As team members travel across realities in The Authority: The Lost Year, fans of Justice League International are lucking out.
Beginning in April, regular writer Keith Giffen is uniting with his JLI collaborator J.M. DeMatteis to bring their unique brand of "bwa-ha-ha" to the Authority, pitting them against funny versions of themselves, including a Midnighter who's a used car salesman.
The Lost Year story was started by Grant Morrison over three years ago, but was left unfinished after only two issues were released. Hoping to finish the story Morrison started, Giffen came on board with The Authority: The Lost Year #3 in November, and is now taking the team across several alternate realities, following Morrison's original plot for the series.
Giffen and DeMatteis, who last month spoke with Newsarama about their upcoming run on Booster Gold, are also just finishing up a run on the Metal Men co-features in Booster Gold.
Newsarama talked to the pair to find out more about their run in The Authority: The Lost Year, and we ended up getting more bwa-ha-ha than even we bargained for...
Newsarama: Keith, you've been writing The Authority since Issue #3. Why did you bring on a co-writer for this story? And why J.M. DeMatteis in particular?
Keith Giffen: It was late, I'd been drinking...
Okay. Actually, the book's various realities concept kind of lent itself to a kinda, sorta bwah-ha-ha story like this. I didn't think WildStorm would go for it, which shows how much I know, but once they okayed it, who else was I going to call?
Nrama: J.M., what did you think of the opportunity when you heard about it? Were you familiar with The Authority?
J.M. DeMatteis: Somewhat...but I had to get more familiar very quickly. Honestly, it wasn't the chance to work on The Authority that made me say yes; it was another opportunity to work with Keith. We've been working together, on and off, for more than 20 years... and I'm enjoying it now more than ever. (You know where to send the check, Keith.) All that said, once I became familiar with the story and the characters and got the sense of what Keith wanted – which was, essentially, good old-fashioned JLI absurdity – I had a blast.
Plus, I got to work with Scott Peterson again and he's a really great guy. (You know where to send the check, Scott.)
Nrama: Keith, where did you get the idea for this story? How did you come up with it?
Giffen: It was late...
The idea of playing Apollo and Midnighter as Beetle and Booster was just too rich to pass up. The actual story grew out of that.
Nrama: What kind of craziness are we going to see in this story?
Giffen: I don't think people familiar with what happens when J.M. and I get together will be surprised. Authority fans however...
DeMatteis: What's interesting about this is that we get to do that thing we do...and yet the Authority characters remain pretty consistent. Well, the original Authority characters do. Their otherworldly doubles are another matter entirely.
Nrama: Who are some of the more interesting alternate-reality characters that readers will meet?
Giffen: Ohh. That would have been so cool! Wish we'd have thought of that before handing in our drivel.
DeMatteis: The alternate versions of Midnighter and Apollo were really fun to write. And there's a team of villains that JLI fans might find oddly...familiar.
Nrama: The Authority tends to be darker than most superhero teams. How does that play in this story? As kind of a contrast?
Giffen: Hey! We can do dark! I'll have you know that quite a few of our stories have taken place at night!
DeMatteis: I can think of five or six right off the top of my head!
Nrama: Keith, you had originally planned to complete Grant's story on The Authority: The Lost Year. Will his original idea for the series be completed after 12 issues as planned?
Giffen: I think I owe Grant an apology. I kind of took the bit in my teeth and ran with the book. Grant's basic concept is still there, but I don't think he should totally share the blame. All things considered...
Nrama: Was this story part of Grant's plans?
Giffen: Not even close.
Nrama: So then, was the outline loose enough that you could throw in your own ideas along the way?
Giffen: There was an outline!?
Nrama: Will this comic be reminiscent of your work together on Justice League International?
Giffen: I'm thinking yes. Why? Because it's how we ride. Yeesh... How pathetic was that coming from a 57 year old guy?
DeMatteis: Incredibly pathetic.
But, yes, it's very JLI. Or maybe it's very Super Buddies. Or Metal Men. Or Hero Squared.
Nrama: Where did this artist, David Williams, come from...
Giffen: Mrs. Williams?
DeMatteis: Really? I'd heard he was synthetic life, created in a laboratory. In any case, his art is wonderful. Pitch perfect.
Nrama: OK, OK. But what's he bringing to The Authority? Have you guys been collaborating with him on the look for these new, alternate-reality characters?
Giffen: Dave's a pro. He doesn't need us sticking our noses into the look of the books. And from what I've seen so far... he gets it. That counts for a lot.
DeMatteis: Yeah, he can do the big action and the intimate moments and the spit takes. I think he studied spit-takes at the Danny Thomas School of Fine Art. (Now there's a reference most of your readers won't get!)
Nrama: How long will you guys be co-writing The Authority?
Giffen: What time is it now?
DeMatteis: I'm just jumping in for two goofy issues, then Keith gets Dead Serious again.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell your fans about your work on The Authority: The Lost Year?
Giffen: J.M. thought Midnighter and Apollo were happy heroes until I explained the whole gay thing.
DeMatteis: And I was all ready to pitch that Happy Heroes mini-series, too!