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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #190

This is the one-hundred and ninetieth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous one-hundred and eighty-nine.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: J. Michael Straczynski did not intend to have Doctor Doom cry in Amazing Spider-Man #36.


It’s interesting to write about this particular issue of Amazing Spider-Man when another issue of Amazing Spider-Man (Amazing Spider-Man #583 and its Barack Obama back-up story) is driving readers to their local stores this week to get an issue of Spider-Man relating to real life events.

Amazing Spider-Man #36, written by J. Michael Straczynski and drawn by John Romita Jr. (with Scott Hanna on inks) was a tribute to New York City in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 that destroyed the World Trade Center.

The issue had a polarizing effect on readers – some thought it was a heartfelt tribute while others felt that it trivialized the events of 9/11 by bringing superheroes into the story.

Perhaps the most controversial page of the comic (okay, no “perhaps” about it) was the page featuring a group of super-villains watching the rescue workers, looking quite somber (click to enlarge).

At the end of the page, we get a close-up of Doctor Doom, and he is crying (also click to enlarge).

For various reasons, people took particular issue with that scene.

In any event, a number of years later, Straczynski discussed the issue and revealed that it was NOT his decision to have Doom crying, but rather that it was artist John Romita Jr. who took the direction of making Doom (and the other villains) “somber” and decided to depict Doom crying.

Romita had, in the past, already noted that Straczynski HAD mostly left the choice of which villains to feature on the page up to him (except that Doctor Doom was specified by Straczynski as having to be there).

When asked about Straczynski’s comments in an interview afterward (in an interview by Tom Field collected in George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weatherington’s awesome Modern Masters volume featuring John Romita Jr. – click here to purchase a copy! It’s an excellent read), Romita does not differ with Straczynski’s recollection, as Romita notes that he really did not see it as DOOM crying, he was viewing it as all of us crying, as visualized by seeing even a super villain like Doom driven to tears.

Here is Romita speaking about it a few years earlier:

Call it symbolism or a metaphor…..any cliche will suffice, but my take was that all of us, good or bad, were shook up. ALL OF US!!So if this, issue #36, is beating anyone over the head with the symbolic hammer…so be it!If it was heavy-handed…fine! I was a part of it and I’m proud! It touched me and still does. It made a point and still does. It’s being spoken about …and still is! Taken literally, all comics are ridiculous. All of us suspend reality for a few hours everyday…. For enjoyment comics are wonderful. To get this point across to those who don’t watch Dan Rather, it was effective. To be put under a microscope the way it has is ludicrous.

It was not Doc Doom and other villains at ground zero, just like it was not a young child crying for his fallen father. It was a representation…a symbol…a metaphor for real feelings and thoughts. It was, excuse the sugar-coating, JMS’ and my heart and soul on those pages. I didn’t ever cringe at the thought of those characters being in that spot. To me, it made sense. This kind of cowardly, unspeakable horror effects all of us…ALL OF US! I don’t want to say…”Lighten Up”! I want everyone to concentrate on what happened on 9/11. Don’t forget…Don’t EVER forget!

I hope I don’t trip getting down off this damn soap box!

So there ya go, if you really want to complain about that scene, don’t complain about JMS (and after such a heartfelt phrasing by Romita, it seems harsh to complain about his decision, either, really)!

Story continues below

Thanks to J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. for the information, thanks to Tom Field, George Khoury and Eric Nolen-Weatherington for the Romita info, thanks to Marvel Spotlight for the JMS info and thanks to J.R. Fettinger at Crawlspace for the other Romita quote (Romita posted that himself on a Spider-Man message board).

COMIC LEGEND: The story behind the name on the Bristol board that Marvel artists use.

STATUS: Eschewing True/False here

Recently, an anonymous inker (he wanted to go by Geddy Lee, so I guess you can go with that, if you’d like) asked about something that was driving him nuts:

As an inker for Marvel, DC, etc., I noticed that on the Bristol board Marvel provides, there’s a name on the blue lined portion of the board, ‘Dan Carr’… Who is this guy?

Dan Carr is not the most well-known name at Marvel, but he is not just an important guy over there, he’s also a longstanding member of the staff at Marvel Comics.

Tom Brevoort had a post a couple of years ago showing a drawing Kyle Baker did for Marvel Age in 1992 showing the Marvel staff at the time (click to enlarge images)…

According to Brevoort back in 07 (when he did that blog entry), of those staffers, only Brevoort, Carr and Ralph Macchio are still on staff today. Although apparently Jerry Kalinowski is also still on staff from that picture.

Today, Carr is the Executive Director of Publishing Technology.

Want to know what the Executive Director of Publishing Technology does?

Anthony Dial amusingly explains:

The stuff that gets published in Marvel’s comic books is nothing compared to the action that goes on in the office every day!

Dan Carr is the Executive Director of Publishing Technology here at Marvel Comics and he’s also the only thing protecting us and our equipment from the gremlins and their king, Zogylmog!

If Zogylmog and his evil hordes got their way, servers would be crashing left and right, files would be vanishing from hard drives and books would not get to the printers on time. Dan Carr says, “Not on my watch!”

Dan has had a longstanding struggle with the gremlins and their king. I heard that they destroyed three of his cars, got his son kicked out of college, wiped out his life savings at the bank, and ruined his first marriage. But all the little green menaces did was awaken a sleeping giant as Dan takes it to them every day, making the world of technology safe for the masses in this action-packed first issue!

Dial has a very cute cute drawing up of Dan Carr at Deviant Art to go along with that description. Here, I will just embed the drawing:

Dan Carr the Indomitable by ~Gummibearboy on deviantART

However, while being the Executive Director of Publishing Technology is, in and of itself, a good explanation for why Dan Carr’s name is on the Bristol board Marvel uses (by the by, anyone have a good scan of a Bristol board with his name ON it? I’d love to feature it here), Tom gave me an even simpler explanation when I asked him about it last week:

[H]e’s in charge of ordering the paper.


Thanks, Tom!

Thanks to “Geddy Lee” for the question and thanks to Anthony Dial for the drawing. Also thanks to Cory Levine for giving Jerry Kalinowski his props, as well!

COMIC LEGEND: Paul Tobin went by the pseudonym Root Nibot.


If you thought that the resolution to the previous one was simple, get ready for one of the simplest comic book legends ever!

Reader Kyle wrote in to ask:

Is the Root Nibot who wrote Banana Sunday really Paul Tobin?


Here’s Paul at his now basically defunct Root Tobin live journal page:

My first love is writing, and I have a comic book series coming out from Oni Press, a romantic comedy high school adventure monkey-inclusive blow-up named Banana Sunday, on which I’m collaborating with artist Colleen Coover, who should win a fair amount of Eisner’s and Harvey’s for her efforts.

Beyond comics, I’m working on a spree of novels, including a young adult series that involves some of the characters from the Banana Sunday comic, although in an entirely different continuity. Both “Banana Sunday” projects, the novels and the comics, are written under my “Root Nibot” name…but I have other novels in the works under my real name of Paul Tobin.

So there ya go! Don’t get much easier than that!

Thanks for the question, Kyle!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comic Book Database for this week’s covers!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com.

See you next week!


A lesser known fact is that Paul Tobin AKA Root Nibot starred in a series of martial arts video games under a second pseudonym, Noob Saibot.

Here’s a screencap of Paul in action:


“For various reasons, people took particular issue with that scene.”

Actually, they can all pretty much be chalked up to over-obsession with the cults of the villains in question, or the cult of continuity.

It’s the cult of consistent characterization.

Oh boy…

You can’t blame people to be upset about Dr. Doom crying over a building being destroyed. How many times has he blown up the Baxter Building or have done worse.

Boy and here I thought that particular issue of ASM was explicitly out of continuity. After all, it isn’t like any of the additional fall out from 9/11 (the War on Terror, Iraq, etc) featured explicity in any real way in the Marvel Universe.

“Is this how you get your kicks, Doom? By mourning the deaths of random innocents?”

“No. By causing the deaths of random innocents.”

This is the guy who blasted the Baxter Building into space. What, did he evacuate the building first?

Actually, there have been other references to 9/11 and the fallout in Marvel Comics. For example, Kevin Smith’s aborted Daredevil/Bullseye miniseries shows Hornhead at Ground Zero, and Bullseye making a deal with terrorists (it’s one of the worst comics I’ve ever read, incidentally). As much as I disliked that issue of ASM, if you want to justify it as a one time, non-continuity thing, then fine. But to have 9/11 be an active part of the Marvel Universe trivializes that day and the lives lost.

I always found it very sad that comics professionals could not find a better metaphor to express their emotions following 9/11 then superheroes.

And of course there was also the Juggernaut’s own history with freelance demolition activities and the World Trade Center, specifically… at least, for those of us who belong to the “cult of continuity.”

We have a glass of Kool-Aid with your name on it! ;-)

I thought people would be more likely to complain about Juggernaut being there. Didn’t he once destroy one of the towers himself?

I totally see Romita’s point, even if the “it’s only a metaphor” reasoning is a *little* creaky. I still see his point and I understand his decision.

At the same time, as a reader, I am allowed to disagree with it. Having Dr. Doom, or at least a “metaphor ” that uses Dr. Doom (a Doom-Bot?), cry over the events of 9/11 is like having Osama Bin Ladin cry over the events of 9/11. Doom, like that wretched terrorist, has no qualms about taking innocent life.

Doom does have that whole “honour” thing going for him, though. While I can’t really see Doom tearing up the way he did, it makes more sense for Doom to do it then, say, the Red Skull.

It’s funny, ’cause to me, that scene with the supervillains acts as an antidote to the notion that putting superheroes in a story about 9/11 trivializes it. Because in a way, showing that the event is big enough to get Doom and Magneto to lay down their “rivalries” and their grievances against the rest of humanity, illustrates that the point that the significance that day went far beyond all the battles between comic book heroes and villians.

And to further develop one of Romita’s concepts, if we can see the characters as metaphors — part of what I see in Doom’s crying, is that the heartache of that event was profound enough to touch even souls that are usually closed off to human emotion and compassion. As the artist said, it’s not the character of Dr. Doom who blew up the Baxter building that we’re seeing there, it’s a representation humanity, which sometimes buys into egotism and violence but is still capable of vulnerability and compassion.

Tears in my eyes :

” Because the story of humanity is written not in towers but in tears.
In the common coin of blood and bone.
In the voice that speaks within even the worst of us and says ‘ this is not right ‘.”

And, about the Gaza Palestinians…


I figure it’d be more in line with their characters for Doom, Magneto et al to be smiling, laughing and high-fiving bin Laden in his cave somewhere, congratulating him on a job well done.

(Imagine the controversy if ASM 36 had had a couple of panels of THAT…)

Uh, Dr. Doom is NOT a metaphor for humanity. He’s a metaphor for inhumanity! That’s why Melville didn’t have Ahab driving around with a “Save the Whales” bumper sticker. Romita is a “moran.”

The only way that 9/11 would be more significant in the Marvel universe than all the various damage that Magneto and Dr. Doom have caused alone, is if those characters are somehow aware that they exist in a fictional dimension and that our reality supercedes theirs.

And I don’t think Marvel was trying to send that message. Which means it’s just a trivialization of the tragic event.

“9/11 was so bad, even Dr. Doom was sad about it!” is about as tasteless as you can get.

Garth Ennis’ Punisher run made plenty of references to 9/11 and its fallout.

As others have indicated, having Doom cry I think crosses the line into self-parody. Like imagine having the Joker, Darkseid, Mephisto, and the ghost of Hitler crying over 9/11. Would that show that 9/11 can move even the evil people? No, of course not, it’s such a radical departure from their characters that the scene would come off as a crass joke. While not as extreme as those examples, I still think Doom is over that line. It’s phony for him to be that way.

Personally, I think Doom is crying because he’s upset that he didn’t come up with the idea for 9-11.

Not to be ignorant, but … who is Paul Tobin? Google and WIkipedia are not being heplful.

…and if I’m not mistaken, before Dan Carr, it was Virginia Romita’s name on Marvel Art Board.

Thanks for the clarity Brian!


The 911 issue is so much la-la. As we see with current Marvel Comics, they just don’t do “reality” very well.

Could THAT be part of the inherant comcept of super-heros? That they AREN’T real? They are child-like ego wish-fullfilment fantasy? Isn’t that what makes comic books FUN?

Silly me, I forgot comic books aren’t FUN, they’re SERIOUS representitive “art”. “Fun” is the LAST thing modern comics are about.

You all get what you pay for with this stuff. YOU are the ones paying for these torture fantasy downer trips. So please don’t whine when you begin to notice that THEY DON’T MAKE SENSE.

How many YEARS has it been now? Ten? Have you HAD ENOUGH YET? Stop buying garbage and they’ll stop selling it. Pretty simple.

Get it?


I’ve never had a problem with the Doom because, given that it’s the World Trade Center, there may have been Latverians inside. And Doom loves his people.

Personally, I’ve always felt this issue would have worked better as one-shot/stand alone kind of thing. That way, all the creators discussion of metaphor and whatnot would work a lot better. A one-shot explicitly created to give the creators a voice for their emotions and to create a lasting tribute to that great tragedy works much better than trying to do the same as yet another chapter in the decades-long, ongoing narrative of Spider-Man.

As it stands, the events as depicted are part of one chapter (the 36th…actually, the four hundred-something-th) in the ongoing narrative of Spider-Man. As such, characters appearing therein are expected to behave as they have behaved previously in the story. As someone mentioned above, it’s not about continuity so much as character consistency.

Maybe I’m just drinking the Continuity Kool-Aid, maybe I’m splitting hairs or whatever, but for me, the Doom moment takes me out of the story, and if the issue hadn’t been created specifically as another chapter in the ongoing narrative, it might not.

I love Dan Carr!!! He’s the best!!!

“given that it’s the World Trade Center, there may have been Latverians inside. And Doom loves his people.” Excellent point.

“How many times has he blown up the Baxter Building or have done worse.”

Never, because he’s a fictional character.

“Uh, Dr. Doom is NOT a metaphor for humanity. He’s a metaphor for inhumanity! That’s why Melville didn’t have Ahab driving around with a “Save the Whales” bumper sticker. Romita is a “moran.””

Have you ever heard of an “inhuman” action that wasn’t committed by a human? Inhumanity itself is human.

I don’t think it was a particularly well-done comic or anything, but to get upset about this issue because of continuity issues has got to be the height of fanboy retardedness.

That’s gonna keep me up nights, Stefan.

Ya, only New York based villains should have been used. Kingpin crying would have been much better in Doom’s place.

I do think anyone who takes that issue of Spidey as an in-continuity, normal spidey story is to be honest being a bit stupid. As a Spidey or MArvel Super Hero story, its actually pretty rubbish (though the arts great). But as a historical document, and as expression of the creators emotions at the time, its very interesting. Marvel and Spiderman are both so linked to NYC that it almost had to be done. Had it been Savage Dragon or Spawn or Watchmen or characters created especially for the book, it would have been meaningless. The issue is almost really just an illustrated essay really, and I think thats essential to remember. I also think its an accurate representation of the mood post 9/11, however much after the Iraq war people would like to pretend they had a more educated opinion at the time.

And if they’d just used Kingpin instead of Doom, there’d be no problem.

Kingpin is an American and a New Yorker, and once kicked the Red Skulls’ Nazi ass because he might be a criminal businessman, he’s an AMERICAN criminal businessman!

Oh, I think I had a more educated opinion at the time. . . I was educated enough to be of the opinion that any dissenting note from the approved shock, bewilderment, etc., were likely to get me lynched at the time. ;-)

” ‘How many times has he blown up the Baxter Building or have done worse.’

Never, because he’s a fictional character.”

And the Baxter Building is a fictional location, so that’s a dumb thing to say.

Victor was only crying because he didn’t think of the idea first.

And now Eldar’s crying because he didn’t think of (or post) that first.

What about the voice of Geddy Lee,
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy.

And now I’m crying.

ASM #36 should be read as allegory. The issue even begins “We interrupt our regularly scheduled program …” to signal to the reader that what you’re about to see won’t make sense in the context of the regular storyline. Of course the Marvel heroes have faced much worse in their owned stories, and suffered greater loss of life, but this issue is acknowledging those tragedies are fictional, made for your entertainment.

Do you think with 500+ superbeings in NYC, an event like 9/11 could have even happened on Marvel Earth? Of course not. But that’s not how you should read the story.

I liken it to professional wrestling. There are moments when feuding wrestlers step out of character and acknowledge their mutual respect for one another, especially after a grueling match or bad injury. What happens the next night? They’re back to feuding, the storyline continues like nothing ever happened.

This was a big OOC moment. The creators who make these characters walk and talk are trying to say something about the gravity of what has occurred, in the language they have at their disposal. Next issue? Everything was back to normal (“normal”).

hey sgt pepper,
I know him, n’ he does.

“What about the voice of Geddy Lee,
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy.”

I know him, and he does.

Hey! I’m the fact-checking cuz’ around here!

But the point that some of us are trying to make, Anthony Cheng, is that it’s a lame allegory. It cheapens what happened by implying that the reactions of supervillains add weight to the situation.

Awright, ya goldbricks! Quitcher cryin’!

Yeah, it failed, but as someone who was here when it all went down, I understand it. We were all struggling to process it. I know the rest of the world was struggling, but you have to understand that those of us living there and smelling the death for weeks and weeks afterward, we were all struggling to process and understand and communicate what had happened.

In retrospect it’s cheap, but I’m sure they just didn’t know what else to do.

“A lesser known fact is that Paul Tobin AKA Root Nibot starred in a series of martial arts video games under a second pseudonym, Noob Saibot.”

The scary part is, a small number of people will believe, this, and tell friends, and six months from now, it’ll show up in this column. Let’s start tacking vectors now…

I agree with those that say that if Marvel (or DC, Image, or any comic company) wanted to produce a comic, featuring their characters to work as a tribute and an allegory towards 911, then why not just a one-shot book?
Why not just a special with all proceeds going towards the 911 charities?

Instead they decide to cram this story within the book’s run, within the book’s continuity. Continuity, by the way, that they built up over the years and have constantly fed to their readers and fans that it was important that they embrace it.

To hold up the concept that continuity is important to it’s customers and readers on one hand and then with the other, present it’s characters totally out-of character is disingenuous to it’s fan base. You can’t have it both ways.

If anyone is to “blame” for the out of character presentation it rests with the editor.
If any of the creative talent brings in stories or illustrations that don’t jibe with how the character is supposed to look or act, it’s the editors’ job to prevent that.

Likening pro wrestling and superhero comics is a pretty good way to look at it: testosterone-laden soap operas that occasionally try to resemble reality and embarass everyone in the process.

As far as consistency of character or continuity, does it really matter? These characters all get reinvented or reinterpreted so often that they might as well be (gasp!) fictional. Oh, wait…

sgt pepper:
What about the voice of Geddy Lee,
How did it get so high?
I wonder if he speaks like an ordinary guy.

I know him, n’ he does.

Then your my fact checkin’ cuz….

I look at the Spider-Man 9/11 issue the same way I look at the “West Wing” episode that was done shortly after 9/11. It’s a nice tribute & an interesting artifact on its own, but it doesn’t play into the regular continuity (Heck, with comic-book sliding timelines being what they are, it won’t be long before 9/11 happened BEFORE Peter Parker even became Spider-Man).

You know what REALLY drives me nuts about that issue, even more than the Dr. Doom crying thing? It’s that the rescue workers are depicted with breathing masks, but superheroes like Spider-Man, Wolverine and Cyclops aren’t.

“I agree with those that say that if Marvel (or DC, Image, or any comic company) wanted to produce a comic, featuring their characters to work as a tribute and an allegory towards 911, then why not just a one-shot book?
Why not just a special with all proceeds going towards the 911 charities?”

We did that too! Never got your copy of HEROES?

I can’t believe some of the comments I’m reading. Did any of you read Romita’s explanation? It wasn’t meant to be an in-continuity, accurate representation of these fictional characters. It was a couple of creators (at least one of whom lives in the city) struggling with what happened and trying to do what they can to a) express their feelings about what happened, and b) do something positive (I believe the proceeds from that issue went to one of the 9/11 charities). I understand thinking it’s trivial/pointless, or even inappropriate, but to read that issue even seven years later and have your only take-away be “Dr Doom is out of character” or “Why isn’t Spider-Man wearing a breathing mask” is embarassing.

“How many times has he blown up the Baxter Building or have done worse.”

Never, because he’s a fictional character.

I clicked your line which said you were a comedian, and so I must conclude that this is an intensely subtle and somewhat brilliant piece of satire. Well done. *golf clap*

It would have made much more sense to me to have a hero cry. That would have been heartfelt and stirred some emotion for me. (Much like seeing Ben Grimm get weepy in the Death of Captain Marvel). Or as someone else said, even Kingpin, since he regards it as “his city.”

Seeing Dr. Doom cry just made no sense. Evil is evil, period. And evil of that magnitude would most likely laugh at the horror.

After 9/11, there was a huge drop in crime in NYC for a few weeks. But it wasn’t because the crooks were helping dig. And it also wasn’t as if Saddam Hussein or someone of his caliber flew into Manhattan with tears in his eyes and helped out. In that regard the metaphor falls flat.

No, if Saddam had flown in and helped out with tears in his eyes it wouldn’t have been a metaphor at all, it would have been essentially a literal recreation of the scene in the comic. Maybe the actual problem you all are having is your lack of comprehension regarding the concept of a metaphor.

Joseph–Uh, since they ARE characters, when they act out of character, what’s left? I’m never embarrassed to criticize lame “storytelling” like this. Of all the literary and artistic tools at his disposal, all Romita could think of was a crying Dr. Doom? Who should be the one embarrassed here?

“Who should be the one embarrassed here?”

The people analyzing a heartfelt reaction to a tragedy by way of fucking superhero continuity.

PS- a hint at who should be embarrassed: He invented “memorable” villains such as The Shocker (Electro dressed up to look like an acorn) and The Rhino (no comment!)

mrclam – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

@Joe I guess that makes every single artwork about 9/11automatically great. Just because it was “heartfelt” doesn’t make it good.

