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Blog Archive: August 2020

Survey Results - Overall Analysis
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 MJ Hibbett
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    Survey Results - Creators And Marketing
    Today we reach the final part of the main survey analysis, looking mostly at aspects of Doom as a character created and sold by people and commercial entities in the "real world", as opposed to the fictional aspects covered previously.

    Creators: Please enter the names of any people or organisations that you associate with the creation of Doctor Doom's stories. Please note that this can refer to anybody who worked on any story, not just the original creators of the character.

    This question is looking for the names of those who actually create Doom's stories. As might be expected, there were a huge number of different responses with were 59 creators mentioned by two or more respondents and a further 54 unique responses. For brevity's sake I have only included those with 4 or more mentions here.
    Creator Mentions
    Stan Lee 192
    Jack Kirby 188
    John Byrne 85
    Jonathan Hickman 42
    Marvel Comics 28
    Mark Waid 25
    John Buscema 24
    Walt Simonson 21
    Jim Shooter 21
    Mike Weiringo 17
    Ryan North 16
    Roy Thomas 15
    Mike Mignola 15
    Joe Sinnott 15
    Chris Claremont 14
    Roger Stern 11
    Steve Ditko 10
    Ed Brubaker 9
    Mike Zeck 9
    Brian Michael Bendis 9
    Wally Wood 9
    Josh Trank 7
    Erica Henderson 7
    Warren Ellis 7
    Steve Englehart 6
    Mark Millar 6
    Gene Colan 6
    George Perez 6
    John Romita (Sr) 6
    Tom deFalco 6
    Bob Layton 6
    Esad Ribic 5
    Marv Wolfman 5
    Roger Corman 5
    Tim Story 5
    Julian McMahon 4
    David Michelinie 4
    Rich Buckler 4

    The first thing to notice about this category is that although the question said "this can refer to anybody who worked on any story, not just the original creators of the character", the vast majority of respondents still identified Doom's creators, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, as people they associated with the character.

    After that we see the names of the creators usually named as responsible for the most "important" or fan-favourite runs on the "Fantastic Four" series i.e. John Byrne, Jonathan Hickman, Mark Waid and Mike Weiringo, and Walt Simonson . Interestingly, "Marvel Comics" is also included in this category. As we will see, this would be a better fit for the next section "Market Authors", but it is interesting to see how many people think of the brand as an actual creator of Doom's stories.

    As seen for other categories, the bias inherent in the selection of respondents is clear, not just the usual one towards the "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" series (with both series creators, Ryan North and Erica Henderson, included in the responses), but in the fact that almost all of the names mentioned come from comics. The first non-comics creator is Josh Trank, Director of "Fantastic 4", with Roger Corman (director of the unreleased 1994 Fantastic Four movie), and Tim Story and Julian McMahon (the director and the actor who played Doom in the 2005 "Fantastic Four" and 2007 "Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer" movies) also appearing.

    Marketing: Please enter the names of any people or organisations that you associate with the marketing of Doctor Doom's stories. This could include names that you have already entered in the previous question, but does not have to.

    In contrast, this question is looking for the names that are used to sell the stories - as will be seen, there is quite a lot of crossover with answers to the previous section.

    Creator Mentions
    Marvel Comics 111
    Marvel 84
    Stan Lee 68
    20th Century Fox 28
    Fox studios 26
    Jack Kirby 25
    Disney 12
    Sony Pictures 7
    Jim Shooter 7
    John Byrne 7
    ToyBiz 5
    Mattel 4
    MF Doom 4
    Hanna-Barbera 4
    Jonathan Hickman 4
    Roy Thomas 3
    Fantastic Four 3
    Secret Wars 3
    Capcom 3
    Universal 2
    Mark Waid 2
    Roger Corman 2
    Don't know 2
    OTHER 53

    Unsurprisingly, "Marvel Comics" and "Marvel" were mentioned most here, along with the different movie studios that have produced Doom's appearances. Similarly, the creators named are broadly in line with the top answers from the previous category, as these are the ones whose names are often used in conjunction with collected editions. Also, most Marvel comics from the mid-1970s to late 1980s are headed with "Stan Lee Presents..." so it is expected that his name should be quite high in the list.

    The only surprise for me was the appearance of "MF Doom" here, an artist I was completely unaware of until starting this PhD, although given the amount of times people have mentioned him to me since I began, perhaps it shouldn't have been!
    Cover of Operation: Doomsday

    Other associations: Is there anything else that you associate with Doctor Doom that has not been covered in this survey so far?.

    This category was included so that respondents could mention anything else that had not been covered.

    Topic Mentions
    Behaviours and Actions already discussed 54
    Characters and object already discussed 20
    MF Doom 11
    Cartoons/movies (and comments on quality) 11
    Secret Wars 7
    Action figures/toys 5
    Doom 2099 3
    Darth Vader 3
    OTHER 39

    As can be seen above, most respondents did not feel they needed to answer this question, and many of those who did used it to mention other media they had seen Doom in. This is another argument for re-ordering the survey - if they had already listed the media they had seen Doom in then they would hopefully not feel the need to do so again.

    In fact, the only topics brought up by more than one person which were not covered in the main survey questions were MF Doom again, and Doom's relationship to Darth Vader. If nothing else, I feel that this shows how comprehensive the survey was!

    That ends our look at the individual survey responses - join us next time for the grand finale, when we look at the responses overall!

    posted 25/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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    Survey Results - Doctor Doom's World continued
    Today we're continuing with our look at the aspect of Doctor Doom's world that define him as a character, this time looking at locations and events. Let's go!

    Locations: Please enter any places that you associate with Doctor Doom stories.
    Location Mentions
    Latveria 210
    New York 88
    Baxter building 57
    Castle Doom 43
    Castle 37
    Hell 26
    Doomstadt 20
    Latverian embassy 19
    Space 18
    Battleworld 10
    Laboratory 10
    college (ESU) where he met Reed Richards 9
    Four Freedoms Plaza 7
    other dimensions/realms 6
    Throne room 6
    Atlantis 5
    Tibet 4
    United Nations Building 4
    Doom Island 4
    USA 3
    Upstate New York Castle 3
    Earth 3
    the Moon 3
    2099 universe/timeline 3
    Camelot 2
    Wakanda 2
    wherever the FF are 2
    Avengers Mansion 2
    Eastern Europe 2
    Other 33

    This was another category that was straightforward to code, with a very clear top answer. The only real issue was with the different Castles that Doom inhabits. Occasionally respondents would state that they were referring to Doom's original castle in New York, which appeared in his debut appearance, but others simply said "Castle Doom" (i.e. the one in Latveria) or just "Castle", so for clarity I coded each separately.

    There was another difference here between my own perceptions of Doom and that of the respondents. My reading (and viewing) has shown that the United Nations building occurs again and again in Doom's stories across different media - while analysing the survey I was watching the Spider-Man cartoon series from 1981, which features the UN building in almost every episode where Doom appears - yet only four people mentioned it. Unlike the viewing screens in the previous category, this is less easy to explain away with advances in technology, and may point to differences in the way that comics fans and creators view the core components of character. It may also suggest that the creators do some revision in advance of creating a new story, and pick up aspects of previous stories that readers tend to miss, like the re-use of certain locations.

    Previous events: Please enter any important events from the past that are referred to in Doctor Doom's stories.
    Event Mentions
    Scarring of face (in explosion) 150
    University 83
    Early meetings with Reed Richards 81
    Death of his mother 78
    Overthrowing ruler of Latveria 51
    Mother's damnation 49
    Mask place on face 33
    Time in Tibet/Himalayas 32
    Attempts to save mother from hell/Mephisto 30
    Gypsy life/Childhood in Latveria 30
    Armour being built 28
    Finds mother's spells/learns magic 23
    Ongoing rivalry with Reed Richards 22
    Father's death 20
    Steals Silver Surfer's power/board 16
    Steals Beyonder's Power 16
    Various confrontations with FF 13
    Mother was a witch 8
    Remade the universe/Became a God 8
    Time Machine/Blackbeard's treasure adventure 8
    FF Origin 7
    Loses his true love/wife 6
    Birth of Valeria 6
    Secret Wars 6
    shooting Baxter Building into space 6
    Tries to take over the world 5
    Doom as part of FF Origin 5
    Beaten by Squirrel Girl 4
    Father was a doctor 3
    Camelot 3
    expulsion from school 3
    Adopted Kristoff 3
    Marrying Scarlet Witch (almost) 2
    Murdered Valeria for more magic 2
    Confrontations with Iron Man 2
    Stiffing Luke Cage for payment 2
    Hands crushed by Thing 2
    Became Iron Man 2
    Tried to date Sue 2
    On the run with father 2
    Other 72

    There seemed to be some confusion amongst respondents here. The question asked for "important events from the past that are referred to in Doctor Doom's stories", but what most people entered seems to have been the events that they themselves remembered. This is especially noticeable in the "Other" category, which largely consists of specific stories recalled by respondents, or indeed internet memes. Perhaps the question did not make this sufficiently clear, erring on the side of brevity rather than clarity.

    Other than that the responses here did tally with my own experience of reading Doom's stories, with aspects of his origin story rating most highly, along with the events regarding his mother's death and damnation. These are clearly core to Doom's character, and the fact that very few subsequent events are referred to points to the way Doom is often used as a "modular" or "portable" character who can be dropped into any storyline without need of much introduction or knowledge of anything except his origin.

    That concludes our look at Doom's world - next time we'll be covering the creators associated with the character before wrapping the whole thing up with an overall analysis of What We Have Learned!

    posted 20/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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    Survey Results -Doctor Doom's World
    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
    OTHER 37

    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
    OTHER 53

    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 MJ Hibbett
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    Survey Results - More About Doom
    Today we're continuing our look our survey respondents thought makes Doctor Doom Doctor Doom, this time in terms of behaviour and dialogue. Here's the questions asked, and what people said:

    Behaviours: Please enter general behaviours or personality traits that you associate with Doctor Doom.

    This category had a massive 83 different answers which were given by more than one respondent, with another 150 unique replies! For the sake of brevity, therefore, only the behaviours mentioned by 10 or more respondents are included here.

    Arrogant 88
    Megalomania 77
    Genius/High Intelligence 63
    Reed Richards obsession 60
    Egotistical/Narcissistic 54
    Scheming/Plotting/Devious 43
    Concern for his own country and people 33
    Vengeful 26
    Authoritarian/Tyrannical 25
    Mother Obsession 25
    Angry 25
    Sense of justice/honor/chivalry 24
    Condescending/haughty 22
    regal/imperious/aristocratic 22
    Vain 20
    proud/prideful 20
    Jealous 17
    Speaks in third person 15
    Commanding 14
    driven/self-motivated 13
    Evil 13
    Pompous/verbose 12
    Cruel 11
    self-aggrandising 11
    soft spot for Valeria Richards/other children 10
    Confident 10
    Boastful 10

    This was a huge response, but (luckily for me and my attempts to analyse it) this sort of complexity is not unique to this survey, and is in fact a longstanding problem for the psychological analysis of personality traits. This goes back to at least 1936 when Allport & Odbert initially identified 18,000 words to describe personalities in "Trait names: A psycholexical study". Since then many theories have been put forward about how to address this issue, with the most widely used currently being "The Big Five", a system for grouping together personality traits into five broad dimensions to describe human personality: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

    It's possible that I'll be able to use some aspects of this codification scheme when I move onto the next stage of this project, which will be using the responses to create a tool for analysing the comics themselves. However, it will not form the basis of the tool itself - certain specific aspects of Doom's personality, such as his obsessions with Reed Richards and his mother, need to be recorded as specific details, rather than in the more general terms of this psychological tool.

    For the moment, however, it is clear that Doom's characteristics are broadly centred around his arrogance, desire for power, and the twin obsessions mentioned above.

    Dialogue: Please enter things that Doctor Doom regularly says - his catchphrases.

    This question had far fewer different responses than Behaviours, in large part because lots of respondents difficult to think what Doom's dialogue might consist of - the phrase "Can't think of any specific (catch)phrases" or similar came up so often that it was included as a category of its own. Also, as can be seen below, there were several popular answers which referred to a general way of speaking rather than specific phrases.

