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Post By
Grey Gargoyle

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 17,840
In Reply To
Iron Maiden 

Member Since: Sun Nov 02, 2003
Posts: 5,162
Subj: IMO, the Submariner was Marvel's "noble antagonist" during the Silver Age
Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 at 11:19:45 am EST (Viewed 220 times)
Reply Subj: Re: During the Silver Age, Stan Lee wrote him very much as a treacherous villain ...
Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2018 at 10:40:32 am EST (Viewed 233 times)

    It is very true that Stan tended to write him as a villain. Around the time that Stan & Jack did their last Doom story together in FF 84-87, things changed. Recall at the end of #87, Doom just calls it all off and says the FF are free to leave. He had just killed his assistant Hauptmann for endangering his art collection with a flame thrower. Surprisingly, Reed agrees to leave without further incident. Maybe because they did come in a spies sent by Nick Fury.

    But just prior to FF#87 came out in June of 1969, the first Doom solo story is released in Marvel Super-Heroes #20. It was plotted and co-written by Stan's brother Larry Leiber with Stan as the editor. The following year, Doom gets a solo series in Astonishing Tales. The next time Doom appears in the Fantastic Four, he fights on the side of the Fantastic Four against the Overmind. The story was written by Archie Goodwin with Stan as the editor. Stan had written the earlier issues of the arc so one can assume he had a hand in plotting also. So we can see here that Stan was most likely the one push for more of an anti-hero kind of characterization.

    Stan is pretty notorious for having a bad memory but he has been consistent in saying that he doesn't feel Doom is not purely a villain at least as far back as the first Fantastic Four movie. I think I have an issue of Back Issue magazine where he also makes this statement.

In my opinion, around 1969-1970, Doctor Doom was still portrayed as evil but, when he was the protagonist, he was the "lesser of two evils".

Stan Lee has always portrayed him as a complex villain with a tragic past and who was victim of injustice. But, I think that, during the Silver Age, Doom was portrayed as an insane megalomaniac with a narcissistic personality disorder. He was closer to the portrayal of 20th century dictators, whether they are fascist or communist.

On the contrary, right from the start, the Submariner was portrayed as the "noble antagonist".

Sue Storm & the Avengers were convinced that, under different circumstances, Namor would have been an ally & even a friend.

Then, during the Bronze Age, Submariner became a protagonist. Especially, as soon as he became one of the founding members of the Defenders.

I have the feeling that, slowly & certainly, step by step, Doom & Magneto started to replace him as Marvel's "noble antagonists" during the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s.

In 1984-1985, in Secret Wars, the change was complete.
Then, there were the trial of Magneto in December 1985, the Emperor Doom graphic novel in June 1987 and the Triumph & Torment graphic novel in 1989.

I'd say that, just before the beginning of the 1990s, Doom & Magneto had been turn into Nietzschean characters, beyond the usual definition of heroes & villains.

From then on, they have been more or less static.