Wow what a terrible argument. One, that has nothing to do with this story. Two, it’s not the same Romita. Three, the Romita you’re talking about also invented the Kingpin and Mary Jane and a whole bunch of other great characters.

@Joseph–see my comment to the other Joe. All I’m saying is that artists need to make good art. It doesn’t matter what the topic is. “Barefoot Gen” was great, but not because it was about Hiroshima. “Maus” was great, but not because it was about The Holocaust. It takes a good artist to make good art; it doesn’t take a tragedy. For good comics art about 9/11, see “Get Your War On.”

And three: I like Shocker and Rhino

And four: I like Shocker and Rhino

Okay, I AM embarrassed that I mistook one Romita for the other! As to the characters of Mary Jane and Kingpin: Mary Jane was his in looks only. Kingpin: what’s so great about him? He makes no sense: a non-powered fat guy who is able to slap around Spider-Man like a rag doll? What up with that? Besides, it took almost 20 years and Frank Miller to make him into a worthwhile foe.

Without comment on the Spider-Man issue, anyone interested in an interesting, challenging, touching examination of Sep. 11th should check out Art Spiegelman’s “In the Shadow of No Towers”



I’ve got a page from the first issue of Slingers by Chris Cross on Marvel bristol board… in the bottom right is the name “Dawn Guzzo.”… explain that!

“Instead they decide to cram this story within the book’s run, within the book’s continuity. Continuity, by the way, that they built up over the years and have constantly fed to their readers and fans that it was important that they embrace it. ”

That someone’s trying to fit a hastily thrown together comic dealing with a national tragedy within this framework is, in its way, endlessly facinating

I like John Trumbull’s comparison to the West Wing episode “Isaac and Ishmael” (one of my favorites, by the way). As I recall, they even had Brad Whitford come on ahead of time and say “Don’t worry about where this fits into the show’s ongoing plots; it doesn’t.”

It’s a reaction in the form of the art available to the artists. (As I recall, it took a while for JMS to be able to write it; fortunately, the book was backed up in scheduling anyway). I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask people to look at it in that context, rather than as the next chapter of their favorite science fiction soap opera. And I say this as a reader at the time.

Now that I think of it, 35’s ending pretty much continues into 37 as if nothing took place in between. That oughta be enough signal right there.

The idea that writing about 9/11 in a superhero comic somehow “cheapens” the real event is beyond me. There’s a long tradition of people using fantasy fiction to channel, process, and understand horrific real life situations. Lord of the Rings and World Wars I and II is a famous example.

Also, it’s not like inserting real life into comics is new. Gee, should we read Captain America punching out Hitler on the cover of Captain America Comics #1 literally or figuratively? You know I wonder why that didn’t end WWII right there!

The legitimate complaint about this panel is just that the image would have worked better without the tears. The way JMS originally wrote it. That is all.

mrclam – Did you just miss the part where Joe said it failed? It’s right there in plain English. He’s not defending it, just objecting to the “continuity” approach to criticizing it. And he’s right. To borrow a rhetorical construction from you, if it’s bad (I haven’t read it recently enough to make an objective appraisal), it’s not bad because of its place in continuity, or lack thereof. It’s bad on its own merits (or lack thereof), not how it relates to the issues published before or after it.

Also, I love how you say it takes a good artist to make good art, then hold up a guy re-using the same clip art in every strip as an example. That’ll keep me going for days, that will.

Oh, and Kingpin isn’t fat. That’s mostly muscle. Which you’d know, if you were up on your Kingpin continuity.

I was never very comfortable with the idea of that 9-11 Spidey issue.

Hero or villain, it just somehow never seemed right to put these fantasy characters into that real context.

The crying Doctor Doom is as incongruous to me in that setting as a crying Luke Skywalker, or Frodo Baggins or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would be.

You say that like fantasy and reality aren’t already intrinsically linked in any way.

I understand what they were going for by having that Villains scene in the book.
But they should have at least had them contribute something to the narrative other than ‘even evil people can feel bad about the tragedy’. The problem is they used soulless monsters like Doom and Kingpin.
Not every supervillain is a murdering maniac. Instead they could have shown ‘lower’ villains like Rhino help search the debris or something like that.
You’d think that at the very least, Magneto would try to help find survivors by clearing some rubble with his powers. As someone who lived through the Holocaust in WW2, he’s probably the only one of them who makes sense being there and feeling sad about what happened on 9/11.

Personally I find the fans who think, oh 9/11 didn’t mean shit in the Marvel U because, say, Onslaught did about 10 worse to NYC a few years before much more offensive than the creators trying to do something heartfelt. This was about something being bigger and more important than superhero comics. Jesus, don’t try to apply comic book logic to a tragedy that killed 4,000 people.

BTW, Wraith, I liked your comeback

*Onslaught did about 10 TIMES worse* sorry

“You say that like fantasy and reality aren’t already intrinsically linked in any way.”

I say that like the reality of that situation shouldn’t have trivialized by putting fantasy characters into it.

If people REALLY need a reason to understand why Doom would cry at Ground Zero, I’ve come up with a few:

1. Doom has always wanted to destroy things and conquer the world, so he was mourning the fact that the terrorists were by nature suicidal and couldn’t be around to appreciate the destruction they caused.
2. Latverian ambassadors were in the WTC, and/or he was ready to close a diplomatic deal that would’ve served some eeevil ends.
3. Doom was going to polarize the two towers into a electromagnet strong enough to pull the moon to the earth and destory ALL of New York City!
4. He was sad he hadn’t thought of it first.

Now, do these points seem as important in comparison to the tragedy of that day? Does any “logical” justification for Doom crying MATTER? Doom has blown up this and that . . . C’mon, guys, radical terrorists needlessly took lives. It didn’t serve any means other than pure terror. At least Doom has world domination in mind or something — his need for fear has an endgame. Terror for terror’s sake, and what folks might do to achieve it, should make any of us quake in our metal boots.’

Honestly, I agree, this issue would’ve been best as a special one-shot, and the idea of the piece as an illustrative essay/editorial with allegorical, pop culture-driven illustration makes complete sense, so I think we should keep it at that. If any of us had a national forum to express our grief at that time, we would’ve taken it, a stupid thing like continuity (in contrast to said grief) be damned. Who knows? . . . For some, seeing Spidey, Doom, and the rest as torn up about it as the rest of us might’ve helped them get through it a bit . . . like, say, a KID that happen to stumble onto a comic once in awhile. (I know, GASP.) Let’s respect that.

Regarding Spider-Man, Doom and 9/11, I have two thoughts:

1. I understand why fans would get upset with Doom crying. Not only is it not in character, but I never understood why a group of super-villains would stand at the remains of the World Trade Center and look pouty in the first place. It’s over-the-top, and it detracts from what is otherwise a very well-written story. However, I have to agree with those who say that – despite being featured in the regular series instead of being published as a one-shot – the story should not be considered part of continuity.

I remember when West Wing started the 2001-02 season with a special 9/11 episode. It was easily the worst episode of the entire series. It was meant to be heartfelt, but it came across as preachy and boring. And it was obvious that it wasn’t part of continuity at all (it was never referenced again).

J. Michael – in my humble opinion – did a far better job communicating his pain and anger, and while I don’t think ASM 36 should be considered part of the official canon, I applaud his attempt to make sense out of the senseless.