    Speaks in Third Person 49
    Doom used in various self-aggrandising statements 42
    Richards! 36
    Fool(s) 34
    Can't think of any specific (catch)phrases 32
    I am Doom 31
    Accursed (Reed) Richards 21
    Kneel/Bow before Doom 18
    Confound these squirrels! 14
    Bah! 11
    Doctor Doom does/toots as he pleases 9
    You dare/how dare you? 9
    Says his own name a lot 6
    Mentions Latveria 4
    None shall/can/will... 4
    So swears/says Doom 4
    Curses/Curse/Damn you! 4
    Doom commands (it/you) 4
    Dolt 4
    Fear the wrath of DOOM! 3
    Silence! 3
    Cretin(s) 3
    Doom cares not! 3
    Formal language 2
    Doom's word... 2
    Tremble before Doom 2
    You will rue the day 2
    My people love me 2
    Witless fool 2
    Other 27

    The presence of "Confound these squirrels!" (and variations thereof) shows yet again the influence of Ryan North's followers on the survey!

    Doom in "The Coming Of Squirrel Girl" from Marvel Superheroes #8

    As I write this blog I'm just starting on the process of collecting Doom's dialogue from the actual texts, and I must say that this list is pretty accurate, especially "Bah!" which seems to come up in almost every example. He also speaks in the third person and says his own name a lot, and although so far he hasn't said "Doctor Doom does/toots as he pleases", the specific issue is that they internet meme comes from is in the sample!

    Next time we're moving on to look at Doom's world, where we'll see some more of the influence of Squirrel Girl, and a lot more chances for comic fans to prove how much they know!

    posted 13/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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    Survey Results - All About Doom
    This week we’re going to start digging through the answers given to the main body of my Doctor Doom survey, kicking off with some questions about Doctor Doom himself. This, and the other remaining sections, allowed respondents to enter as many answers as they liked in free text, and I mildly coded them so they could be counted up, as shown in the tables that follow.

    Appearance: Please enter as many aspects of Doctor Doom's appearance as you can think of.

    Aspect of appearance
    Green Cape 212
    Metal armour 187
    Metal Mask 186
    Green Hood 119
    Scarred face 85
    Green tunic/skirt 57
    Gauntlets 51
    Eyes visible 47
    Gold disk clasps 47
    Leather belt 32
    Rectangular/Grill in mouth 24
    Gun on hip 23
    Square eye holes 23
    Rivets 19
    Metal Boots/Jet boots 14
    Tall 12
    Red/brown hair 10
    D-shaped belt buckle 8
    Gritted teeth/Scowl 6
    Robotic looking 6
    Doombot nearby (or he is one) 5
    Discs on joints 5
    Blasters in hands 5
    Muscular 3
    Brown Eyes 3
    Triangular nose 3
    White 2
    Medieval 2
    Other 26

    The "Other" category featured a range of signifiers that were only mentioned by single respondents, most of which were ones that belonged in other categories, such as "over the top speech patterns" or "Wine goblet".

    The value of using a survey to find aspects of Doom's character, rather than simply deciding on my own, was demonstrated very clearly during the analysis of this category as there were several aspects of Doom's appearance that I would not have thought to include myself, but are entirely obvious when pointed out - this includes things like "Gauntlets", "Eyes visible" (often stated as "angry eyes visible") and "Rivets".

    Some aspects that seemed important to me, however, did not rate highly in the survey at all, such as the discs on his knee and elbow joints which were only mentioned five times. Other characteristics mentioned were perplexing, such as the "D-shaped belt buckle" mentioned by five respondents. I had never seen a "D" on Doom's belt in any media, within or without my sampling area, but when I mentioned this to a younger comics reader (my nephew Noah) he immediately knew what I meant and fetched an image of Doom from a character guide which featured a belt buckle stylised to look something like a "D".
    Image from Marvel Avengers: The Ultimate Character Guide

    Names and titles: Please enter ways that Doctor Doom is addressed, either by other characters, the narrator, or himself.

    Name or Title
    Doom 145
    Victor von Doom 132
    Dr/Doctor Doom 123
    Victor 85
    Ruler of Latveria 35
    Master 31
    Emperor/God Emperor Doom 27
    von Doom 23
    Lord Doom 19
    King of Latveria 17
    Doc Doom 16
    Vic 13
    Your highness 13
    Lord of Latveria 10
    Doomsie/Doomie/Doomsy 10
    Monarch of Latveria 9
    Majesty 8
    Excellency 6
    Doc 6
    Lord 6
    Doctor 6
    uncle doom 6
    Sire 6
    Infamous Iron Man 4
    Sorcerer Supreme 4
    Victor Van Damme 2
    Honey 2
    Invincible Man 2
    Leader of Latveria 2
    my liege 2
    Other 46

    As can be seen, there were a lot of variations on "Doctor Victor Von Doom", all of which were recorded separately as I was aware that a character addressing him as "von Doom" had very different connotations to another using "Victor". Similarly, the different titles relating to Latveria ("Ruler", "King", "Lord" etc.) were retained separately. Others, such as "Doomsie/Doomie/Doomsy" were compacted into one simply because they were different spellings on the way that he is often referred to by the Thing.

