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Meta-Messages #1

Reader danjack requested this, and since we’re such a full-service blog here, I will oblige. This is the first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) explaining the context behind, using Dan’s term, “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book writer comments on/references the work of another comic book writer in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.”

Today, we have one of the most famous “meta-messages,” courtesy of John Byrne.

In Uncanny X-Men #146, by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, we saw this scene between Arcade and Dr. Doom…

Well, in Fantastic Four #258, John Byrne countered with the following scene, explaining that that Doctor Doom was, in fact, a Doom-bot.

So that was the “meta-message,” Byrne felt that Claremont did not treat Doom well in the guest appearance (under the theory that, if you’re using characters from another book, you should treat said character respectfully) so he explained that that was not the REAL Doom.


Holy crap! I read FF #258 back in the day, but I’d forgotten what a sweet page that was.
If somebody asks you who Doctor Doom is, show them this.

Alan Davis did a ten-times-harsher version of this when he returned to Excalibur. It was around issue #49 or #50 or so. Roma was explaining to the group the secret history of everything that had happened to them. Along the way she stopped to point out why the middle period of their adventures (coinciding with the time Davis was off the book) had so many occurrences that didn’t make any sense. The characters even commented on the fact that they didn’t look anything like themselves in one of the flashbacks (to a hastily drawn fill-in issue). Like the Byrne story, it was kind of a dick move, but I’m a big fan of both Byrne and Davis and I don’t really mind either one. It just shows how passionate they were about these characters.

Byrne is right on this one… come on… arcade, a total loser, acting funny over dr doom??!!

cool new feature. Can’t wait for it to fill up on ellis and morrison moments.

And then there’s the issue of Captain Marvel where Peter David had Rick Jones laughing at Byrne’s “Hulk: Chapter One” issue.

Like the Byrne story, it was kind of a dick move

Actually I think the Claremont story was a dick move. Byrne made the right call. Nowadays its the norm to make established characters look like chumps in order to make a writer’s “pet” creations shine, but it shouldn’t be the case. Doom is one of Stan and Jack’s earliest and most lasting collaborative efforts. Arcade is….well Arcade. Look at him. No excuse to chump Doom at the expense of a character like that.

You want Alan Davis harsh rewrite? When he came back to Clan Destine, which he left after 8 issues and was cancelled after… 11 (? I dropped it after 9.), he had Rory recap to Pandora a weird dream he’d had that followed the plot of those last three issues. Pandora’s reply? “Rory, that’s just stupid.”

Can’t wait for Fury’s comments at the beginning of “Ultimate Comics: Avengers #1″. No way that those weren’t directed at the mess that was “Ultimatum”.

This is a fantastic new series. I hate feeling left out of these little “in jokes”.

On the Byrne v. Claremont squabble, pencil me in the Byrne column. Arcade striking a match off of Dr. Doom is a bit like insulting the host at the party. Claremont may have done nice work at Marvel, but it is Stan & Jack’s house. Treat their stuff with respect.

Ooh! Ooh! Do the Peter David/Erik Larsen Savage Dragon/”Hulk with a fin” moment! I wanna watch the Internet explode!

Way to go, John Byrne! If only all the poor writing and editorial stupidity in comics could be repaired as smoothly and cleverly as this! Applause for the great John Byrne. (Though one has to wonder what the Doom-bot’s armor is made out of, if a lousy match is able to scratch it–!)

Thanks, Brian. Although I’d read both comics, I missed the connection.

Great moment. One of the best issues from Byrne’s amazing run on the FF!

I wouldn’t call this a dick move, it’s a nice explanation for an out of characterization moment in another title.
He could have been a lot harsher if he wanted.

Was the topic of writers writing to comment on other writers prompted by Burgas recent discussion of Avengers Annual #10? Because that’s probably the most famous example of it, in my opinion.

Sorry, “Burgas” should read “Burgas’s.” I hit enter before I reread it.


December 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm

I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve been told that after an absence on the book, Howard Chaykin returned to his creation American Flagg!, and wrote off the stories he didn’t write in a single caption.

“Robot 37, you smell of fish. Were you battling Namor?”
“No, Master. I was preparing and serving winkles. I looked them up on Wikipedia and informed the dinner guests of my research.”
“Doom never cites Wikipedia.”

