Jan 3, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 678: The Doom Patrol #91, November 1964

http://www.comics.org/issue/18725/

Today's comic introduces Mento, who is described as a "most superior and extraordinary being." He wears a helmet that confers mental powers upon him, is a high-powered financier, and an amazing athlete. Imagine Batman with telekinesis.

He's also an insufferable douche.

In Mento, Drake and Premiani give us a true representation of a 1%er superhero. He's sure that he's better than everyone, that anyone less than him is not worth paying attention to, and that he deserves all the prizes (which includes Rita Farr). I don't remember exactly how things play out, but, spoiler alert, Rita actually marries this guy. I can't wrap my head around it. It actually seems that the only reason he's put on the spandex is in order to steal Rita away from the Doom Patrol, and unfortunately she begins to fall for it.

Dayton has an interesting career as time goes on. As with the Brotherhood of Evil, after the DP disbands, he moves on to have a part in the Perez/Wolfman New Teen Titans, goes mad, and ends up causing all sorts of problems. His current status in DC canonicity is unsure, but part of me hopes he's not coming back. That's how much I dislike this character.

Now, this is not to say that he's not a good character. We don't always have to like characters, or have them make us feel good. My own Sad Monster comics are designed to produce sadness. That might sound odd, but the production of emotion is one of the primary functions of art. There's nothing saying that the experience, via art, of negative emotions is a bad thing. Mento makes me angry (not that I really need much help in that area, especially in considering wealth disparities). Sad Monster makes me sad. Just like Giazotto's "Adagio in G Minor" (which, literally this moment, I've just discovered isn't in fact Albinoni), or Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife. Production of emotion is what art is for.

Onward.

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