2. I bought several of the trade paperback editions of J. Michael’s run on Spider-Man, but I started seriously hating the series even before he ret-conned Gwen into a whore with a father fetish. I ended up selling every single ASM TPB on eBay with one exception – the book that reprinted the 9/11 story. I don’t care if it didn’t fit into any kind of continuity, the story made me cry the first time I read it and the story makes me cry when I read it now.

Sometimes it’s okay for a story to be good, even if it doesn’t fit into continuity. Again, I completely understand why people would be taken out of the story when Doom sheds tears (even people who have no idea who Doom is or what he’s done would probably find that scene overdone). But I thought and still think that ASM 36 was J. Michael’s effort to come to terms with what happened that day, and I think he did a remarkable job.

Just my two cents. :-)

Sorry, but the people who read that story and could only react to it by saying ‘but it’s out of character!’ are heartless fucking bastards.

For fuck’s sake. They are all fictional characters. They do, think, and say whatever the human beings who write and draw them want them to. Draw your own damn comic if you think you can better express the horror and shock that the people of NYC felt in the weeks after 911.

These were creative people WHO LIVED AND WORKED BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, mind you, using their talents to try to come to grips with one of the worst tragedies in US history. Fuck fanboys and their anal-retentive continuity obsession…NONE OF IT’S REAL BOYS. They’re all imaginary stories. Morons.

Doom cried obviously because he lost his domestic partner in the collapse of the towers, and Jerry Falwell was low enough to blame the attack on their love.

Wow. Hot button topic and here I came to the party late. That will teach me to go out on Friday night.

For fuck’s sake. They are all fictional characters. They do, think, and say whatever the human beings who write and draw them want them to. Draw your own damn comic if you think you can better express the horror and shock that the people of NYC felt in the weeks after 911.

These were creative people WHO LIVED AND WORKED BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE WORLD TRADE CENTER, mind you, using their talents to try to come to grips with one of the worst tragedies in US history. Fuck fanboys and their anal-retentive continuity obsession…NONE OF IT’S REAL BOYS. They’re all imaginary stories. Morons.

You know Morrison’s original version of All-Star Superman #10 included a throwaway scene of him brutally raping the goth girl with no explanation? While DC said it would be okay if Morrison wrote into the comic book a compelling explanation why Superman has changed his character so much, as it stood, without explanation they weren’t going publish it.

Morrison replied “Fuck you DC fanboys with your anal-retentive continuity obsession! Why do I need to explain Superman raping someone? They’re all imaginary stories and they’re all fictional characters! I can make them turn into rapists at will!” DC just didn’t get it. They thought, for some stupid ass reason, that portraying your characters acting in a way reasonable to their established personalities and not doing whatever the fuck wherever the fuck at any time was somehow a cornerstone of good writing. Morons.

And the big companies continue to be stuck on this stupid anal continuity trip. For example, I submitted a story to Marvel that went like this.

Johnny goes to the mall. He buys a necklace for his wife. He pops the toast out of the toaster. He mountain bikes down a steep mountain. He eats the toast. His mountain bike trips up on a rock and he takes a nasty fall. He swims with his gay life partner. His boss hands him a stack of paper work he’ll have to pull an all-nighter doing. It’s really boring. Ted from accounting invites him to a poker game. He politely declines. He combs through the wreckage of 9/11. He’s annoyed that the colony on planet Jupiter doesn’t have any bars. His mother nags him about getting a girlfriend/boyfriend. She’s open minded. He goes to the podiatrist. The End.

And Marvel, the fucking morons, just didn’t get it. They were all hung up about how no event in this story makes sense based on the events before it. How could he be buy a necklace for his wife and go swimming with his gay life-partner? How could he go swimming after taking a nasty fall? When did they make a colony on Jupiter? All their stupid questions. I tried to explain to them that Johnny’s a fictional character in the fictional Marvel universe. The events in his life don’t have to follow any kind of sequence or make any sense, even based off of one another, and if they weren’t such anal continuity-obsessed fanboys, they would see that.

They still didn’t get it and rejected my story. The audacity, right?! I mean it had 9/11 in it! NINE FUCKING ELEVEN! How dare they not like my story! I live like a mile away from Ground Zero. They have no hearts.

I think people missed the boat on this. Doom was not crying because of the tragedy; he was moved because it was such a simple, wonderful plan. For all his intelligence he could never come up with something as powerfuly evil as that. He look at it and he thinks “genius!”. Doom wish he would have come up with it.

It’s time like this when I realise why most people have so little opinions about comic book fans, I personally love that issue of Spider-Man and got everything that JMS and Romita were trying to do. It’s sad that a bunch of delusional fanboys can’t take their heads out of their asses for even a minute to get the bigger picture and instead choose to bitch about stuff that has no real relevance to the story.

Anyone who can’t understand what Romita was going for is either being deliberately obtuse, or is just plain stubbornly stupid.

As much as I empathise with the people who suffered from the events of 9-11 and as much as I enjoy the art of John Romita Jr. , that issue of Amazing Spider-Man is one colossal mess and having Doctor Doom crying and all these mass-murderers like Magneto looking “somber” is just the tip of the iceberg.

Magneto didn’t become a mass murdere til after 9/11 in Morrison’s New X-Men.

I have no probs with seeing Doom cry as despite everything he has, in the past, been characterised as having a human side to him. I agree that he is a murdering SOB, but at the end of the day, he has a reason for it, and when that is achieved it will end. I can genuinely believe that Doom would be properly sickened by the senseless nature of 9/11 and the pointlessness of it all.

Would it have made more sense if it had been Magneto or Kingpin? Yes.

Would it have been as powerful an image? No: Magneto has been depicted as crying before, and Kingpin has been depicted with a real love for New York. It wouldn’t affect us as much.

I don’t think it matters whether it’s in continuity or not, you could tell by reading it that this was a genuine heartfelt expression of how the creators felt, abd one of the highlights of an otherwise unspectacular run on one of Marvel’s flagship books.

To say that it’s ineffective is pointless, comics are a form of art, and for everybody who understands an artist’s intentions there will be many more who just “don’t get it”.

Complaining about it serves no purpode other than to upset or detract from the piece of art, which, successful or not, is unfair to the artist.

Wow, Cass. You’ve turned me around on this. Your comic book collection truly IS more important that the suffering of human beings.

You ever listen to my show the two weeks after 9-11? It was all somber and serious and shit. Completely inconsistent with the previous ten years’ worth of shows. I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking. Hoo hoo

I’ve long felt that it’s absolutely disgusting how fans bash this issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. People, if continuity means more to you than a heartful creative expression of the sorrow and pain felt by a couple of guys who work in the industry (one of whom is second generation, the son of one of the most important and influential comic book artists of all-time) you love so dearly in the aftermath of a horrible real-life tragedy like what happened on September 11th, 2001…you need to get your head examined.

It’s called symbolism. Grow up!

I had the opportunity to work with Dan Carr at Marvel for a little while. As a member of the Manufacturing department, we worked closely. He is an amazing man with an amazing team. It still bothers me that even though we look at these books in all of their four-color glory, many people don’t know the amount of work that it takes to actually produce them. Sue Crespi, who is part of a Marvel Dynasty, is a wonderful person and a hard working right hand to Dan. The production team has to deal with more deadlines and rush-work than any of the writers and artists do, and they still manage to get the books out looking great.

So kudos to Dan and Sue, and Omar and the rest of the production crew at Marvel… and at all of the other publishers out there! Let’s get some Eisner awards for them too!