I bought that Fantastic Four when it first came out, and I still have it. I’ve always loved it. Until this year, though, I never knew Byrne was re-writing Claremont’s story. I always just assumed the Doom in the X-Men story (which I’ve never read) was always a robot. But since I started looking at this site earlier this year, and a couple of other comic-book web sites here and there, I’ve seen a lot of references to this scene, most of them taking Claremont’s side and criticising Byrne for thinking he had some sort of monopoly on Doom, or something.
It does seem that most of the comments here, though, are supporting Byrne.

I don’t know. I think Byrne does seem kind of petty here. Doom has often held back and ignored affronts, and then punished those involved at a later time.

Part of me wants to say that whoever’s writing the Fantastic Four writer should get, if not a monopoly, then at least a right of first refusal on Doom. Same goes for Avengers with Kang or Ultron, the X-Men with Magneto or the Sentinels, and Spider-Man with Dr. Octopus or Venom.

Looking at the scene, I get the impression that the Doombot was vaporized mostly for a poor choice of words. If it had said something like “I judged it conceivable that you might find him useful later,” it’d still be wandering Castle Doom, doing whatever Doombots do in their spare time. Probably wondering why Superman robots don’t clank nearly as loudly as they do.

And chalk me up as one who can’t wait for Larson vs. David.

Bryne was sending the message to chris that if one is to use a character as interesting as doom one needs to at least keep the characters core for the real doom would have blasted Arcade for striking the match on the armour so much for the doom bots being like doom.not to mention Doom would not ever use the services of Arcade. for doom would think him not worthy

I always kind of sided with Claremont on this one. Looking at it now, I can see a bit of a case for Byrne, but at the time I read the X-men comic it never seemed that Arcade was showing Doom up, more that Doom just couldn’t care less. In the previous issue Doom defeats four X-men with ease, so it never felt like Claremont wasn’t giving Doom respect. Plus there was some interesting characterization, particularly an attraction to Storm, that seemed plausible, and it bugged me that all that interior monologue was now just a Doombot thinking it was Doom.

Then again, I don’t think I noticed Doom struck a match off the armor until I read the FF issue and realized what happened. Based on Byrne’s characterization of Doom, yeah, Arcade probably would have been killed a second later.

By the way, I don’t think was writing FF at the time this X-men issue was published (this retcon was many years later) so Claremont meant nothing against Byrne personally. But if Byrne was defending Doom’s honor on behalf of Stan and Jack, I guess that’s hardly a bad thing.

Great new feature, by the way. For future installments I’d be interested in reading about Garth Ennis poking fun at the Sandman franchise (and Neil Gaiman himself?) in the Cassidy one-shot from his Preacher days…

Nifty new category for posts. Kudos to Brian and Danjack.

I’m not certain which issue of FF Byrne began writing, but I know he was writing the series within a few months of this X-Men story. So maybe he had begun already, but just barely.

Oh, this is going to be an interesting series.

I’ll have to side with Claremont here. I can’t see how Arcade is ‘chumping’ Doom. Maybe Arcade thinks he is, but to me it just looks like Arcade isn’t worth responding to. Byrne’s Doom seems to be trying to hard. “Doom needs no-one.” Gee, where’s your side-fringe there Doom. In Claremont, Doom is an iceman. In Byrne, Doom is a drama queen. I mean, who exactly is showing disrespect here?

I remember reading it at the time and thinking it was fun in a meta way…but within a couple of years it had become a nightmare, with writers undoing stories of previous creators Just Because. It was one of the hallmarks of crap comics in the 90’s “Everything you knew is WRONG!”

Lockjaw isn’t a dog, he’s an Inhuman! No, wait, it was a practical joke on the Thing! Wanda didn’t REALLY have kids because she’s always been a villain and isn’t the Vision having emotions a flaw in his programming…and so on and so on…

Cory– Yeah, I hate it when writers try to undo everything like that. When John Byrne wrote West Coast Avengers it seems all he did was try to erase everything Englehart had ever written. That really upset me. Englehart didn’t change any of Byrne’s ideas when he wrote Fantastic Four.

Which brings up the subject of Englehart’s Fantastic Four. Are you planning to have his ‘John Harkness’ stories on here?

Was this the first example of a doombot being used to retcon away something a writer didn’t like or just the most famous?

