Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett looks at the news of a new Doom Patrol TV series and a geekfest Late Show episode, with a discussion of Kevin Smith’s heart attack and Helen Hunt’s Star Wars fandom.

I like to believe I’m incapable of surprise, but I must confess I was made utterly incredulous upon reading that the upcoming DC Universe streaming service had a live-action Doom Patrol series in the works. (see “DC Universe Goes On ‘Doom Patrol’”).  Now, I’ve always loved the characters, by which I mean I’m old enough to have been around when the original comics by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani could be found on drugstore comic book spinners.  I’ve read every version of the group from Grant Morrison's to John Byrne's, and I'm particularly fond of the latest one by Gerard Way and Nick Derington (when an issue actually manages to come out, that is).

However, as much as I love the comics, I never would have ever dared to imagine they would make a TV series out of such an obscure, outré, b-list (to be extremely generous) IP.  But then, I never could have imagined Guardians of the Galaxy would ever become a billion-dollar phenomenon.  Or a character as minor as Yondu would become instantly recognizable all over the world.

So while Doom Patrol might seem an unlikely investment for Time-Warner, the risk reward ratio is actually pretty favorable for them. The risk being particularly low because instead of broadcast TV or cable it’ll be seen on an instant streaming service where the audience comes to them.  Services like Hulu and Netflix have have had unexpected hits by taking a chance on unconventional material, and the Doom Patrol definitely qualifies as that. So my only real question about the project doesn’t concern the program so much as its provider, as in, can the market really sustain this many new streaming services?  I honestly have no idea, but we're all going to find out soon enough.

On May 1st, as the headline on the A.V. Club put it, “Kevin Smith engagingly overshares about his recent heart attack on The Late Show”.  Along with telling America more than it ever needed to know about his body shame issues, the comics-adjacent auteur talked about his recent massive heart attack.  According to him he had “100 percent blockage” in his left anterior descending artery, something apparently known as “the Widowmaker” in cardiac surgery circles. While Smith has lost a substantial amount of weight since the operation the experience did nothing to shake up the director's self-imposed dress code of jerseys and shorts.

Of equal interest, to me anyway,  the episode also featured an interview with Helen Hunt, who’s probably best known for the sitcom Mad About You, though I prefer to remember her endearingly game performance in Trancers*. Like David Letterman before him, Colbert tortured the Oscar winning actress by showing clips from Angel Dusted, the 1981 TV movie she starred in.  Afterward, Hunt revealed she has been a lifelong Star Wars fan, having spent her 16th birthday standing in line to see The Empire Strikes Back.   She also said she had wanted to get a Rebel Alliance tattoo but her underage daughter forbade her from doing so, saying when she's eighteen and out of the house her mother could do whatever she wanted. 

     

*Trancers was a 1986 movie from Charles Band’s Full Moon Productions.  Between 1989 and 1995 they produced a slate of surprisingly good low-budget genre movies, most of which look like Casablanca compared to today's Syfy original movies and The Asylum mockbusters.  I know it makes me a grandpa to say so but, bad movies were just better back then.

Due diligence compels me to reveal one of the reasons I'm so fond of the film is back in 1991 for Eternity Comics I wrote a two-part Trancers comic. It featured artwork by Brazilian-American artist Sergio Cariello, who went on to work for Marvel, DC, and Crossgen, while I have gone on to...well, pretty much this.