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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

DP09-M04 The Eaglemoss Negative Man (DC116)

.....The magazine accompanying the Eaglemoss Negative Man figurine has the same minimal credits as the those for Elasti-Girl and Robotman. The actual lead figurine itself is wearing the jodhpurs and suspenders from the Giffen period. To learn a little more about the figure-and-magazine series, check out the previous two posts. This figure came bagged with issue 116 and I was able to obtain it stateside (in the U.S., I mean) on date.

.....I put off providing detailed sources for the appropriated art in this issue because I've been having a heck of a time locating the art used for the inside front cover. It's Larry kneeling on the ground with his upper body upright, arms bent at the elbows and palms facing up. His face is also turned upward and he's releasing the Negative Energy Being. Often in the 1960's Original Period stories he would release the NEB while on his hands and knees, face down while it emerged from his back. The art for this definitely doesn't look like Premiani, though. It looks more like Eduardo Barreto or maybe Walt Simonson. Also, Larry isn't in uniform. He's wearing slacks, shoes or boots with a low heel and a jacket a fur trim collar and lapels. His mouth and eyes are visible through his bandages and the NEB doesn't have the Byrne Period skeleton in it. After I finish listing the rest of the details below, I'll take one last stab at detective work and see if I can at least make an educated guess based on the few appearances I don't actually own.

.....The issues cited will be preceded by the number of the period during which they were published and/or take place.

Page 01: Detail from the cover of [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/09)
Page 02: The bone of contention (see above)
Page 03: Cover of [04] TP CRAWLING FROM THE WRECKAGE (2nd edition)(04/17/00)
Page 03: [01] DOOM PATROL #106(09/66) Back-up story page 1, panel 3; page 2, panels 4-7; and page 3, panel 3
Page 03: [01] DOOM PATROL #107(11/66) Back-up story page 1, panel 2 (detail)
Page 04: [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/09) page 4, panel 7
Page 04: [01] DOOM PATROL #111(05/67) Back-up story page 7, panels 4-6; and page 8, panels 1-4
Page 04: [01] DOOM PATROL #107(11/67) Back-up story page 3, panel 1
Page 05: [01] DOOM PATROL #90(09/64) page 14, panels 2-4
Page 05: [01] DOOM PATROL #95(05/65) page 11 (cropped)
Page 05: Inset from cover of [01] HC THE DOOM PATROL ARCHIVES VOLUME 2 (08/04/04), newly drawn by Brian Bolland but based on [01]DOOM PATROL #90(09/64) page 18, panel 1
Page 05: [01] DOOM PATROL #110(03/67) page 5 panel 4
Page 06: [03] DOOM PATROL #1(10/87) page 2, panels 3-5; and page 4, panel 5
Page 06: [03] DOOM PATROL #1(10/87) detail from back of wraparound cover (reversed)
Page 06: Cover of [03] DOOM PATROL #3(12/87)
Page 07: [04] DOOM PATROL #19(02/89) page 11, panels 4-6
Page 07: [04] DOOM PATROL #54(04/92) page 2(detail) and page 3, panels 2-4
Page 07: [04] DOOM PATROL #61(11/92) page 22, panel 5 and page 23, panels 1-2
Page 08: [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/10) page 9, panel 2 and page 10, panels 1-2
Page 08: Detail from the cover of [09] DOOM PATROL #7(04/10)
Page 09: [09] DOOM PATROL #5(02/10) page 3 (without title and credits) and page 5, panel 1
Page 09: [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/10) page 17, panel 3 and page 2(detail)
Page 10: Cover of [04] TP CRAWLING FROM THE WRECKAGE (2nd edition) (04/17/00)
Page 10: [04] DOOM PATROL #19(02/89) page 16 and page 14, panels 2-3
Page 10: [04] DOOM PATROL #20(03/89) page 5, panel 1
Page 11: [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/10) page 4, panels 1-2; page 6, panel 3; page 9, panel 3(detail); page 10, panel 4(reversed); page 11, panel 1; and cover
Page 12: (Dr. Eleanor Poole) [04] DOOM PATROL #19(02/89) page 10, panel 3
Page 12: (The Chief) [09] DOOM PATROL #14(11/10) page 16, panel 3(detail)
Page 12: (Robotman) Detail from cover of [09] DOOM PATROL #11(08/10)
Page 13: (Valentina Vostok) [09] DOOM PATROL #6(03/10) page 8, panel 2(detail)
Page 13: (Dr. Death) [01] DOOM PATROL #111(05/67) back-up story page 5, panel 4
Page 13: (Elasti-Girl) [09] DOOM PATROL #3 (12/09) page 17, panel 2(detail)
Page 14: (Watchdogs of the Universe) ?STRANGE ADVENTURES #62(11/55)
Page 14: (Superman) ?SUPERMAN #139(08/60)
Page 14: (Paul Gibson) ?STRANGE ADVENTURES #64(01/56)
Page 15: (Superwoman) ?DC COMICS PRESENTS ANNUAL #4(10/85)
Page 15: (Ray and Ray) ?from mini-series UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS (2007-2008)
Page 15: (Gorilla Grodd) from mini series ANGEL AND THE APE (1991)
Page 16: Preview of issue #117 of the Eaglemoss series

.....My last attempt to identify the illustration of Larry on the inside front cover involved the indicia for the Eaglemoss magazine. It includes an aggregate list of all pencillers, inkers and, for some reason, writers who worked on the stories from which the excerpted art was taken. Bear in mind that the list does not attribute the artist to the art or even to the page within this magazine. It's just an alphabetical listing with no mention of the sources. Those I found myself (or guessed in the case of pages 14 and 15, which have non-Doom Patrol stories). It occurred to me that if I cross-referenced this list and each of the source stories I had managed to identify so far, then by process of elimination I might determine the art team for the one drawing I had yet to nail down and thereby focus my search. My confidence in this approach was shaken early on when I found that the list of pencillers included two colorists (Guy Major and J.D. Smith) and an inker (Gary Martin) and long-time penciller Richard Case was misidentified as Chris Case. Forging ahead, there were a few names I couldn't otherwise account for.

.....Doug Braithwaite worked on issue #25 of the Morrison Period, but the Larry illustration in question wasn't in there. According to the Grand Comics Database (see the link in the left column), he also pencilled the mini-series JUSTICE (2006-2007) in which Negative Man appears in issues #7-10. I began looking through it but quickly concluded that I was wasting my time because the finished art was done by the distinctive Alex Ross and there was no way his painted style was used for this particular piece. I may go back and examine it more closely.

.....Cliff Richards filled in during the Giffen Period on issue #7, and again the drawing does not come from there. Turning to the GCD again I learned that he worked on the mini-series OMAC PROJECT, one of the four minis that led into INFINITE CRISIS. The last issue contains a few panels of the Doom Patrol as part of a large number of heroes assembled for the finale. The art doesn't come from there, either.

.....Inker John Nyberg wasn't accounted for either. He was a regular inker during the Morrison Period on issues #26-35, at which time the NEB inhabited Rebis (a combination of Larry and Eleanor Poole) and not Larry alone. I'll have to go back and check these more closely as well because I didn't find the illustration when I was sifting through the series to find the other panels identified above.

.....Time to put the Eaglemoss magazines behind me and move on to another project. If and when I have updates I'll leave them in the comments section.