A few random Doom Patrol thoughts that occurred to me:
1) People sometimes comment on Elasti-Girl getting the shaft as the distaff member of the group. Not outwardly a freak and the only one who "never" got revived even though she eventually did after the Vertigo run, and Negative Man was dead for nearly twenty years too. But she actually sort of dominated the team. She was treated as the most powerful member not even Sue Storm-style, just by being able to ramp up past Giant-Man size and be actually much stronger than Robotman (whose specialty was more being able to sacrifice himself due to his body being replaceable). She was treated as the strongest visual on the team, usually, thanks to her growth powers. And her storyline dominates the book once she gets involved with Mento and Beast Boy, which brings me to point 2:
2) There's a long run of the book that's essentially one long story with rolling subplots that I would even characterize past Silver Age Marvel style, it's more like a Bronze Age Claremont/Byrne X-Men thing. Beast Boy's first appearance in #99 sparks a soap opera that runs until #118 and the Chief gets in on it too, having a Batman/Catwoman style romance with chief female antagonist Madame Rouge (who turns heel again and kills them all in the last issue, sorry for fifty year old spoilers that you already know about if you followed New Teen Titans at all). Three more issues come out to end the series after that, so I guess Drake got a bunch of advance notice of cancellation and stopped progressing the soap opera at that point.
3) Something that will never not be hilarious to me is that Arnold Drake copies the Fantastic Four in coming up with the Doom Patrol and a lot of fans now make too much of the similarities to the X-Men, who were a deliberate Fantastic Four copy that was created on orders from Martin Goodman to start pumping out clones of his best-selling books. (Daredevil being the Spider-Man clone that came out late and had to have the Avengers invented to fill its production slot.) And then Drake moves over as writer on X-Men as Doom Patrol is ending, and meanwhile X-Men under Roy Thomas has been copying Doom Patrol's format by including backup continuing stories featuring expanded individual origins for its team members. I think the first one of those is Cyclops's in issue #38, November 1967; and Doom Patrol's first was Robotman's in issue #100, December 1965. Drake actually ends up writing a few of those for X-Men after he takes over. Also, the Doom Patrol fight evil mutants in DP #115 and 116; one of them is cover featured as "The Mutant Master" on issue #115.
I'm getting in the mood to do a series reread and it's been awhile, so my numbers might be slightly off with the soap opera, but I think my characterizations are basically accurate.
And of course, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants appears in X-Men #4, March 1964, and the Brotherhood of Evil appears in Doom Patrol #86, March 1964 also. (Actually when the title switches over from My Greatest Adventure.) OK, that one's pretty weird.
I think the main reason people argue about the DP and X-men is the leaders being in wheelchairs. I think that's more of a coincidence than anything else.
I first encountered the Doom Patrol in a reprint in Batman #238 and in Super-Team Family #8-10. They were quirky and very non-DC.
I had a strange fascination with Negative Man, even "creating" my own version as a kid that combined him with Wildfire as "Energy Lad".
Were they DC's X-Men? I never thought so but they were DC's most Marvel-like heroes!
The framing sequence of Doom Patrol #121(which features Murry Boltinoff and Bruno Premiani soliciting letters from readers) makes it clear that DC was willing to bring back the DP given a sufficient amount of interest. Obviously the interest generated wasn't enough, but Arnold Drake must have had an "out" in mind. Have you ever heard how he intended to reverse the end of #121 had the series been continued?
I'd be curious to know. I know I've read at least one Arnold Drake interview, I think in an issue of Alter Ego, but I don't think he talked about it there. The writers following him basically had the survivors all more or less crawling from the wreckage one by one, until only Elasti-Girl was left. And I kind of stopped paying attention after Grant Morrison's run ended, so I'm not sure if Rita's survival was another case of "Actually, the explosion didn't really kill me and I was just buried under the rubble" or what, but that seems like a pretty easy out.
As far as other odd coincidences go, people like to point to the similarity of the taglines: X-Men got "The Strangest Super-Heroes of All!" (no, DP was always odder in the Silver Age and I think under Grant Morrison, Doom Patrol officially wins that title; his X-Men run wasn't nearly as weird), and that they're two teams with matching uniforms for its members, but that's Fantastic Four again. Robotman is even an orange colored odd man out, and Morrison makes fun of that with a Sixties throwback issue that does an homage to "This Man... This Monster!" in the Vertigo series.
I know what you mean, Jeff, about the Kupperberg version. It's a shame that Steve Lightle only lasted five issues on it. But I loved Erik Larsen on it when he took over, so I didn't have a problem making that transition. That last issue Larsen did, #14, really gave me the creeps the first time I read it. I still have vivid memories of reading it in my parent's air conditioned bedroom (a rarity, we only ever used a window unit and only on nights when it was really hot in the summer) and really feeling squicked out as the whole team got slaughtered in excruciating detail. And then the next issue I actually picked up from the stands was #20. Grant Morrison didn't seem like such a leap after my last experience watching the team literally dragged through hell.
I believe the first Doom Patrol story I ever read was the DC Comics Presents with Ambush Bug, but the first comic I ever read of their own was Doom Patrol #3, probably on the strength of the Lightle cover.
A thing to note about the DP is they're particular like the early FF. Their first appearance came out the same month as Fantastic Four #16.