Welcome back, lovely readers.
Last time we spoke there was blood everywhere and cheesecake on the corner. Now I implore you to follow me in the way-back machine from 1994 to 1990.
Follow me to meet up with our ever ostracized….Doom Patrol.
Welcome to where all that you can think you may will into existence
Doom Patrol (v2) #35 – Down Paradise Way – 1990 – Vertigo Comics
The covers of Doom Patrol V2 comics are a singular art. If you thought my passion for holographic covers were impressive (and/or unnerving), we have only just begun.
The Carpenters know that life is just entropy. Much like the Doom Patrol.
There is nothing quite like Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.
Much like the way breezes feel best in the spring and rain doesn’t bother you if your day has no obligations, it can only be experienced not explained.
The grotesque but colorful covers give way not to a magical land, but one of pure will. Imagination is not king here. He is God. Gruesome, uncaring, and ultimately what all beings are capable of.
Phew. Let’s take a breath.
We open on a rather plain looking lady for the cover we’ve just be traumatized by.
She looks like LADY SCIENTIST or LADY WRITER off of the flash cards from Careers the Board Game.
She’s searching for Danny. And as luck would have it, Danny appears!
We can all identify Paradise by hobos with booze in their hands.
What an amazing splash page.
Featuring literal subtext (a true weakness of mine) as Danny responds with, “Hello, Sara.” Amazing choice of colors by keeping mundane elements such as the concrete and brick their normal colors. It makes the surreal fantasticism pop out and right into our already charmed hearts.
I starred at this page for no less than eight minutes when I first encountered it. Drinking in the lines, the focal points, the curves of the light posts, the unexpected joy brought to life via whimsy in the bittersweet atmosphere of a back alley city street.
We continue as Sara and Danny catch up much like old friends tend to do…except with Danny, it’s way more fucking badass.
Danny is the ultimate texter.
Welcome to Danny.
A being whom I consider to be one of the most wonderful things ever willed into existence. The nostalgia of walking where you had once been. The melancholy that follows when the places your memories were made have been destroyed. All of this makes perfect sense with Danny. Much like Lovecraft’s The Street, he sees all and feels all. He experiences it with you, just like the sadness you feel for lost and forgotten places can permeate your mind.
Also, Berlin is always Divine.
We now switch from the fabulous Danny. To our homegrown outcast heroes, the Doom Patrol themselves.
They’re moving out, and like everything and anything in Doom Patrol stories Robotman, Cliff Steele, just doesn’t get it.
Kids who want two front teeth for Christmas have nothing on Cliff.
Robotman is a straight man’s straight man. So straight even his skin is steel (rimshot).
He’s our human throughout Doom Patrol even though he’s a robot….I PROMISE IT WILL ALL MAKE SENSE.
The chief (who is like professor X with no need for mental abilities because he has a gun and beard that could kill bears) decides it’s time for the Doom Patrol to swap HQs. He has important beard-related/destroying-the-world-sometimes-saving-the-world things to do, and this old warehouse isn’t cutting it.
Cliff is understandably pretty angsty and upset about his metal can body that he is continually being promised an upgrade for. Sounds like he’s stuck in the cell phone contract cycle.
The next page features Joshua Clay (Tempest) and a small extra from Planet of the Apes known as Dorothy.
We see a setup room to test her abilities ala danger room (X-Men rips off of the Doom Patrol a lot. They just decided Scott Summers was better than a robot who was a race car driver – tsk tsk.)
Dorothy makes Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends look terrifying.
Dorothy’s special abilities allow her to take beings from her own mind and pull them into reality. She has difficultly controlling the manifestation of them. The Good, the Bad, and the 3am Acid Trip all come out.
Let us get out of this nightmare and move on to a dream.
I told that you’d know Paradise by the booze in the hobo’s hands
This is the beauty of Danny the Street. A sanctuary for the lost, one with opinions and an understanding of the human condition. Danny swept up the downtrodden and provided them with happiness. Paradise is reached when the ones who have nothing can be happy and healthy. Danny the Street is paradise for all of those who find him.
