Comic book fans had seen some pretty strange heroes by the time June of 1963 rolled around, but nothing could have prepared them for the bizarre gang of misfits that made up DC comics Doom Patrol!
Exploding from the pages of My Greatest Adventure #80, The Doom Patrol (created by writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney, along with artist Bruno Premiani and editor Murray Boltinoff ) were a group of outcasts and misfits that were hated by the public, not unlike Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men that premiered later that year (the debate on which team was created first rages to this day).
Gathered together by genius paraplegic The Chief to serve a dual purpose of combating crime and teaching the world to accept those who are different, the Patrol consisted of; Elasti-Girl (who can shrink and grow giant at will), the translucent skinned, mummy bandaged, Negative Man (a former test pilot and friend of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who can project a negatively charged energy being from himself), and Robotman (a victim of a horrific car crash whose brain was transplanted into a robot body). The team became a runaway hit for DC, resulting in My Greatest Adventure being re-titled as simply Doom Patrol beginning with issue #86.
Over the course of forty one issues, the Patrol faced a variety of foes every bit as outlandish as themselves. A rogues gallery of creatures and mad men including the likes of the shape shifting Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, The Brotherhood of Evil (whose ranks included an ultra-intelligent gorilla named Monsieur Mallah, a sentient brain incased in a robotic shell named Brain, and yet another shape shifter, the elastic faced Madame Rogue), and immortality obsessed General Immortus, schemed to put an end to the Doom Patrol. Yet in the end, poor sales are what finished the team off for good, so in Doom Patrol Issue #121 (September – October 1968) the entire team was killed saving a fishing village.
But a concept as outrageous as the Doom Patrol was too good to lie dormant for long! In 1977, in Showcase #94, a new Doom Patrol was introduced (including hold-over Robotman who had survived the fate that befell his teammates). While that didn’t lead to a series, it did keep the team alive in the public consciousness. Finally in 1987, the Doom Patrol starred in a new series, which lasted for 87 issues (featuring the writing of Grant Morrison on Issues #19 – 63). Three more series followed, as well as appearances on television in the Teen Titans two part episode “Homecoming”, as well as in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode “The Last Patrol!”