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CSBG Archive

Five Goofiest Moments in the First Five Doctor Doom Stories in Astonishing Tales

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we’re looking at the first five issues of Astonishing Tales, specifically the Doctor Doom feature, written by Roy Thomas (#1-2) and Larry Leiber (#3-5) and penciled by Wally Wood (#1-4) and George Tuska (#5), with inks by Wood (#1-4) and Mike Esposito (#5).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).


The delightful point where goofy meets awesome…

That’s where you get stuff like Cadavus, monarch of the murder chair!!!


Oh, is THAT how it works?

So, in #1, Doom is working on this android based on his brain patterns (sort of like the Vision), but his work is interrupted and the android escapes. Doom’s rival, the Faceless One (who keeps trying to conquer Latveria), catches up to the Doomsman (as they began calling the creature) and tries to set him against Doom at the end of #2…

but in #3, we learn that if two people tell you to do contrary things, that breaks all your programming!

Sure, why not?

5. Yeah, Doom is just a dick.

In #1, with GORGEOUS Wally Wood art, we see Doctor Doom do nothing more than just being a dick to NASA…


4. Doom’s version of Bat-Shark Repellent…

So in #3, now that the Doomsman is free, things look bad for Doom and the Faceless One, but Doom loves to pull things out of thin air just when needed. In this instants, mind fusion!

I just love how non-chalant Doom is about it. “Duh, mind fusion.” Doom is sort of like Charlie Sheen.

3. “Ted, you take Havana!”

That quote is from Mystery Science Theater making fun of the movie, Red Zone Cuba, where a tiny team of soldiers tries to invade Cuba (in a twist on the actual Bay of Pigs fiasco).

In #4, we see a variation of that theme. The Red Skull meets back up with the Exiles, a group of old Nazi agents who served the Red Skull during the Silver Age (Ed Brubaker has brought a bunch of them back in recent years)…

The seven of them decide that they will, just the seven of them, invade Latveria…

And as absurd as that might sound, by the end of #4…


2. How can I stop him? How? Oh yeah. Never mind.

In #3, Doom is worried about the Doomsman. Doom can’t do mind fusion ALL of the time. He needs to get sleep eventually. So how does he destroy him!?!

Oh yeah, that’s right, I’ll just send him to another dimension…

How is that not part of Doom’s everyday tactics? Reed just walking down the street and WHAMMO another dimension.

1. Of course, it is so obvious, how could we not have seen it sooner!

In #5, there is a sentence I’d like you to finish.

“That rocket – it carries the one weapon I’ve no defense for…”

There are so many different answers that I personally could accept. I think I would even accept “true love.”

However, I don’t think you’d ever predict the actual answer…


I love that Doom can travel in outer space, but he can’t handle chemi-sleep gas.

I desperately need some writer to have someone stop Doom in a modern comic by using chemi-sleep gas. Maybe it could be on a test at Avengers Academy! “How do you stop Doctor Doom?” “Chemi-sleep gas.”


Seeing all this Doom goofiness makes me wonder if we’ll get to see the goofiest moments from a certain point in the Luke Cage, Hero for Hire series.

To be fair, that probably should be a 10 goofiest moments thing, since Luke Cage #9 can supply 5 goofy moments by itself.

Cadavus, Monarch of the Murder Chair, reminds me of a Johnny Ryan character – cant remember exact name, something typically tasteful like Rape Tank?? Great wee series BTW!!!

Cadavus doesn’t really belong here, does he? He was a Lee-Kirby creation from one of the early issues of Captain America, just after Cap got his own book.

Bah! You didn’t even include the scene on the French Riviera where Doom almost falls prey to a burglar breaking into his hotel room and is later asked to leave the casino. No wonder he’s cranky.

I can overlook all the early wackiness because the last issue contains one of the best Doom stories ever, Gerry Conway’s “Though Some Call it Magic”

Speaking of Doom’s French Riviera vacation, I recall one panel that made me snort out loud: Doom lying in bed trying to get some sleep, of course wearing his entire armor, hood and, I assume, cape.

Yeah, that panel of Doom sleeping fully armored in a fancy hotel room was pretty goofy.
The cover to the story was much better (early John Buscema?) in that he’s blasting the burglar, with the armor in hand, out the window. You wound think he would make use of those valet clothes stands or something. Of course, it might collapse under the weight of the armor.

Great choice for the #1 moment. It reminds me of a gag in Harold and Kumar, in which Harold shoots the bad guy in a dream sequence and the bad guy sputters “Urk! Bullets! My only weakness!” before falling over. Like you say, “chemi-sleep gas” could become the next “forty cakes” if one of the funnier writers can work it in.

boy I want to pick this up now – didn’t realise Wally Wood drew most of the run??

Yes, Wally Wood did the run up until issues 5 and 6, which was George Tuska. This was followed by Gene Colan/Frank Giaocia on 7 and Gene Colan/Tom Palmer on 8.

Since Gerry Conway and Gene Colan did 7 and 8 I wonder if they used an unused plot from Astonishing Tales for the Sub-Mariner/Doom team up in their Sub-Mariner 47-49. The last story in issue #8 says that the next story will be titled “Deathmasque”. Sub-Mariner #47′ titles the story as “Doomsmasque”.

Those are some incredible pages. Thanks for choosing them, I’ve never seen them before.

Dratted Anonymous name tag…..twas I on the post about artists working on the title and the possible connection with Sub-Mariner.

“Doom is sort of like Charlie Sheen.” Wouldn’t that make Kristoff sort of like Ashton Kutcher?

