Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Heroes Case File #283: Dorothy Spinner

Sometimes, something comes along and just gives me a topic for this weekly column I’ve been doing for…285 weeks?  I mean, I took two weeks off once, asked Jimmy to fill in, he couldn’t because he’s sane, and I’m not because I’m still here, and if this website has proven anything (and it hasn’t), it’s that I somehow never quit a silly project once I’ve started it.

What was I talking about?  Oh yeah,  This week’s entry, since the new season of Doom Patrol dropped its first three episodes the same weekend I type this up, I’m covering Dorothy Spinner.

Dorothy Spinner is a young girl with ape-like facial features and hairy arms.  Rejected by her birth mother, she was adopted by the standard DC Comics Midwestern couple, but Dorothy had some superpowers.

No, she didn’t have ape powers.  She could make her imaginary friends real!  That turned out to be a good thing because that Midwestern couple was maybe not so kindly as most adoptive parents since they kept her at home and out of school since, well, she was freaky looking.  That didn’t stop her from gettin’ some book learnin’ as her imaginary friends taught her to read and write.

How her imaginary friends knew more than she did, I do not know.

One day, Dororthy saw the then-Doom Patrol battling a Lord of Chaos, one that swallowed the team and then Dorothy.  However, Dorothy got upset and threw rocks around the inside of the Lord of Chaos and somehow killed the thing, saving them all.  That happened in a regular DC book, but Dorothy stuck around when Grant Morrison took over and made it, slowly but surely, a mature readers Vertigo book.

And Morrison realized something:  Dorothy had a traumatic childhood, so why should her imaginary friends be pleasant and helpful?

Like the Candlemaker, who appeared to kill Robotman and the Chief when Dorothy let him loose. She was…really desperate. Fortunately, the deaths didn’t take.

Dorothy would hang around with the team for a while, over multiple creator runs, and towards the end of the Vertigo era, despite maturing over time starting in Morrison’s run, she reverted back to a more childlike state.

And then the Doom Patrol went back to the regular DC Universe.  What happened to the Vertigo team?  No one knew…right away.  What happened was a rich guy named Thayer Jost bought the rights to the team name and built a new Doom Patrol made up of unknown, new heroes plus Robotman.  Robotman seemed to have forgotten a few things, but he knew enough to nickname Jost’s pessimistic recruit intended to be team leader as “Negative Man”.

Except…it turned out this Robotman wasn’t the real Robotman.  No, the real Robotman showed up, and it was discovered that Dorothy’s powers went a little crazy, killed most of the previous team, and left Dorothy in a coma on life support, and the Robotman on Jost’s team was one of those imaginary friends Dorothy created.  That Robotman faded away when the real one showed up, and he felt that since Dorothy wasn’t getting any better, that she should be removed from life support.

That’s dark.

Why bring her up at all?  Well as I said, she’s been added to the new season of Doom Patrol on both HBO Max and DC Universe.  Sure, she was seen briefly at the ends of the previous season, but now we finally get to see her face.


She’s also the Chief’s daughter in this version, but I’ll be covering that show later on, so I’ll have to see how much of this story sticks around..eventually.

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