Friends, I was honored when I received an invitation to represent the Retroist in the latest Super-Blog Team-Up, a collection of 12 writers banded together from across the far corners of the interwebs to discuss and champion one of the things we love most…comic books!
I was all set to discuss with you my love of DC Comics’ Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew from Earth-C when Charlton sent me a care package containing not only a clue as to what concept I would be writing about but it also provided me with a little added protection for when it’s time for me to stop the Man of Steel. Permanently.
As you can plainly see we are all going to be talking about villains for this edition of the Super-Blog Team-Up. Off the top of my head when fellow comic fans ask me who are the greatest villains ever to grace the pages of sequential art I’ll probably mention Lex Luthor, Darkseid, the Riddler, the Four (from Planetary), the Red Skull, Juggernaut, Thanos, and of course the best villain of all time…
But why does Doctor Doom for me lay claim to that lofty title? Well, first of all we need to talk a bit about when and how I was introduced to the character. From a very early age I was a comic fan and I’ve stated before on the site that my first two comics I really collected was indeed the aforementioned Captain Carrot as well as Captain America and the Falcon from DC’s competitor Marvel Comics. I held each of those heroes in high regard…even if one them was a funny animal book. So when thanks to an older comic collector letting me leaf through a worn copy of Avengers #25 I learned first hand how formidable this Dr. Doom was…Captain America even admits it while they do battle against one another!
But I really stared to dig on Doom thanks to the 1981 Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends animated series that ran on NBC from 1981 to 1983. I mean he is right there at the end of the intro to the series, standing his ground releasing laser blasts towards our heroes.
It was however when I was in Junior High-School that I truly learned much of what I love of Doctor Doom, his backstory was presented in the still awesome Marvel Universe Handbook and that allowed me to catch up with the then over twenty years of history of Doom. I was interested to learn that Victor Von Doom, the Monarch of the mythical country of Latveria was born a gypsy. His Mother, Cynthia Von Doom, was a sorceress who also was the leader of the Gypsies and Victor’s Father, Werner Von Doom, acted as a healer for the band as well as acting as counsel against his Wife’s dabbling with the dark arts. Falling afoul a cruel Baron she decided to strike a deal with Mephisto in an effort to protect her people, she gave her soul as payment but learned too late that while she had gained great power to bring the Baron low, she was tricked by the Devil as she could not control it. To her regret when in an attempt to fell the Baron’s guards at his castle her magic in fact kills every man, woman and child in the neighboring village, but not before she is mortally wounded by one of the guards.
So the seeds of Doom’s eventual mastery of both magic and science were established early on, which I found quite fascinating. I mean Victor has an absolutely impressive amount of power thanks to not only his diplomatic status and his suit of armor, an array of deadly weapons and robotic minions at his fingertips but that wasn’t enough, he also had to make sure that the mystic arts were at his beck and call. But why? Of course his scientific need to create amazing things stems from his rivalry with Reed Richards…Mister Fantastic in my eyes is the Achilles heel of Dr. Doom, he is most certainly a prideful character but his blind ego is generally directed at wanting to prove his superiority over Richards at all costs.
But again I ask, why does Doom need to be a master of the mystic arts? The answer is perhaps surprising for a would be world conqueror. He seeks to free his Mother’s very soul from that of Mephisto…
In truth it was another element of the character of Doom that really won me over and that was thanks to stumbling on issue ten of the Secret Wars Mini-Series at a gas station while on vacation with my Grandparents. I knew of the series and it’s concept but I hadn’t picked up any of the issues…then I saw this cover on the comic spinner and knew I had to pick it up. Dr. Doom who in my young eyes was afraid of nothing and always found a way to gain the upper hand…was kneeling in his ravaged armor…still defiant.
What I found inside in that comic made my heart swell…
…with an odd sense of longing, to have that much willpower was something I desired. Doom is fallen, being destroyed by the power of the Beyonder and yet he denies the very concept of failing and he overcomes his attacker and succeeds. Now let me also explain at this time in my youth I was bullied in school daily, brutally heckled about anything and everything from my clothes, my single parent household, to even the fact that I read comic books. While I certainly didn’t want to mirror other aspects of Doom I found myself walking a little taller in school after that, oh the abuse continued to be sure…but I had found a special armor of my own that allowed me to weather it, the knowledge that I was better than they treated me and I would deny them their power over me.
That is why I feel that Dr. Doom is destined to prevail against all of his foes, in the end if he finds himself stripped of his tech, his magical arts, and even his sovereignty he still has in his arsenal his most powerful weapon, the power of will.
That is why Doctor Doom is the greatest villain to me, even with all of his faults he gives us something to admire.
Now make sure to visit each of my fellow writers for this Super-Blog Team-Up on villains by following the links below, bear in mind some links may not be active as of yet as the posts will be published throughout the day!