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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Dr. Doom Tried to Force Himself on a Peasant Girl

Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature.

Today we take a look at what was probably the lowest point of Dr. Doom’s comic book career, the time that he tried to force himself on a peasant girl and then got his ass kicked by…the SHROUD?!?!

Right off the bat, it is worth noting that Steve Englehart, the writer of the issue in question, was not exactly a big “Doom is a noble villain” guy. Englehart had already written the immortal “Where’s my money, honey?” issue of Luke Cage where Doom stiffs Cage on a bill and Cage flies to Latveria for his $200 (you can read about that classic tale here). So bear that in mind when you hear about what happened in Super
Villain Team-Up #7.

After capturing Namor, Doom decides that he hasn’t been hard enough on the peasants of Latveria. They might think he’s gone soft, so he decides that the best way to make them fear him is by having sex with an attractive peasant girl…

Uncool, Doom, uncool! Luckily for Gretchen, the blind superhero the Shroud (who was introduced just two issues earlier) is here to help!

Doom and the Shroud face off and the Shroud handles Doom pretty easily, really…

Not a good day for Doom. Pick up a copy of the Essential Super Villain Team-Up to read this story and more, especially the bit after Doom falls to his seeming death where Shroud totally brags about killing Doom to Namor (the art, by the way, is by Herb Trimpe and Pablo Marcos).

66 Comments

Aroooooo!!

Whoa, the Shroud going toe-to-toe with Dr. Doom. I always pegged him as a street-level hero for some reason.

Wait…What?

The world needs more Shroud. Why has he never been an Avenger?

Namor’s response to hearing the Shroud’s boast: “There’s something fishy about your tale…”

Thank you, thank you.

I love how Shroud calls Doom a “ham.” Like how what really offends him isn’t that, y’know, he’s evil, but that he’s so melodramatic.

Wow, heh. I know it’s completely out of fashion, today, and everyone knows the anecdote about how it was applied to petty bickering between Byrne and Claremont, but…

When you consider stuff like this (and welching on Luke Cage’s bill, etc.), I think it’s a lot easier to respect where writers were coming from with the whole “that wasn’t the real Dr. Doom, it was a Doombot” concept all of those years.

“When you consider stuff like this (and welching on Luke Cage’s bill, etc.), I think it’s a lot easier to respect where writers were coming from with the whole “that wasn’t the real Dr. Doom, it was a Doombot” concept all of those years.”

I second that. It’s a fairly elegant solution to a lot of weird and out-of-character behavior.

It’s good to know that Latverian wolves have ‘wolfish’ blood …

That was one horny Doombot

Those darts shouldn’t be too hard to avoid by anyone, if there’s time to get a whole sentence out before they hit.

Doom was only going to take the girl to his room and feed her with infinite stories about that cursed Reed Richards and his stupid whereabouts. Previous girls didn’t survive the night, either because they died out of boredom or took their own lives, just so they won’t have to listen to any other word from the mouth of the drunken, whiny tyrant.

“That was one horny Doombot”

I do believe I’m gonna go and make a T-shirt out of that.

“The Shroud makes his own rules.”

I like that he’s citing this as a difference between himself and American diplomacy.

randypan the goatboy

March 9, 2012 at 7:53 am

I love the non stop dialog between Doom and the Shroud. I dont know about anybody else but I never have been able to monolog while trying to prevent a cluberin. I also love the clever way that shroud was trained to avoid the darts…by moving out of their way…awesome

I think with the right writer a buddy-team book starring The Shroud and Moon Knight in the vein of old buddy-team books like Power Man and Iron Fist and Captain America and the Falcon would be awesome.

@T But it wouldn’t be in the same vein – books such as these and Green Lantern/Green Arrow work because of an initial contrast between the characters – streetwise and mystical, streetwise and sci-fi or whatever. I think Shroud and Moon Knight have too many similarities, in MO at least, to get off the starting block.

