The script was written in late 2011, and was only slightly changed during production. The art was drawn between 2011 and 2016, with the book being completed in March 2016. This is the first Vigilante Comic Book that was made available for purchase.
The story, entitled "How It All Begins", features the origin of the superhero team D.O.P.E. Vincent Mariano, Barry Divo, Paul Rockwell and Lucas Spitz are joyriding in the desert. Vinny is driving fast, testing out modifications made to the van by Lucas, much to the chagrin of Barry. The friends banter back and forth, and tease each other about various things (Barry's homosexuality, and his former lover Jerome, Lucas's drooling problem, and his virginity, Paul's stupidity, Vinny's smoking, and his childhood bout with leprosy, among them). Vinny then tests out Lucas's jet engines, which causes the van to go speeding over 250 miles per hour through the desert.
The van is uncontrollable and smashes through a perimeter fence of a nuclear testing zone of the Nuclear Energy Commission. Inside a secret command station for the NEC on site, the NEC Commander and two screenwatchers, Johnson and Forsythe, notice the intruders. The commander orders a strike team to be sent out to destroy the van and silence any passengers.
Meanwhile, the van passes through a fallout area, runs out of fuel and crashes into a sand dune. The four friends exit the van, each feeling bizarre. Barry's expensive jeans are on fire, due to Vinny's cigarette, and his whole body becomes engulfed in flames. He tenses his body with anger over Vinny and shoots off into the sky. Paul's body becomes bigger and stronger while his head shrinks in size. Lucas's tongue grows humongous in size, and his saliva becomes acidic. Vinny's body starts to break up into pieces and he falls into a pile of body parts on the ground.
Barry, flying overhead, still enraged at Vinny, notices the pile below him, and is overcome with grief as he believes Vinny to be dead. He is relieved when Vinny's head floats up and talks to him. Vinny now has the ability to separate his body parts and control them independently.
Together, the foursome discuss their new abilities, with Paul wondering if this was how McSpidey got his powers. They decide to become a superhero team, with Vinny only agreeing if he can be the leader. They agree, and then come up with their superhero names. Vinny is the Leper, Barry is Flambé, Paul is Pinhead and Lucas is Saliva-Man. After trying various team names with crude acronyms (Four Ultra-powered Clever Knuckleheads, Association of Super-Studs and Committee of Cosmic Knights), Vinny stumbles upon Defenders of Planet Earth (or D.O.P.E.) when the NEC strike team flying in on their helicopter calls the foursome a bunch of dopes.The NEC Strike Team tells the four friends that they are trespassing and they will be terminated. Pinhead doesn't stand for them being threatened and he runs through a couple of NEC goons before jumping high into the sky to grab the helicopter as it was taking off, despite being shot multiple times by the strike team leader. Pinhead grabs the copter and tosses it hard into the ground, and Flambé sprays fire all over it. Meanwhile, Leper uses his various body parts to attack two guards from multiple angles, knocking them out. And Saliva-Man uses his acidic spit to melt the guns, and faces, of two other guards.
The foursome take a quick second to celebrate their victory but quickly realize that more strike teams may be sent out to kill them, and that they have no way to get out of the test facility.
In the NEC command station, the NEC Commander asks for an update, and catches Johnson watching a TV Show (Name That Dong). After getting a visual of the burning helicopter and defeated strike team, and then losing track of the intruders, Forsythe questions if they should report the event up the chain of command. The Commander refuses as he doesn't want to give, as he calls them, "the tree huggers on Capitol Hill" a reason to shut down the NEC.
Back in the desert, it's shown how D.O.P.E. escaped the desert - Flambé pushed the gasless van carrying Leper, Pinhead and Saliva-Man while flying at super speed.
Note: There are a couple of visual background gags in this issue, as in the desert you can see the Sarlacc Pit from Star Wars and the giant sand worms from Beetlejuice in the background. And on a screen in the NEC computer room is Bobo the Clown.
This comic marks the first Current Era appearances of several people and entities:
- D.O.P.E. van
- Barry Divo / Flambé
- Paul Rockwell / Pinhead
- Lucas Spitz / Saliva-Man
- Vincent Mariano / Leper
- Nuclear Energy Commission
- NEC Commander
Besides the main story, D.O.P.E. #1 includes a couple of bonus pages with these comic features:
- Creator's Corner - a statement from the creator regarding the production of this issue.
- D.O.P.E. Art Gallery - showcases the cover of D.O.P.E. Volume 1 #1 from 1992.
The first version of the book was completed in March 2016. It was made available for purchase in digital and physical form on Indyplanet.com from April through May 2016.
This version became available on Indyplanet.com in May 2016. Upon closer inspection/review of the issue, some minor updates were made to the original book:
- Cover page - removed the printed price
- Page 1 - added "Revision A" to the text at the bottom of the page
- Page 12 - corrected font type
- Page 23 - Slight tweaks to text/layout of Creator's Corner page.
Almost all pages were updated for this revision after the comic was rejected by Comixology for release due to the use of Comic Sans font. Rev B replaced the font for all dialog and narration.
The first "printing" of the book (Revision -) sold 12 copies from Indyplanet.com in the first month it was available.
Revision A sold 3 copies from Indyplanet.com between April and December 2016.
That totals 18 copies sold, as of Dec 2017.
The script was written by Michael J. Longo, with tweaks based on comments and ideas from proofreaders Matt Forrestall and Pamela Longo. The artwork and production were done by Michael J. Longo.
Reboots concept from: