The Doctor (Doom) Will See You Now

Fantastic Four #5

Was I the only one surprised by the news that “Doctor Doom” is getting a solo movie?

I opened up my Facebook newsfeed and there was the headline from Looper: “Doctor Doom Movie in the Works.” And this movie has talent reportedly tied to it: Noah Hawley, the brains behind FX’s “Legion” and “Fargo.” So automatically, if this one keeps moving forward, it gained credibility right there.

Naturally, you can expect to see Doom-related comics springing up left and right. The problem is which ones are worth investing in, since this is one of Marvel’s first iconic villain’s with a lengthy history.

If you’ve got the cash, go ahead and snag up a mid-grade copy of “Fantastic Four” #5, which is Doom’s first appearance and his origin story all rolled into one.

A graded 5.0 will only cost you, oh, in the neighborhood of $1,700...and that was prior to today’s announcement at San Diego Comic Con. With the price already being that high, it’s not likely that sales of that particular issue, especially not high-grade issues, will suddenly explode. It may rise a bit, but no more than a couple hundred dollars. In fact, any grade of FF #5 will be as tough to get as it was a year ago. These are silver age books written and drawn by the legendary team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. It’s also one of the keys of Marvel keys. A movie announcement isn’t going to raise a value already so high.

So what’s a collector to do? Go with some other key Doom issues, naturally.

At the top of the less-expensive (notice that I didn’t use the word cheap) is “Avengers” #25. This is the first meeting between the Avengers and Doctor Doom. Here you have a classic cover with a story by ol’ Stan Lee. It’s hard to go wrong from an investment standpoint. While it’s not necessarily a thrift-store value (a graded 9.0 averages close to $300), it’s still much easier on the budget than those early FF issues. Not only do you get a quality Doom appearance, but you also get to use the hype of the newest Avengers movie to help raise the value.

Another option is the “Fantastic Four” Annual #2. This issue gives a more detailed origin of the not-so-good doctor. (I keep thinking of the Doctor Evil line from “Austin Powers”: “I didn’t go through four years of evil med school to be called mister.”) Of course it’s nowhere near the importance of FF #5 with Doom’s first appearance, but this is still a key issue. The best part, for those of us without thousands of dollars to spend, is that FF Annual #2 at an 8.5 averages less than $400. Compared to $9,700 for an 8.5 FF #5, this is a bargain.

One modern Doctor Doom story that tends to fall under the radar is Ed Brubaker’s “Books of Doom.” As with most heroes and villains, every generation retells their origin stories with a modern flare. In this story, Brubaker uses memoirs to return to Doom’s past and give us a new perspective on the doctor. Personally, I can’t think of a bad Brubaker story, so I will always recommend his work even if it’s just to read for pleasure or to collect. This one is both.

Hopefully not only will the new movie help the popularity of Doctor Doom, but, God willing, it will erase the painful memory of his portrayal in those awful “Fantastic Four” movies. Although I must admit my guilty pleasure: I did enjoy the exploding heads part in the latest one.

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