In real life it seems, as well as comic-life, John and Carole Barrowman are a force to be reckoned with. A zany, unstoppable, ex-pat Scottish force. John’s 2005 breakthrough role as redeemed time-traveling con-man Captain Jack Harkness on the BBC series Doctor Who built on his successful career as a theatre actor in London’s West End. The character proved so popular, John ended up helming his own spin-off series, Torchwood, which saw elements of Doctor Who reworked into a darker, night-time soap aimed at an adult audience. Most recently he’s staked his claim to superhero television with his turn as DC villain Merlyn, co-created by legendary comic artist Neal Adams, in the CW series Arrow.
His sister Carole, a college professor of writing and columnist for The Milwaukee Sentinel, has been by his side for the whole strange trip. And quite happily, it seems. When the time came for John to publish a memoir, he enlisted his sister to pen it with him, resulting in the 2009 best-seller Anything Goes. The pair again joined forces to produce series of YA fantasy novels, as well the book Torchwood: Exodus Code, a follow up to the Starz series Torchwood: Miracle Day. Today sees them continue to play in that universe, with the release of their brand-new Torchwood comic series for Titan Comics.
If that sounds exhausting, you’ve clearly not been exposed to the raw power and enthusiasm of this pair of siblings, which could power a city– perhaps even solve the energy crisis. We caught up with both Barrowmans at San Diego Comic Con, and we could barely get the camera rolling before they took over the interview. We drop you right in, as John talks about his prized original art from Oor Wullie, a popular comic strip character from Scottish newspaper The Sunday Post before quizzing our volunteer cameraman on his accent (Thanks to comic artist Simon Fraser for the assist).
Eventually we speak about their Torchwood comics, of course, but that’s an oversimplification of the interview which stretched way over time (thanks Titan!) and covered John’s not-so-secret costume to walk the floor of SDCC, how their familial relationship helps them be more honest about their work, and their intimate knowledge of each other’s bathroom habits. Try not to fall in love with these rambunctious siblings, I dare you.
Below the video, we’re featuring preview pages from the first part of their Torchwood comic story arc, titled “World Without End,” in stores today.
Warning: It should not come as a surprise that due to language and some more adult chatter, this interview is NSFW and should be listened to with headphones, or a really relaxed office environment. Special thanks to Matt Harle for video edit prowess.
The cover and a three page preview of issue 1 of Torchwood: World Without End by John and Carole Barrowman. Art by Antonio Fuso and Pasquale Qualano.