Did Doomsman ever come back or is that Grant Morrison’s next project?

Those are an awesome selection of goofy moments. But also impressive is the art on them. Great stuff!

The Red Skull wanting to take over Latveria is actually a pretty awesome story idea, and not too far from reality. It seems to happen all over the world all the time, some dictator-wannabe thinks he can do a better job than the current dictator.

My guess is Doom, being the recognized head of state, was able to enlist some superheroes to help him with get his country back. Doom becomes the victim!

And the Arrogance-per-square-mile factor with the Skull, Exiles and Doom in the same small country has to rival that of Washington, D.C.

Chemi-sleep gas sounds awesome. How do I score some?

“That rocket – it carries the one weapon I’ve no defense for… goofy writing!”


Man, goofiness aside, there’s some great artwork in those panels. Gonna have to look into this book.

If I ever get the chance, I’m totally bringing back the Faceless One. And putting him in a relationship with Ruby Thursday.

This rules. I’m with many of the other commenters, where is the prestige edition collection of this stuff? I would absolutely buy two; I’ve got my credit card here all ready to go Marvel-guys!

“Doctor Doom do nothing more than just being a dick to NASA” is beyond great. HALL OF FAME.

This is all collected in the Essential Super-Villain Team-Up collection. Wally Wood’s artwork still looks great in black and white. It’s a pretty fun collection, overall.

Okay. Color would be nice, but I guess I need that Essential. Thanks Jazzbo!

I don’t care how goofy they are, that’s some awesome Wally Wood art. I’m ordering a copy of Essential Super-Villain Team-Up ASAP.

Hugo Sleestak

May 14, 2011 at 7:16 pm

Some of my favorite titles from that brief era are the ones where Marvel went back to having two features to a book. I only have one of these Astonishing Tales books, and while it’s great having Wally Wood art in them, it’s obvious that he was using assistants to assemble the artwork. Lots of swipes from old EC comics and at least one Alex Raymond “Flash Gordon” swipe in the book that I have. The inking style looks like Wood’s, so I’m guessing that he probably inked the major figures and possibly redrew some panels so they’d have the Wood look about them.

By a weird coincidence, I bought #2 last week. It was the only issue of Astonishing I’d ever seen in the store. (And it seems to be the one without any goofy moments. The scene you showed was just to set up the moment from #3.) I was really surprised to learn that Prince Rudolfo and the Faceless One (whom I’d seen in the famous Luke Cage story) were fighting Doom that far back.

So was that actually Apollo 11, or did Buzz and Neil make a second trip I never heard about?

Wally should have done a bit more research there. Only the upper part of the Lunar Module is supposed to take off. The bottom part with the legs stayed on the Moon.

The Crazed Spruce

May 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Chemi-sleep gas? Gee, and here I thought Doom’s one weakness was a series of repeated blows on one specific point on his armor….

Aaaaand now I just bought the Essential Super-Villain Team-Up. I hope you’re happy. I really need to stop buying things.

I have to say, I always kind of love it when Dr. Doom goes up against someone like the Red Skull or Magneto — or Dracula, for that matter. Head-butting megalomaniacs always make me happy.

Yes, the Essentials SVTU is a great book with many goofy moments. Doom gets the FF to liberate Latveria with him, and then pretty much tells them to get off his lawn when he strikes a deal with Henry Kissenger! Doom is at one point almost taken out by, of course, The Shroud?!?

But Doom’s fight with the Red Skull on the moon is one of my favorite Doom stories ever. “Crawling, venomous Slime!!”

Oh yes, and I think Cadavus and the other Exiles were in the Cap comic on the Red Skull’s island when Cap was transformed by a cosmic cube to look like someone else and he meets Sam Wilson for the first time and inspires him to become a hero. And I think his bird Redwing might be from Exile Island too, I’m not sure.

Along with the B&W ESSENTIAL SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP, the first three issues of this are in THE MARVEL COMICS ART OF WALLY WOOD (1982). It’s a hardcover book, all in color, and also includes a few fantasy stories by Wood. You can find copies easily for under $20.

When these first came out, I loved the Wood artwork. The scene where they show The Big Reveal about the Faceless One really startled me at the time (which I won’t reveal, but it shows why he wouldn’t be a good match for Ruby Tuesday).

Yes, the SVTU Essential is lot of fun, if sometimes goofy fun.

@Ganky–Yes, that moon battle IS one of the best comics ever! This is the first time I’ve heard anyone else giving it props. A forgotten comic…

If I’m ever confined to a wheelchair, I’m taking that first panel showing the “murder chair” to the medical supply place as an example of the kind of model I’d prefer…
Also, somebody needs to do a story going into the whole deal behind the scarf-based (towel? sheet?) martial art practised by the Great Baldini there.

Ah, Baldini…master of the deadly art of Scarf-fu.

The Faceless One and Doomsman definitely need a comeback.

In these comics Doom is looking even more than usual like an S&M gimp, especially during MIND FUSION.

I have to wonder how the hunchback in the Murder Chair with the Guy Gardner haircut fits into Red Skull’s grand plan. I mean, obviously all his other Exiles are representing various Axis powers – is Cadavus there to ensure the support of the deformed and ugly? Coz I think Skull’s got that covered in spades all by himself.

I love that Lee has NASA spend a few million dollars worth of fuel to haul a palantir off the moon’s surface and deliver it to Nixon. Talk about coals to Newcastle.

I thought the one thing Doom had no defence against was squirrels.

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