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An impending beginning and an unfortunate ending.

§ March 15th, 2023 § Filed under doom patrol, pal plugging § 4 Comments

I’ll be back to “1980s Indie Talk” in short order, but first I wanted to note a couple of things:

First, old internet pal Matt D. Wilson (whose melodious voice you hear every week on War Rocket Ajax) is raising funds to publish a new comic, Imposter Syndicate, via Zoop. Matt’s a good guy, the comic sounds interesting, the art by Rodrigo Vargas looks great, and I’ve already thrown in my support by pledging for the retailer multi-copy bundle!

• • •

Second, I am sorry to relate that writer Rachel Pollack is reportedly near the end of her life, and as a result folks are talking a lot about her tenure writing Doom Patrol. She was put in the presumably thankless position of following Grant Morrison on the title, and at the time I didn’t quite warm to her work right away, though certain individual issues (the Codpiece!) were a hoot. However, my plan had been to give her run a reconsideration, as I’ve been in the process of reorganizing my collection at home and have set aside my Doom Patrols as a whole for perusal.

However, I hope people don’t forget the absolutely wild mini-series she wrote for DC’s short-lived Helix imprint, Time Breakers.

It’s an imaginative time travel adventure, and it’s a shame we didn’t get more than just this. Well worth seeking out, though it may be a little hard to find now. It’s not on DC’s digital app, so hunt through those back issue bins and bargain boxes, folks! I can’t even remember if there was a trade paperback for this. But find her comics if you can.

DC recently released an omnibus edition of Pollack’s Doom Patrol, so at least that should be easy to find.

Anyway, I’m sorry to hear Pollack is about to leave us…I hope she’s still capable of knowing about all the outpouring of love and appreciation for the work she’s done.

Just a quick notice…

§ July 17th, 2020 § Filed under doom patrol, television § 3 Comments

…that although the entire cast is perfect in their respective roles and deserve all the accolades they get for their performances, it’s Brendan Fraser’s voicing of Cliff “Robotman” Steele that most sticks the landing for me. That hilarious “I can’t believe this shit!” tone in his voice is amazing, as well as the handling of the more serious moments, is the ideal match for the character. That’s what I’m going to hear whenever I read Robotman in a comic book from this point forward. (And one should note the person actually in the robot suit get-up, Riley Shanahan.)

When the series was first announced for the DC Universe streaming service, I admit I had some skepticism as to how they would handle the character. I thought for sure they’d come up with some in-story reason to not actually show Robotman as Robotman as a cost-cutting measure, like having the Chief give him some kind of hologram disguise so that Cliff could just look like a normal human most of the time. Save those Robotman moments for a couple minutes at the end of each episode, that sort of thing. But kudos to the makers ofthe show…they promised us Robotman, and by God they gave us Robotman. (There have been a couple of instances where Fraser appears as the human Cliff, both in flashbacks and in certain present-day events, but it never feels like it’s for budgetary reasons. In fact, I’d imagine it probably costs more to have Mr. Fraser on set.)

Anyway, Doom Patrol is an excellent show, and I’m glad it’s getting further exposure by being simul-streamed on HBO Max (though I’m sure that’s just one of the many signs that the DC Universe service is probably not long for this world, at least in its current form).

I can’t believe Swamp Thing said that about Batman.

§ May 30th, 2019 § Filed under doom patrol, swamp thing, television § 3 Comments

Your reminder that I, a glutton for punishment, have asked you, people what still read the comic blogs, for questions and topics for me to type a lot about, as is the way of my people. Please feel free to pop in over there and let your query flag quiver!

In other news…okay, what I had originally written here was this enormous rambling thing about the DC Universe original streaming shows and how much they embraced or did not embrace their funnybook origins, and boy did it get out of hand. “What, Mike typed too much?” I hear you asking in disbelieving tones. But yeah, it was a mess and too long and nobody wanted to read that. Instead, let me give you my much more brief opinions on the shows thus far:

Titans – while tonally…off, and with limitations on the characters that likely stem from budgetary/suspension of disbelief reasons (no flying for Starfire/only one animal option for Beast Boy) it still remains oddly watchable. The acting is solid, the ongoing plots about Robin trying to escape Batman’s shadow, and the stuff with Raven, are interesting, and the fight sequences are very well choreographed and easy to follow, which I appreciate. Plus, I love the fact that Hawk and Dove pretty much look like they were 3D printed directly from the comic books, even if they seemed to miss the point of, you know, Dove being a pacifist. Still, it’s enough to bring me back for Season Two, where I hope they shift a little more away from “WE’RE DARK AND ADULT, NOT LIKE THAT TEEN TITANS CARTOON YOU REMEMBER” and more toward the goofy superhero stuff. I mean, they don’t have to go all the way if they want, but a little more would be nice. The end-of-season tag gives me a smidgen of hope.

