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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 32

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Doctor 13!


The Doctor Thirteen story in the back-up pages of Tales of the Unexpected #1-8 (collected as the trade paperback Doctor Thirteen: Architecture and Morality) tells the story of Doctor Thirteen, a classic DC character whose position as a skeptic began to look pretty foolish when DC took him from his out-of-continuity back-up stories and began to have him interact with the rest of the fantastical DC Universe.

In this storyline, after the events of Infinite Crisis, Thirteen encounters a group of other characters who are currently “unwanted” by the current DC Universe.

Of Thirteen’s group of people, only his attractive, half-Asian teen daughter is considered “allowed” to be part of the DC Universe (which, amusingly enough, she is right now – the only one of the characters in this book to appear with any degree of regularity in the DC Universe).

Azzarello plays Thirteen’s skeptic routine for great laughs as he encounters some unexplainable phenomenon…

Like when he meets a vampire…

What Azzarello and Chiang do really well is find some great obscure DC characters and pair them up with Thirteen. I, Vampire and Captain Fear, you’ve already met, but they also work in Infectious Lass (an old Legion of Super-Heroes character), Jeb Stuart (of Haunted Tank fame), Anthro and a Nazi gorilla from an old issue of Weird War Tales.

The best character that they brought back, though, was an old Golden Age hero called Genius Jones. Genius Jones was a little boy who was shipwrecked along with four hundred books. He read them all and, naturally, became a genius. He then solved any problem you could have for a dime.

Isn’t Cliff Chiang’s artwork amazing?

In any event, the series is a madcap adventure that uses DC’s vast and curious past to tell a rollicking story about how, in the end, ALL characters “matter.”

It’s a very endearing story while also being quite humorous and actually pretty darn character-based (it also has a lot of action – the best of all worlds, really).


Good choice. And yeah, the art is amazing. I get a nice Steve Rude vibe from it with a bit of Adam Hughes thrown in.

The story was good too. It felt like much more like a Grant Morrison comic than a Brian Azzarello one.

Traci doesn’t look like herself.

i would have to concur Traci seems to have not gone her normal look and love how dr. thirteen gets all upset over the genius not taking a buck.

Because the only thing better than a Nazi gorilla is a vampire Nazi gorilla.

gret pick

love this book

Such a great comic book. I do kind of wish I had the trade instead of the singles though. That Spectre story was absolutely putrid. Although, turning the page from the end of that garbage to the first page of the Doctor 13 segment was a wonderful breath of fresh air every time.

Although I didn’t like this, I do agree that the Spectre story was substantially worse in comparison.

I don’t usually like azzarello on superhero stuff, but he did a great job here (I life cliff chiang on ANYTHING. ANYTHING I SAY) — some hilarious word-play, with my favorite being Capt Fear (who speaks with a hilariously cliche’d and overdone spanish accent) asking Dr 13 (who’s wondering why the nazi’s are after him, or something) “I dunno. are joo a yoo?”

my favorite parts of this was when Captain Fear kept talking about “the booty” and Dr. Thirteen thought he was talking about Traci, and then the end, and how it is similar to Empire Strikes Back.

Brilliant book.

Another thing on the list.


February 2, 2010 at 3:44 pm

And those of us who have read it, are all heartless bastards for turning that last page.

Shame on us.

Shame on us all.

Damn … something else that I need to get.

Christian Otholm

July 11, 2010 at 3:33 pm

It’s basically a parody of Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers. I wish Azzarello would do more comedy, he’s really good at it. Cliff Chang has some amazing work in this, but my favorite piece is probably the look on I, Vampire, when the following exchange happens:

Infectious Lass: “I’ll never know the tender touch of a man.”
I, Vampire: “Prehaps if you changed your name…”

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