I understand the point of the Doom tear just fine. I can accept that it’s out of continuity so that doens’t really bother me. What doe sis how it was done. Badly. A 9/11 tribute is a good idea, even in the book itself rather than as a 1 shot it’s fine but they should ahve gone the Sex & the City route and done a nice tribute to NYC without ever referencing the actual event. It was much more effective and poetic than having super-villains standing around crying, metaphor or not.

I understand thinking it’s trivial/pointless, or even inappropriate, but to read that issue even seven years later and have your only take-away be “Dr Doom is out of character” or “Why isn’t Spider-Man wearing a breathing mask” is embarassing.

Way to miss the point I was making, Joseph. Despite what you wrote, that WASN’T the only thing I took away from the issue. I was focusing on the comic book aspects of the story because, you know, comic book site.


How ’bout THIS:

You can explain away comic books that FAIL at their own internal logic.

It’s a FAIL. Don’t explain it. Just FORGET it.

Where was the Darfur issue of ASM? The Kenyan embassy bombing ASM? There WASN’T one because ASM is an ethnocentric wad of NOTHING.

If it didn’t happen in the Great White America, it didn’t happen.

Where’s the Black Panther issue about Rwanda? The salaried employees of Marvel DON’T really care about TRAGEDY, they only care about AMERICAN tragedy.

Find a better hobby, fan-boys. One with more relevance to what’s going on in the REST OF THE WORLD.

Oh, I forgot!!! America IS the world. Why don’t you all go away like George Bush?

Retconn THAT.


I have no problem with the Spider-Man story because it was mainly done in the passion of the times. It was in this frame of mind that the Bush administration got a lot support from the opposite side of the aisle in Congress for the Homeland Security Act, the War in Iran. Hillary Clinton’s vote on these issues was used against her by President-elect Obama in the primaries. Remember the absurdity about Freedom Fries being used as substitute for French Fries?

We have to remember that John Romita Jr is a New Yorker. I could not imagine how I would feel if I lived that close to Ground Zero. I live on the flight path to O’Hare Airport and it was eerie to see the skies overhead deserted. I am going to cut him some slack on this story and leave it at that.

And now for something completely different for the continuity adherents….

As for having Doom tear up perhaps not a good idea but using the story from FF#10 is not a good analogy. If you actually go back and read the story, Namor was sent by Doom to the Baxter Building to place the “grabber” on the Baxter Building. Reed is suspicious when Namor offers to make a truce with them and he scans the entire building. The workers had gone home for the day (I guess maybe the cleaning ladies hadn’t started their shift yet J ) and the only ones present are the FF and Namor when Doom triggers the device.

As for slaughtering innocents, I would not characterize Doom as a terrorist that is out to kill every non-Romany on the planet to avenge the persecution of his people. Check out the graphic novel “Emperor Doom”… he even abolished apartheid once he was in charge. Doom wants to rule and if he exterminates indiscriminantly, who will be left to gratify his ego? J For many years, Marvel villains had the same kind of luck as a rampaging Hulk. Even though there was much mayhem in their wake, you never saw civilian casualties. Doom’s first kill in the FF does not happen until late in the Lee/Kirby run when he kills his assistant Hauptmann for taking a flamethrower to the art gallery and putting his art collection in peril. In fact lower level miscreants account for just about his entire body count until Mark Waid’s “Unthinkable”.

As a side note to John Romita’s controversial panel, I often wondered if the splash page from a Chuck Dixon story about a year later was a direct response to that.

Wow… Howard Stern posted here!


In case image link doesn’t work…

Doom has used Franklin’s reality image to remake the Heroes Reborn planet into his idea of perfection… which is to say it looks like Latveria.

It says: “It is good that my tear ducts were seared away many years ago…. Doom does not shed tears.”

It was one artist’s reaction to a truly heartbreaking event. I don’t think the criticism has any point. You didn’t like how it was done? Fine. Why go out of your way to complain? What do you gain? There’s no way to be “right” here.

I reread JR Jr’s Comic Book Artist interview (CBA vol. 1 No. 20), in which he talks at length about the effect 9/11 had on him. It took him much longer than usual to complete the issue because it was so difficult to be surrounded by the aftermath of the attack. I think he did an amazing job.

I always thought ASM #36 was very moving. Spidey is the ultimate New Yorker in the Marvel Universe — the city itself is almost a character in the book in the same way it is in 1970s Woody Allen films — so I thought it was very fitting to have the story appear in Amazing Spider-man.

My only quibble with it was that JMS wrote it with such poetic prose, and yet it was supposed to be Peter Parker’s voice telling the story. I thought it could’ve been either just a narrator (which they don’t very much anymore) or it could have been more in Peter’s voice. JMS is great with dialogue so I think he could’ve created something similarly moving but told in the way that Peter normally speaks.

That said, JMS’ words were quite moving, and the art was incredible, and it made me feel better that my childhood hero was experiencing this moment with such compassion and as a fellow New Yorker.

You didn’t like how it was done? Fine. Why go out of your way to complain? What do you gain? There’s no way to be “right” here.

Why do you go out of your way to praise it? People complain in hopes that their complaints are recognized and better storytelling, at least by their view, is employed in the future. Criticism applies to any kind of story, even one about 9/11. While yes, continuity fetishism is a huge part of why comic book fandom is ridiculed, another reason we’re ridiculed is because a huge chunk of fans have no taste and no discerning eye. They think that just because a story is about a serious or controversial topic and/or contains symbolism, it must be beyond reproach. Its the reason why people like that AWFUL AWFUL Boondock Saints movie.

Dr. Doom crying in the wreckage and standing alongside a group of other brooding supervillains is a clear example of bathos / sentimentality. John Romita pretty much admits it right here:

So if this, issue #36, is beating anyone over the head with the symbolic hammer…so be it!If it was heavy-handed…fine!

It’s not like any of the people panning the scene don’t understand what he’s going for. It’s not a difficult connection to draw.

Hmm, Dr. Doom crying? Wait! Dr. Doom doesn’t usually cry. So that must mean 9/11 is sad for everyone… even for the bad guys!

I really do live only like two miles away from Ground Zero. From my town (North Bergen), you could see what was going on across the Hudson. it was one of the saddest days of my life and my mom was at work in the city on the day it happened. I understand why Romita/Stracyznski did what they did, it’s impossible to deny being touched by their feelings about the event, but it was still a bad bit of storytelling. It was clunky and heavy handed. Readers shouldn’t feel like emotion is being foisted on them (its especially unnecessary to foist sadness on the reader when you’re talking about 9/11), but rather, the emotion should arise naturally from the story. It’s a difficult thing to explain, but if you have All Star Superman #10, I think that story pretty perfectly sums up what I mean. No one is actually being particularly emotional in that story, yet it still manages to call up really strong feelings (I teared up tbh).

You know how the covers of things like the Marvel Handbooks often have heroes and villains standing around, all posing dramatically? You’ll have something like Captain America and Dr. Doom standing right next to each other, both perfectly happy to be there and oblivious to each others presence. That’s because these are not the normal comics (being encyclopedic character reference books) and therefore there’s no need to maintain the usual motivations. Like the protagonist and antagonist in a play taking a bow together at the end – the story is over, so it’s not like they have to continue to be enemies.

That’s what I get from Romita’s comments. That for that one issue, the villains weren’t really in a normal story – they were just representing “Marvel characters” and therefore the normal in-story motivations don’t apply.

The problem with that, of course, is that the fact that this departure from the norm was obscured by so many things (like it being an issue within the series, and the fact that most of the other characters acted like they were really in a typical story.)

So I think there was a well-intentioned failure to communicate that this was intended to truly NOT be a regular story.

