Marvel continues to change part of Doctor Doom’s costume

Today we take a look at how many times Marvel has tried to get Doctor Doom out of his tunic and each time he ends up in his classic costume with the tunic on.

In Drawing Crazy Patterns, I highlight at least five scenes / moments in comic book stories that fit into a specific theme (basically, things that happen frequently in comics). Note that these lists are not exhaustive in nature. They are a list of five examples (sometimes I’ll be nice and throw in a sixth). No instance is therefore “missing” if it is not listed. This is just not one of the five examples I have chosen.

Jack Kirby’s iconic design for Doctor Doom is this brilliant mix of classic and modern, as Doctor Doom has that regal look, with a tunic, but he also has futuristic armor and weapons.

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Reader CP Bananas, however, wrote to me to point out that it seems Marvel is always trying to move away from the classic Doom look in re-designs, and they always involve getting rid of that tunic. But then the costume always comes back to the classic look. So I thought we would look at five examples of this.

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The first example happened not because of Marvel, but because of a toy company. Marvel had an agreement with Mattel to make action figures based on the Marvel comic book characters and the Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars The mini-series was designed to integrate with new toys. One of the few requests from the toy company was for the Doctor Doom costume to be updated for a more futuristic look (I wrote about changing an old Follow the Path, outside influences impacting on comic book stories).

In Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars # 10 (by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and John Beatty), Doctor Doom decided to absorb the power of Beyonder, the cosmic being who had brought a group of Marvel heroes and villains to a mysterious planet to be fight for his fun. Doom has created a new costume to help absorb the power of the Beyonder, which you can see in action here, as Doom successfully absorbs his formidable abilities …

Doom later loses the powers. Due to weird continuity issues (about which I wrote in a former Can’t Cross Over, about how crossovers sometimes get in the way of comic book storylines), we didn’t see Doom in action again until what The Fantastic Four # 300 (by Roger Stern, John Buscema and Sal Buscema) and Doom was back in his old costume.


During his run on the Fantastic Four, Walter Simonson had the ‘real’ comeback of Doctor Doom, while also introducing the idea that it’s unclear which Doctor Doom we’ve seen since. The Fantastic Four # 40 was actually the REAL Doctor Doom or not. There was a rumor at the time that Simonson had actually detailed which appearances he thought were fake and which were really Doom (a rumor I repeated in the early days of Comics Should Be Good). It wasn’t, but debunking that legend was actually the origin of Comic Book Legends Revealed, so, well, thank you Walter!

Simonson’s redesign of Doom in The Fantastic Four # 350 was without a tunic, or at least some other kind of tunic …

However, by The Fantastic Four # 361 (by Tom DeFalco, Paul Ryan and Danny Bulanadi), Doom was back in his classic costume.


Then it was DeFalco, Ryan, and Bulanadi’s turn to give Doom some new armor. In The Fantastic Four # 375, Doom came up with a new armor designed to house the absorbed power of a rogue observer. It was too much for Doom’s normal armor, so he had to build a new one just for that purpose and it had awesome spikes and all …

Doom was back in his classic look by The Fantastic Four # 381 (by DeFalco, Ryan and Bulanadi), at which point Doom and Reed Richards were apparently killed in an explosion (the latter was found alive more than two years later).

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One of Doom’s most notable costume changes came in the prologue to the epic Fantastic Four storyline, “Unthinkable,” in The Fantastic Four # 67 (the series renumbered in 1998) by Mark Waid, Mike Wieringo, Karl Kesel and Paul Mounts). In the story, Doom decides that the way for him to ultimately take down the Fantastic Four is to fully embrace the dark magic side of his origins and so he searches for Valeria, his one true love. He makes her accept that she will consider pursuing a romance with him again. In fact, in order for him to now choose witchcraft over science, he had to sacrifice something close to his heart, namely Valeria. Once she admitted that she still loved him, a spell was cast and her skin was transformed into new twisted leather armor …

At the end of this story arc, Reed left Doom trapped in Hell. Doom escaped and possessed Invisible Woman and the Thing before The Thing sacrificed himself to permanently “trap” Doom, but Doom obviously escaped and returned in The Fantastic Four # 536 (they reverted to the original numbering) by J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Mckone, Andy Lanning and Paul Mounts. He was back to his original armor, his tunic and everything.


Finally, after the events of 2015 Secret wars miniseries, where Doom took the power from Molecule Man and rewrote reality to save the world after Earths from different multiverses collided (but Doom conceded power to Reed Richards, who put the world back to normal), a face healed for the first time in years.

He struck up a strange friendship, of sorts, with Tony Stark and when Stark was apparently killed during Civil War II, Doom decided to become the new Iron Man, as seen in the series, the Infamous Iron Man (by Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev and Matt Hollingsworth) …

This series merged with another Iron Man series (featuring RiRi Williams, Tony Stark’s other successor) when Tony Stark returned and by the end of it all, Doom was no longer using armor. In the first issue of the Fantastic Four series (after his comeback after Secret Wars), Doom returned to Latveria to take him back once more and he kissed his famous mask once again.

In The Fantastic Four # 5 (by Dan Slott, Aaron Kuder, Marte Gracia and Erick Arciniega) we see Doom is back to his classic look, his tunic and all.

Lesson? You just can’t keep a good tunic.

Thanks for the suggestion, CP Bananas!

Okay, if anyone else has a suggestion for a future Drawing Crazy Patterns, email me at [email protected]!

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