A brief biography of Doctor Doom.
Based upon “The fantastic Origin of Dr. Doom” by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
He is a master of robotics, of physics and chemistry, of aerodynamics and micro-miniature electronics. Yet he dwells within the ancient stone walls of a Central European castle. He is absolute monarch of the tiny Balkan kingdom Latveria. Yet he shuns the self-indulgent pomp and pageantry of royalty, disdains the ritualized adoration of his subjects, preferring instead their unmitigated obedience, and an almost reclusive existence. He is a man of many passions- all concealed. He is one of the wealthiest men in the world, yet he permits himself no luxury, no comfort, except his solitude.
He is the living paradox named Victor Von Doom.
Sometimes in the early 1920’s, in the storybook kingdom of Latveria, a son was born to the gypsy family Von Doom. The father was a healer, a physician, inheritor of his own father’s knowledge of herbs , barks, berries, roots and the curative potions obtainable through their combination. The mother was notable primarily for the circumstances of her death: in a pit, with stones raining down on her head. Certain persons thought her to be a witch.
It was a difficult time to be a gypsy. Caught between two eras, they were hated and feared by the slowly fading adherents to the agrarian past, hated and scoffed at by the proponents of the industrial future, hated and persecuted- but respected- by the powers that were. That reluctant regard for gypsy prowess in certain areas, among them medicine, was the elder Von Doom’s undoing.
One day, when Victor was barely ten summers old, his father was summoned to the royal palace and ordered to save the life of the ailing queen.
“I shall try my utmost, o course, sire.” protested Von Doom, ” But I can offer no guarantee of success. Your own physicians have admitted their inability to effect a cure.”
“Then let me inform you, Von Doom.” replied the king, “That should you fail, I can offer no guarantee that you shall leave this place with your head.”
The queen died.
Von Doom fled for his life, eluding the royal guardsmen just long enough to make a quick stop at the gypsy encampment to pick up young Victor, reasoning soundly that the boy would surely be the king’s target if Von Doom made good his escape alone.
For months, through the passing of fall and into a bitter winter, Von Doom and son roamed the forests, always a step ahead of their pursuers. The elements, however, proved impossible to avoid, and one day the gypsy wagons found Von Doom and his son huddled together in a blanket, covered with snow, at the side of a road. The father was moribund.
Within hours, despite the ministrations of the gypsies, Von Doom was dead. His last words, voiced to Boris, an old friend and member of the tribe:
“My son… protect…!”
“No one need protect me, father!”
Victor wailed. “I shall be strong! I shall make them pay for what they did to you and to mother!”
But Boris knew the real meaning of Von Doom’s impassioned plea, Victor would need no protection, it was true. However, the world must somehow be safeguarded against the lifelong rage that would burn in the child’s soul.
When Von Doom had been buried, Boris presented young Victor with the few possessions his father had left behind. Among these was a curiously decorated trunk, marked with arcane astrological symbols, which Victor had never seen before. Inside it he found a strange collection of card, charms, fetishes, talismans- all the implements of sorcery. And he realized with grim satisfaction that the accusations made of his mother were joyfully wondrously true. He was the son of a physician and a witch.
Victor Von Doom threw all his energy into the study of both parents’ crafts. By the end of his eighteenth summer, the boy had established a reputation as an inventor, a magician, a philosopher, and a rogue. For his devices were created to victimize the wealthy and the powerful- like the salve that cured headaches, but induced baldness, like the “magic”violin which made any man a virtuoso until Victor, safely out of reach, flicked a switch and shut off its power source.
Indeed, word of Victor’s accomplishments spread so rapidly and so far that he was offered an opportunity to study at a major university in the United States. Anxious for the access this would provide o far more advanced laboratory facilities, Victor accepted.
But tragedy lay at the end of the journey. During an unauthorized experiment on university premises, Victor’s elaborate device for communication with the spirit world exploded, permanently disfiguring his face. He was summarily expelled.
By this time, World War II had erupted in Europe, so rather than returning to his birthplace, Victor set out for the Himalayas, determined to learn the mystical secrets of Tibetan lamas. He did indeed, by the time he was ready to depart, his teachers were calling him “master”.
It was in Tibet that Doom’s strange costume was forged, the cold grey armor, the emotionless iron mask which would forever hide his ravaged countenance from view.
And it was there he swore a vow that one day, all the world would acknowledge him as its sovereign. He has not abandoned that vow. Power remains his obsession to this day.
The world may not yet bow to his every command, but the very mention of his name sends shudders up the spines of men and nations.
And, hey- that’s a start.