Monday, April 14, 2008

John Byrne's Doctor Doom Redux

Lying in the Gutters points out John Byrne's own version of the infamous "Doom Whore" sequence in a recent issue of Mighty Avengers, complete with new dialog:

and the original:

Which one do you prefer?

(I have to say, Byrne drew a mighty fine Doctor Doom here.)


  1. God, like there's any contest.

    Byrne's Doom is arrogant, but you never doubt he can back up what he's saying.

    What Bendis has there is a Doom who sounds like he's an over-read 16 year old having a temper tantrum.

  2. Although Byrne's Doom is more menacing, it really looks to me like he is slouching. Also, you can't tell which Avenger, male or female, he's directly threatening.

    For whatever reason, Bagley went with the gratuitous backside shot to show who Doom was most displeased with.

    That being said, I go with Byrne's because he focused on the man saying the words, not the person the words were being spoken to. His Doom looks ready to pounce because he knows the impact his words will have. He didn't have to show the violence, only imply it.

  3. Hm. Perhaps writing Byrne's dialogue into a two-shot -- Doom trying to stare down a defiant Carol -- would have worked. Anyway, wanted to get your take on this post by Byrne:

    Thru-out much of my career I have complained about the tendency of some writers to do what I call "Hiya guys!" dialog -- that is, dialog in which everyone has the same "street level" candences, without consideration of who the character is, what their background is, what sort of speech education they might have had.
    Flip thru a lot of ^^***** books, and without looking at the pictures it's often hard to tell who is speaking. And while not looking at the pictures is, of course, immediately not using the comics properly, the reader should not have to look at the pictures to know that's Spider-Man speaking, and not Captain America.

    It's symptomatic of perhaps the single most important thing lacking in ^^***** comics today -- GRANDEUR.

  4. I mean-- I still liked the feeling of frustration conveyed in Bendis's take, I have to say that. The "thought bubble" thing made it seem reasonable.

  5. Byrne's Doom has the dialog down, but I'm not overly fond of that pose. His torso looks a little weirdly foreshortened.

    Art - about that quote from Byrne, I have to say that in a lot of respects he's right; way too many writers do use the same 'voice' for different characters. Not all, but many. I don't think it's exclusive to Marvel, though.

  6. As much as I love Bendis' work, I have to say he doesn't make his characters sound too different from each other.

    I LOVE the way Byrne's Doom talks, because it's aalmost exactly what Bendis' is saying, but regal. I had the same problem with House of M, because Bendis' Emma Frost didn't sound AT ALL like any previous version of Emma Frost (she doesn't need to sound British, like Morrison did, but Joss Whedon made her sound like a snob and still have an american "voice").

  7. Anonymous6:18 PM

    BMB's is over the top. Byrne's has the better monologue here. Bendis is notorious for the over-talk which works well in Ultimate Spider-Man but not in the Avengers. I do like the use of thought balloons though.

  8. i like Bendis's better, actually.

  9. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I'm fairly sure that Byrne just photoshopped in the dialog on an old commission piece to make his point. I'm sure he would have composed the shot differently were he trying to rework the original panel (which has fine art, just terrible dialog).

  10. I prefer mine:

    But Byrne's comes in a close second!

  11. I realize this may not be a popular sentiment, but I believe Bendis's dialogue is more effective. I believe that because it appears, in context, that the comments actually hurt Ms. Marvel's feelings. I think Doom used the whole "fat cow" and "whore" shtick because he knew it would get under Ms. Marvel's skin. I may be incorrect, but that is the way I viewed the comments when I first read them. I thought Doom chose insults that he thought would be effective, even though they sounded crass and beneath him. Just my 2 cents.

  12. Byrne's, hands down, for almost exactly the reasons Townie stated. And Byrne's quote that Art posted is what I've said about Bendis' "realistic" dialogue ever since he came off Daredevil. All the characters sound and speak the same; like a teenaged Brooklyn Jewish boy. And not even REAL Jewish, the stereotypical exaggerated Jewish you find in comedies.

    Oy, it's meshuge.

  13. Byrne makes sense, unless Brian's Doom is a Skrull.

    I just don't really dig someone posting one of those "This is how it's done" pictures for everyone to see. I think he could've been more helpful by just sending it to Bendis and not try to show him up online.

    Because I had some MAJOR issues with what Byrne did in Spider-Man Chapter One. To me, he was a disaster on every level. I don't think Bendis would've erased the dialogue from one of Byrne's pages and typed better dialogue.

    It just showed a huge lack of class to me. A shame.

  14. Ironically enought, before I read this post, I remembered reading a Jim Shooter interview where Shooter discussed the old Byrne-Chris Claremont feud where Claremont wrote a Dr.Doom story in X-Men and later, in Fantastic Four, Byrne went to great lengths to explain that the Doom in Claaremont's story was a robot. Then I looked at how Bendis wrote Doom and asked myself "Where the hell is John Byrne when we need him?" Well, I guess ol' John came through after all!

  15. I would favor Byrne's Doom. THAT is the ruler of Latveria. That is the Doom that gives Reed Richards a run for his intellectual money.

    And I understand why some have a dislike of the slouch, but, to me, it adds to the image. He is an un-threatened king. Those before him are beneath him. He's giving them that slouch, it shows them that they're not taken seriously. They're not foreign dignitaries, they're not ambassadors. They are but pawns on the chessboard.

  16. I prefer Byrne's. Bendis' dialogue is shrill, awkward and comes across as someone trying to be a badass, while Byrne's is regal and reads more like a statement from someone who owns his badassitude.

    And in terms of which one would actually "hurt" someone's feelings, that's totally up to the writer to convey. "Hello," said in the proper tone could be made to wound someone if the writer makes it so.

    Bendis could've just as easily written that scene where Carol gets pissed off and kills Doom. So I don't buy the argument that Bendis' dialogue is intrinsically "more effective."

    Effective is what the writer makes it through characterization.

  17. Gotta go with Byrne hands down. And you could still work in the "fat cow" stuff to make capper7 happy and it would still be DOOM...

    Something like "Learn silence, you whorish cow, or you may lose even that paltry value!" etc...

    I'd also agree it looks like he slapped the dialogue on an old commission.

  18. I'm less sensitive and demanding of my comics, so I'm fine with Bendis's dialogue. I also like the Bendis version better because I'm very fond of the female posterior, and Mighty Avengers delivers.

    Byrne . . . I have no respect for. The guy's always coming off as a bitter old man. It's just way too easy to imagine him sitting in Marvel offices in a rocking chair, cradling a shotgun in his arms, and then, when he sees someone like Millar or Bendis or some other guy who's younger than him, he'd point the shotgun at them and shout, "you damn kids, get offa mah comics! get a haircut!"

  19. Either way, Dr. Doom comes off as a bad ass dude. And I believe, that was the point of both scenes.

  20. It is indeed a commission piece and a recent one.

    I agree with everything Byrne said in the quote aboynamedart posted. That's Writing 101. And, respect him or not, if any writer today has earned the right to critique how Dr. Doom is written, it's John Byrne.

  21. I'd add that I don't mind the art in the Bendis version at all... :)

    But Doom should not be speaking like a street punk, he is... DOOM. Imperious ruler of Latveria, not a homeboy.

  22. Not only is the artwork much better (and the lettering, geez...), but his dialogue is much more believable. The original dialogue does not sound like Doom.

    (For a good modern Doom depiction, I recommend the Amazing Spider-Man issue with Captain America at Denver International Airport.)

  23. I'm the only one who caught this? Really?

  24. Amen.

    Plus, Doom never says "Okay".