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  1. #1

    Default Re-reading Grant Morrison's Doom Patrol for the umpteenth time...

    And christ, but it's good enough to masturbate to.

    I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to get into a deep, subtextual and referential discussion about the work. Frankly, I think it could very well be an exercise in futility and frustration, as I've long felt that this is the densest, most literate thing he's ever written, along with being his most creative and experimental.

    It's interesting that as he gets older, his work becomes more streamlined, less referential. It's less conceptually crowded, relying more on universal themes and imagery, both in his mainstream and company owned work. Not to say it's getting stupider - though I'd argue that compared to what he was doing in Doom Patrol it's much less creative - but he's really gotten rid of the obvious literacy, the esoteric references, the wide ranging and erudite driving force.

    Anyway, what were your impressions of this run; what did you love, what did you hate, what did you not get.
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  2. #2

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    Ah, Morrisons's Doom Patrol. One of the few works of his that I actually liked :p
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  3. #3
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    Now that Invisibles has been put in Omnibus, this should be next.

  4. #4
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    I think, that he was pilfering a massive collection of notes, sketches, and reminiscences for Doom Patrol is what saves it now and made it really stand out then. Sure, we can see how much came from this collection of German fairytales or that album he was probably listening to as he wrote issue whatever, but it latticed together beautifully and seemed immense and involved.

    More recent works seem to move away from reference for reference's sake, which probably makes more sense commercially, but also helps with the accusations that were beginning to amass that he was primarily an appropriation artist (or, worse, an outright thief).

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    I think, that he was pilfering a massive collection of notes, sketches, and reminiscences for Doom Patrol is what saves it now and made it really stand out then. Sure, we can see how much came from this collection of German fairytales or that album he was probably listening to as he wrote issue whatever, but it latticed together beautifully and seemed immense and involved.
    More than just the packaging, what made it so affecting was that there really was a reason rooted in the characters for MOST of it; a few surface details one might argue were put in there just for the sake of being strange or for erudition's sake, but even that is rooted in the overarching point of Doom Patrol as a support group for the strange.

    Crazy Jane, for instance, is certainly the result of a confluence of things; song titles, When the Rabbit Howls, the poetry of Yeats, a few bits of artwork, etc. But that it is its own thing is undeniable, and certainly no more a piece of swiping than anything created by Gaiman or Moore.


    More recent works seem to move away from reference for reference's sake, which probably makes more sense commercially, but also helps with the accusations that were beginning to amass that he was primarily an appropriation artist (or, worse, an outright thief).
    I'm not sure Doom Patrol could ever be accused of that; in fact, works like the Invisibles borrow more heavily.

    To the contrary, this was the most rawly creative thing he's ever done, with throwaway bits like Dry Bachelors and Mystery Kites that might have served a lesser writer for a storarc.
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  6. #6
    Mattress Tester T Hedge Coke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desaad View Post
    More than just the packaging, what made it so affecting was that there really was a reason rooted in the characters for MOST of it; a few surface details one might argue were put in there just for the sake of being strange or for erudition's sake, but even that is rooted in the overarching point of Doom Patrol as a support group for the strange.

    Crazy Jane, for instance, is certainly the result of a confluence of things; song titles, When the Rabbit Howls, the poetry of Yeats, a few bits of artwork, etc. But that it is its own thing is undeniable, and certainly no more a piece of swiping than anything created by Gaiman or Moore.
    I think so, yes. It's a collage of concepts all the way through, but it's a considered collage and it's exciting, meaningful. It has, as they say, heart.


    Quote Originally Posted by Desaad View Post
    I'm not sure Doom Patrol could ever be accused of that; in fact, works like the Invisibles borrow more heavily.

    To the contrary, this was the most rawly creative thing he's ever done, with throwaway bits like Dry Bachelors and Mystery Kites that might have served a lesser writer for a storarc.
    DP's been accused of it, but I meant Morrison and his career in general. And I don't think it's wholly deserved, either, though sometimes I can empathize with the accuser. I think the pretense is usually, though, that Morrison intends us to think he thought of all this stuff himself, and not that he was referencing deliberately a thousand things per issue. I easily believe that Morrison assumed, at the time, that the audience were familiar with things as he was, that they were on the same wavelength, and I think that's generally held out to be true.

    Which, maybe, is why you see less constant a wide array of referencing and appropriation in, say, his Batman work. He's been vocal about assuming, there, the audience may not be familiar with Dzogchen but they are familiar with Ace, the Bat-Hound or the red hotline phone, so those can be placed in the way casually appropriated material was in something like DP or the Invisibles, but Dzogchen has to be highlighted in the hopes the general audience will go wiki it.

    DP was a hugely busy work. I don't know if it's the most creative, or rawly creative, for my tastes, but it's full past capacity and that's great. It was never dumb, or slow, and it thankfully never stopped and explained itself to us.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by T Hedge Coke View Post
    DP's been accused of it, but I meant Morrison and his career in general. And I don't think it's wholly deserved, either, though sometimes I can empathize with the accuser. I think the pretense is usually, though, that Morrison intends us to think he thought of all this stuff himself, and not that he was referencing deliberately a thousand things per issue. I easily believe that Morrison assumed, at the time, that the audience were familiar with things as he was, that they were on the same wavelength, and I think that's generally held out to be true.

