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Issue 63, "The Empire of Chairs"

Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Richard Case

Summary:
written by John Bullough (bulloj@rpi.edu)

We learn about the hell that the Candlemaker sent Crazy Jane to in this, the last of Grant Morrison's issues. Jane is in a mental hospital, where she has visions of the "empire of chairs" and its impending destruction at the hands of "the keysmiths." Her psychiatrist, named Marcia, doesn't believe that Jane was ever in the Doom Patrol and that her stories about her adventures are merely "disassociated parts of her own personality." She wants to learn more, but her supervisor, Dr. Jaspert, wants to give Jane electroshock therapy.

In her dreams, Cliff and Rebis show up, dressed like Roman gladiators and able to help her defend the empire of chairs from the keysmiths. Just before the attack of the keysmiths, one of the chairs, affectionately known as "Gran'ma Budgie," gives Jane a coin with a question mark on it - the "mystery coin," to protect.

Meanwhile, Marcia, who has developed a crush on Jane, receives a call from one of the nurses at the hospital who informs her that Jaspert is going ahead with the electroshock therapy. She rushes to the hospital to prevent such barbaric treatment.

Back in Jane's dreams, the keysmiths kill Rebis and Cliff and surround Jane.. she blacks out. Dr. Jaspert has applied the electric shocks, "curing" Jane. Marcia arrived too late.

So, "Kay Challis" is released from the hospital and begins her mundane life, working as a clerk in a grocery store, watching television, sleeping and eating, until one day, she leaves a note in her apartment: "It's Not Real." She walks to the city bridge, ready to end her life, when Cliff finds her saying, "we're going home now," and they walk together onto Danny the World, hand in hand.

And Marcia is left to puzzle over something that Jane pressed into her hand as she was being wheeled away after her electroshock therapy - a strange coin, engraved with a question mark.

Annotations:
written by William Sherman (sherman@netcom.com)

p. 1: The brown and gray "hell" in which Jane currently exists is, according to Jason Smith (jsmith@aeha1.apgea.army.mil),

"a tie-in to the other book Morrison wrote, Animal Man. In the final Morrison issue of that book, Buddy is transported to a brown and grey world where he meets the man who is responsible for all of his difficulties, namely Grant Morrison. Brown and gray seem to be the shading used when denoting the REAL world. That is to say, the Candlemaker transported Jane to hell, the real world, with no super-heroes, where the only explanation of the Doom Patrol lies in psychiatric terms."
p. 1: The story of Kay walking along a bridge in a daze might refer to the American television series "Twin Peaks," created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. One of the victims of their villain "Bob," namely Ronette Pulaski, was discovered walking along a bridge in a daze after escaping from Bob.

p. 3: Budgies, or budgerigars, are a species of small house birds, stereotypically kept by sweet little old English ladies.

p. 4: I've never heard of thioridazine, but Thorazine is a drug used in the treatment of some psychoses. It is actually a trade name for chlorpromazine:

        C  H  ClN S
         17 19   2

Since it is a trademark name, DC would have to use a close-sounding word rather than the word itself. Thioridazine may be a DC universe drug used on persons with the metagene (thanks to Dave van Domelen [dvandom@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu])

p. 11: The Kafka reference is to Josef K., the hero of Kafka's masterpiece "The Trial," in which Josef is tried and eventually condemned and executed by a mysterious court which never explains what Josef has been accused of.

C.G. Jung (1875-1961) was one of the pioneers of psychology, along with Freud.

p. 15: As was pointed out on r.a.c.misc, electroshock therapy is never used for cases of delusion or hallucination. It is used as a treatment for chronic depression or other affective disorders. Morrison's choice to use it here is rather perplexing. Perhaps it's used merely because it's a familiar image to the reader, as well as being violent and rather dramatic.

As pointed out by Nick C. (Nobrdan3@aol.com), the final three panels of this issue quotes the song "Asleep" by the Smiths, from the album (Louder Than Bombs).

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