That X-Men storyline was the first one I ever read, so this topic always brings back memories. One of those isn’t Arcade striking a match on Doom. Totally forgot that. In his/Claremont’s defense, he may have been a bit distracted by the whole sudden hurricane thing. You know, to take a side in a decades old pissing match.

Didn’t Claremont return the “favor” after Byrne had Reed save Galactus, so in the pages of X-Men Lilandra told Reed he’d be responsible for any inhabited planet destroyed by Galactus?

As for returning creators disavowing events by other authors I remember Mike Grell in the ’96 Warlord mini having Tara refer to “her death” from (I think) Fleischer’s run on the regular series, as just a story.

Now this looks like a cool new blog feature. I can’t wait to see what’s coming up.

Ah, yes. FF #258. Now that’s a hell of a comic book.

“Didn’t Claremont return the “favor” after Byrne had Reed save Galactus, so in the pages of X-Men Lilandra told Reed he’d be responsible for any inhabited planet destroyed by Galactus?”

Pretty much. The Trial of Reed Richards storyline came from that, so it wasn’t a total loss.

That was the final “act” on the Claremont/Byrne (possible?) feud, as far as I know. They have even worked together on JLA after that.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Much as I like Byrne, and his run on FF, I still think it was a dick move on his part – I was a bigger X-fan than FF-fan when I read first read the story, and my interpretation was that the X-men could be taken down by a mere “non-combat” Doombot while the real Doom would not even bother soiling his hands with a bunch of silly mutants.
However, since I also thought the quality of the stories in X-men fell significantly after Byrne left the title, I can’t help but think that Claremont deserved the rebuke…

The “dick” moment, if there is one, isn’t over Arcade striking the match on Doom. The dick moment is Doom implying that going up against the X-Men is a menial task best delegated to a robot.

But I don’t really think it’s all that dickish. I think it’s nerd-jousting at its finest. Kinda cute in a way.

Love the new feature!

Any chance of some Dave Sim Roach material? Or would that just be parody/satire? I thought there were some jibes at Dark Knight Returns, Captain America and Sandman…

And of course the wonderful moment in the first phonebook with Red Sophia…



Bernard the Poet

December 23, 2009 at 5:15 am

Do we know for a fact that it was Chris Claremont who wrote the scene of Arcade striking a match on Dr Doom? The dialogue makes no reference to the match-striking, couldn’t it have been put in unilaterally by Dave Cockrum? If I understand the ‘Marvel Method’ correctly, writers don’t decide the layout of the page or designate what goes into every panel, they just give the artist the plot and when the completed pages are returned, they then write the dialogue.

The way Chris Claremont’s X-Men fluctuated in quality with each new artist had led me to assume that he gave his artists considerable responsibility.

Brian, can we have the ‘Trial of Reed Richards’ re-match tomorrow please?

I didn’t mind Doom ignoring Arcade because personally I like to think Doom’s so A-list that he’s one of the rare villains that can rein in his pride and temper when it suits the situation (although I’m assuming he and Arcade are actually collaborating or at least conversing as equals and not just taking shelter from the storm in the same place or something – I don’t really know the context there). Considering Doom’s never just snapped the Human Torch’s neck any of the times he’s had him captive, you gotta think the guy doesn’t kill people just for being irritating (also, it’s Arcade – the guy’s a psycho; you either kill him on sight or resign yourself to having to tolerate some shennanigans. Anything else is like teaming up with the Joker and expecting him to act like an adult).

Although I’m also the sort of person who just assumes any time you see Doom that it’s a Doombot (that may have been the first time one writer used a Doombot to retcon another’s story, but it wasn’t the first time someone used the concept of Doombots standing in for Doom, was it?) just like Nick Fury and LMDs.

Personally, I’m much more concerned about Arcade’s dialogue repeatedly spelling “your” as “yore” … is that some kind of attempt to phonetically represent a Midwestern accent or something? Is it just so we don’t think he’s pronouncing it “yer” like the Thing does? Is he supposed to sound like Kermit the Frog?

Great new feature – more please! Especially more Claremont/Byrne, and the David/Larsen. I love this behind-the-scenes stuff.

Did Simonson pitch in with Doombot or am I just confusing a previous Legends Revealed?


I like this new feature, but hate the awkward title. There has to be a more elegant word than “metamessage”.

Maybe “meta-bitchiness”?

I’m looking forward to this, too. I’m already picturing Tony Stark and Peter Parker staring out at the reader with smug “There, are you happy NOW?” expressions after giving a convoluted explanation for why Mary Jane’s arm isn’t in a cast.

I’m on Byrne’s side on this one – I remember that when I first saw Arcade lighting that match on Doom’s armor, it seemed really odd to me that Doom would let that disrespect slide.

So when I later saw that scene with Doom blowing up the Doombot who had let it slide, it was awesome to confirm that I wasn’t the only one who disagreed with Doom’s characterization in the X-Men’s book. I was all “Damn right, the real Doom WOULDN’T let Arcade survive that stunt!” :D

Cool new feature, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.

I was going to mention the bit about Alan Davis and Clan Destine but I see it’s already been mentioned. :)

I have this comic, and it was among my favorite X-Men stories of the time. Though I admit even back then, it felt a little “off” – why would Doom hire someone like Arcade to capture the X-men? And yes, why let him get away with striking a match on his armor? But perhaps biggest of all (and I don’t think anyone here has mentioned it yet:) Doom failed to realize that Storm was the cause of the hurricane simply because he had “petrified” her?? (Though it WAS awesome to see Storm go all Dark Phoenix on him afterwards.) I just chalked it up to the character being handled by a different writer.

Btw, interesting new feature, Brian. It is kind of sad, but necessary, to remind ourselves from time to time that writers are just human and can be petty at times, and sometimes it affects the stories. As for future topics, I’d like to know of Byrne’s writing on Star Brand was really a big TAKE THAT to Jim Shooter.

In Spider-Man, Eric Larsen has Doc Ock pummel the meged Hulk into unconsciousness. In Hulk a few months later, Hulk destroys Doc Ock with a single finger-flick, calling his last fight a robbery — really just “petty larsenry.” One of David’ est puns, even if it was a bit of a d*ck move.

I don’t think it really matters who was “right” in terms of Doom’s characterization. It’s not that hard to ignore some else’s story and just write the character you want to write. It’s not like Doom lost a leg to Arcade or suffered some other major change that would seriously impede future writers doing whatever they wanted with the character. To go out of your way to nullify a story that has no effect on your run is a dick move, but then, the Byrne/Claremont fued was like watching two infantalized celebrities get publicly divorced. And it really set the stage for a series of F you, oh, yeah, F YOU style fueds that demonstrates that many comics pros are only professionals in the sense of being pretty good at their skill set, and screaming nerd rage on the internet is not unique to the fanbase.

Great idea for a feature! I think one good subject for a future installment would be Zatanna #1 in Morrison’s Seven Soldiers. In it Morrison has Zatanna & co take a trip through “realms of magic” that looks very similar to the trip Promethea & co take in Moore’s Promethea, except that Morrison writes the trip in less pompous, more playful manner than Moore. And then, in the end of the issue, Misty says to Zatanna: “I love the way you write about magic. It’s so, like, down-to-earth and non-preachy.” Which could be read as Morrison saying that the way Moore writes about magic in Promethea is preachy and prententious.

Whatever happened to that boy, Christopher? He was annoying as hell!

I’m probably most familiar with the Gerber/Shooter/Mantlo/Moench thing; I have an old copy of The Comics Journal with a write-up about the situation, if you’re interested I can scan it and shoot it over to you, Brian.

I think it’s sort of silly to frame the situation as Byrne defending the integrity of ‘Stan & Jack’s’ creation; Doom got the short end (Or was ‘chumped’, as the kids are apparently putting it these days) all the damn time in the Lee and Kirby run, and Byrne was more than happy to tweak the story of Doom’s disfigurement. In Byrne’s defense, his characterization of Doom has become the definitive version, but I’m still uncomfortable with someone who didn’t create the character unilaterally going out of his way to dismiss or diminish the efforts of another work-for-hiree.

if its an universe story or incident how is it meta-commentary?

Does not Compute

In this instance, Doom would not go off the rails and attack Arcade. For Doom knows his pitiful “messing around” with the match is beneath him. A jester acting the jester role.

Cool new idea for a feature! I think after viewing “both sides,” the X-Men appearance was perhaps a bit unbecoming for Doom, but Byrne’s retaliation seems pretty extreme. I call it a draw! I tend not to get too hung up on stuff like who’s “right” in stuff like this, anyway. I just think it’s fun to examine how malleable continuity really is. Remember when Xavier was *not* holding a sentient, adaptable alien computer intelligence in slavery to train his students? Hurm.

Although, to totally get hung up on the wrong thing about this, what is that Doombot’s armor made out of that a single match strike would cause noticeable damage? Tinfoil? Or is Doom’s eyesight just that amazing?

Personally, I’m much more concerned about Arcade’s dialogue repeatedly spelling “your” as “yore” … is that some kind of attempt to phonetically represent a Midwestern accent or something? Is it just so we don’t think he’s pronouncing it “yer” like the Thing does? Is he supposed to sound like Kermit the Frog?

Claremont did this kind of “eye dialect” all the time to show that characters had an accent. It was especially egregious with his Irish and Scottish characters, but he laid it on pretty thick as a rule.

Justin Zyduck Wonders: Although, to totally get hung up on the wrong thing about this, what is that Doombot’s armor made out of that a single match strike would cause noticeable damage? Tinfoil? Or is Doom’s eyesight just that amazing?

It’s ego, all ego. What is Doom’s favorite thing? Doom. He knows every inch of his glorious, armored body. Any small scratch or defect, any of it, will stand out to him as an enormous flaw, because Doom is perfect and anything less is garbage.

I think it’s sort of silly to frame the situation as Byrne defending the integrity of ‘Stan & Jack’s’ creation; Doom got the short end (Or was ‘chumped’, as the kids are apparently putting it these days) all the damn time in the Lee and Kirby run,

Yes…by other Lee/Kirby creations! Or by even older characters like Sub-Mariner. Not by a loser like Arcade. Seriously, look at him. The hair, the bowtie. LOOK AT HIM.

Lee and Kirby never had him get chumped by someone who looked like that.

As much as I love Joe Kelly’s JLA run, I’d love to see Kyle Baker calling him out on Batman’s treatment of Plastic Man’s son in his hilarious Plastic Man run. That was just good fun.

T: So if Solar Man or the CatFisher chumped Doom, that would be ok?

Wait, I’m confused…robots (or Doombots) have thought bubbles? And refer to themselves in the first person?

Hey Brian! What service you offer! This is really cool and nice of you to do. It looks like others respond to this kind of thing, based on the amount of comments.

@ Rebis.
Thanks for the kind words. Its really just me suggesting something that i think is a cool aspect of having fans also be creators. They read others’ stuff and make comments on them, sometimes subtlety and sometimes not so much. After all, writers are just like us, only they write & stuff.

Perhaps the title should be changed to: “writers writing to comment on other writers”, as Rob M said. That has such a great ring to it! ;-]

Thanks again Brian!

I haven’t read it myself, but I’ve been told that after an absence on the book, Howard Chaykin returned to his creation American Flagg!, and wrote off the stories he didn’t write in a single caption.

Kinda-sorta. When Chaykin returned, there was a scene where Flagg’s story-so-far was being re-capped on a TV screen.

The stories from the non-Chaykin issues got fast-forwarded through.

i always thought that the reason Byrne decided this wasn’t the real Doom was because that Doombot had developed a crush on Storm when they had kidnapped her.

You could have a whole bunch of Larsen ones – there’s the Doc Ock/Hulk thing that’s already been mentioned, also an appearance by a PAD-esque fat slob during a dinner date between Dragon and Rapture.

There’s the Nixed Men, comprised initially of characters analogous of characters abandoned by their creator Johnny Redbeard (nice!), who initially appeared as a normal looking hero type but eventually (d)evolved into a MODOK-style, all-head kinda deal.

You have the attack on Gaiman’s Sandman during the height of the legal battle over Medieval Spawn.

An early issue has a gigantic, grotesque spider-freak trapping children in the sewers, with strongly hinted swipes at Marvel as a corporation.

T: So if Solar Man or the CatFisher chumped Doom, that would be ok?

Isn’t Solarman an even newer and arguably lamer character than Arcade? Why would I find that scenario any better than Arcade chumping Doom? And who is Catfisher?

T: Solarman was written by Stan Lee. However, he did not create the character.

-“Wait, I’m confused…robots (or Doombots) have thought bubbles? And refer to themselves in the first person?’

Actually, that’s correct- Doombots are programmed to BELIEVE themselves to be Doom unless they’re on his presence (or another Doombot’s). Though I suspect that was a retcon to explain that inconsistency.