    Which, maybe, is why you see less constant a wide array of referencing and appropriation in, say, his Batman work. He's been vocal about assuming, there, the audience may not be familiar with Dzogchen but they are familiar with Ace, the Bat-Hound or the red hotline phone, so those can be placed in the way casually appropriated material was in something like DP or the Invisibles, but Dzogchen has to be highlighted in the hopes the general audience will go wiki it.
    But Morrison DOES often reference bits in Doom Patrol to the point that they can be wikipedia'd. He goes so far as to explain a lot of the reference in the book itself. I didn't just come up with that from general knowledge -- his characters TOLD me, eventually.

    DP was a hugely busy work. I don't know if it's the most creative, or rawly creative, for my tastes, but it's full past capacity and that's great. It was never dumb, or slow, and it thankfully never stopped and explained itself to us.
    Busy is appropriate, but I'd still argue that it was the most rawly creative.

    As I read through it, I can't create any kind of structural scheme for most of what he does here, where as the kind of (relatively) obvious clockwork logic that underlies works like Invisibles, The Filth, Batman, Seven Soldiers, etcetera makes certainly elements of later work almost inevitable.

    I like the sense that I'm not quite getting it all, I suppose.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desaad View Post
    And christ, but it's good enough to masturbate to.
    You liar, there's no comic good enough to do that.

    When it comes to Morrison's Doom Patrol, I have an interest in reading it. I mean, one of these days I have to find that superhero comic by Morrison that I'll love right? However, what prevents me from doing so is money. There's a lot of volumes for this run and they are rather expensive at like 20 dollars a piece. After paying a bit for his Animal Man run and not being satisfied by it, I'm not sure I should even bother

    So question for you guys, what makes this comic special and interesting that I should read it? Remember, I place plot and characters higher than subtext, deeper meanings & ideas, and symbolism. I got enjoy that before I go deeper. Why are these characters good and what makes them memorable? What's the story about in general?

  9. #9

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    Honestly I'm not convinced you'd like it.

    It's his weirdest, densest work. I think you've complained about Dial H? This book is much weirder, much more challenging.

    From what I know of you, I'd stay away.
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  10. #10

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    That said, yes, the characters are the driving force, the centerpiece, the font from which all the weirdness stems.

    Cliff and Crazy Jane and Dorthy Spinner are tragic and beautiful and heartwarming, at turns. "I'm not a man. I'm not a man. All that's been cut away from me", or in the first issue where Cliff is banging his head against a wall because he doesn't FEEL it, that frustration...

    And poor Jane, and her emotional journey, in and out of The Underground. And her relationship with Cliff, so beautiful, so deftly handled.

    Gosh, it's just some of the best character work, and character building, in comics. Only a very few comics in history are able to do as well or better, usually written by Ennis.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member tylenoljones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desaad View Post
    And christ, but it's good enough to masturbate to.
    Disturbing mental image. Yet somehow I'm compelled to read on...

    I don't think I've ever had the opportunity to get into a deep, subtextual and referential discussion about the work. Frankly, I think it could very well be an exercise in futility and frustration, as I've long felt that this is the densest, most literate thing he's ever written, along with being his most creative and experimental.

    It's interesting that as he gets older, his work becomes more streamlined, less referential. It's less conceptually crowded, relying more on universal themes and imagery, both in his mainstream and company owned work. Not to say it's getting stupider - though I'd argue that compared to what he was doing in Doom Patrol it's much less creative - but he's really gotten rid of the obvious literacy, the esoteric references, the wide ranging and erudite driving force.
    I noticed that as well. I think it's a compromise; what good are all of those crazy concepts and ideas we all love so much if it's too bizarre for impenetrable for a mass audience?Additionally, it's probably fun to take these same concepts and hold them under a different light to perhaps see them differently.

    Doom Patrol is probably my favorite comic run ever. It's been too long since I've given it a read to go into great detail, but it's got a quirkiness and a heart that I never found with the Invisibles, while covering much of the same territory (and some more, besides).

  12. #12

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    @InformationGeek: You didn't like Morrison's Animal Man? That's okay, I hated it (mostly because of the ending), but I thought his Doom Patrol was great (haven't finished it though ). If you want to know what makes it great, you should check out its description on CBR's top 100 runs of all time that they made this year, Brian knows his stuff. Also because I'm posting from my phone and don't want to it from here myself
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Desaad View Post
    Gosh, it's just some of the best character work, and character building, in comics. Only a very few comics in history are able to do as well or better, usually written by Ennis.
    Ennis? You mean Garth Ennis? Ugh, I can't stand that guy's work or his characters!

  14. #14
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    I enjoyed Hitman a lot, but couldn't really get into Preacher or Boys.

  15. #15

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    That's a small, albeit famous, sampling of his work, but even in Preacher and the Boys, which often focuses on childish and absurdist bathroom humor, his characters ring like crystal.
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