Thursday, February 26, 2009

Negative Friday 1

Quite unlike any other blog ever, this blog will feature characters in their own singularity and discuss their character and use over the years. What? Other blogs do that too?

Oh. Well at any rate, other blogs won't have Negative Fridays. This will be the first of many, many Negative Fridays, wherein we (being me and the imaginary mouse in my shirt pocket) take a look at those Negative people: Larry Trainor, Val Vostok, Rebis, Ted Bruder and any other negative nellies I can scare up. I'll post Who's Who pages or panels featuring origins. Maybe I'll post some sketches or interviews with creators about the Negative beings. We'll see what happens and try to enjoy it together.

Today, just to keep this first foray into negativism simple, we'll take a peek at the origins of Negative Man. His initial origin, related to the reader over the course of a pair of pages in My Greatest Adventure #80, is eerily equivalent to a less-comic-science-fiction version of the Fantastic Four's origin.

As the Chief debriefs the Patrol, and Larry Trainor in particular, on how they acquired their abilities from MGA #80 (1963) with artwork from Bruno Premiani, the reader learns about this band of freaks (anyone else hear Sacha Baron Cohen in their heads when they read the word "freaks"?) right alongside them. You are a freak, just like the DP. Good to know, eh? Maybe you're Invisible Reader Guy (or Gal).

Anyway, Larry Trainor was a test pilot and flew the K-2F higher than any manned aircraft had ever gone. Evidently higher also meant "less-prepared".

No, there really wasn't a K-2F. Or at least not that we know of. . . .

When Wolfman and Pérez reintroduced the Doom Patrol through the team-up of the Teen Titans (in the pages of The New Teen Titans #13-15) and Robotman, the origins of the original Patrol were retold, in all the glory of any Pérez-drawn comic.

From The New Teen Titans #14 (1981) as rendered by George Pérez and Romeo Tanghal.

If you want to get a little more detail on the origins and the powers Negative Man possesses, go ahead and click on these entries from Who's Who.

Who's Who Volume 1 #16 (1986) rendered, ironically, or perhaps in the ultimate 20-year plan by John Byrne. In case you missed it, John Byrne wrote and drew an 18-issue reprise of the DP in 2004. In the ultimate move of foreshadowing, he also rendered the original Who's Who entries for the original members of the Doom Patrol.

The entry from Who's Who v2 #2 (1988) was drawn by Erik Larsen, who at the time was the regular DP artist..

Of course, with all the reshuffling in the DCU through Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis and This Ain't Your Daddy's Crisis, a call went out for a little retcon action, as seen in the three panels below from Green Lantern #32, drawn by Ivan Reis. Carol Ferris is trying to find jet jockeys and makes a call to one doomed pilot.

While Larry Trainor doesn't actually appear in this issue, there is no denying that the two most popular test pilots in the DC Universe have some degree of shared history. I always thought Dick Grayson was the DC Universe's version of Kevin Bacon, but maybe it's Hal Jordan.

That does it for the first installment of Negative Fridays. I'll whup up another one next week and see what shakes out. In the interim, however, be sure to click back on Wednesday for an extra-special, senses-shattering blogtastic post.


  1. Welcome to the superhero blogging community! It's great to see a blog dedicated to the Doom Patrol, especially on the eve of their triumphant return. Keep up the good work!

  2. Thanks for the warm welcome! I've been looking forward to Giffen on DP since it was but a rumor. Of course, that doesn't even begin to touch on any of the fabulous things that have happened with these characters to this point. And of course, some not so fabulous. . .

  3. I LOVE the idea of Negative Fridays! When I first saw the title, I figured it was some negative rant about something. Instead it's a brilliant naming scheme! Love it!

    Keep up the great work!

    The Irredeemable Shag


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