Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Saved by Doom? A Speculation in Superheroics

In 1982, in his seminal series Marvelman, British writer Alan Moore offered a number of original insights on American superhero comics. And one of them was that government authorities, particularly the military, would regard superheroes as monsters.
And when you think about it, many superhero origins are ambivalent enough to create either a hero or a villain. Superman might have been an invader from outer space (an idea explored by Robert Kirkman). Batman might have been a tortured orphan turned super-criminal (an idea explored by Mark Millar).
And Dr. Doom might have been a hero.
Writer Don Glut explored that idea with artists Fred Kida and Dave Simons in What If? 22 (Aug. 1980). With the slightest shift in emphasis, Dr. Doom’s origin — that of a brilliant Gypsy boy whose blameless parents were killed by benighted bigots — could easily have been shown to turn him into a crusader against injustice.
Of course, not all What If? premises were quite so plausible. Take What If Jane Foster Had Found the Hammer of Thor? (issue 10, Aug, 1978), for example.
Could never happen.

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