Thursday, May 2, 2013

DP01-00a Happy Fiftieth Anniversary Doom Patrol!

.....The first appearance of the Doom Patrol came in MY GREATEST ADVENTURE #80 (06/63), although it was announced in a tease in the previous issue as a new feature called "Legion Of The Strange". It is not so surprising for a creative effort to have a working title that undergoes changes up until the final stages. The Beatles' movie "Help!" was tentatively called "Eight Arms To Hold You" and there are numerous similar examples in film, music and literature. Stan Lee has often said that he intended to call THE X-MEN by the title THE MUTANTS until management insisted that the younger readers wouldn't understand what it meant. (One could argue that due to the later success of the title that they still don't know what it means...) It is more surprising that the working title made it into print as late as a month before the finished story's publication. You see, back in 1963 its publisher, DC Comics, had comfortably settled into a routine for publishing comics. By adhering to that routine they had stories scripted, pencilled, lettered and inked and sitting on file waiting to be published up to a year (or more) in advance of publication. [The last stage, coloring the stories, was only done shortly before printing.] The Doom Patrol was in many ways an odd duck in the DC line and a glance at a newsstand in April 1963 (the month during which MGA #80 actually shipped; cover dates on comics didn't indicate when they came out, they indicated when the newsdealer could return unsold copies for credit) only scratches the surface of what made it such an outlier within its publisher and what its place is in comics history generally.

.....I had intended to run this Fiftieth Anniversary salute in April, but events offline took over and if I'm lucky I'll finish the multi-part results before June (at which point the newsdealer will send me back!). I'm going to cut this first part short to make certain I slip in this reminder. Please drop by your local comic book dealer on Saturday, May 4th, 2013 for Free Comic Book Day. Many stores have customized promotions beyond free comics, some involving in-store appearances by creators. Bring cash and want lists and if you know your local store's phone number or website find out if there's a costume contest. Even if you don't have a costume ready, you might want to bring a camera. Remember to ask someone's permission before you snap their photo. (Snapping a young woman without asking first might get you dirty looks; snapping a child without asking their parents might get you arrested.) If there is a sale on trades being offered, be advised that I'm going to be examining the original series off and on this year and it's been compiled into five color hardcovers and (much more cheaply) two black and white paperbacks. The Morrison Period is the only other one compiled in its entirety, in six color paperbacks. Two of three projected Giffen trades have been published (the third was cancelled before it was printed) and the Flex Mentallo trade finally saw the light of day last year albeit oversized and radically recolored. Later this year I may have to go over the recoloring job panel by panel. Or not. But next week when I've finished reading whatever I find this weekend I'll put down what I've learned about comics in the spring of 1963.

1 comment:

  1. By coincidence, just bought some original series DP issues on ebay tonight! I had no idea that it was the 50th anniversary.