This is one of those cases where it being a Doombot doesn’t really help, does it? I mean, even if it was, Victor programmed the thing. I guess it helps with the “losing to the shroud”, but a VVD that sends robots to rape the peasant girls is probably more troublesome than one that does it himself…

Wasn’t there a rumor floating around one time that Walt Simonson and Steve Englehart got into a fight about Doom? maybe not fist fighting fight but a pretty strong disagreement. I’m sure someone asked Tom Brevoort about it once somewhere?

Yeah, Uncle Walt did a good thing with FF#350.

I’m convinced that Brian really watches to see if I show up in these columns. :-)
SVTU was a mix of the wacky and the wonderful. This is definitely the former.

Villains and terrorists aren’t noble, so, yeah, just say no to DOOMBOTS. Dr Doom is simply scum and should be written so.

Wow, I never really liked Steve Englehart’s writing – always thought that he wrote the worst FF ever. But this line – this tradition is as old as Europe herself. It’s a strange predicament and I don’t love it.:)

Terence: Don’t you think that’s a bit broad? I mean, real-life moral beliefs aside, if EVERY villain in EVERY comic book is just a 2-dimensional, pure evil monster… that doesn’t exactly make for interesting stories.

Martin Gray, good point.

I think Shroud and Moon Knight have too many similarities, in MO at least, to get off the starting block.

Well, at least it would be better than, say, Cloak and the Shroud. Although as far as similar costumes go, I was always a little sad that Black Panther and the original White Tiger didn’t hang out together.

Pretty short term thinking of Englehart, trashing Doom just to make the Shroud look better. Magnesium bomb? Not like Doom has withstood the Human Torch’s Nova Blasts (All Capitalized!) or anything. I have to give credit to the subsequent writers who built Doom up to being an actually scary villain again.

Mark McDermott

March 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

So Latveria is somewhere between Germany and Austria? I’d always thought of it as a Balkan state.

oy, the all-viallain books just rarely worked. You have a series where all your lead characters are scum of the Earth, so you end up with a totally lame hero fighting them. Think of DC’s Secret Society of Super Villains, which brought back Captain Comet just to be their foil. Only suspense in either of these titles would come from waiting for one lead villain to betray the other.

Is Englehart’s dialog a fitting parody of Roy Thomas’ fight scene dialogues?

@TJCoolguy @Terence I’m with Terence, the habit of comics – especially in the X-Men books – to redefine villains as anti-heroes is annoying. Let the villains be villains and heroes be heroes. That doesn’t mean they can’t be multi-dimensional, but said facets n the villains’ case should lean towards the dark side.

Why wouldn’t Dr Doom ravage peasant lasses?* The only surprise is that he was so polite about the whole thing.

One of the silliest things ever in a Marvel comic was the likes of Magneto weeping over the 9/11 atrocities – hypocritical, to say the least.

* I’m not actually endorsing such behaviour!

Why wouldn’t Dr Doom ravage peasant lasses?

Because it doesn’t fit with his deeply delusional self-image that he is “fair, decent, and noble” in any area not involving killing Reed Richards. It also rather contradicts all those stories where he’s amusingly courtly with even mortal enemies who happen to be female.

Doom isn’t terribly useful as an analogue for a real-world dictator or terrorist; he’s more a cross between the noble villain and the modern autocrat, with the attitudes of the former and the methods of the latter. This is the wrong method for the character given those premises. (The robes and armor are a good tip about the metaphors that make the character up.) The Kingpin is another example of a generally all-evil villain wouldn’t work too well as a rapist either, for entirely different in-character reasons.

Insisting that Doom would rape someone because Saddam Hussein would is essentially demanding realism from a character who calls himself “Doctor Doom” and does things like steal cosmic surfboards and try to rescue his mother’s soul from a G-rated version of Hell. There are villains who can credibly be made rapists in the name of soi-disant “realism,” but Doom is a pretty lousy choice.

But let’s flip the question around. It’s quite possible for someone to be utterly evil in many respects and not be a rapist in real life, so why do some readers insist that this not be the case in comics?