    What is abundantly clear from this category is that while other titles do exist, Doom is generally called either simply "Doom", various permutations of "Doctor Victor Von Doom" or some version of "Ruler of Latveria".

    Physical actions: Please enter specific physical actions that you associate with Doctor Doom.

    Physical Action
    Bolts of energy from hands 80
    Shakes or clenches fist/hand gestures 72
    Magic/Dark Arts 58
    Dramatic pose/Power pose 57
    Flies/hovers (often with jetpack) 45
    Builds/invents things 40
    Sits on Throne 36
    Manipulates machinery (buttons/levers) 35
    Doombot (uses or is one) 26
    Monologues 19
    Curses reed richards 17
    Makes a speech/Addresses crowd 16
    Strides (through crowds) 15
    Arms in the air (while speaking) 14
    Fighting/hand to hand combat 14
    Rules Latveria 12
    Rants/Shouts 12
    Cape flourish 10
    Broods (often on parapets) 10
    Gives Orders 10
    Arms crossed 10
    Combines science and sorcery 9
    Uses Weaponry/gadgets (in armour) 9
    Pointing 9
    Drinks Wine 9
    Experiments/works in lab 8
    Looms 8
    Time Travel 7
    Zaps things with electricity 7
    Fist hits table 7
    Laughs manically 7
    Kidnaps/traps people 6
    Gloats 6
    Howls with rage 6
    Shoots gun 5
    Glares 4
    Grimaces/Scowls 4
    Attempts to conquer the world 4
    Hands clasped behind back 4
    Backhanding/swatting enemies 3
    Speaks in third person 3
    looking at monitors/video screen 2
    Plays chess 2
    preside over sumptuous feast 2
    Removes mask 2
    Blows the seahorn 2
    Other 42

    A major problem with coding for this section was that many of the responses were not really physical activities at all. Answers such as "Magic" or "Dark Arts", "Combines science and sorcery", " Builds/invents things" and "Time Travel" refer to more general activities which would be better suited in the "Behaviours" category, while a lot of the unique answers in the "other" category referred to past events ("Putting on his mask and scarring his face forever", "being attacked by squirrels").

    Clearly there was an issue here with the description of what was meant by "Physical actions", and if this exercise was repeated there would need to be a reappraisal of how this question was phrased. Having said that, the benefits of undertaking this survey were once more made clear, as several responses arose which I would not have considered. These included "Bolts of energy from hands" or "Shakes or clenches fist/hand gestures". Conversely, aspects such as "looking at monitors/video screen", which to my mind is one of Doom's defining characteristics, was only mentioned by two people.

    More of this next time, when we look at what Doom says and the very complicated question of the way he acts!

    posted 11/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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    More Survey Results
    Today we're continuing our look at the results from my Doctor Doom survey. Last time we saw what kinds of media the respondents remembered seeing Doom in, and took a deeper look at the comics section. This time we're carrying on with a look at what movies, animated TV shows and video games they remembered.

    Movies: Which movies do you remember seeing that featured Doctor Doom?

    This question was only asked for people who had answered "Yes" or "Not sure" to the question asking if the remembered seeing Doom in any movies. The results were as follows:

    Movie Yes No Don't Know or Missing
    Fantastic Four (2005) 154 25 46
    Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007) 117 60 48
    Fantastic 4 (2015) 84 92 49
    The Fantastic Four (1994) 78 98 49
    Other 0 131 94

    Even the most widely known movie was known by only 154 of the respondents, which is less than the top four series in the comics section. This may be due to the bias towards comics fans in my recruitment, although it may also be because none of the films listed were particularly successful

    As one might expect, the most widely known film appearance by Doom was the film that did best commercially, and the least known was the Roger Corman version which has never been officially released. Much to my relief, nobody entered any answers in the "Other" section - I didn't think there have ever been any other Doom appearances in movies, and it looks like I was right!

    Animated TV shows: Which animated TV shows do you remember seeing that featured Doctor Doom?

    Similarly to the previous question, this one was As before, This question was only asked for people who had answered "Yes" or "Not sure" to the question about animated TV shows earlier. Results were as follows:

    Animated TV Show Yes No Don't Know or Missing
    Fantastic Four (1967) 85 77 63
    Fantastic Four: The Animated Series (1994) 83 79 63
    Spider-man And His Amazing Friends (1981) 79 82 64
    Spider-man: The Animated Series (1994) 64 98 63
    The New Fantastic Four (1978) 60 101 64
    Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (2006) 52 106 67
    Spider-man (1981) 50 111 64
    The Marvel Super Heroes (1966) 49 113 63
    The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (2010) 48 110 67
    The Super Hero Squad Show (2009) 39 120 66
    The Incredible Hulk (1996) 34 125 66
    Avengers Assemble (2013) 25 132 68
    Iron Man: Armored Adventures (2009) 22 136 67
    Ultimate Spider-man (2012) 21 137 67
    Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (2013) 11 145 69
    Other 3 125 97

    The main point of interest for this list is that it appears to favour the older TV shows. One explanation for this could be that TV shows like this are generally aimed at children, so older respondents would not necessarily be familiar with more recent shows.

    Video games: Which video games do you remember seeing or playing that featured Doctor Doom?

    Video game Yes No Don't Know or Missing
    Marvel vs Capcom (1995-2011) 77 34 114
    Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (2006-2019) 74 35 116
    Lego Marvel Super Heroes (2013) 45 66 114
    Marvel Heroes (2015-2016) 26 82 117
    The Amazing Spider-man and Captain America in Dr. Doom's Revenge! (1989) 23 86 116
    Spider-man: The Video Game (1991) 15 95 115
    Marvel Super Hero Squad (2009-2011) 14 96 115
    Other 13 79 133

    The "Other" answers included 18 different games, including 3 which were included in the list above and some which Doom definitely does not appear in. I was quite surprised that Lego Marvel Super Heroes was not higher in the list, as that was the one I was most aware of, but again there does not seem to be any particular trend in the dates for different games.


    So what have we learnt so far? If nothing else, these and the previous results demonstrate that the survey respondents had a broad knowledge of Doctor Doom in different media and different time periods. On average, each respondent was aware of Doom appearing in 3.89 out of the 8 different media types (median 4), with the overwhelming majority (77.78%) being aware of him in 3-6 media types. Similarly, on average respondents had some familiarity (score 3-5) with 3.72 out of the 6 eras, with a slight bias, as described previously, towards the period of this thesis.

    There were other biases, such as for comics or for Squirrel Girl, which came from the method of recruitment, and if I was to run such a survey again I would make a greater effort to engage with fans of other media, but I think it is fair to say that this group of respondents could be trusted to give an informed view of who Doctor Doom was generally thought to be.

    Next time we'll start having a look at what that view actually was!

    posted 6/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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    Doctor Doom Survey Results
    Back in April I used this blog to conduct an online survey, designed to try and discover what makes Doctor Doom Doctor Doom. It went much better than I expected (I was hoping for about 50 responses, but by the end of the survey period I had had 225 completed surveys returned) which is why it's taken so long to sort out the results, but for the next couple of weeks I'm finaly going to be sharing them with you here.

    I'm going to start with the analysis for section five of the survey, "Your Experience Of Doctor Doom". It makes sense to start here, rather than in the order the questions were actually asked, because this section gives a lot of insight into the background knowledge of those taking part, which in turn sheds light on some of the results themselves.

    For all answers, I'll give the question in bold and then go through the results, as follows:

    Media types: In which of the following media have you experienced Doctor Doom stories?

    Respondents were asked to answer "Yes", "No" or "Don't know" to this question to indicate which types of media types they had experienced Doctor Doom in.

    Media Type Yes No Don't Know Missing
    Comics 221 2 1 3
    Movies 185 30 7 5
    Animated TV shows 164 40 17 6
    Video games 108 92 19 8
    Newspaper strips 50 152 17 8
    Radio shows 6 209 4 8
    Action Figures/Toys 136 77 9 5
    Other 54 64 70 39

    If the respondent answered "Yes" to "Other" they were asked which other media they had seen featuring Doctor Doom. The answers were as follows:

    Other Media Types Mentions
    Costumes/Cosplay 11
    MF Doom/Hip Hop 9
    Trading Cards/Table top games 9
    Fan-Art/Fan-fiction 8
    Prose fiction/Text Books 7
    Memes 4
    Vinyl record/Audio story 4
    Collectibles 3
    Other 7

    By adding the top answers here to the main table the following graph was produced.

