This entry will attempt to redress the lack of a detailed comparative critical study of the Doom Patrol comics' history in electronic format. The first act in the serious study of any subject is the definition of terms. We'll start with the general and move toward the specific in future entries. I should state up front that I have no intention of getting so specific that I violate intellectual property claims. This blog should leave more the impression of a movie review-- a review of about 200 short films released over five decades.
The first step would be to list the nine distinct periods of the group's history and the dates that they were initially published. (Note that in some cases, specifically the Morrison and Byrne periods, the cover dates of the last issues are actually a few months into the following years.) This framework has been designed to work in the long term; although the nomenclature refers to 'the canon', that is those comic books actually titled "Doom Patrol", I already have methods planned to account for guest appearances in other titles, reprinted stories, retroactive stories and (with a little work down the line) promotional and licensing paraphernalia. And now, let's meet our contestants:
- The Original Series - (1963-1968) / plus miscellaneous reprints
- Gypsy Period 1 - (1977- 1985)
- Kupperberg Period - (1986- 1988)
- Morrison Period - (1989-1992)
- Pollack Period - (1993-1994)/ plus Wilderness Years (1995-2000)
- Arcudi Period - (2001-2003)
- Byrne Period - (2004-2005)
- Gypsy Period 2 - (2006-2009)
- Giffen Period - (2009- present)
Succesive entries will give detailed descriptions of each of these periods in order. Next entry in two days.