In any case, if readers demand to see Doctor Doom rape someone in their comics, which strikes me as a strange sort of thing to want, I’d hope they would prefer a Doom who is smart enough to know that there is no historical evidence for a droit du seignur. He should at least know that the mythic version only applied to a woman’s wedding night. (Steve Engelhart screwed up the concept he was trying to employ, in other words.)

This would be the lesser-known “it’s good to be the king” rule.

Philip, Roger Stern apparently WAS considering making Shroud a West Coast Avenger (or at least a regular guest star) before he lost control of the WCA.

“Whoa, the Shroud going toe-to-toe with Dr. Doom. I always pegged him as a street-level hero for some reason”

That came later. The writer’s took inspiration from the Shadow to create the Shroud. Later, the Shroud emulated the Green Hornet, pretending to work as a thief himself.

“I’d hope they would prefer a Doom who is smart enough to know that there is no historical evidence for a droit du seignur.”

Hmm. I need to brush up on my Latverian history to say for sure whether there is historical evidence of that law in Latveria. Sadly my local library was lacking in any historical information on Latveria.

I’m sorry your local library isn’t as extensively stocked as ours. Dennis Schoolcraft’s extensive biography of the Baron de Sabbat is quite clear on the matter, and agrees with me.

I must say, though, it was a pain to clamber through all those hexagonal chambers until I found the right volume.

Henry Kissinger should be name-checked more often during superhero battles.

If I recall correctly, Kissinger actually played a part in this storyline, so it’s not as random as it might appear.

Kissinger appeared earlier in the issue (plus the previous issue). I actually spotlight Kissinger’s involvement in my new book!

Well, we know why the Doombot be so horny. On the page with the poison darts, see where it says that the armor is “fully functional, on all levels. ON ALL LEVELS!!!!”

But even before I scrolled down to T’s first comment, I saw the Shroud and wondered if he’d ever teamed up with Moon Knight. That would so rock.

Michael P, sdeco, and Tomer all had damn funny lines. Or even Doom funny lines.

I don’t buy that Doom would be the one to both walk his dogs and fetch the peasant girl himself. He’d get someone else to walk the dogs AND have the peasant girl brought to him.

Englehart had a weird fixation on certain real-world celebrities, who would invariably show up in his comics from time to time. Kissinger was one, Johnny Carson was another, and of course Nixon.

Weird as this storyline from SVTU was, and as silly as it made Doom look sometimes against Stainless Steve’s pet character Shroud, Doom returns to serious bad-assery in issue 12 where he whups the Red Skull’s ass all over the Moon in what is still one of my favorite single comics ever. That is the issue I show to friends, to explain to them why Doom ROCKS.

..and I love that the Shroud was apparently hiding in a tree just waiting for Doom to walk by!

Of course, the Doom vs. the Red Skull three-parter was by Bill Mantlo, not Engelhart.

I LOVED this issue way back when. I thought The Shroud was an obvious Batman substitute from when Batman could beat up Superman and God at the same time. Really, has Doom or any other villain ever won a fight no matter how much more powerful they are than the hero? Rape is about the abuse of power. Could you say no to Doom if you were a citizen of Latveria?

“I’m sorry your local library isn’t as extensively stocked as ours. Dennis Schoolcraft’s extensive biography of the Baron de Sabbat is quite clear on the matter, and agrees with me.”

It says that “droit du seignur” didn’t exist in Latverian history? My library is really bad. They didn’t even have Latveria on their globe, maps or atlas. Not a single book that even acknowledged Latveria, so I could see if that law existed in their history. Asked the librarian and she tried to tell me that it wasn’t even a real country. The Fool!

I just love this series. It was cool, but whacky.

But Doom going out for a quick root is WAY out of character. The fact that he was just going to push her against a tree and do the deed was also whackadoo. Wasn’t he even going to remove his armour? And even better, it looks like he leaning in to give her a kiss, while still wearing the metal faceplate.