    Comics came out clearly on top, although movies and animated TV shows were not far behind. This was to be expected, as most of the respondents were recruited via comics-related groups, but I did not expect Action Figures/Toys to be such a popular response. As will be seen throughout this analysis, respondents regularly gave answers that I would not have considered important, or included at all, if the survey had not been run - a great justification for actually doing it!

    Comics: How familiar are you with comics from each of the following decades?

    The next questions were only asked for people who had answered "Yes" or "Not sure" to the question "Comics" at the start of the section. Results were as follows:

    Decade Scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means " Not familiar at all" and 5 means "Very familiar"
    1 2 3 4 5 Missing
    1960-1969 12 51 59 27 55 21
    1970-1979 19 53 62 25 44 22
    1980-1989 19 34 50 38 62 22
    1990-1999 19 45 65 36 38 22
    2000-2009 16 47 56 41 43 22
    2010 - present day 22 44 50 30 56 23

    By recoding scores 1 and 2 as "Not familiar", 3 as "Neither" and 4 and 5 as "Familiar" the following graph was produced. This shows that awareness of Doctor Doom's appearances was fairly evenly spread across time, with a slight bias towards the 1980s, which could be accounted for by his leading appearance in "Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars" during this period. This might also explain why so many people thought of Doom appearing as an action figure, as this was the commercial driving force behind the creation of the "Secret Wars" series.

    Comics series: Which comics series are you aware of Doctor Doom appearing in?

    This was only asked for people who answer 'Yes' or 'Not sure' to the previous question.

    Comics Series Yes No Don't Know or Missing
    Fantastic Four 203 2 20
    Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars 164 39 22
    The Avengers 164 40 21
    What If? 156 46 23
    The Amazing Spider-man 145 59 21
    Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 144 59 22
    Doom 2099 141 63 21
    The X-Men 129 75 21
    Infinity Gauntlet/Infinity War 127 76 22
    Secret Wars 127 76 22
    Secret Wars II 127 75 23
    Spidey Super Stories 101 102 22
    Infamous Iron Man 100 102 23
    Dark Reign 94 107 24
    Not Brand Echh 80 120 25
    Books Of Doom 74 127 24
    Super-Villain Team-Up 64 137 24
    Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil 50 152 23
    Other 80 95 50

    Predictably, "Fantastic Four" and "Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars" were the most popular answers here, although it was intriguing to find "What If?" appearing so high in the list. This is not a series that I personally would associate particularly with Doom, even though I know he did appear in it several times.

    One important thing to note here is how many people were aware of Doom's appearances in "Unbeatable Squirrel Girl". This is likely, in part at least, to be due to so many respondents finding out about the survey via Ryan North's retweet of the call for participation. As will be seen as the analysis continues, this would lead to some skewing of other results.

    If the respondent answered "Yes" to "Other" they were asked which other series they had seen featuring Doctor Doom. The top answers were as follows:

    Series Mentions
    Iron Man 13
    Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom: Triumph and Torment Graphic Novel 12
    Luke Cage Hero For Hire 12
    Doctor Doom (2019) 10
    Thor 9
    Daredevil 7
    Astonishing Tales 6
    Black Panther 5
    Dazzler 5
    Future Foundation 4
    invincible iron man 4
    X-Men/Fantastic Four 4

    It's notable here that so many people mentioned Doom's appearance in "Luke Cage: Hero For Hire", a series which he only appeared in for two issues but which did generate a popular internet meme.
    Widely quoted panel from Luke Cage, Hero For Hire #9

    There were also another 66 separate series mentioned for this question, all with three or less responses, demonstrating how widely Doom has travelled throughout the Marvel Universe.

    I think that's enough for today - hopefully it's been of some interest. Join us next time when we'll be looking at responses for movies, animated series and video games!

    posted 4/8/2020 by MJ Hibbett
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  • A process blog about Doctor Doom in The Marvel Age written by Mark Hibbett