Giffen on Lobo’s Big Screen Debut

Mon, September 14th, 2009 at 9:28am PDT

TV/Film
Jeffrey Renaud, Staff Writer

"Lobo: Portrait of a Bastich" collects two of the Kieth Giffen stories that made Lobo a huge hit in the 1990s

When news broke last week of the leadership change at DC Comics, one item that also surfaced recently either started to make a lot more sense or may be going the way of the dodo bird.

In either case, the fact a Lobo movie is closer than ever to being made was too exciting a possibility to pass up, so CBR News reached out to the bastich of a bounty hunter’s co-creator Keith Giffen (“Magog,” “Doom Patrol”) for his thoughts on the proposed film by Guy Ritchie (“Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” “Sherlock Holmes”).

Giffen and writer Roger Slifer originally created Lobo in “Omega Men.” The interstellar mercenary appeared in the series’ third issue in June 1983. Rarely used, Lobo practically disappeared for most of the next decade until he resurfaced in the 1990s as an antihero not unlike Marvel’s Punisher and Wolverine. Giffen considered Lobo a parody of Marvel’s über-violent crimestoppers, but the Main Man instead turned into one of DC’s most popular characters for much of the decade, appearing in many solo miniseries written by Giffen and Alan Grant and illustrated by such big names as Simon Bisley and Kevin O’Neil.

Most recently, Lobo’s been featured in “52,” for which Giffen provided layouts, and “Reign in Hell,” which he wrote. Lobo’s next major appearance will be in the two-part miniseries, “Lobo: Highway to Hell,” written by Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian and illustrated by Sam Kieth.

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CBR: Did you ever think a Lobo movie would happen?

KEITH GIFFEN: No, I did not. This thing has been spinning in development for quite some time, for years actually. I was as surprised as everyone else.

The world you’ve built for Lobo, and the character as a whole, would appear to be a perfect fit for a movie, don’t you think?

Well of course, I’d think so. I’m sort of waiting with everyone else that Guy Ritchie hits it out of the ball park. I’m not as standoffish as Alan Moore is nor am I as overly exuberant as Mark Millar, I just settle back and say, “Give it your best shot and we’ll see.” And again, I’ve said before, but that character has been very good to me. I’ve enjoyed telling his stories and I hope the guys doing the movie have as much fun as I had when I was playing with the character. I wish them all the luck in the world and I’ll just settle back and see what happens.

Sam Kieth is illustrating a new Lobo miniseries written by Anthrax's Scott Ian

So you’re not involved at all in the movie?

No, no. Not at all. How rare is it that they come to the comic book guy? Films and comic books are completely different media. I understand that and I’m pretty much in the position of the fans. Very curious about how the whole thing is going to turn out and looking forward to it with my fingers crossed.

What do you think of the lead character? Would Lobo be better served as a CGI creation like Gollum or King Kong or does he have to be like Ron Perlman in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies?

I think there has to be an actual body. I’ve always thought that. CGI is not developed to the point wherein it doesn’t scream CGI at you, especially when you are doing characters that are supposed to be humanoid. For Gollum, my hats off to those guys because they really made him fit in but when it comes to a main character in a movie, I really feel like they’d be better off going with putting somebody into that position and letting him work it through. I just pray he doesn’t show up in Batman-style muscle suit because that just screws the pooch.

One of my all-time favorite movies is “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” so I’m keeping my fingers crossed. But then one of my least favorite movies of all-time was the remake of “Swept Away.” I’m hoping the right Guy Ritchie walks through the door.

When Lobo appeared on “Justice League,” they used Brad Garrett (“Everybody Loves Raymond“) for his voice. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan from “Watchmen” seems to be everybody’s leading candidate to take on the roll if it’s live action. If you were to imagine somebody being Lobo, anybody come to mind?

Were I king -- and I’m not, I have no say in this whatsoever -- if I were calling the shots, I would go for an unknown. Sort of “make a star.” Do the George Lucas thing, make a star instead of bringing someone in. If you bring, off the top of my head, Mel Gibson, and say, “Okay. Mel Gibson is going to play Lobo.” It stops being a Lobo movie and starts being a Mel Gibson movie. Movie stars bring their own baggage.

So Brad Pitt’s out?

You know, I didn’t think Michael Keaton as Batman would work so I’m not the best guy to ask that question. It’s funny, when I write my characters, I really don’t see or hear any specific voice or pattern him after any specific person. There sort of cobbled together from a whole cloth. Again, all I’m asking is that they respect the character. And he’s not my character. I have nothing to gain from this. This film could make “Dark Knight” money and I would say, “Okay. Lobo is a viable character and I’m glad I had a part in giving birth to him.” But, like I say, it’s bragging rights for me. That’s all.

Lobo art by Sam Kieth

Does this movie need to be “Dark Knight’ serious? Or does it have to bring the funny?

Again, you’re asking were I God, what would I do? I’ve always pictured Lobo would work best as a movie if you played him sort of like, a very attitudey, black humor, Czarnian from outer space. That’s just my opinion. I don’t which direction, they’re going with this. I have no idea or what they’re going to do with it. I just hope that I’ll be as pleasantly surprised as everybody else.

It’s odd to me that so many people are interested in this. I thought that Lobo was a character that had kind of run its course. He was part of the DC stable but I thought the rabid days when the fans really stood up and paid attention to Lobo were over.

I also have high hopes for the Lobo miniseries with Sam Kieth and this Anthrax guy, because if there is anybody who should be able to nail what Lobo’s all about, it’s a heavy metal rocker.

Maybe Anthrax could do the soundtrack for the movie?

The funny thing is people look at Lobo and think that I’m a metal rocker. I’m really not. I’m an old punk. So if I was going to lay down the soundtrack to the Lobo movie, it would be all of these punk rock bands that nobody has ever heard of.

But it’s kind of fun to watch it all unfold. I do wish them all the best of luck. Like I said, I hope they hit it out of the ballpark.

TAGS:  lobo, keith giffen, dc comics, buy ritchie, sam kieth

 
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