Way back in 1992, I got back into comics. About a year later, DC introduced the Vertigo brand. I remember Vertigo as being for the weird comics that weren’t about Superheroes and weren’t particularly four-color. Stuff like Sandman. Stuff like Hellblazer. Checking out the Wikipedia to refresh my memory of the titles that were Vertigo’s launch titles, it points out that brand was not (necessarily) for the weird stuff but for the stuff that couldn’t fit under the Comics Code Authority.
Oh yeah… that used to be a thing.
And it was around then that Grant Morrison finished up his absolutely brilliant Planet Love storyline and handed off the book to Rachel Pollack. While Pollack’s stuff was good and I picked up every title when it came out, the Morrison titles had me buying back issues and back issues and reading stories in reverse order.
Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol wasn’t about Superheroes. It wasn’t four-color at all. It was about fundamentally damaged people who got back up and fought agaist the end of the world anyway. The heart of the group was Robotman, Cliff Steele, who was a racecar driver who was almost killed in a crash but his brain was saved and placed in a metal body. He was Morrison’s version of the normal guy who was thrust into weird circumstances. Rebis was an evolution of the original Negative Man and became a trinity of Larry Trainor, Eleanor Poole, and a Negative Spirit, these three entities were fused together and created a divine intersex immortal. Dorothy Spinner, an “ape-faced” (their term, not mine) girl who has “imaginary friends” that fight for her. Crazy Jane, a woman suffering from multiple personality disorder (and each personality has a different superpower).
Those are the ones that are easy to explain. I don’t even want to try to explain “Danny The Street”.
These superheroes were weird and fought things that were weirder and I didn’t understand the stories at all. And I’m still haunted by them. Images of the Scissormen who cut people out of reality (the door flew open, in he ran, the great, long, red-legg’d scissorman). The throwback villians Brain (a brain in a jar) and the talking gorilla Mallah which had an amazing scene where the gorilla was pushing Brain in a baby carriage and the brain in the jar telling the gorilla where to go. The Candlemaker (which is probably one of the scariest bad guys I’ve ever read… he grants wishes and he kills people).
I wasn’t… I don’t know what the right word is here… whatever it is, I wasn’t *THAT* enough to read these stories back in the 90’s. I don’t know where those original books are now, beyond being pretty sure that they’re in the boxes in the little storage closet in the bedroom. So I picked up one of the collections of the comics. Maybe I’m whatever it is that I needed to be then enough to read them now. Fingers crossed.
So… what are you reading and/or watching?