Well, there they are. Our spirit animals. Or what we look like on the inside. Or something. On the show, I posed the question: If you could look like one actor in his prime for six months of your life, who would it be? Allen picked Burt Reynolds circa 1972 (Deliverance). Todd went with Warren Beatty ca. 1971 (Dollars). And I had to go Redford ca. 1977 (A Bridge Too Far). So, ladies... who made the right call?
So, ladies... Who are you going with?— The WSF Guys (@WalkSoftlyFilms) July 15, 2016
The Greatest Story in Comics
At the end of the show, I told you about Doctor Strange & Doctor Doom: Triumph & Torment, written by Roger Stern and illustrated by Mike Mignola. It's the greatest story I've ever read in comics (and I've read a lot), so let me tell you why.
The whole thing is based on an in-canon premise that goes all the way back to Astonishing Tales #4 by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan. Every Midsummer’s Eve, Doctor Doom attempts to rescue his mother’s soul from Hell and each year the struggle ends in a stalemate.
Through a clever and intricate first act, Doom wins a favor from Dr. Strange that he's obligated to fulfill. Doom will use that favor in a carefully crafted plan to win back his mother’s soul once and for all. Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom versus Hell. Science and sorcery and all the weirdness that comes along with them. And, just like Strange, you're left waiting for the other shoe to drop; keeping one eye on Doom and questioning his true intent.
Triumph and Torment also probably stands as the greatest telling of both Dr. Doom and Dr. Strange's origin stories. The parallels it draws between the two and the way it intertwines their fates is spellbinding (if you will) and makes both more intriguing. And although Dr. Strange gets top-billing, make no mistake, this is Victor Von Doom's story. Stan Lee was always of the opinion that, although the character was megalomaniacal, he was also honorable and noble. Stern picks up where Conway/Colan left off and presents the best characterization I've seen of Doom to date. For the first time, I saw what Stan saw. Dr. Doom's sense of honor and nobility makes perfect sense and his megalomania is born from unwavering belief that he can provide a better way, a better life, for everyone on Earth. This is the perfect version of Doom. In the hands of lesser writers he has always been one note, bent on world domination simply for the sake of it. This is what drives me insane when I watch Fantastic Four movies. He is unquestionably the greatest villain in comics when you allow him his depth and complexities, yet he's been utterly wasted on screen.
You may or may not know him as the creator of Hellboy, but this was Mike Mignola becoming Mike Mignola. You can see his unmistakable style taking form. The same book that became my favorite story and made Dr. Doom my favorite character, also gave me my favorite artist. Mignola captures what no one else can and needs less to do it. He's almost an impressionist. Combine his pencil work with paint and inks by Mark Badger and the book is gorgeous. It makes for an interesting combo because Mignola almost always inks his own pencils and Badger's line work is distinctively thinner, his blacks noticeably less prominent.
In closing, I'll say this. Triumph & Torment is the best superhero movie that will never be made. It is perfectly structured for the screen and the spectacle would be incredible. To think about Cumberbatch playing out the story opposite this Doom gives me chills. Unfortunately, Dr. Doom will continue to be trapped with the incompetent ninnies at Fox for the foreseeable future.
If you'd like to read it, it's on the Marvel Comics app for ten bucks and Marvel Unlimited if you have a subscription. Or you could go old school and order up that paper version.