Brian, I like this column idea a lot, but agree it needs a new name. Attaching “meta” to something seems like a bit trendy and snooty way to say inside jokes. So why not just call it “Inside Messages” or “Inside Jokes”? This would be a lot more direct and accessible title for the overall audience of this site. Cheers.

Brian, I like this column idea a lot, but agree it needs a new name. Attaching “meta” to something seems like a bit trendy and snooty way to say inside jokes.

That sounds more like your projection on the meaning of the term than the term itself. These sort of things are pretty much the precise definition of “metafiction,” so I don’t see how using the appropriate terminology shoulld be seen as “trendy and snooty.”

Even by the 80’s, who really used those blue tip matches on a regular basis? They seem to show up more in fiction than in real life. They’re main reason for existence seems to be for one character to show disrespect to another.

Great new idea…. There was another case of someone changing a Doom story almost immediately after. Tom DeFalco wrote a bonus story at the end of FF#358 that wipes out what Walt Simonson did in FF #350. He has the whole scene retconned into the character called the Editor creating it as part of Doom’s biased personal history achives.

And Claremont must have realized that Byrne was right in FF#258. The next time the X-Men visit Murderworld, Ms Locke is using the Doombot as part of a birthday present to her boss. BTW, I wonder if Arcade ever officially bought Doom’s old residence in update NY. After the Liddleville incident, I thought it was abandoned. IIRC, Byrne even mentioned on his old MB that he and Claremont are cool about it. It could very well have been more Cockrum than Claremont doing the scene with the Arcade striking the match. It was a cheapshot, maybe because Cockrum’s wife is such a nutty Magneto fan…she even has a helmet! :-)

In the whole Byrne-Claremont back-and-forth of the 80s, I find it hard to side with either party.
On the one hand, sure Doom would never tolerate that, and that Arcade scene is just cringe-worthy; on the other, “punishing” a robot seems like a silly, empty gesture, and too explicitly Byrne just blatantly chastising Claremont in public.

I’ve always regarded Byrne as the writer with the best handle on Dr. Doom. I read both the X-Men and Fantastic Four as they hit the stands, and I didn’t know there was any in-fighting (real or perceived) between Byrne and Claremont. But as I read it (FF #258), it made total sense and reaffirmed in my mind how Doom’s character should always be written. Plus, in the issue he was giving a tour to his ward Kristoff. It was an eye-opening life lesson for the little orphan, literally. The two issues that followed serve to cement the quintessential Doom (IMO).

I envision Doom as being so above the minor trivialities of street-level entities that the concept of “teaming up” with Arcade is beneath the character. I see Doom having relations with the likes of Loki, Dormammu and Morgan le Fey, not just as contemporaries on a power scale, but as possible masters of dark arts (from whom Doom would likely gather knowledge to increase his power).

I liked how the writers-in-charge used this same Doombot conceit in the Acts of Vengeance. That made total sense to me as well… as I can’t wrap my mind around how Doom would be sitting in a boardroom elbow to elbow with Kingpin.

When I see Doom hanging out in a meeting room in a Manhattan skyscraper’s basement, taking marching orders from Norman Osborn, it makes me cringe.

Speaking of FF#258-#260 and Byrne’s Doom, was there an in-house squabble between Byrne and Shooter re: Secret Wars? I know Byrne spent at least two issues of the FF not only bringing back Doom’s vaporized body BUT explaining how Doom was present in Secret Wars despite being previously vaporized. Don’t know if it was a squabble or not; maybe it was just up to Byrne to explain the plothole.

Unparalleled is spelled incorrectly. Doom does not speak so.

At first, I also thought Arcade’s “yore” was a terrible, terrible typo.

I couldn’t agree more with Byrne’s meta-message. Claremont screwed up in that scene.

I have to wonder if it was Claremont that was the one that “screwed up” . Although part of Byrne’s gripe was that Arcade was such a low rent villain for Doom to be associated with, the match striking incident is probably what set him off the most. But could it have been the late Dave Cockrum taking a little liberty there by adding that detail the panel. It’s hard to say if Claremont scripted that part and his later depictions of Doom are pretty spot on, as in FF vs X-Men or even his later run on the FF itself. I just am throwing Cockrum in the mix because his wife Patty is such a big Magneto fan she even posted a picture of herself wearing a helmet and I recall her posting some digs at Doom on message boards years ago. It was probably some good natured ribbing.

Maybe Brian should add a new entry to this…. The Englehart Luke Cage Story with Doom and Dwayne McDuffie’s reply in Damage Control.

Someone mentioned Byrne, Star Brand, and Jim Shooter. A topic for a future column could be Byrne’s final word on the subject, found it the Legends mini-series from DC that Byrne drew. Actually, IIRC, John Ostrander wrote it so maybe it was his last word. Anyway…..


I don’t see it as a dick move at all. It made perfect sense for Clairemont to write the story he wrote and leave readers asking “WTF is happening here?! Why is Doom putting up with this?!”

The answer is revealed somewhere else in the MU, namely in the title where Doom originated and spends most of his time. The fact that Doom has a legion of robot doubles is well established and it Doom’s fanbase would have made the logical leap on their own and just waited for the proof.

Don’t read too much into this, and if Byrne really was pissed about it, then I think he needs to rethink his position.

Odd thing about the Arcade/Doom X-Men story is this: Why didn’t Wolverine sense it was a Doombot? Sometime in the story, in #147, if I recall, Doom has Storm in a protective stance in front of him as a
thrall, orders her to intercept Wolverine, and Logan runs right up and guts Storm, which turns out to
be a robot. Doom says, “Fascinating. And I thought I was ruthless.” Wolverine then explains he goes
by more than visual, but be feel, scent, stance, etc.; his senses told him in a second it wasn’t Storm,
but a robot. And yet those wondrous Wolverine senses couldn’t sense the Doombot the same way?
I go with apparently not, because I come down on Byrne’s side on this one myself.

DOOM has no scent!

So speaks [but not smells] DOOM!

Doom is awesome. “Doom needs no one.”

This probably wouldn’t come across as being so spiteful if the creators involved hadn’t had such a big falling-out. But they did, so it does. I’d like to say I’d be too mature to do something like that in a similar situation, but I probably wouldn’t be.

Man with No Face

October 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm

@ Steve:

This was addressed, I think, in a lettercol at the time. Someone said something like, “since this is the first time Wolverine encountered Doom, he had no way of knowing what Doom was supposed to smell like. For all Logan knew, maybe Doom always smells like electronics and machine oil.”

The Byrne scene is cute, but I hate the idea that I read a three-part story in UXM (that I really enjoyed as a kid) involving a fake Doom. This is one situation I can compartmentalize; when I read the X-Men story, it’s Doom, and when I read the FF story, it’s a robot.

One of the best scenes ever!

So childish of Byrne to have done this whether that scene CC wrote was good or not. It’s not like Arcade touched Doom’s body parts!

I didn’t have major problem with Claremont’s letting Arcade touch “Doom’s Person.”
After all, Doom probably viewed Arcade as a Court Jester. And those clowns were only ones who could get away with teasing the King.
Both sides seem valid to me. At least Byrne got a classic scene out of it.

“I’m Doctor Doom! I’m such a cool guy that I throw a little emo tantrum and destroy my own toys in a hissy fit! I really taught a lesson to the mechanical AI that I invented myself! Soooooo badass!”

“The dick moment is Doom implying that going up against the X-Men is a menial task best delegated to a robot.”
In his defense, IIRC, the real Doom at that point in time was trapped in a six-inch robot body and was still futzing around with the Micronauts. Anyway, count me as one of those who thinks Byrne was being a petty dick (as usual). It was he who established that all Doombots are programmed to have Doom’s personality and to actually believe that they are Doom when not in his presence. The Doombot from the X-Men issue only allowed Arcade to live as a favor to Storm, who he was attracted to as Doom himself would have had he been there in person. Its actions in that story were perfectly consistent with Doom’s for most of the character’s history — while he didn’t hesitate to kill those who disrespected him, he was perfectly capable of being magnanimous to those who appealed to his sense of nobility, as Storm did in that issue.

If you think the Byrne story reflects well on Doom, consider this: Doom decided that one of his own robots that was programmed to think like him did something he disapproved of. So rather than take it apart or simply wipe its programming, he made its head explode. It would have made just as much sense if he’d opened up a trap door beneath the robot and dropped it into a shark tank.

Doom’s appearance in the X-Men SUCKED! So instead of Doom being kind of wimpy or afraid of Wolverine, Doom nixed that robot.

Bryne’s retcon was just overturned in the pages of Loki.

I am utterly astonished that anybody is taking Byrne’s side here.

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