The individual stories that DOOM PATROL: CRAWLING FROM THE WRECKAGE contain were so utterly unlike anything on the stands at the time they were published that it's hard to communicate what coming across them the first time was like. And, thank christ, it remains difficult fourteen years later.
I mean, it's about a brain housed inside of a robot body, a spirit-haunted hermaphrodite wrapped in bandages, and a schizophrenic with 64 differently-powered personalities that come together under a weirdo in a wheelchair to fight the strange and bizarre threats that others ignore. It's all infused with an artifice of surrealism and the half-learned skimming of a dozen liberal arts classes -- the genius of this book comes from smashing that stuff together with the big time fun inherent in the comic book paradigm of storytelling. What if the X-Men fought Maya Deren? What if Bill Burroughs wrote the Justice League? Jacques Derrida: Challenger of the Unknown! What more do you want from a comic?
Between this, the first in what should be a full catalogue of Morrison and Case's run on DOOM PATROL, and Vertigo's now-completed run of Morrison's Animal Man, readers who've wondered just how Grant Morrison came to be GRANT! MORRISON! should finally get their answer. In these books, Morrison was reveling in big weird fun, free of expectation and reputation. And Case, a R.I.S.D. grad, brought a heavy sense of smart design to these ever-weirder pages. It's Case that lets the bewildered reader in and keeps us grounded as Morrison's notebooks spill their guts faster and faster. Case used design as a storytelling technique and kept the tempo rock-solid as Morrison riffed more and more manically.
I have such tremendous affection for these stories. Read them, read them, read them.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.