Category: Doom Patrol

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman

“Down on me, down on me; looks like everybody in this whole round world, they’re down on me.” Janis Joplin, Down On Me, 1967

Many years ago, the late and truly great Dennis O’Neil said that neither Bruce Wayne nor Batman had a sex life; he/they sublimated all such compulsions, folding them into the mission. Denny said that in the office that we shared, and, damn, it made sense to me. In fact, it explained a lot about the guy.

Mind you, as the writer or editor of a great, great many top-rank Batman stories over the course of five decades, I believe Denny knew more about what made Batman tick than Bruce Wayne ever could. However, this particular observation was not canonical. Bruce even fostered a son with his frenemy Talia al Ghul, and that child became the latest Robin — as of this writing, of course.

Let us now flash forward to the late summer of 2018 and the release of DC’s Black Label adults-only series, Batman – Damned. Created by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, the story ran three issues. It was the first volume that upset some people, as it had the briefest glimpse of a small part of Bruce’s penis. To be fair, it really wasn’t enough to be perceived as salacious by anybody but the most pathetically repressed — not unlike Janet Jackson’s nipple which evidently blinded tens of thousands of small children who were watching the Super Bowl but were thinking of dinner.

Oh, yes: it also bothered the bean counters at DC/Warner Bros/WarnerMedia/AT&T/Lucky Charms or whatever the hell they were calling themselves that week. Bean counters are the most paranoid people in the media businesses; it’s in their job description. People made such a big deal of it that the Batwang was, well, overly circumcised in the digital editions and in later reprintings. The parent companies were so offended that the whole thing had an impact on several careers. The whole thing had a short shelf-life as the object of snickering jokes on late-night television.

O.K. So “Adults Only” in DCland doesn’t include, you know, adult stuff. Lesson learned. And lesson repeated this month.

For over a year, WarnerMedia (now called Warner Bros. Discovery, at least as of this writing) has had this very expensive streaming service called HBO Max. It’s got a lot of original material, and much of it is generated by DC comics properties. These shows are not G rated, nor are they PG. Sometimes there’s a fine line between R and X ratings, and a lot of HBO Max’s DC stuff inhabits that zip code. This pace was set in the first episode of their first series, Titans, where Dick Grayson (a.k.a. Robin the First) shouts “Fuck Batman!” Holy Wertham, Batfans! WTF??

Titans survived and the third season goes up in August. Their second show, The Doom Patrol, has had actual on-screen sex, with naughty bits and more about Brendon Fraser than you might want to know. Their other Batman related show, the adults-only animated series Harley Quinn, is the most adults-only of the bunch, and the third season is now in production. But at least one scene won’t be completed — the one where Batman has oral sex with Catwoman. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo: No Lunch For Batman”

Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking

Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking

As of this writing, which is 9 PM EDT Sunday July 12, the DC Universe streaming service is still alive. It’s home to some of the most entertaining superhero teevee programing around, in my opinion. I can’t speak for yours. But that thing coughing up blood all over your Wi-Fi is, sadly, the DC Universe streaming service. And it’s the fault of their own artistic success.

Aside from hospitals, the only place that has had a worse month than the DCU has been the White House. In fairly quick order, the service lost future first-run episodes of Stargirl to the CW, saw The Doom Patrol multicast on the pathetic HBO Max sinkhole, Harley Quinn also airing on Syfy and Canada’s Adult Swim, and is thought to be migrating to HBO Max as well. Titans remains, but might be severely undermined by DC’s new Gotham City Police show (not necessarily the final title) spinning out of The Batman movie the now filming in Europe.

Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #091: DC Universe … From Streaming To Sinking”

Brainiac On Banjo #085: Crossing The Stream

Brainiac On Banjo #085: Crossing The Stream

Star Wars! / Give me those Star Wars! / Nothing but… Star Wars / Don’t let them end — written by Nick Winters, 1977

With all the streaming at our fingertips, the entertainment business is making a lot of headlines promoting what they’re going to do once Earthlings return to mobility. But don’t get excited just yet: the only cameras operating right now are working Zoom and not Studio Binder. When Keith Richards self-quarantines, everyone should self-quarantine.