Young Justice: Outsiders – perfectly fine…if you liked the previous two seasons of this show, here’s more, and it’s a fun look at the DC Universe via the perspective of the younger heroes and sidekicks. Nothing against the Bruce Timm/DC Animated Universe style, but it’s nice to have a longform take on these characters that doesn’t look like every other DC TV cartoon. Good thing DC Universe spaces out the releases of their shows, because this would have been an easy one to just watch the entire initial batch of episodes straight through.

Doom Patrol: probably the breakout star of the streaming shows so far, approaching these weird characters and weird situations, often straight out of the comics, with humor and, well, the willingness to just throw the bonkers stuff at you and tell you “here you go, deal with it.” I know initially I thought for sure they’d figure out a way to have Robotman appear in human form most of the time thanks to some, I don’t know, holographic disguise or something, but nope, there’s Robotman, pretty much all the time. And I have to say, Brendan Fraser’s voicework on the character, as well as his dialogue and general demeanor, is just spot on perfect. That’s Robotman.

The other characters in the show are nicely done as well, though I’m hoping to see more of Rita Farr using her stretchy powers properly, rather than just occasionally melting down a bit. And Cyborg fit in better than I thought he would, supplying a contrast between the other Patrol members and himself while revealing to be nearly as messed up as the rest of them.

The metatextual commentary of Mr. Nobody, the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, Danny the Street and Flex MentallO, even the Beardhunter (somewhat in changed form)…this show really gave us something different and off-kilter in the superhero genre, which was desperately needed.

Forthcoming is Stargirl (about the show I know very little aside from seeing shots of the costume) and of course Swamp Thing (starting Frihay – here have a trailer). They look like they’re fiddling with the characters and set-up a bit, but I’m still willing to give it a go. What, you thought I wouldn’t? Here’s hoping it’s closer to Doom Patrol than to Titans…but let’s face it, I’d watch it regardless. I’ll report back after I get a chance to watch my own self.

Anyway, there’s my shorter take on the DCU TV shows. Aren’t you glad I kept it brief?

This is a fetish for someone.

§ July 6th, 2011 § Filed under challs, doom patrol, this is a fetish for someone § 9 Comments

So while the rest of the Doom Patrol and the Challengers of the Unknown battle against their other foes, Elasti-Girl faces off against Multi-Man (that little bald guy, there) and his robotic Multi-Woman:

Predating Batman’s Human Siamese Knot by a couple of years!

Meanwhile, Multi-Man makes his tactical-yet-hilarious withdrawal from the conflict:


images from Challengers of the Unknown #48 (February/March 1966) by Arnold Drake & Bob Brown

“A vague sense of hope.”

§ March 7th, 2005 § Filed under doom patrol, wood eye Comments Off on “A vague sense of hope.”

Regarding this cartoon I posted earlier today: I swear I’m a well-adjusted, emotionally-stable human being. Just my cartoons are pure evil, I promise. A lot of my comic strips from the Wood-Eye family o’comics digests were very, very dark-humored…why, I’m practically “goth,” I am.

The Doonesbury tribute to Hunter S. Thompson.

Via This is Pop, All The Rage discusses the dropping sales of the current Doom Patrol series and the possibility that its “reboot” of the team will be eventually reverted after the series’ cancellation. The idea noted in the column that this series may be considered to be a “Doom Patrol” TV series within the DC Universe reminds me of how Marvel explained away the stories in the Hulk black and white magazine as movies made by an alien filmmaker. Or how Steve Gerber planned, in this unpublished script, to retcon the Howard the Duck stories he didn’t write.

Like All The Rage, I don’t think DC needs to bother, should things come to this. It doesn’t appear anyone was paying any attention to the team’s rebooted status, anyway, given the throwaway gag in Identity Crisis referring to old DP continuity, not to mention Geoff Johns’ “revamp” of Beast Boy’s origin (which, from my brief glance at the story, just looks like he retold the origin without mentioning the DP’s involvement). In other words, the Doom Patrol’s reboot status has had little or no impact anywhere outside the Doom Patrol title itself, so, you know, big whoop.

There is no official news about cancellation of the title, but sales at least at our store have dropped quite a bit. The first issue sold quite well, but essentially continuing plotlines from the critically-slammed JLA story was a mistake, crippling the comic from the get-go. The book improved shortly after that initial two-parter, but too late to get the readers back, I’m afraid.

An old article about Archie toys that has a nice shot of a vintage action figure. (The possessive version of “it” is “its” – its!)

Reshoots on Fantastic Four planned for later this week. Insert your own joke/snarky comment here.

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])