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Tuesday, January 29, 2019 

A sloppy article about the Doom Patrol

Here's a crummy item in the Bristol Herald-Courier about the new Doom Patrol adaptation on TV, with some inaccurate notes on the comics team's history:
The Doom Patrol debuted in a comic book cover dated June 1963, a book named “My Greatest Adventure” because, we must assume, all the good names were taken. Written by Arnold Drake and illustrated by Bruno Premiani, the new team ran for only six issues of “My Greatest Adventure” before the title was officially changed to “Doom Patrol.”

Both creators are interesting in their own right. Premiani was born in Trieste, but was expelled from Italy for anti-Mussolini political cartoons. He moved to Argentina in 1930, and 18 years later to the United States, where he had a distinguished career in comics. Not only did he draw the first iteration of the Doom Patrol pretty much from its first issue until its last (in 1973), but he also drew the first adventure of a team of sidekicks that would later be called the Teen Titans.
Now it's right that DP first appeared in 1963. But it's wrong that the official series ended in 1973. It came to an end about 5 years earlier, in 1968, issue 121 (there were 3 reprint issues that came out a few years later, but it's not the same thing). And the goof doesn't get any better with the following:
Yep, in another unique development, DC killed off the entire original team when sales dropped and the book was canceled. (Beast Boy and Mento survived.) This being comics, Niles, Cliff, Rita and Larry were all restored, one by one, through one miraculous development after another. But still, the death scene was quite a shock in 1973, and has become a legend in comics lore.
Umm, again, the team - or at least, 3 quarters of them - died momentarily in 1968. If it really took place 5 years later, it wouldn't have been so shocking, as Lady Dorma, the near-bride of the Sub-Mariner, had already perished in 1971 at the hands of evil rival Llytra, and Gwen Stacy died the very year sloppily stated, as a result of the Green Goblin knocking her off the George Washington Bridge in NYC, and Spider-Man, attempting to save her, unintentionally caused her neck to break when he caught her leg with his webbing. And because Spidey is one of Marvel's most recognizable superheroes, that's why the tragic story of Gwen's demise has become the definite legend in comics lore. Sounds like some bungler got things at least half mixed up.

That aside, I'm afraid Rita Farr, Elasti-Girl extraordinaire, is the one member of the DP at the end of the Silver Age who wasn't resurrected, unless we consider a now forgotten remake from 2005 written by John Byrne. And I honestly took issue with that peculiar tendency to resurrect the male members of DP, but not the female member. IMO, I could believe Robotman's resurrection, for guessable reasons. But Niles Caulder and Negative Man? Not so much. Or, let's just say it was entirely unfair that Rita should be singled out as the sacrifice while the menfolk are awarded a get-out-of-grave-free card. That this was never debated is hugely insulting and dismaying.

And for anybody who finds liberal identity politics of today disturbing, you won't be particularly pleased when you read the following:
Later iterations of the DP established The Chief as a sociopath and borderline villain, even hinting that he might have caused the accidents that turned Cliff, Rita and Larry into freaks. Those traits, too, seem to have found their way to TV, where The Chief is played in menacing fashion by Timothy Dalton.

After the original team’s “death” in the comics, The DP had several mediocre revivals, but that all ended when legendary writer Grant Morrison (“Happy!”) took over the book in 1989. He merged Larry Trainor, the Negative Man creature and a black, female doctor to become the transgender, transracial “gestalt entity” named Rebis, and added a host of wild characters in a series of surreal adventures that still have fans talking (possibly because we still don’t understand them).
But we do understand if this was all played for sensationalism, and it's not very amusing that Larry would experience such a ghastly combination for the sake of what looks like early allusions to transvestism without any questions raised as to whether it's a good example. Heck, isn't that also exploiting an established character for the sake of agendas and such, rather than conceiving new ones to serve the same purpose? And it wouldn't surprise me if the TV producers will certainly milk the idea for all it's worth to serve LGBT agendas of today, seeing how leftist Hollywood's gone miles out of their way for the sake of this stuff.
“Doom Patrol” the comic book continues to appear now and then, mostly in DC’s various mature-reader imprints. Because post-Morrison, the Patrol will never be safe for children (and some adults) again.
And that's not a sad, bad thing? One more reason why this fluff-drenched article is so appalling.

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I will only read the classic Doom Patrol, I pay no attention the post classic Doom Patrol.

Actually, the last issue of the first Doom Patrol series, #124, did appear in 1973, drawn by Bruno Premiani. It was the last of the three reprint issues you mention though, part of a brief early 1970s revival of the title. The author's mistake was understandable.

Rita was revived in the Keith Giffen Doom Patrol, not just the Byrne version.

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