And I say “well-intentioned” because it’s perfectly reasonable to critique this both as an effort to express grief and as a work of art, which it can succeed at one and fail at another.

Actually, I’d believe that Doom would shed a tear or two over this, at least privately. Doom has, in general, been shown to have a “twisted sense of honor” when it comes to his super-villainy; he’ll ruthlessly attack his enemies, but (again, in general–total consistency over forty-plus years and dozens, even hundreds of writers is just plain impossible) he doesn’t attack ordinary civilians because they’re beneath his notice. Doom might blow up a building to get at Reed Richards, but he wouldn’t blow up a full building. Such a thing would lack elegance. It would be something a common criminal did, not a master of villainy like Doom.

This is, after all, the man who let his enemies go on more than one occasion because he feared that priceless works of art would be damaged in the crossfire. He has a soul, and he can appreciate beauty. His subjects in Latveria have been known to praise him for his kindness, even as they chafe under his restrictions. He’s actually a pretty well-rounded villain in that sense (which is what makes him one of the greats, I think.)

Now the Red Skull, he’d be wishing he’d thought of it.

That issue was a FAIL, for a multitude of reasons, mostly already listed.

Trying to defend it because “like OMG it’s about 9-11″, so it automatically is smart, insightful, deep, moving and right in every way and people who don’t like it are morons, “not grown up” or whatever is…. well, it’s sad.

Also, Magneto was not a mass murderer in Morrisson’s X-Men. It wasn’t Magneto at all, just a crazy junkie mutant guy with a fixation on Magneto. Yes, I know it was supposed to be Magneto originally, but he was already and quickly retconned several ways.

Two things:

1 – the image of Dr. Doom crying has always been, to me, so patently ridiculous that it just makes me laugh. It always had. I bought that issue, and thought it was fine, but that image was so ridiculous… it’s the kind of thing where it’s obviously sooooo heartfelt that you feel bad that they missed the mark so much. But it’s just ridiculous. Obviously.

2 – this thread is way funnier than that. Thanks for the laughs.

Well truly, as I remember the months after September 11, seemingly ALL Americans (that I knew) acted out of character, for good and bad. So it is not surprising that these characters were written “out” of character so soon after September 11.

I personally think what would have been much more powerful is something like this:

1. Scene cut to the Kingpin, where he is shaking down terrorist money connections saying that things like 9/11 don’t happen in his city.

2. Scene cut to Magneto, who either hugs his children (I don’t remember what Wanda’s status at that point was, crazy or not crazy), or shows him looking at his concentration camp tattoo (he does have one, right?).

3. Scene cut to a pensive Dr. Doom in Latveria, in a deep doomsday bunker, hitting some kind of World War III/Doomsday Protocol button.

Thanks for the article, Brian. It’s a good thing it wasn’t Jughead crying at Ground Zero or fans everywhere would have stormed the Archie Comics corporate headquarters!

Any argument that calls something “a FAIL” automatically loses. Fucking internet is ruining people’s ability to form a coherent sentence.

Marvel is probably glad they were able to work through the pain of 9/11 to find a way to make money off it. That’s positive thinking!

It’s time like this when I realise why most people have so little opinions about comic book fans, I personally love that issue of Spider-Man and got everything that JMS and Romita were trying to do. It’s sad that a bunch of delusional fanboys can’t take their heads out of their asses for even a minute to get the bigger picture and instead choose to bitch about stuff that has no real relevance to the story.

Isn’t it kind of a stretch to talk about relevance to the story of that particular issue of ASM when there really wasn’t a story there at all? As I recall it was more of a twenty-something pages long reaction shot. That’s not intended as a slam on JMS or Romita, but just my impression of the thing.

It’s Straczynski, actually. (You missed the Z.)

The problem with using Doom and the other villains as metaphors is that to so use them simultaneously requires and undercuts what their characterization. Whether or not the issue was in continuity misses the point: Doom does have a continuity, a history as a tyrant willing to sacrifice innocents to obtain or maintain power — he is, after all, the man who shunted his psyche into a young boy’s in order to cheat death. Magneto has spent most of his adult life trying to prevent ill from befalling mutants by ensuring that it befalls others; to have him show up at Ground Zero ignores the fact that his philosophy is very similar to that of Osama bin Laden’s. But it’s exactly their villainy that makes their appearance meaningful at all. Having just the Kingpin appear (or even Juggernaut) doesn’t carry the same emotional weight in the context of the point JMS and JRJR are trying to make — his villainy doesn’t have the same international, mass-murder scale as Doom’s and Magneto’s. The scene relies on an unresolvable contradiction: The villainy that makes these characters meaningful inclusions is exactly that which makes their inclusion incoherent.

It would have been better, I think, if the authors had tried to make a different point (or make the same point in a different manner). Instead of four big villains appearing and brooding, have Electro, Dr. Octopus, the Wizard, Batroc, etc. appear and realize how insignificant they are even as evil. These are characters who exist to fight our heroes, have put innocents in harm’s way on occasion but never behaved as though the lives of others were offensive. It would have drawn the starkness — the specialness — of the crime in a clearer light by differentiating the quotidian bad from the monumental evil. Kingpin and Juggernaut’s appearances would make sense in this context.

That said, I like the issue. I don’t agree that it trivialized the issue or betrayed some “inherent” funness of comic books. Even if superheroes are wish fulfilling fantasies of power, why shouldn’t they confront the real horrors that inspire them? The issue helped underscore how mind-bogglingly awful that day was, when even the idols we create to solve the insolvable don’t know what to do. And Spiderman — the heroic Everyman — is the perfect hero with which to examine these themes. The image that has remained with me from the issue is not Doom’s questionable tears but the shot of Spiderman holding his head in grief and anguish as he sees the wreckage for the first time. It’s a poignant reminder that no matter how good we are, no matter how well we manage to rise above our own weaknesses and strive to make the world a better place, sometimes we won’t be able to stop those who revel in pain and suffering from succeeding.

I don’t like people using the phrase `drinking the kool-aid’ or `drunk the cool-aid’ to imply simply that someone is being fooled by something or going along with something- almost 1000 people either committed sucide (some willingly, others while effectively brainwashed) or were murdered drinking that particular Kool-aid and to sugest that buying into continuity or not is somehow akin to that isdramatically more offensive that the fairly subjective idea of whether or not Doom would have cried at 9/11.

Jonestown didn’t drink KOOL-AID, they drank a generic store brand “fruit punch.” KOOL-AID brand powdered drink mix has never been associated with mass suicides, in the US or internationally. OHH YEAAAHHHHH

Eric Nolen-Weathington

January 19, 2009 at 10:55 am

Just to clarify a mistake, the John Romita Jr. interview in Modern Masters Vol. 18 was actually conducted by George Khoury. It’s not Brian’s fault for the mistake, but mine for not catching the screw-up in the credits of the book. I was working on the John Romita book at the same time as the Modern Masters volume on Lee Weeks, which Tom Field DID do the interview for, and at some point got the credits mixed up in going back and forth between the two layouts.

Eric Nolen-Weathington
Editor, Modern Masters

As metaphors for 9/11 go, I think the Hulk rampage in The Ultimates was a lot more effective on an artistic level…

It shocks me that this is even an issue, let alone such a hotly debated one.

Has the character of Doom changed so much since I stopped buying everything and cut back to 5-10 books per month? Because back when I was really into comics (80s-90s) Doom was human. He cared about his people. He cared about his family. He feuded with Mephisto over his mother’s lost soul.

I did not see a problem with Doom’s tears and actually thought that all of the vilians were upset.

