Dr. Doom on the Riviera

I went browsing the one-dollar back issues at Carol & John’s Comic Shop, yesterday, as my “Black Friday” shopping. I didn’t find a lot to interest me this time. I spent eight dollars plus tax, but this was a dollar well-spent:

Super-Villain Team-Up issue #15, reprinting a 1970 story from Tales to Astonish issues #4-5.

The plot of this one is basically: the Red Skull and some tag-along z-listers invade and conquer Doom’s kingdom of Latveria while he’s away, then he returns and routs them. It isn’t bad. Journeyman work from Stan Lee’s journeyman brother Larry Lieber.

The highlight of this one, however, is that Dr. Doom visits the Riviera, basically just to kill time while conscripted labor is rebuilding Castle Doom.*

It’s difficult to find the right word for what Dr. Doom is up to, here. It’s kind of like the travel version of hate-reading, or like slumming among the rich and famous. He’s there entirely and consciously to revel in disgust at how vapid are the one percent.

(This is more or less the kind of thing Daria and Jane would do in the early seasons.)

The Riviera scenes are just priceless. Coming across this by chance in a dollar box was genuinely A Find.

Good luck with that, boys.

This one also features the centerfold “Dr. Doom Hijacks the Milk Duds Sweepstakes” ad/manifesto, which was running in late-1978 Marvel comics. This I’ve seen before, but its inclusion here just makes this artifact even more delightful.

How this even got into a box of post-1990 trash I can not guess.

* Castle Doom is partially destroyed about once per fortnight in the Marvel Universe. Which makes Doom’s use of a corvee for the rebuilding, in this issue, interesting. One might imagine that, no matter how terrified they are of Doom, peasant conscripts aren’t going to turn into skilled construction workers. Yet why should it matter that deficient work may collapse within a couple of years, if a giant monster, alien invasion or cosmic war will demolish it all well before then.

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