“It also rather contradicts all those stories where he’s amusingly courtly with even mortal enemies who happen to be female.”
I’m guessing constantly being rejected by those mortal enemies despite his attempts at courting them is why he has to resort to forcing himself on the peasant lasses to finally get some action.

“a Doom who is smart enough to know that there is no historical evidence for a droit du seignur.”
Doom must be one of those old-school despots who won’t let the people he rules over access to things like books, knowledge, education or reading.

And it must be a VERY special Doombot if he takes off his armor to reveal FLESH real enough to make dogs attack him!

How many future Marvel writers are here coming up with a story where 1) There is a right of first night in Latveria 2) Doom creates Doombots that have fleshy exteriors specifically designed to draw dog attacks 3) Explaining how all of this was part of a brilliant plan laying the groundwork for him to DESTROY RICHARDS at some point in the (marvel time) near future.

this struck me as undoom like because he’s always ethier too noble or too evil to this. If he’s the Doom that he was though most of the 1970s he’s plainly no rapist. IF he’s the “HOLY CRAP this guy’s evil” Doom of Mark waid’s FF then he has a clone of Sue tied up in his castle that he rapes nightly while screaming “You see Richards? there is nothing you can have that I cannot take.

Willie Everstop

March 11, 2012 at 10:20 am

It’s a Doombot. The lack of nipples gives it away.

Alternatively the Noble Doom that we usually see could actually be the Doombot. The real Doom is the jerk .

“Kissinger appeared earlier in the issue (plus the previous issue). I actually spotlight Kissinger’s involvement in my new book!”

Kissinger was actually involved in your new book? How did you manage to connect with him? (I know what you meant, but couldn’t resist).

I’m definitely in the camp that prefers Dr. Doom as a noble villain, even though even Lee wasn’t always consistent there. His twisted sense of honour allows stories to be written about him that wouldn’t work for, say, Electro even if Electro suddenly got his own kingdom.

The discussion of a duo book made me think of someone who’d make for an interesting contrast: Frog-Man. Maybe have Shroud take him under his wing after Frog-Man accidentally screws up one of Shroud’s attempts at capturing someone. Not only do you have completely different temperaments (Frog-Man being earnest to a fault) but you also have different levels of skills. And yet there are some similarities so that it wouldn’t be a completely off matching, since both are equally driven at fighting crime, though for different reasons.

lovve how the shroud manage to wind up beating doom by making him bare his flesh knowing that wolves and hounds were hunting. also liked the shroud makes his own rules. though can not believe doom wanted to restore the fear of his subjects by making that young girl his latest sex conquest for surely she did not want to do that

I remember this series. As I recall, the Shroud and Submariner later joined up with the Crime Circus and Doom himself was rescued by Namorita after his fall off the cliff. Namorita was looking for Namor. This led to a confrontation with the Avengers, who had been defeated and enslaved by Tyrak, working for Attuma. Doom was much more impressive against the Avengers than in his battle with the Shroud. Indeed, Doom made mincemeat out of the Avengers, primarily by striking at them from behind his impenetrable force field. (Which he did not use in the Shroud battle, presumably because he was too cocky) He beat them, imprisoned them, then made a deal with the Vision to free them and go after Attuma. He stole a super-ray that Attuma was using to ramp up Tyrak. Along the way, Submariner came into the picture and was beaten by Wonderman. WM, the Beast and the Whizzer had come to save the Avengers and later helped to beat Tyrak. The Vision eventually destroyed the ray gun, ending another Avengers vs. Doom battle which the Avengers were losing. All of this was followed up by Captain America teaming up with Doom to battle the Red Skull. In recounting all of this, it makes Doom’s defeat by the Shroud that much harder to understand. Anyone, thanks for bringing back those memories.

Omar, if that was a Borges reference, then kudos to you sir.

As for Shroud teaming up with Moon Knight I recall they shared a few panels in an issue of West Coast Avengers back when Moonie was a member. I think issue 27 or 29; it was an issue at the tail end of a Zodiac storyline.

