Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
COMIC LEGEND: Doctor Doom’s mask appeared in a Marvel comic before Doctor Doom did!
Reader Frank W. wrote in to ask:
I am fascinated by comic book prototypes. Like how DC had a Supergirl show up in a Superman story before they introduced the real Supergirl. Things of that nature. Marvel had a bunch of them as well and I was hoping that you could write about them. Like before the Fantastic Four, there was a comic with a bad guy who had a mask exactly like Doctor Doom’s. Perhaps you could spotlight that?
Comic book prototypes ARE a cool thing, Frank, I agree, but I think that you’re falling for something that I think too many fans…if not “fall” for, at least misinterpret.
There certainly ARE real life examples of comic book prototypes, such as Frank’s example of DC featuring a Supergirl in 1958…
before debuting the REAL Supergirl in 1959…
However, it seems with Marvel Comics in particular that a lot of these prototypes are basically just examples of Marvel artists drawing similar characters. We’ve dealt with a few of these in past Comic Book Legends Revealed, like supposed prototypes for Uncle Ben and Aunt May and a prototype for the Thing.
The example that Frank writes about is very much in the same vein.
In Tales of Suspense #31, the bad guy had a very familiar looking mask…
Sure looks like Doctor Doom’s mask from Fantastic Four #5, right?
However, those comics came out THE SAME MONTH in 1962!!
Granted, it appears as though Kirby DID draw the Iron Mask comic first, looking at the production codes…
but we’re talking basically at the same exact time, so did he take the drawing he did on Monday and copy it on Wednesday? Possibly, but that’s a far cry from being a “prototype” and, again, the comics came out the SAME month, so it wasn’t like the Iron Mask creature was around on the scene before Doctor Doom. I think it’s just the case of Kirby drawing similar masks.
Thanks to Frank for the suggestion!
Check out the latest edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Does Nintendo really own the rights to a porn parody of Super Mario Brothers?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
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