Gay Gorillas and the Duality of Mind and Body (by special guest weblogger, pal Dorian)

§ March 31st, 2004 § Filed under doom patrol Comments Off on Gay Gorillas and the Duality of Mind and Body (by special guest weblogger, pal Dorian)

(Due to personal situations, I am unable to provide a post of my own today, but pal Dorian has stepped in and graciously allowed me to post his appreciation of one of the finest issues of Grant Morrison’s wonderful Doom Patrol run. Take it away, Dor!)

I wish to tell you all about one of my all-time favorite comic books: Doom Patrol Vol. 2, # 34, by Grant Morrison and Richard Case.

So one day, Monsieur Mallah and The Brain decide to attack their arch-enemies, The Doom Patrol, in their secret headquarters in suburban Happy Harbor. The Brain, for those of you who don’t know, is a super-intelligent criminal mastermind’s brain, kept alive in a jar. Mallah is an inexplicably French-talking communist gorilla. Here’s their introduction into the story:

Meanwhile, back at DP HQ, Cliff Steele, aka Robotman, who has the amazing power of being a brain artificially kept alive in a robot body, has been experiencing unexplained mechanical difficulties with his latest body. In short, sometimes his body refuses to obey his commands. While they work on the problem, the other members of the DP have taken Cliff’s brain out of his body and placed it in a jar hooked up with a microphone and a speaker so that he can speak and hear whats going on around him. Then they decide to take the afternoon off and leave Cliff’s brain alone in the jar for the rest of the day.

It is then revealed that the cause of the malfunction is that the robot body has developed a kind of sentience of its own, and now resents having a squishy piece of organic matter telling it what to do. It rebels, demanding its freedom, wishing to let its ID run rampant without any of that pesky EGO telling it what to do. To wit:

And then, Mallah and the Brain arrive. They decide to steal Robotman’s powerful robot body and use it as the Brain’s new body. Since frankly, he’s a little tired of just being a brain in a jar. A titanic battle ensues in which Mallah attempts to subdue Robotman’s body, and Brain fights Cliff.

Shortly, Robotman’s body has been disabled and Mallah places the brain in the robot. And words that have longed to be spoken finally are:

And so, they kiss. And get blown up. Because Robotman’s body placed a bomb inside itself, set to go off if anyone tried to put a brain back into it and deny it the freedom to enjoy an irresponsible, thoughtless existence.

And Cliff is left to try to make since of it all, which he does in the only way he can:

This comic has everything. Humor, homosexuality, and a serious examination of the eternal philosophical question: “Which rules, the mind or the body?”

So of course, comic book fans, being what they are, react thusly:

But I don’t care, because any comic book that gives us not only a gay gorilla, but the Brotherhood of Dada, a super-heroine with MPD (each personality has a different power), and the use of the word “this” as a swear, can’t be bad!

(Hi! Mike, again…if you want to Read More About It, may I recommend more Morrison Doom Patrol goodness, courtesy David Fiore? [EDIT: LINK DEAD])

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