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Survey Results - Overall Analysis

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At last it's here, the Grand Finale of the Survey Analysis!

I think it's fair to say, overall, that the survey worked really well, giving me lots of valuable information about what people thought made Doctor Doom the character he is, and providing lots of new ideas about how I move on to the next stage of my own analysis. However, there were to big issues that I think would need to be addressed if the process were repeated with other characters.

Firstly, my recruitment of respondents was obviously biased in favour of comics. This was especially clear from the way that Squirrel Girl and Ryan North were represented, due to Ryan North's (very helpful) retweeting of the recruitment request. For Doctor Doom, who appeared mostly in comics during this period, this should not pose too many difficulties, but for characters who appear more often in other media I would recommend taking the time to reach out to other fandoms. I would also suggest that, although it was great to have so many respondents, it is not actually necessary, and a smaller group taken from wider sources would give results that were at least as good, and possibly better. When entering the data, I found that 50 respondents was enough to get the vast majority of information I needed.

The second issue was with the design of the survey itself. As noted throughout these blogs, leaving the questions about which media respondents had experienced Doom in to the end of the survey meant that many tried to answer them elsewhere. I think that moving this section to the start of the survey would reassure respondents that these questions would be asked, and also give a clearer idea of which areas were being examined. There were also several questions where respondents were not always clear about what was required of them, and these should be rephrased. I'll be creating a revised version of the survey for my final thesis to address these issues, so if anyone's interested in using it do let me know!

Having said all that, the survey did elicit a wide range of responses which painted a rich, and surprisingly coherent, picture of who Doctor Doom is. The answers can be broadly characterised as follows:

  • He is an arrogant, megalomaniacal, egotistical genius who is obsessed with Reed Richards, the welfare of his country, and the fate of his dead mother. This is shown by his use of dramatic actions, often involving his hands, and penchant for striking dramatic poses, as well as the way he refers to himself in the third person, making self- aggrandising claims and using phrases such as "Fools!" "Bah!" and "Curse you!"

  • He is generally referred to in three ways - as Doctor Doom (or simply "Doom", usually by himself), variations of his full name Victor von Doom, or with honorifics referring to his status as the ruler of Latveria. He wears a mask and suit of armour with a green tunic over the top, a hooded cloak, attached with golden clasps, and a leather belt with a gun holster. His eyes are visible beneath the mask, and his face is scarred after an accident. This incident occurred while at University with Reed Richards, and is the most important even in his life, followed by the damnation of his mother.

  • Doom is most often associated with the Fantastic Four, especially Reed Richards, and the Doombots of his own creation. Other close associates include Namor the Sub-Mariner, his son Kristoff, and his manservant Boris, but he interacts with a wide variety of characters across the Marvel Universe.

  • He can mostly be found in Latveria, especially in his castle, or in New York locations such as the Baxter Building, his castle in the Adirondacks, or the Latverian Embassy.

  • He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with other notable creators being John Byrne, Jonathan Hickman, Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo, and Walt Simonson.

  • He is a Marvel comics character.

    This description would, I think, be agreed as true by anybody familiar with the character. However, not all aspects of it are true all the time - there are, for instance, versions of Doom in other media which do not include Reed Richards at all. Similarly, there are many aspects of his character that are apparent from a close reading of the corpus, such as his use of viewing screens and many visits to the United Nations, that are hardly mentioned. I'll be examining this further in my thesis!

    Talking of which, the next step for me will be to take the character components identified in this survey to form the basis of an empirical tool which can be used to analyse the texts themselves, and see whether Doom's actual characteristics as displayed in my sample of texts match the perception outlined above. I'll most likely be mentioning this later in the year when it's underway, but for now that's the end of the analysis. Next time we're back to the texts themselves, kicking off with a prologue to Doom's triumphant return to the pages of "The Fantastic Four"!

    posted 27/8/2020 by Mark Hibbett

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