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.

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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 have read at least some of every version of the DP. The 1987 series was gearing up to be “my” version, but the creative team I signed on for lasted only five issues. I continued to read fr a while after that, but finally bailed when the Morrison version didn’t really appeal to me.

I liked John Byrne’s version from 2004, but it was a reboot that threw previous continuity out the window.

Perhaps my favorite “recent” version is the one Geoff Johns used in Teen Titans in 2006.

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.

A lot of weird parallels between the Doom Patrol and the X-Men.  I can't recall when I first heard about them -- probably sometime in the early '80s, although I never collected The New Teen Titans.  I did get the TPB collections of Morrison's run which I really enjoyed for all its surreal weirdness, akin to Gerber's run on the Defenders. 

I'm sure Stan would never admit that he was even aware of the Doom Patrol when he was writing the X-Men, and of course Kirby isn't around to say whether he was aware of them or took any inspiration for any of his work on the X-Men.  Maybe all those similarities were just pure coincidence and at any rate neither DC nor Marvel felt it was enough to take the other to court over the Doom Patrol being too similar to the Fantastic Four or the X-Men being too similar to the Doom Patrol.  Just amusing stuff to speculate on all these decades later.  

I never thought of the DP as an FF parallel, since everybody always talks about the X-Men parallel. I see it now. I find both arguments compelling.

Doom Patrol was a huge favorite of the Li' Capn. Here was my first issue:

I remember it vividly, because Plastigoop somehow leaked on it when I was using my Thingmaker. (Remember those, anybody?) That caused the Li'l Capn great anguish. Here it is probably 50 years later, and I still remember the horror! I have since replaced that issue, and have a complete collection except for the elusive #86.

The Arnold Drake stories were probably a big reason why I liked DP. They were very Marvel-esque, as has been noted, and the Li'l Capn enjoyed Marvel more than DC. (He read DC, of course. He just didn't find them as interesting as Marvel.) The "long story" that Chris talks about was probably why I got that vibe. These were people who genuinely didn't get along -- Mento was such a jerk! -- and the squabbling wasn't a cliche yet and felt right.

But for all that, it might have been Bruno Premiani's artwork that really sealed the deal. His work was unique in the American market (he was from Argentina) and his work had a texture I find hard to describe. (Especially since most comic artists didn't have any texture at all.)

One thing that always stood out: His equipment looked like it stepped out of a Frankenstein movie and could really work. Kirby's machinery was always lauded, but it never looked functional (and sometimes it didn't even look like machinery) -- like someone hammered everything in a junkyard together and drew weird squiggly shadows all over it (which also didn't conform to reality, as no light source makes things look like that). What can I say? The Li'l Capn was too literal to appreciate Kirby in the '60s-- he had to grow up for that.

Anyway, I loved Premiani's work and the DP never looked right whenever anyone else drew them. I can't remember too many times that happened -- what leaps to mind is a Challengers/DP crossover where Bob Brown was involved, and a Brave and Bold (a Flash team-up) drawn by Dick Giordano and one of DC's blander inkers, maybe Trapiani, on inks.

Naturally, I didn't care for the Kupperburg Patrol, as it was heresy. :) I do understand those who were coming along at that time, and embracing that as "their" Doom Patrol, and I hope they extend me the same courtesy.

I half-enjoyed the Byrne reboot, but didn't embrace it for the same reasons mentioned above: He ditched all previous continuity except where it suited him, which seemed arrogant and, again, heresy. Is that when The Chief started being written as a villain? I didn't care for that -- I mean, he was an arrogant authoritarian like Professor X, but not a villain! You can actually make the case for both of them to be villains, but I'd rather not -- they both were simply created when respect and obedience to authority figures was expected, and they were written that way. But they weren't meant to be villains, so I'd prefer they were simply written true to their original concept, as smug '60s masters of the universe with blind spots, an expectation of respect and loyalty that they never return, and a belief in their own infallibility. But "villain" is a bridge too far for me.

I found the Morrison run exciting at first, but eventually it got so weird that I really didn't even understand what was going on, and wasn't interested enough to re-read to gain that understanding. It seemed to be written entirely in metaphor or as metatext, or something, and the concepts weren't compelling enough to make me work that hard. That, I assume, is heresy to Morrison fans.

As others have said, the Wolfman revival respected what had gone before without simply regurgitating it, and Perez did a serviceable Premiani pastiche, so I liked it.

