Monday, April 3, 2017

Doctor Doom - The Doctor Is In!


It can well argued that the Fantastic Four comic did not really come of age until the ultimate antagonist for the team was introduced in the fifth issue. In the story "Meet Doctor Doom" by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott we meet for the first time, the megalomaniac who we will learn in due course rules a pipsqueak foreign country with literally an iron hand and who has ties to the earliest days of the Fab 4 itself.


In this debut story Doctor Doom is merely a super-villain, who resides in a castle in upstate New York and uses both black magic and technology to bring his enemies to heal. He captures the Fantastic Four and using Sue Storm as a hostage sends them back in time using his very own time machine to obtain for him the treasure of Blackbeard the Pirate. Mr.Fantastic, the Human Torch and the Thing have a rousing adventure and eventually gain possession of the treasure which turns out to originally that of Merlin. Doc Doom turns on his short-term allies but they are saved by the Invisible Girl and when the team confronts their captor they learn he is merely a robot and Doom himself rockets away leaving the team to lick their wounds.


Doom as presented here is a nasty villain. His blend of arcane black magic and high-tech is a wonderfully broad reach for a mysterious villain whose face we will never see. We get a glimmer of his origin as Reed Richards remembers him from his college days as the willful student who goes to far and harms himself when he will not conform to the rules.


As we all know, Doctor Doom will become one of the most dangerous villains in all of the Marvel Universe, but first he must establish himself as the most dangerous villain confronting the Fantastic Four. He will make another attempt to establish that rep in the very next issue.


More to come.

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8 comments:

  1. Oopsy ... FF5 inked by Joe Sinnott, not Ayers.

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    1. Aarrrgghhh! I knew that too. But still I goofed. The true facts will appear in the corrected post. Thanks.

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  2. Did he? It doesn't look like Sinnott. It's strange that he inked issue 5 and then not another one until #45.

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    1. True that. The iconic inker of the run to boot.

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    2. FF5 looks exactly like Sinnott in 1962; see the first Thor story published two months later. By the time of Sinnott's return in 1965, his inks had evolved a bit, as had Kirby's pencils.

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  3. Well, he did ink a few panels of #6 before Dick Ayers took over.

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    1. Are you trying to make me cry? Seriously, thanks for the info.

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    2. Ff6, with a few panels inked by Sinnott, came out the same month as the first Thor strip, which was beautifully inked by Sinnott. Sinnott had other accounts (I think mainly Treasure Chest, published by the Catholic Church; what a waste of his talents) and didn't do any other work for Marvel for a few years, although he had been a regular contributor to the Goodman line since the early 1950's.

      Ayers and Sinnott had similar inking styles, and I never spotted the Sinnott panels in issue 6 until it was pointed out many years later. Ayers did a great job on Kirby throughout the early Marvel Age. When the inks were turned over to "George Bell" (George Roussos) after issue 20, Kirby's pencils suffered greatly. But after seven issues Chic Stone took over the inks, with a style pretty close to Ayers, and stayed on until shortly before Sinnott's return.

      It's too bad Ayers didn't stay on the FF after issue 20. His occasional inks on Kirby pencils in 1964 and 1965 were always great. He mostly was used as a penciler during that period, which is too bad because his pencils were far below what I had come to expect from Kirby and Ditko.

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