...The Question!
Banner: Yankee Doodle by Richard Case after Mike Sekowsky

Yankee Doodle

The first character to use Pseudoderm?

The cover of Doom Patrol #51 by Mike Sekowsky
ENLARGE
The cover of Doom Patrol #51 published 30 years after its creation
Art by Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia

In 1964, America was crazy for James Bond and spies. To capitalize on this, DC editor Lawrence Nadle created a spy character who also doubled as a master of disguise for Showcase #50 -- John Dandy, aka Yankee Doodle. Mike Sekowsky and Frank Giacoia drew a cover for the issue, but before any other progress could be made, Nadle sadly passed away. In the place of Yankee Doodle, DC ran some reprints of King Faraday "Danger Trail" strips. For almost thirty years, the only legacy of Yankee Doodle involved a potential influence on the modus operandi of the Unknown Soldier in Star-Spangled War Stories.

But in 1992, someone at DC turned up a copy of Sekowsky's cover, and that cover in turn, somehow wound up in the hands of Grant Morrison, then writer of the book Doom Patrol. Morrison worked the character into the final Brotherhood of Dada story arc of his run on Doom Patrol. Noting the resemblance of the faceless man to the Question, Morrison managed to tie their back stories together.

Dandy/Yankee Doodle is described thusly in Doom Patrol #51: "John Dandy worked as a special government agent attached to the Pentagon's Unusual Operatives Division. The UOD oversaw the Men from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the Sex Men, the Dust Devils, and some of the others. Dandy used his cover as an archaeology professor to steal some research notes from a guy called Rodor. The notes helped him synthesize a special gas which solidified on contact with air, into a kind of malleable super-skin. The gas cartridges could be stored in any ordinary ball-point pen. The super-skin could then be molded into incredibly life-like masks, which made Dandy a master of disguise.

"Using the code-name Yankee Doodle, he went out there and kicked ass for Uncle Sam, no problem. Until some government big-wig freaked out and went down into the city under the Pentagon, taking a lot of sensitive documents with him. Somebody had to go down there after him...and Dandy volunteered. It was a clear case of curiosity killed the cat. They sent him down into the white abyss and waited. There were garbled radio messages about enormous structures walking. People or things with tunnels instead of eyes...and then we lost all contact.

"A year later, Dandy came back. Or at least something that claimed to be Dandy came back. It was hard to be sure on account of his face. He insisted he'd swapped his original face for this new thing and...well, then he did something to two of the soldiers...."

The government brings Dandy -- now a man with a plastic comb and Scrabble pieces for a face with seven bodiless heads floating around the one on his shoulders -- to stop Mr. Nobody in his....

...You know what? Just go read Doom Patrol.

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