Now that you’ve got your smiling faces on just like Doom Patrol I’m going to slap that smile off your adorable face with a shift in tone.
Don’t we all want that button in our kitchens? Never mind – Do NOT Want.
First of all, what a shift in tone (feeling that slap?). Our surrealistic focal points and dancing hobos have no place here. Rigid lines and flat colors rule the panels here making the oppression complete. Normalcy is the only thing allowed here.
Also bonus points if you figured out that he stabs her with a stylized heretic’s fork.
This is something Doom Patrol pulls off like no other. These are the events so weird no one else wants to even look upon it.
Let us meet the benefactors of our strange events that will come to pass.
Oh, that’s where I left the surrealism…in the basement, of course.
Mr. Jones introduces us to The Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
Mr. Jones has already proved to be easily provoked and full of terrible. Surely, those that follow him would look like evil K-9s with elf shoes and purple trench coats.
These guys gave me many a nightmare as the series went on. They are exactly what I would destroy first should I ever will them into existence.
Let’s check in on our philanthropic outcasts, shall we?
A alchemist’s dream, a robot, a man in a wheelchair, a split personality disorder patient, and an ape girl….Well, I tried to make a joke but this is the saddest group therapy ever.
Doom Patrol is getting out their feelings and trying to figure out where to go from here. Rebis (formerly Negative Man) is chill and Crazy Jane can’t decide what she feels in between all the turmoil inside her.
We go over the plans; Dorothy needs to pee. Moving on.
This is what I imagine all normal suburbanite dinner parties that I don’t get invited to are like.
The Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E.’s speaking patterns are horrifying. You can hear them being telegraphed out. Horrible thoughts gargled with cruel intentions, words of hate pumped out with ease.
Not even wifey’s googly eyes can ease the terror and that is what googly eyes are for.
Something about the nonchalant mixing of the transmitted hate speech and yellow wallpaper with tulips makes the back of my spine contort. It also makes me not trust all bed and breakfasts.
Back to my family and yours, the Doom Patrol.
These are really just here to show off Crazy Jane’s Amazing Room. Hence why they’re small.
Crazy Jane is helping Rebis indulge in vanity, and Cliff, well, he just wants something to happen.
Back to Mr. Douchebag Jones
I can’t overstate how amazing it is that Danny the Street is a Transvestite.
So like most things angry privileged “normal” people can’t stand, Mr. Jones aims to destroy Danny the Street.
Let’s talk about that amazing and foreboding last panel.
Not only do The Men look intimidating the color contrast of that evil laughter and the misaligned placement of it. Gives me the willies. The overbearing shadows they cast and the perspective of them looming over us is enough to make me want to close my eyes. The shadows they cast are weapons just as powerful as the dark thoughts they stir in my mind. The steam rises off of them to show they are not just weapons of hate, but purely logical machines of it.
Phew. Let’s turn on the lights.
Things cheer up over the next two pages to show Danny the Street’s Perpetual Cabaret!!!
Phantom Limb’s Uncle. Complete with Shiny Suit.
Every is well with the cabaret until someone is said to have been killed. KILLED ON DANNY THE STREET! Our only sanctuary is desecrated.
My heart breaks.
Sara, our resident lady scientist/writer, needs to find out who shattered her world. Wandering out to protect Danny she finds what we all fear.
The niggling doubts that say we are different and our differences make us weak. That normal is the only acceptable route for existence and life.
The force of doubt and hatred that is
THE MEN FROM N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
Nothing cute or witty. Just terror.
Their intimidating words, the looming figures like boogeymen who never leave our closets or our panicked late night thoughts.
We see them face to face. With all the industrial terror behind them ready to replicate.
They appear to try and destroy Danny the Street. The being of benevolence, the lonely place we stumble upon when we are trying to find ourselves, his lights always shining through our darkness.
Sara manages to warn Danny while escaping their ill-aimed shots. He must quickly try and escape; however….
This is normal for the Doom Patrol.
Where is a street to hide?