Friday, October 13, 2017

News on new series delays (and a sad note)

Earlier this week Diamond Comics Distributors announced on their website, yet again, that the forthcoming solicited issues of the current DOOM PATROL series have been delayed slightly further.

  • Issue #9 (originally solicited for June 28th, cancelled and resolicited for September 27th) has now been rescheduled for November 8th. Of this year, for the record.
  • Issue #10 (originally solicited for October 25th) has now been rescheduled for November 29th.
  • Issue #11 (originally solicited for November 22nd) has now been rescheduled for December 20th.
  • Issue #12 has recently been solicited for December 27th, but obviously that will probably be addressed next week if it hasn't been already.
Before that announcement, though, was another news item that only had a tangential relationship to DOOM PATROL. On Wednesday 27th, 2017, an actress named Anne Jeffreys passed away. American audiences today might know her best, if at all, for the 20 years she spent on the soap opera "General Hospital" and its spin-off, "Port Charles". Hard core comics fans might remember her as Tess Trueheart in the first two post-WWII "Dick Tracy" feature films (which replaced the pre-war "Dick Tracy" serials). But during the 1950's she played Marion Kerby opposite her real life husband Robert Sterling playing Marion's husband George Kerby on the television series "Topper". 

The original novel "Topper" was written by Thorne Smith and published in 1926. It was followed by a sequel in 1932 ("Topper Takes A Trip"). After Smith's death in 1934, the books were adapted into feature films in 1937 and 1938 respectively. A third movie, "Topper Returns" (1941), introduced a new ghost to bedevil Topper, and a radio series followed in 1945. The TV series returned to the original concept of George and Marion and lasted two seasons (which, back then, translated to 78 episodes, or about three or three and a half seasons on broadcast network television today).

It would be a heck of a coincidence if the George and Marion of the Topper franchise weren't the inspiration for the Bandage People George and Marion who lived in a house full of SRS (Sexually Remaindered Spirits) in the Rachel Pollack run of the DOOM PATROL from 1993-1994. Although their origin would eventually reveal that they weren't technically ghosts themselves, they were after all frequently teasing the bodiless head of The Chief-- a literal 'topper'-- who moved into their house.

It's also worth mentioning that right before publishing the second "Topper" book, Thorne Smith released "Turnabout" (1931), a book in which an ancient Egyptian god causes a bickering modern American couple to switch bodies and live as each other's genders. Given that gender identity and fluidity were recurrent themes during her tenure on the book, it's reasonable to expect that she was aware of popular earlier novels such as "Turnabout" and Virginia Woolf's "Orlando" long before she began writing comics.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Happy 100th to "Waiting For Doom"!

If you haven't been listening, you should. The podcast "Waiting For Doom" has reached 100 episodes and they celebrate with an extra-long episode including special guest Richard Case, most frequent artist of the 1987-1995 version of DOOM PATROL and primary artist during the Morrison Period. All 100 episodes are available in their archive and highly recommended.

You can start with their 100th here: "Keeping the Love Alive"