In Tribute Of Dick Ayers

Dr. Doom by Dick Ayers

Bleeding Cool (via Roy Thomas) reported that the 1950s/1960s Jack Kirby-inker Dick Ayers and longtime Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos penciller passed away on May 4, shortly before what would have been his ninetieth birthday. I was fortunate enough to get the above sketch from him at the 2006 Baltimore Comic Book Show, which was an adventure all in it self.

I was in line waiting to get a sketch, and I really wanted to get one of Nick Fury. But when I was next in line, I told Dick that I wanted a sketch of Hawkeye. I felt just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, ruining my moment with Santa Claus.

There was a brief pause.

Dick looked up at me from the table and said the following: “You do know that’s a difficult costume to draw.”

There was another awkward pause. Now I’m feeling really embarrassed.

But before I could say something, Dick said “How bout I draw Doctor Doom instead?” I nodded my head just like a confused little kid would. I then spent the next twenty to thirty minutes talking with him about what it was like working for Marvel in his day and he answered every question, even telling me a few interesting stories about Jack Kirby!

And that’s how I wound up having an awkward exchange with a comics legend (that turned itself around) and how he drew Doctor Doom for me. Thanks for the memories, Dick!

 

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Friday Fights #1: Doctor Doom vs. Darth Vader

 

I decided it was time to start a new feature here at Ridiculously Awesome. This one is called Friday Fights, where we examine what would happen if two characters from comic book, cartoon and general geek culture were to tussle.

The rules are simple; the two combatants are fighting each other in a neutral environment, where neither would get the other hand because of their surroundings. Neither has any preparation; they are just carrying what they would normally have on them.

This week’s match-up features everyone’s favorite Eastern European despot Doctor Doom against the Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader.

THE ARMOR: Darth Vader’s armor is more so designed to keep him alive than for combat and weaponry purposes. Doom’s is fully functioning robotic armor, with all kinds of offensive and defensive capabilities, plus various scanners and intelligence gathering devices. Whether Vader tries to attack him by lightsaber or telekinetic-ally through the Force, Doom is protected. ADVANTAGE:  Doctor Doom

THE FORCE OR SORCERY: Darth Vader is a master of using the Dark Side of the Force. He can attack people through telekinesis, either by electrical discharge or blunt force. He also seems to have some telepathic skills as well. Doom is more than just a genius in robotic armor; he is also one of Earth’s greatest sorcerers. ADVANTAGE:  Neither

COMBAT: Vader has been trained as a Jedi, and he is way the superior hand-to-hand combatant. Plus he has a lightsaber. Although just as ruthless, Doom has no where the skill to match Vader in this area. ADVANTAGE:  Darth Vader

EMOTIONAL STATE: Darth Vader gains his determination from the sadness that is his life, suffering from borderline personality disorder. Doom is just as messed up, as his arrogance always seems to get the best of him. ADVANTAGE:  Neither.

SO HOW WOULD IT END: Doom would be on the run, defending himself using his seemingly endless supply of on hand gadgets and sorcery from Vader’s physicallity. Once Doom would realize that the heavy breathing coming from Vader was a weakness and how destroying his respirator would cripple the Dark Lord of the Sith, it would be shortly over. An immobilized, hyperventilating Vader is no match for the diabolical Doctor Doom. WINNER: Doctor Doom

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade Review

The 2000s were a terrible decade for the Scarlet Witch. She finally gas a nervous breakdown from when the children she had during her marriage with the synthezoid VIsion (having babies from your robot husband would be enough for most people); finally taking out her rage on her Avengers pal and later reshaping reality in a way that would make her father the villainous Magneto proud. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is her chance at redemption.

It turns out that the Young Avengers Speed and Wiccan really are the reincarnated souls of her sons William and Tommy. They never really explain how this happened; I guess the writer Allen Heinberg had more interesting things to work on. With them believing that the Scarlet Witch is their mother, they set out with the rest of their team and an oddly helpful Magneto to find her. Obviously, the Avengers proper see this as a threat, especially with them not wanting her or the similarly reality-bending powered Wiccan to recreate the events of Avengers Disassembled. The X-Men have an interest in finding the Scarlet Witch too, as Cyclops in particular wants her punished for her forever changing the lives of mutants, when she was able to wish away most of their mutations.

Eventually, the young heroes find an amnesic Scarlet Witch about to get married to Doctor Doom, who has been protecting her and giving her refuge  the last few years. When I read that, it was a double take moment…he was doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, nothing that Doctor Doom ever does is for purely nice reasons. He caused her to have the crazy destroy everything nervous breakdown, and pretty much is the root of all evil in the Marvel universe the last few years. After he steals her powers, it is up to the Avengers young and old alongside the X-Men to stop him. And along the way, Iron Lad returns briefly (engineering some plot that will be revealed in the future when he returns as Kang the Conqueror) and there is a switch with the living and dead members of the Lang family–they are able to resurrect the father Scott (better known as Ant Man) but his daughter Stature is killed defeating Doom.

Children’s Crusade unfortunately has an ending that I still don’t completely understand. If you remember, the following people were after Scarlet Witch:

  • The Avengers wanted her in custody so she could never cause an Avengers Disassembled like crisis. Wolverine takes it one step further, wanting to kill her and letting this never be an issue again.
  • The X-Men want her tried (and implied her death) as punishment for her wishing away the overwhelming amount of the mutant community.
  • X-Factor even gets in the act, with her reappearance leading to a bounty being placed on her head.

So what happens? Scarlet Witch winds up going on a journey of self exploration–they let her go. Really? REALLY? Since then, Scarlet Witch hasn’t made a peep in comics.

Ending aside, I really enjoyed this. At its heart, it’s a family story with a boy and his grandfather teaming up to save his mother. It’s very heartfelt, everyone from Quicksilver to Captain America, all play their part very well. And the art by Jim Cheung was killer.

Marvel Secret Wars Commercial!

Let’s look at a classic super hero toy commercial! This comes from 1984 and it is for Mattel’s line of Marvel Secret Wars toys! This one is for two vehicles, Doctor Doom’s Doom Roller (which looks like the gerbil ball from hell) and Captain America’s Turbo Cycle.

Those figures were pretty cool due to their simplicity and super durability. But the one thing that sticks out to me was how unenthusiastic the children are. They’re playing with some cool toys! Let alone, a Doctor Doom action figure! I bet they were too impressed by the RDI Halcyon to play with such simple toys.