Benito, I LOVE victor von doom. i have ever since i had his action figure when I was like 4. and yet....i've never read a doom story. Can you maybe do one of your world famous run downs on the most awesome and important runs in latverian history?
Well, Dr Doom, despite being possibly Marvel’s best antagonist is still just that: an antagonist. As a result, there are not a lot of Doom-starring vehicles, but he is featured as a villain in a lot of great stories, especially stories of the Fantastic Four, whom he hates more than anyone. Typically if you find a great Fantastic Four run, you’re going to find a good Doom story.
But to help you out, here are some starters. (Keep in mind, this is not intended to be exhaustive, but just a good starting place, focusing primarily on stuff that’s in print or inexpensive to obtain.)
Essential Fantastic Four vol 2 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. While I don’t usually recommend comics older than the mid-1980s to new comics readers, the fact is, Lee/Kirby FF is the best (with caveats) and most influential superhero comics run of all time. This volume contains two essential Doom stories: Doom’s origin in FF Annual #2, and FF 39-40, the Battle of the Baxter Building. Note that this collection of reprints is in black and white.
Essential Fantastic Four vol 3 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The cool thing about this book is, not only do you get the amazing tale of FF #57-60, “The Power and the Peril!” in which Doctor Doom steals Silver Surfer’s power cosmic, you also get Lee and Kirby at the height of their collaborative powers, with stories featuring the Inhumans, the coming of Galactus, the Silver Surfer, the Black Panther, and the first appearance of Adam Warlock. So, again, while these comics might read as a little dated to the modern eye, this specific volume collects the most fundamentally important run of Marvel comics ever. Again, this book is reprinted in black and white.
Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne vol 1 by John Byrne. John Byrne was one of the most prolific and influential creators of the 1980s. He worked on basically every book ever made during that decade, but the Fantastic Four is probably his most prominent contribution to Marvel (he was instrumental at revamping Superman for the 80s over at DC, but Doctor Doom doesn’t show up in those). While these stories are probably also going to feel a little dated, with captions packed with overwrought purple prose (and basically all of Byrne’s work is problematic in terms of gender politics, so be warned there), they are still beautifully drawn, exciting yarns. This volume collects the Doom tale “Terror in a Tiny Town.”
Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne vol 2 by John Byrne. Same caveats as the last volume, but the prose gets a little brisker as the series goes on. This volume collects FF #246-247, “This Land Is Mine!” in which Doom takes control back over Latveria after the events of the last volume. (This collection also has a really cool Galactus story, fwiw.)
Fantastic Four Visionaries: John Byrne vol 4 by John Byrne. If you get only one of these John Byrne volumes, make it this one, as it contains FF #258, possibly the best look at Doom’s psyche ever. That whole issue focuses on him and his kingdom. But this volume also has some other cool Doom moments as well, such as him fighting Terrax, the herald of Galactus.
Fantastic Four Visionaries: Walter Simonson vol 3 by Walter Simonson et al. If I’m being fair, you should get all of the FF Visionaries volumes by Walter Simonson, because they are amazing, and probably the most underrated run on FF ever. But you’re looking for Doom stories, so you want volume 3, which features FF #350 and 352, the amazing battle through time between Doom and Reed Richards. Just awesome storytelling that could literally only be done in comics. Good news! This volume also includes the hilarious New Fantastic Four story in which the team is briefly replaced by Spider-Man, Wolverine, Hulk, and Ghost Rider, with awesome art by Art Adams.
Fantastic Four by Waid and Wieringo Ultimate Collection Book 2 by Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo. Hey, uh, let’s all just agree to skip the rest of the 90s, okay? Cool. Anyway, Waid and Wieringo were responsible for reviving interest in Marvel’s First Family with their run. Feel free to pick up the rest, as it’s all pretty good, but this volume features the story Unthinkable, in which Doom does, well, the unthinkable.
Fantastic Four by Jonathan Hickman Omnibus vol 1 by Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham, et al. Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four is basically a towering achievement in long-form storytelling. He sets up stuff in his earliest issues that doesn’t pay off for years. As such, it would be irresponsible for me to recommend only one part of it. So even though Doom doesn’t play a HUGE role in this volume (though there is a solo Doom story collected here), he does come to play a big role later in things that are all set up in this volume. Second volume isn’t out yet, afaik.
Okay, now here’s some non-FF Doom stories:
Books of Doom by Ed Brubaker and Pablo Raimondi. I’m linking to this on Comixology because the book is out of print and selling for hell of dollars on Amazon. (I should point out that basically all of these issues should also be available on Comixology if you prefer digital to print.) Anyway, this mini-series is a modern retelling of Doom’s origin. Recommended.
Iron Man vs Doctor Doom: Doomquest by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and John Romita Jr. This book collects two different clashes between Iron Man (good guy in armor) and Doctor Doom (bad guy in armor). Also they go back in time to King Arthur days. Doom teams up with Morgan Le Fay. These are pretty good, if fairly 80s.
Secret Wars by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck. So here’s the thing: Secret Wars was a bullshit crossover designed to sell toys, no matter how fondly some grumpy old dudes might remember it through a veil of nostalgia. That said, the few issues of this 12-issue tale contain some of the coolest Doom moments ever, so if you’re looking for Doom, it’s worth it for that alone. (The story of Secret Wars isn’t BAD, per se. It’s just a bullshit crossover designed to sell toys.)
Dr Strange and Dr Doom: Triumph and Torment by Roger Stern and Mike Mignola. Doctor Doom and the Sorcerer Supreme team up to rescue Doom’s mother from Hell. I might not need to say more, but I will add that this is a story by one of the best superhero writers of the 1980s and the best comics artist currently alive, so my point is this one is worth getting.
Essential Luke Cage, Hero for Hire vol 1 by Roy Thomas, John Romita, et al. Has this panel: