Fringe With Benefits: DOOM PATROL Gets The Green Light
People often think of "superhero comics" as the normative for the medium. They're not wrong. Although the comic industry has expanded into every nook and cranny of life, superhero stories are still the majority. It's great to people to dive into whatever foray of life you want when approaching comic books and somewhere out there, there's an intersection between "superheroes" and "this is so crazy my head hurts."
That's Doom Patrol.
When Doom Patrol debuted in 1963, created by Arnold Drake, Bob Haney and Bruno Premiani, it was a different shade of superhero. Strikingly similar to the much more popular X-Men (who debuted just three months later over at Marvel), The Doom Patrol were a superhero team of misfits guided by the somewhat self absorbed and wheelchair laden Niles Caulder. The team were bitter figures who had been shunned and turn away by society but convinced to use their powers for good. Made up of Elasti-Girl, Negative Man and Robotman, the team was one of the first in the DC universe that not only dealt persistently with inner turmoil amongst the group but also a strange and eccentric rogue's gallery, the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man being a personal favorite.
The popularity of the book waned and it was eventually cancelled (somewhat famously by killing off the cast in the final issue) before DC tried rebooting the series a number of times. Finally in 1989, after a semi-successful return from Paul Kupperburg and Erik Larsen, notorious comic writer maniac Grant Morrison took over and the book became one of the most notorious and strange titles to ever exist within the superhero genre. Starting out as a traditional team superhero story, Doom Patrol started to explore themes ranging from fascism to marginality to indoctrination, but in a way that is distinctly goofy and manages to stay far away from appearing "preachy." With one of the strangest line-ups of villains EVER, Doom Patrol became the template for weirdo superhero comics. It wasn't everywhere you could read about a man who thought he was Jack the Ripper AND God, or the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Men who could only speak in acronyms that spelled out "nowhere." Doom Patrol embraced satire and parody, getting intentionally meta, introducing the world to Flex Mentallo, the man from the Atlas bodybuilding ads of yesteryear, and a living transvestite street named Danny.
Since then, Doom Patrol has faded in and out of obscurity. It's been resurrected a number of ways, some embracing the spandex superhero stories and others running full tilt into the world of strange, which is exactly what is currently happening over under the Young Animal imprint from former My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way at DC Comics.
Now, with the announcement of DC's upcoming streaming service, it seems we may finally get a live action adaptation of comics most bizarre heroes. Just last week, DC announced a new streaming service with a number of new original content planned to launch or drop into the service. A new Young Justice season as well as an animated Harley Quinn have already been announced, as well as a new Swamp Thing series from James Wan and a live action adaptation of the Titans. The episode titles for Titans were revealed and sure enough, DOOM PATROL stood out as a reason for excitement. Beast Boy has long had comic book and cartoon ties to the Doom Patrol, so the connection is easy enough to draw and just a week later, DC has announced a live action thirteen episode series will be debuting on the service.
While it is unknown what incarnation the series is based on, it seems that the original team line-up is mostly intact, which (unfortunately) nixes the Young Animal form for now. Only time will tell what DC decides to do with the series, in good hands with comic guru Geoff Johns, comic tv genius Greg Berlanti and former Supernatural showrunner Jeremy Carver, but we are definitely hoping to jump into the more eccentric side of superhero television. Let's get weird, DC.