Magneto cares about people (he just doesn’t consider non-mutants as “people”).
Kingpin cares about people. He considers New York City his personal property.
Doc Oc and Juggernaut have demonstrated weak spots for the elderly, women and children.

I think that it was well done. That the choices made sense. (I agree that Red Skull, for example, would have been inappropriate.) It was obviously out of continuity (not from the story, itself, but from the “Interruption” anouncement that begun it.) And, that the book was enjoyable. I’m only upset that the creators feel such a need to defend themselves for it.

And, for those of you who think that referencing a tragedy “trivializes” it:, I have just this to say: GOOD. Trivialize the heck out of it. Show that we are not terrorized by the terrorist attack. Especially in the trivia-obsessed American culture where this is really the only way to ensure that we Never Forget.


So if we don’t make Spider-Man comics about 9/11, the terrorists win?

“I say that like the reality of that situation shouldn’t have trivialized by putting fantasy characters into it.”

Here’s a short list of other real-life tragedies and the fantasy characters that have trivialized it:

The Vietnam War – Col. Kurtz
Auschwitz – The mice in “Maus”
World War II – Private Ryan
The Brutal Dictatorship of Idi Amin – That doctor guy from “Last King of Scotland”

I think the events in ASM were more unique because it was one of the few times the Marvel Universe dealt with the large-scale loss of civilian life. Sure, heroes and villains die in the Marvel Universe all the time, which usually creates a “very special” issue of the book, but that’s about it.

Dark Phoenix destroys a planet with billions of people (that’s with a “B”), it gets mentioned for a few panels, Jean Grey is put on trial, the X-Men fight, the end. Where’s the mourning for these billions of people? Sure, they’re aliens, but still.

And like some other people have mentioned, mass-scale destruction (and presumably, loss of civilian life) happens all the time in the Marvel Universe, especially when super-villains attack.
Where was the mourning for all the people who died when Galactus attacked? What about mourning all the people who died during Secret Wars, Atlantic Attacks, and the endless Infinity cross-overs? Oh, right, that doesn’t make very good story-telling when the comic book has to move on to the next adventures of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, etc.

Okay, I get that the Marvel staff needed to do something to express their feelings, but why do it in an in-continuity comic book? Why not have a stand-alone book, where we could sort-of (maybe) believe that 9/11 would cause Dr Doom to cry?

“mrclam – I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

Joseph, I would like to ask you a question: If someone created a comic about the events of the 9/11 which depicted the Joker or Hitler crying because of the loss of life, would you complain about it?

If your answer is yes, then you’re a total hypocrite.

If your answer is no, then you’re really hopeless.

[…] el "Doom-gate" (no lo mata a JMS, pero se deja en claro que el tipo no expecifica nada) CBR Nunca lo habia leido che. Un personaje este JMS. Por otro lado, estilos son estilos. Si tenes un […]

Romita: Doom dying was me reflecting my reaction to the 9/11 events.
Fans: Ok. But it was out of character for Doom. Couldn’t you have used other villain?
Joseph: OMG you fanboys are such sick and insensitive beasts!!! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

* crying not dying =l

People calling stupid to those how complain about this make me sick. Complaining that the story is poorly told (wrong choice of characters, therefore acting OOC) doesn’t mean they didn’t get the point. Understanding the plot, and pointing its mistakes are not exclusive…

Anyway, having Doom there is also a stupid choice… What the f*** is he doing in the crime scene? How no one suspect of him having something to do with it? It’s right on his ballpark….

And Magneto was a mass murderer before 9/11. In Fatal Attractions, he generated that electromagnetic pulse that shut down every electronic device on earth… Imagine how many died in minutes…

[…] on real-world concerns, and no one does that as well as Marvel (or as badly–take that horrid [John Michael Straczynski] 9/11 Spider-Man issue, for instance, in which notorious mass murderers/terrorists Magneto and Dr. Doom are seen helping […]

[…] fictional characters weeping over a real-world catastrophe. No, I still haven't gotten over the crying Dr. Doom, why do you […]

I’ve read a lot of Doom, and right from the Doom 2099 series of the 90s to some of his latest fights with the black Panther, he’s always stated his motivation as preventing humanity from destroying itself with acts of brutality like 9/11. He’s done enough horrible things to be irredeemable, but he’s often saved lives as well. I don’t think it’s out of character for him to cry at such senseless death.

It looked corny, reminds too much that old commercial with the indian guy crying because someone trew a soda can out of the car.
And it’s out of character. Doom is not a emotional guy. There’s also that egomaniacal thing that goes on with him, wich makes him to not have a high esteem for the human life. And sorry about how it will sound insensitive: He’s not american. Yes, this did have some effect in the way people around the world felt the event – I’m not talking about the anti-american jerks who cherred, but about people distant enough from the tragedy to put the fear of an impending world war III above the mourning for the lost lives. To a great part of the world, when you take the political aspects of the event aside, it was not unlike other tragedies like earthquakes and hurricanes that you look on the news and think “shit, this sucks” and move on with your routine.
Well, but it is a valid portrait of how deep it touched some people, specially great artist JRJr, for him to think it made sense that Dr. Doom would cry. I just think it looked silly, those villains right in the center of the tragedy would just create more panic and make the problem even bigger than it was.

I agree that the villains standing by the disaster scene was highly unrealistic, especially in the case of Doom. But I can imagine Doom shedding a tear (in privacy) at this. Doom fights to rule the world, so that he can enforce a final peace, and disarmament. I know that sounds like the typical egomaniacal claptrap, but there is evidence in Marvel continuity that he really means it sincerely. The Wakandan goddess probed his soul and found him sincere; and in Doom 2099 he consciously sacrificed himself for the future of humanity.

I’m not implying Doom would cry at the human tragedy; at the children orphaned and the absent faces. Rather, on an abstract level, he would recall his complaint of man’s capacity for brutality and senseless slaughter. That’s why Dr. Doom exists, at least in his own mind. Doom is not an American, but he is “connected” with the events, the people and the grand trends of history in each corner of the world. How could he ever conquer the Earth,if he felt himself detached from any segment?

The incident of 9/11, or the wreckage of a genocide, or the deaths of millions in famine would probably move him to the pettiness and needless suffering of humanity; to shed a Shakespearean or philosophical tear at man’s self-hatred. And as pompous as that sentiment sounds – he is an egomaniacal villain, after all – I can imagine Doom feeling that with at least some genuine sincerity and dismay


So damn true. The people who keep attacking those who disliked the issue and calling them insensitive jerks need to grow the fuck up.

Doom’s crying was weird, but back then what bothered me more was Magneto showing up. I was like “didn’t he die recently”? Obviously he later got better, or turned out not to really be dead, but at the time he shouldn’t have been used unless they were more blatant about being out of continuity.

I like the idea someone had where it should’ve been the Kingpin crying. That would’ve been better, but hindsight 20/20, etc.

I didn’t like the issue, but I don’t want to belittle the creators or say it tarnished the memory of those lost or anything. I’m sure they were just working through the events the best they could and that’s how they did it. It fell flat for me, whatever, it’s hardly the worst stuff ever committed to paper by JMS or JRJR.

Let’s face it though, Spider-Man and the rest of the ‘hero’ community failed miserably if this was part of the Marvel continuum. A proper response of the supervillain community would have been to gloat.

[…] a loaded issue in a perceived escapist medium and/or in the fictional Marvel Universe, an image of Doctor Doom crying, and the perceived “liberal bias” or “agenda” of the […]

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