Writers Gerard Way and Jeremy Lambert have returned for more Doom Patrol with the relaunched Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1 this week. But with the departure of Nick Derington from the series, the book has enlisted a variety of artists to give the book a new style to go with the new #1.
First up is James Harvey, who’s bridging the transition between the last volume and this one with what he calls “a good balance of the comfortably familiar and the ‘holy crap what the hell is this?’”
This week’s issue sends the team on a road trip around the solar system, beginning an episodic approach that will take the Doom Patrol to different worlds.
Following up on our recent interview with Way and Lambert, Newsarama talked with Harvey to find out more about his artwork for the new launch of the new Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds.
Newsarama: James, how did you hear about the opportunity to draw Doom Patrol with Gerard and Jeremy, and what did you think of the opportunity when you heard about it?
James Harvey: I’ve been in touch with Gerard and Nick for a while, doing bits and pieces for Young Animal here and there over a couple of years, so it felt like a very natural fit.
I think they'd been talking about who could potentially take over from Nick, and my name came up. I would have loved to stay on to do a few more issues, but another job came up that I couldn't really turn down.
It'll be nice to do a few more somewhere down the line, though, if they'll have me back.
Nrama: Gerard said he had your art in mind when he and Jeremy scripted the issues. Did you notice that at all?
Harvey: I can't think of anything in this issue that must have been specifically written for me, but the general sense of fun and playfulness definitely feels like my wheelhouse. I really appreciate that they wrote something that meant I got to work in so many different tones and styles, and generally experiment.
The next issue is more obviously written for me. There are things in there that are clearly based on work I've done for DC in the past.
And there's more Lotion, the cat, who I asked for and was not disappointed.
Nrama: You said it has a general sense of playfulness, and that sounds a lot like the approach Gerard explained: “cosmic weirdness and positivity.” Is there a certain style or look you were going for, or something you discussed with the writers?
Harvey: Stylistically, I just wanted to thread the needle between respecting people's expectations of Gerard's run on Doom Patrol, and respecting Gerard's audience, who are extremely open-minded and will follow him wherever he goes, no matter how mind-expandingly weird.
So it there's a good balance of the comfortably familiar and the "holy crap what the hell is this?”
Nrama: We've read the first issue, and it feels like there must have been some real challenges thrown your way. Can you think of any specific challenges from the script?
Harvey: The biggest challenge was probably learning to draw all these new characters. I've never worked on a "team" book before. It's a lot to take on board!
I don't think I truly had time to make the characters my own, but I hope I captured their essence, and that you feel that these are the real Casey, Larry and the rest and not some interlopers.
Nrama: Then let’s switch to the positives. Anything that turned out to be a favorite thing you drew?
Harvey: On this issue? Yes: Corban The Orb God is a beautiful and magnificent beast. If I die and that remains my one contribution to the DC Universe I'll have died happy. Here's hoping he shows up in the next gritty Batman movie.
Nrama: Then to finish up, James, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Doom Patrol: Weight of the Worlds #1?
Harvey: I just want to say I hope you enjoy it and stick around for the next one because I'm extremely proud of the work we did. Jeremy, Gerard, Sajan, and Abby were dream collaborators and it's probably the most fun I've had making a comic book since I was wee. I think some of that fun definitely rubbed off on the page.