As to Rita, I was initially annoyed when Negative Man came back, because that meant that the whole team survived being blown up except the one girl. But eventually she came back as well, which smoothed those feathers. For those who think ALL of the DP somehow surviving that death trap is implausible, for me the suspension of disbelief popped with the guy in the wheelchair surviving a bomb beneath him, so anything after that merited a shrug from me. I was just pleased to have the original team back.

As to how Rita came back, I seem to remember a story where The Chief re-grew her from a small portion of her body, the idea being that all of her DNA for every cell was included in every cell, so all the blob needed was some electrical stimulation to re-grow everything. Maybe I dreamed that, but it's the only explanation I remember (and I don't remember it well). For all I know, there might have been two or three explanations for how she survived. And frankly, I don't care. If the Joker can come back from the "dead" more often than I want him to, then give me my Rita Farr!

Thanks for stirring up all these memories, Chris!

Certainly appreciate your views, Captain!  I'd never read the original D.P. stories so I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about them when I read Morrison's run.  But on old favorites of mine, I'd had that same feeling when reading an entirely different take that, "something's really off here!"  As to everyone in the D.P. eventually coming back from the dead, that's pretty much comics and other fantasy fare.  Very few comics characters stay dead forever, even if some take much longer to get revived (like a guy called Bucky) than others and others seem to get killed and revived every couple of years or so, ongoing for decades now (mainly villains, such as the Joker and Dr. Doom).

Captain Comics said:

Doom Patrol was a huge favorite of the Li' Capn. Here was my first issue:

Either #86 or #87 was my first DP. I soon picked up My Greatest Adventure 80-85 through a fellow reader whose name and address were printed in a Julie Schwartz book. I was in my fifteenth year when I bought my first DP. The cover for #86, which I first saw in a house ad,  was a mind-bender. A brain under glass is talking to a gorilla, who is also talking and holding a tommy gun. 

The Arnold Drake stories were probably a big reason why I liked DP. They were very Marvel-esque....

I was heavily into Marvel also and, as you say, Drake's stories presented heroes who were imperfect and had believable personalities. I was also fond of the Julie Schwartz books, but they were a little too perfectly heroic.

But for all that, it might have been Bruno Premiani's artwork that really sealed the deal.

The artwork was special in a way that eludes description.

The Li'l Capn was too literal to appreciate Kirby in the '60s-- he had to grow up for that.

The artist I had to grow up to enjoy was Mike Sekowsky.

Naturally, I didn't care for the Kupperburg Patrol, as it was heresy. :)

The late Legionnaire Robin Olsen turned me on to the Kupperburg DP. They weren't the original team but they were pretty good. I haven't made the leap to the Morrison version and I probably won't.

I half-enjoyed the Byrne reboot, but didn't embrace it for the same reasons mentioned above: He ditched all previous continuity except where it suited him, which seemed arrogant and, again, heresy. Is that when The Chief started being written as a villain? I didn't care for that -- I mean, he was an arrogant authoritarian like Professor X, but not a villain! You can actually make the case for both of them to be villains, but I'd rather not -- they both were simply created when respect and obedience to authority figures was expected, and they were written that way. But they weren't meant to be villains, so I'd prefer they were simply written true to their original concept, as smug '60s masters of the universe with blind spots, an expectation of respect and loyalty that they never return, and a belief in their own infallibility. But "villain" is a bridge too far for me.

I haven't seen any of the Byrne or Wolfman DP as yet. I agree with you about turning authority figures into villains. This has also become a cliche'. Back in the 60s Tony Stark was a good guy who helped to protect his country by making armaments to defend it. It's not like our enemies were going to follow suit if he stopped. 

As to Rita, I was initially annoyed when Negative Man came back, because that meant that the whole team survived being blown up except the one girl. But eventually she came back as well, which smoothed those feathers. For those who think ALL of the DP somehow surviving that death trap is implausible, for me the suspension of disbelief popped with the guy in the wheelchair surviving a bomb beneath him, so anything after that merited a shrug from me. I was just pleased to have the original team back.

Someone did a short piece awhile back showing how the entire team could have survived. I think in the last issue the editor said if they had enough letters they could bring them back and revive the cancelled book. I guess they didn't get enough.

As to how Rita came back, I seem to remember a story where The Chief re-grew her from a small portion of her body, the idea being that all of her DNA for every cell was included in every cell, so all the blob needed was some electrical stimulation to re-grow everything.

I didn't read this, but if they cloned her successfully (DNA is DNA) she would be an infant with no memories and different fingerprints. Comic book super-science could get around this, I'm sure.

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