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Issue 25, "Imaginary Friends"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Doug Braithwaite

Summary:
written by Robert Kelly (bobek@rt66.com), edited by William Sherman (sherman@netcom.com)

Up to this time, Case has drawn all the covers and interior art. Each one has been impressive and attractive. The next issue has no Case whatsoever: cover done by a Sienkiewicz-influenced artist, and the interior art drawn by Doug Braithwaite (Who?). It is NOT impressive, imho. But the story outshines its immensely.

Meanwhile, back at DP HQ, which happens to be the old JLA mountain in Rhode Island, there is a crossover of sorts with the new _Sandman_ series. I believe not only that this is a tip of the hat to Gaiman's work but that it's also planned to resolve some dangling plotlines of the Doctor Destiny character which became so prominent in _Sandman_, and later, in _Arkham_Asylum_ (written by Morrison).

Dorothy Spinner can't watch TV because on every channel there is a picture of a table in a room... shades of "Videodrome". Chief has taken off to talk to the Pentagon and Josh is left reading another interesting book (_Confessions_of_an_English_Opium_Eater_). Before the Chief takes off, he asks Josh to look for the Materioptikon, which is a dream-enhancing machine built by Doctor Destiny.

Dorothy's powers get hooked into the device and she is forced to reencounter some imaginary friends: the same ones who taught her how to read and write. Now these friends have some interesting peculiarities: Damn All is a "Newspaper body alive with financial reports and crossword puzzles that fill themselves in.... My grotesque smiling head and swarm of eyes turned, as ever, in your direction." Darling-Come-Home is a woman... the mother to Damn All's daddy figure... and she has the apron and a head of a light bulb picture. Then there is Flying Robert: "Ghost baby balloon thing" cross between a cherub and an air-filled condom.

So why are these nice imaginary friends picking on our friend Dorothy? Because she killed them, that's why. How do you kill imaginary friends? With an imaginary gun. To punish her, they are going to make her wear red shoes.

(Don't ask me, man, _I_ didn't write it.)

So Josh and Dorothy do some soul searching and discover that the reason why Dorothy doesn't like red shoes is because no one ever told her about menstruation and that time of the month. She freaked when it first happened. (This was done better than in Stephen King's _Carrie_, imho, where a bunch of girls throw tampons at Carrie, screaming "plug it up".)

Josh deduces that it is the machine which is boosting Dorothy's power and causing all this havok. As he destroys the machine, she faces up to the three imaginary beings and takes the red shoes... which turn out to be Ruby Slippers. (L. Frank Baum is turning in his grave.)

Yet another introduction to the Brotherhood of Data, err, Dada comes at the end of this book.

Morrison, in this book, very much out-does himself here, even though the artwork sucked. He delicately approached menstruation without saying the word. Also, Josh is confronted by "inky boys," (another reference to a Heinrich Hoffmann poem - this time "Inky Boys") which is very similar to the feelings some non-white people have because of the media saying "White is right" -- having to overcome your skin color when there should be no reason to.

Annotations:
written by William Sherman

Dorothy talks about "The Wizard of Oz" and also a story about dancing shoes; the latter is Hans Christian Andersen's "The Red Shoes".

Actually, as Michael 'Rabbit' Hutchinson (rabhutch@spacestar.net) points out, "...in the original "Wizard" the slippers were silver, not ruby (that was changed for the movie). Actually, Wizard of Oz isn't a fairy tale, it's just a big political cartoon about the Populist party which, at the time, wanted to switch from the golk standard to the silver standard. Baum's father was a big gold standard man, so Baum writes a story about a tornado (political movement) which sweeps across Kansas (like a popular political ideal) and carries this young firl off. She lands in a place where she's given silver slippers and walks on a gold road (get it?). She meets a scarecrow (farmers) who has no brain, a tim man (industrial men) with no heart and a fierce lion (3rd party members) who has no backbone to back up his ferocious exterior. They travel to Emerald City (Washington) because of the promises of the Wizard (Populist politician), who doesn't really give them anything and then rides away on hot air! Dorothy returns to Kansas and is wiser for appreciating what she has and not getting carried away by the tornado (Populist movement)."

Dorothy Spinner's name is a double reference to Judy Garland's character in "The Wizard of Oz": both are named Dorothy, and in the film, Dorothy Gale reached Oz via tornado -- that is, by spinning. In fact, we first met Dorothy in the Great Plains, and she was wearing red shoes and a dress reminscent of Dorothy's costume from the film.

Fans of the DP summary files will recall that contributor Robert Kelly mentioned (in the first file) that he had written a letter to the editor when he saw Issue 19. That letter is printed in this issue.

The name "Flying Robert" comes from the poem "The Story of Flying Robert" in Slovenly Peter (see annotation to Issue 20). Flying Robert was a bad little boy who would go out in the rain instead of staying indoors with his toys; a gust of wind blows him and his umbrella away.

The Doom Patrol is a licensed trademark of Jost Enterprises and, of course, DC Comics.
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