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Survey Results -Doctor Doom's World

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Last week we looked at our respondents' views on Doctor Doom himself, and now it's time to have a look at the world he actually lives in. For any transmedia character this is at least as important as their personal characteristics - for instance, for Sherlock Holmes, the presence of Watson is as important to us accepting the main character as any other aspect. Today's analysis will look at this in particular, along with the items that accompany Doom.

Other characters: Please enter any other characters who regularly appear in Doctor Doom's stories - his supporting cast.
Character Mentions
Fantastic Four 191
Doombots 58
Sub-Mariner 53
Kristoff/son 49
Boris 37
Doctor Strange 35
Iron Man 32
Valeria Richards 28
Mother (Cynthia) 27
Reed Richards 27
Spider-Man 26
Mephisto 25
Latverian citizens 23
Silver surfer 21
Franklin Richards 20
Avengers 20
Squirrel Girl 19
Valeria (true love) 16
Galactus 10
Black Panther 8
Marvel Universe in general 7
Kang The Conqueror 7
Scarlet Witch 7
various lackeys/servants 6
Father 5
Morgana Le Fay 5
Luke Cage 5
Sue Richards 5
X-Men 4
Victorious 4
Captain America 4
Hauptmann 4
Magneto 4
Thor 3
Red Skull 3
Peasants 3
Klaw 3
Layla Miller 2
Zorba 2
Hulk 2
Agatha Harkness 2
Beyonder 2
Loki 2

One of the issues that arose here was that respondents had difficulty in remembering some of the characters' names, especially for Boris. They usually described the character well enough to be clear who they meant, using terms such as "faithful manservant". A similar problem was working out which of the two characters called Valeria was being referred to. Usually respondents would make this clear themselves, by prefacing it with terms such as "his lost love..." if they meant Doom's childhood sweetheart, or giving the full name "Valeria Richards" if they meant his goddaughter. However, on other occasions the identity had to be discerned through context, so that if the respondent included "Valeria" directly after members of the Fantastic Four I assumed they meant Valeria Richards, while mentioning the name alongside Boris or Doom's mother would lead me to assume they meant the childhood friend.

Also of note here is that Doom's relationship with Valeria Richards is one of the few aspects of his character (apart from his encounters with Squirrel Girl of course)that first appeared after 1987. Indeed, most aspects were defined within the character's first few years of existence and were little changed afterwards.

Another coding issue arose around the group description "Fantastic Four". Whilst some respondents would enter the name of the group as a whole, others would list all four names. In both cases I coded their answer as "The Fantastic Four", as this allowed me to reflect the fact that lot of respondents gave answers like "Reed Richards and The Fantastic Four", clearly prioritising the latter. While there were also many occasions where respondents would only name Reed Richards, the only other member of this team to also be highlighted in this way was Sue Storm/Richards, and much less often.

It was also interesting to see how many respondents mentioned Kristoff, a character who I assumed had only appeared in a few John Byrne stories but, according to The Marvel Database, has made over 70 appearances in the Marvel Universe.

Objects: Please enter any objects that regularly appear in Doctor Doom's stories.
Object Mentions
Doombots/Robots 107
Armour 62
Time machine 57
Machinery/KirbyTech 41
Castle 37
Mask 35
Throne 29
cloak and/or hood 25
Goblets 17
Weaponry (high tech) 16
Mad Science Device (new to this story) 13
Magical artifacts 11
cosmic cube 9
Gun 9
infinity stones/gauntlet 8
laboratory equipment 8
Books 7
Gauntlets 6
Dining tables/chairs 6
Traps 5
McGuffin - the evil device Doom seeks 4
Plane 2
Crown and sceptre 2
Viewing screens 2
Bombs 2
Lasers 2

This category had the most overlap with other categories, with the top item "Doombots" also cropping up in answers to the "Appearance" (5 responses), "Physical actions" (26), and "Other characters" (58) questions. Several other items here - "armour", "mask", "cloak and/or hood" etc. - are also part of his "Appearance", whilst "Castle" is also a location. Clearly these are all core components of Doom, however they are categorised, but for the purposes of my own analysis later they would need to be placed in one category only. This will be done based on the number of respondents mentioning them in each category, so that Doombots would be included in the "Other Characters" category because that is where they received the most mentions.

Apart from these the top answer was Doom's time machine and then machinery in general. Machinery is coded as "Machinery/Kirby Tech" because the latter term was frequently used to describe Doom's devices . The code "Mad Science Device (new to this story)" however is a different signifier, referring to the stream of new inventions that often form the starting point for Doom's adventures, which were referred to in this manner by respondents.

Also of interest was the fact that only two people mentioned "viewing screens". During my research I have noticed that these appear again and again, across all media versions of Doctor Doom, and yet they do not seem to have left an impression on respondents. One explanation for this could be that they were answering questions in the twenty first century, where viewing screens are so common as not to be notable, whereas the stories themselves were written and consumed in a time when they were still the stuff of science fiction.

As ever, these results show how useful it was to conduct the survey, rather than simply doing it by myself. We'll have more of this next time, when we look at the rest of Doctor Doom's world!

posted 18/8/2020 by Mark Hibbett

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DOOMBOT FILTER: an animal that says 'oink' (3)

(e.g. for an animal that says 'cluck' type 'hen')

A process blog about Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett