characters, just give me a psychotic rabbit. And he ran with it from there.

And then we decided, oh, yeah, he has to have the artificial leg because he's like Captain Ahab [from Moby Dick]. He's hunting down the "man what took his foot for luck."

We're just having fun with it.

Nrama: And he's got the one eye?

Giffen: Yeah, I wanted one of those dead zombie eyes. Anything to make the character look anything but cute.

Nrama: Well it worked. How do you pronounce his name?

Giffen: It's "Kuh-ROT." And of course, we also have his buddy Pig-Iron in there.

But Captain K'Rot... God is he fun to write. As I said, he's introduced in issue #2, and then his big moments come in issue #3, #4 and #5. I was originally going to introduce him and then walk away and see what else happened. But nah, I'm having too much fun. He's sticking around.

art from

Green Lantern:

New Guardians

Annual #1

But you see, with Threshold, I'm trying desperately to have fun. Comic books are supposed to be fun. Comic books are supposed to be big and loud and bombastic and fun.

I don't want to do European style comic books. I want to do good, old-fashioned American comic books. And I'm not saying that out of some desire to be patriotic or something. No. I'm just saying there's nothing wrong with what we were doing in this country with comic books. Alright, maybe they didn't appeal to adults. But they were big and just a lot of fun.

Nrama: And you want to get back to that.

Giffen: Yeah, I just want to get back to it.

So yeah, we've got Captain K'Rot and Stealth, and lots of other revamped and new characters coming up in Threshold — and in the Legion of Super-Heroes, come to think of it.

And they're there, just to hopefully tell a fun story with a lot of spectacle in it. And some character moments. I want to get comics back to being action-packed enjoyment.

Somebody said to me at one point — and I don't remember who — we've got film directors doing comic book movies who are trying desperately to work their budget around to get one more action beat in there, one more big moment. But in comics, we've almost gone in the opposite direction, where we've got characters just sitting around and talking.

Nrama: And comics have, basically, unlimited budgets for action scenes.

Giffen: Yes! Exactly! Hollywood still hasn't figured out Galactus yet. That's the idea. You know?

art from

Green Lantern:

New Guardians

Annual #1

I don't want to make comics that are movie-friendly. I don't want to make comic books that are TV friendly. I don't want to say, "oh, I'll design the costumes so it will look good when Ashton Kutcher wears it."

I want to do comic books where they have a look at it and go, "well, it's popular, and we'd like to do a movie about it, but how are we going to figure this out?"

So in Threshold we're going to introduce characters and have fun with characters and really play around with space in the DCU.

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