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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 366: Doom Patrol #63

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Doom Patrol #63, which was published by DC and is cover dated January 1993. Enjoy!

Words always fail me

I know that Grant Morrison didn’t actually write the words on the final page of Doom Patrol #63, as he’s quoting Morrissey, but they’re just so perfect a way to end this series (and yes, it did actually end with this issue, as we shall never speak of what came after). Crazy Jane has been electro-shocked into normalcy, but she can’t take it, and as she contemplates suicide, Cliff Steele shows up with Danny the World to take her away. The penultimate page is the one that always gets me, when Cliff shows up and tells her he promised to get her and that she should come in out of the rain (which echoes what he said to her the first time they met) and Marcia, her doctor, looks at the coin from another world that Kay Challis pressed into her hand, but this page gets me, too. Danny the World tells Jane it’s good to see her, and the two lovers stand at the beginning of a new adventure. “There must be” a better world for people like Kay, who don’t fit into ours. Richard Case nails this page, too, as Jane looks bedraggled and beaten down by the world, and Danny and Cliff offer her a new and funky place for her. Cliff, the powerful robot, holds her hand delicately as they stand among the celebrants. In Panel 3, Case does a wonderful job showing the dank life from which she’s escaped, a world where doctors try to rearrange her brain so that she can survive in the drudgery of it all. Daniel Vozzo colors this entire issue superbly, and this page shows that well – the pink smoke curling across Panel 1, along with the balloons, promises a brighter world for Jane, and Vozzo contrasts this with Jane’s dirty brown coat. In Panel 3, Vozzo turns Case’s rainy scene into a sludge of brown and gray and black, showing the blandness of what Jane left behind. “They still haven’t found the body,” indeed.

I don’t have much more to say about this page. It’s a beautiful and perfect way to end a marvelous run, and 20 years later, it’s one of the reasons why I will read pretty much everything the God of All Comics publishes (even if I don’t always love it). This run on Doom Patrol is just that good.

For the last time, I link to the archives in case you’ve missed any of these posts. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this past year. I know several people still hate the name of the column, but that’s just the way it is! I’m pretty sure I’ve gotten better at writing about art by doing this, and I hope that helps me in other writing about comics, and I hope everyone learned a little about how creators create comics – I know I have. I may do another year of daily posts at some point, but it won’t be in 2013 – it’s really hard to keep up! So, again, thanks for reading!

21 Comments

The only way this column could end — although I’m still partial to:

“I give. What DO you do with a vast floating invisible base-thing?”

“Anything we want.”

Either is a perfect expression of what comics could and should be.

Thanks, Greg.

Congrats on finishing your daily feature, Greg! Thanks for the interesting ride.

A great page from one of the best issues of my favorite run of all time.

Becca: I thought of a few issues to use for this final day, and that was one of them, but I just HAD to go with this one! And I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Da Fug: Thanks! It was quite fun.

I can count the amount of times I’ve cried reading a comic book on one hand. Doom Patrol #63 is one of those fingers.

“Come in out of the rain”

Is there a better, more moving, more convincing, more REAL relationship in the Big Two than Cliff Steele and Crazy Jane? I haven’t read it.

What everyone else has already said. Well done, Greg!

Thank you for the great year of a consistently interesting column. I’ve learned a lot about how to look at comics, especially when it comes to things I usually overlooked, such as coloring and lettering. You’ve done a great job of finding things to point out and examine. Bonus: I’ve found a few new series to read and enjoy thanks to the column.

Thanks again!

Congratulations on 365 consecutive essays! You’ve earned your break.

A happy (and hopefully relatively relaxing) 2013, Greg.

Bravo, Greg! 366 straight days, what an accomplishment, you should be proud. What a fabulously moving page to end on, too, you really landed the ending which is important. A quotation frm the Smiths’ lovely Asleep is always welcome even more so in the context of one of Morrison’s better works; I really can relate to that concept, ending, and sentiment. One of my other choices for GreatGrant moment is the “I can save him. I can save everyone” scene in All-Star Superman, when Clark *can’t* save his father. So moving and one of the greatest embodiments to what drives super-heroes with none of that cynical crap or edgy adolescent posing but eith a poignant humanity instead.
Kudos on your achievement Mr Burgas.

It’s interesting that you choose to call Jane and Cliff “lovers”… It’s certainly implied that there might be more than friendship going on between the two, but it’s never explicitly stated that they anything other than friends. I think one of the strengths of DP was how subtly Morrison depicted the growing affection between two people who couldn’t really, due to their circumstances, do any physical acts of love.

BeccaBlast, what is that from? It sounds awesome.

Thanks again, everyone. I really appreciate the nice words.

Tuomas: I think Doom Patrol is one of the great love stories in comics, and one of the most tragic, obviously. That’s why I call them lovers even though, as you note, there’s not a lot of hanky-panky going on.

David: That’s the end of Nextwave. If you haven’t read it, you should!

A great series of 365, Greg. Didn’t know that was a Smiths quote. Morrison’s DP is a cracking read.

366, sorry!

Great job Greg, this is a wonderful page to end things on. I’ve actually never read this issue, I’ve only read Morrison’s Doom Patrol through the end of the second trade. I keep meaning to come back to it someday. This page makes me want to do that sooner rather than later.

Does anyone know what Smiths song (or solo Morrissey) is being quoted here? And is that John Workman on lettering? His style is so distinctive, it always makes me think of Simonson’s Thor run.

This page made me think about what some of my favorite final pages are, and surprisingly, a lot of my favorite works don’t have particularly great final pages, such as Sandman or Moore’s Swamp Thing. But I do love Watchmen’s last page, and I would argue it might have the best final panel ever. I also really loved the last pages of Batman: Year One, Preacher, Marvels, and Y: The Last Man.

Congrats on finishing this Greg, I’ve enjoyed reading it quite a bit during the last year. Since you’ve become so good at analyzing pages, my request/suggestion/recommendation would be during your monthly trade paperback reviews column, you pick one page from each trade you review and display it with some notes/thoughts/analysis. Not necessarily your favorite page, but a page that you think is most representative of how good (or how bad) the book is. And likewise with Comics You Should Own, how about some full page spotlights instead of just panels. See, this is what happens when you spoil us.

Third Man, it’s ‘Asleep’ by the Smiths. (Coincidentally, as I type this, I’m writing a review of a Morrissey concert.)

There’s a reason why Crazy Jane still shows up on my list everytime CSBG runs the “Top 50 DC characters” list, even though she’s barely been used in 20 years. Morrison created such a wonderfully likable, complex, and sympathetic character that few writers have been able to manage before or since. This issue especially was such a fitting farewell to the character, and I can add myself to the list of those who choke up everytime they read this page…

Third Man: I’ve been thinking about doing something like that. We’ll see. I occasionally post full pages in Comics You Should Own posts, but just wait until my next one, which I’ll probably post next week. It’s full of stuff like this!

Way to go, Greg. Thanks for a very entertaining and educating year of entries.

Great job Greg! It’s been really edu-taining.

Have a good rest, but come back soon!

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