@Fisk
Re: this ‘tradition’ all over Europe is a real one. Before the french revolution, Local noblemen had a right called Droit de cuissage’ (in french, cuisse means thigh, so I don’t need to give you a more graphic explanation–look it up) over the wives and daughters of peasants in their fiefdom. I believe it went the same in Prussia (Germany and Austria today), in Italy and Spain as well. That sadly stopped when we started beheading nobles and resurfaced later in the U.S. under the name ‘sugardaddy’ ;)))

@JC, check out the link provided by Omar. The “Right of First Night,” as a widespread law or practice, has been debunked. Solid evidence of it as an actual law has yet to be found. It is likely a myth that was promulgated by people who had a keen interest in destroying the feudal system. The idea that it was widely practiced continues to spread because us modern folks find it all too easy to believe that people in the middle ages were completely backward and stupid. Any feudal lord who attempted to put this into law and actual practice would have had a peasant revolt on his hands.

Pretty sure that ‘Droit de Seigneur’ was just the name of one of Doom’s dogs. :)

@dorkenheimer
You are correct that it was never put officially into French Law, however the usage is well documented in french history, so much that it is mentioned in school books; that is where I learned about it ;)

@JC LEBOURDAIS: As dorkenheimer mentions, prima nocta was probably a rumor or accusation used against nobles, not an actual practice. Alas, many history books — particularly those used at the elementary and high school levels — accept easy-to-believe stories over well-researched and more complicated facts.

I guess Englehart was trying to pump up his new creation, the Shroud. It’s not like he’s never done that before. Remember the Mantis taking on the Avengers all by herself?

Heck, as detailed here a while ago, Englehart liked Mantis so much that he brought her into his JLA run!

http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2005/09/15/comic-book-urban-legends-revealed-16/

LOL This one is amused.

I remember Mantis appearing in the Silver Surfer series when Englehart wrote it, too, probalby brought back from nowhere by him.

Now if you want a bad mismatch, the idea Tyrak, Attuma’s ultimate warrior, could single-handedly take on and kick the Avengers’ butts was pretty wretched (Jim Shooter actually had Cap and Iron Man musing about how easily the Assemblers were getting beaten during his run on the title, but it never paid off–would that count as abandoned and forsaken?).
I really enjoyed the Shroud back then–the sheer insanity of him deciding to target Doom just to establish himself as a serious player was pretty winning. But yeah, rather improbable outcome.
Interesting to learn about droit de seigneur in real life, but not really something I can blame Englehart for not researching. Getting the rite wrong (as someone said up top, the legend was that it was on the wedding night) is sloppy, though of course it could always be Latverian custom was different.
I’m not so sure this is out of character for Doom though. He’s always shown a proprietary sense toward his own people (he’s king, they’re his to do with as he will)–the fact that he doesn’t assault super-heroines could be that he sees them as not his to play with, or that he’s much more worried about the consequences–much the same way a Southerner could be courtly to women of his own class, then go to the slave quarters and rape one of the slave women.

“Doom walks forever alone!” Album title or band name?

I can totally see Doom buying into the myth of droit de seigneur, even if (maybe especially if) he knows it’s a myth. It completely fits with his sense of entitlement, privilege, and superiority. I don’t think he’d follow through with anything sexual, but leading a child off into the night and not expecting a hint of resistance is exactly how I picture him spending his free time. After all, Doom is the model of sexless domination and overly intellectual manipulation that later gave us Hannibal Lector. If Shroud hadn’t shown up, he’d have had to figure out how to send the girl back to her village with a tale to demoralize them…WITHOUT actually demeaning himself in his own eyes. It’s a puzzle I expect he would have enjoyed tackling.

[…] is quite so low as this bit from Comic Book Resources […]

[…] by DeviantArtist PandaFace. Dr. Doom is a scumbag. Seriously, you gotta read these pages over at Comic Book Resources. They illustrate the rich tapestry that is Doom’s […]

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