The Chief (Dr. Niles Caulder) is a fictional character from DC Comics and the leader of the Doom Patrol. He first appeared in My Greatest Adventure #80 (June 1963). Co-creator Arnold Drake has confirmed in an interview that his inspiration for The Chief was the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, specifically Sherlock Holmes's elder brother, Mycroft.
Dr. Niles Caulder is a paraplegic gifted with a genius-level intellect. Caulder uses his scientific knowledge to develop numerous inventions and innovations that have made him wealthy. Caulder founded and organized the team called Doom Patrol to protect the innocent and fight crime, and to teach humanity to accept others who live as ostracised "freaks," who have been radically transformed from terrible accidents. It is Caulder's genius that allowed the team members to survive (e.g., designing Robotman's body, devising Negative Man's medicated bandages), and helped grant their freakishness and amazing abilities.
Caulder growing up had developed an interest in creating better life, based on the concept of the story "Frankenstein" (in which a fanatical scientist demonstrates a similar idea through the being he creates), as well as "The Singing Ringing Tree" (in which 'well-to-do' people, who were transformed into beasts, have to prove their worth to the world by becoming selfless). Proving at a young age to be both a brilliant inventor and engineer, Caulder received funding from a mysterious benefactor. Thanks to the funding, Caulder succeeded in creating a chemical capable of prolonging life. Ultimately, it was revealed that the benefactor was a man called General Immortus, who hired Caulder to create a chemical to replace the one that had been prolonging his life for centuries but was now failing. When the young scientist discovered the truth about his employer, he refused to continue the work. Immortus responded by implanting an explosive device in Caulder's upper torso, which he could set off remotely, and any attempt to remove it while Niles lived would also detonate it. Caulder eventually devised a plan to get the bomb out, but it cost him his ability to walk. The incident inspired and reminded Caulder that a better life may come from surviving a tragic event, such as his own.
Per later retcons, this led to Caulder engineering the "accidents" that cause the original Doom Patrol members to gain their powers, since his personal philosophy is that true greatness comes through overcoming tragic events. However, in the original continuity of the 1960s, he played no role in the future Doom Patrol members' mutations but merely located and gathered them to give them a sense of purpose.
Read more about Chief Niles Caulder at Wikipedia
Official Site: DC Comics
Researched by: Captain Universe