DAMAGE CONTROLMedium: Comic books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1989
Creators: Dwayne McDuffie (writer) and Ernie Colón (artist)
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A thousand-foot-tall robot has stalled out in the middle of downtown Manhattan, with Spider-Man trapped in its head! A jailbreak on the part of several Marvel Comics super
villains has caused an unusual type of structural damage to the building. The Avengers' mansion is attacked by a robot army and winds up at the bottom of the Hudson River. Who ya gonna call?
Only one bunch you can call — Damage Control, the guys who clean up after superheroes in the Marvel Universe. In no other comic book would the man shouting, "You'll pay for this, Doctor Doom!" be a bill collector.
Damage Control, Inc., the construction company that specializes in superhero work, was first seen in the 19th issue (mid-May, 1989) of Marvel Comics Presents, a very frequently-published anthology title Marvel put out for 175 issues between 1988 and '95. It usually ran a chapter each of four different serials, starring four different Marvel characters (in that issue, the other three were The Black Panther, Doctor Strange and The X-Men's Cyclops), but the Damage Control introductory shot was a complete story in eight pages. It was written by Dwayne McDuffie, making his comics writing debut. He was later responsible for DC Comics/Millennium Media's Static. The artist was Ernie Colón, whose credits range from DC Comics' Arak, Son of Thunder to Harvey's Jackie Jokers.
The Marvel Presents story was immediately followed by the beginning of Damage Control's first four-issue mini-series. As the curtain rose, major players among Damage Control employees included Robin Chapel (traffic manager and heir apparent to head honcho Anne Marie Hoag), Lenny Ballinger (construction foreman, jaded enough by super-stuff to make small talk with Galactus), John Porter (account executive, a specialist in finding creative and non-violent solutions to outrageous problems), Albert Cleary (comptroller, able to accomplish any financial feat without wrinkling his suit) and Gene Strausser (technician and master of any technology he can get his hands on, human or non-). The company's financial backers included Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Wilson Fisk (The Kingpin, a major Daredevil bad guy). (It was the latter, a criminal connection, that once prompted The Punisher to march into their offices, intending to shoot up the place. They made him take a number.)
Damage Control went on to two more successful four-issue mini-series. The last of them ended in 1991. There was also talk of a movie, but that's pretty much a dead issue now. At some stages of its development, the movie would have simplified things by placing the company in the same world as The Squadron Supreme, so instead of everybody from Captain America to The Hulk, it would deal only with problems related to that one limited group.
Damage Control is now just one of those organizations like S.H.I.E.L.D. or Empire State University, that lurk in the background of the Marvel Universe.