Next week’s launch of HBO Max has turned up the heat. Clearly, studios are concerned about competing for subscribers with promises of new content, which, at best, won’t appear until after the winter solstice. My take on HBO Max is simple: it’s goddamn expensive, and right now they’re running little but reruns. It’ll probably work out because they’re not promoting that fact. But reasonable bean-counters understand that few people are going to maintain subscriptions to HBO Max, Disney+, AppleTV, CBS All Access, Peacock Premium, and Amazon Prime – to name but a very few – all at once. That’s a lot of money, and it’s also more programming than one can handle. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #085: Crossing The Stream”

Brainiac On Banjo #038: Different? HA!

Brainiac On Banjo #038: Different? HA!

Are you tired of all of those superhero shows on television? After a while, do most of them kind of drift together as though they were Avengers Endgame on the installment plan? Well, if so, I’ve got the television show for you!

As noted previously, The Doom Patrol, on the DC Universe service with all episodes now streaming (and Swamp Thing beginning next week), started out with the Big Bad, Mr. Nobody, masterfully portrayed by Alan Tudyk with a nod to Frank Gorshin, telling the viewers that this is not going to be in any way shape or form your father’s superhero television show. Now that the first season has ended, it turns out he was absolutely on-the-money. The television series has been uncontrollably batshit — completely unpredictable, true to the spirit of the Vertigo version of the team, often brilliantly performed (Diane Guerrero deserves a separate paycheck for each version of Crazy Jane she portrays), and with special effects that are unique from anything else I’ve seen on broadcast or streaming. Oh, and it’s got really first-rate and highly dangerous writing. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #038: Different? HA!”

Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers

When it comes to the DC Universe streaming series Doom Patrol, the world can be divided up into three groups: those who have never seen it, those who have seen it and hate it, and those who have seen it and love it.

It’s exceptionally weird and based (self-referentially) more upon Grant Morrison’s work on the comics series than the original Arnold Drake / Bob Haney / Bruno Premiani creation. Why not? We’ve got plenty of straight-forward superhero dramas on television. On streaming. Whatever. It is clear to me that everybody gets paid by the number of times Brendan Fraser utters a curse word, and that might upset the uptights. After the pilot episode, there isn’t much nudity or on-screen sex. Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #034: Niles Caulder’s Doppelgängers”

Brainiac On Banjo #024: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock

Brainiac On Banjo #024: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock

“Embargo.” That sounds like an old person’s muscular issue.

It’s also a word imposed upon us overwrought critics that means “here’s something really cool but you can’t tell anybody about it for a couple weeks.” Most of the people who have access to this stuff want to shout to all those within reading distance, particularly if the material either really impresses us or really pisses us off. But a deal is a deal. The embargo on coverage of the new Doom Patrol series premiering later this week on DC Universe was lifted at 9 AM Pacific this morning, so it’s off to the races for those of us who had been professionally tongue-tied.

I appreciated one of the first lines uttered in the first episode: “More teevee superheroes. Just what the world needs.” I can dig it. But the Doom Patrol wasn’t a typical superhero comic book in any of its various incarnations since its launch by DC Comics in the spring of 1963. And several of its more recent incarnations raised the bar on weird. The question is, how to you port all of that over to the small screen?

Perhaps a better question is “since the DC Universe service really upped the ante with Robin screaming ‘Fuck Batman!’ in the first episode of their Titans series, does The Doom Patrol continue this trend?”

Yup. It sure does. Nudity ­– slightly more than that which Janet Jackson offered us some time ago that blinded hordes of small children forevermore – enters the show a mere five minutes into the first episode. The first fuck (I’m referring to the word used in dialog and not the act) comes in around the 15-minute mark. The tone for the show is set rather dark and very weird.  Continue reading “Brainiac On Banjo #024: The Doom Patrol – For Misfits Who Rock”