|Issue 20, "Cautionary Tales"|
Writer: Grant Morrison
A classic Claremont scene if there ever was one opens the book: a priest ... but no, "Father McGarry has long since ceased to believe in miracles." He wants to see a sign that God exists: and there is one, a sign in the middle of a junk yard saying "have faith in God", except the 'G' is blotted out so that it says "have faith in Cod". Suddenly it starts to rain fish.
Trout, salmon, pike. No cod. The priest begins to laugh and a giant refrigerator falls from the sky and kills Father McGarry. The only difference that distinguishes this scene from one Claremont could have written is that no one would ever get killed by a giant refrigerator in the X-Men: that would be WAY too original for Claremont to think up.
This is the readers' first introduction to HOW WEIRD Morrison is going to be. It separates from the normal "evil" that is in men's hearts, the fact that there even is wrong-doing. Shit happens and Doom Patrol is there to prevent it.
We are introduced to Rebis, wrapped in the Negative Person bandages and sitting under a picture of Adam and Eve passing the Apple. S/he looks distinctively hermaphroditic, and is so. People start dissappearing because of the Scissor men, and Cliff and Jane decide that they are ready to leave the mental home because everyone there has become a Scissormen victim. Oh, by the way, the world is going nuts: shadows are killing their owners, dogs and cats are living together... and ... "the door flew open, in he ran, the great long, red legged scissor man."
[notes: the guy whose subway train unexpectedly stops in Orqwith appeared in Issue 19, as the man who was kneeling in the background as Dr. Poole spoke on the phone. -ed]
This is the next introduction to driving forces behind Morrison's DP: Sexuality and Childhood tales. Rebis being both man/woman, and the Scissormen, an archaic fairy tale, are adding something to the comics medium which have never been directly approached in this way.
Bernadette Bosky, communicating through Kevin Maroney (firstname.lastname@example.org), has apparently found the original reference to Rebis, who is mentioned in Paracelsus: "The apex of perfection wherever achieved is thus symbolized by a hermaphrodite being. Such is the _rebis_ in alchemy, the peak attainable in the process of transmutation, the _Quinta Essentia_..."-- quoted in "Paracelsus and the Neoplatonic and Gnostic Tradition", Walter Pagels, _Ambix_ #3, v, 8, October 1960.
p. 22: The verse and cartoony panels at the bottom of the page are taken from Der Struwwelpeter or _Slovenly Peter_, a book of children's rhymes written in German in the 1880's by Dr. Heinrich Hoffmann. The illustration is by Hoffmann. The rhymes have been translated into English by Mark Twain, in an edition which first appeared in 1935, but it is unclear whether Twain's version is the one being quoted here.
The words and picture are from the poem "The Story of the Thumb-Sucker," also called "The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb," which includes the lines "The door flew open, in he ran / The great long red legged scissor man." The plot of the poem about the thumb-sucking boy is what one might expect: young Conrad refuses to stop sucking his thumbs, even though his Mamma warns him that the tailor will come and cut them off. When Mamma goes out, Conrad sucks his thumb and the tailor lives up to expectations. Mamma is surprisingly calm about the whole thing, telling Conrad that she'd known it would happen.
_Slovenly Peter_ also includes a poem called _The Story of Flying Robert_ (see annotation to Issue 25).
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