Partying with Doom - Tobin on Dr. Doom & the Masters of Evil

Tobin on Doom & the Masters of Evil

Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #1
Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #1
Doctor Doom and the Masters of Evil #1

“Everybody needs somebody sometime,” goes the classic song. And perhaps that’s true for supervillains as well. But what happens when Dr. Doom, the armored monarch of Latveria, decides to team up with the other supervillains of the Marvel Universe?

This January, prepare to find out in Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil written by fan-favorite Paul Tobin (Age of the Sentry and many Marvel Adventures books) with art by Patrick Scherberger. Tobin gave us the 411 on Doom’s latest scheme and what’s coming up with his Marvel Adventures books (hint: insanity). We also entered into a lively debate as to our favorite Marvel supervillain.

Let the madness commence…

Newsarama: Paul give us the basic premise of the book – also, is this a miniseries, a one-shot?

Paul Tobin: Doom has reached into his bag of dirty tricks and come up with yet another way to gain ultimate power, and all it takes is a few willing lackeys. Or unwilling lackeys. Or just plain tricked lackeys. Unfortunately, it's going to take a lot of doing in order to achieve his ends, so Doom has to go through a lot of lackey subsets.

We'll see Doom "team up" with the Sinister Six, and take sides in a war between the Circus of Crime and the Masters of Evil, and we're even going to get all cosmic. It's also a chance to see just how far Doom is willing to go to get what he wants. Hint: He doesn't bake any cakes or cookies in this series. In fact, you could say he's downright evil.

As far as format, we're going with four issues on this project, and each issue can be read alone, or as part of the overall storyline. I'm about halfway done with the scripting, and having myself a barrel of fun.

NRAMA: Why is Doom finally putting his ego aside to team up with villains?

PT: Whoa! Who said anything about Doom putting that ego aside?! It's his absolutely best-est friend; the only one who has never betrayed him. In Doom's mind, he's not teaming up with anyone...he's allowing others to serve him.

When you see the first issue, and how Doom "teams up" with the Sinister Six, then you'll know that Doom's ego is fully intact, and in fact freshly buffed and shined.

NRAMA: What led to your doing this story, and what do you enjoy about working with Marvel's dark side?

PT: Uber-editor Nate Cosby called me up and asked if I'd like to play around with some villains, and I was on that like the Blob on an all-day breakfast buffet. Marvel has some really amazing villains, but unfortunately we writers don't always get to delve into them with any depth.

A villain is there most often as an obstacle. He comes in at one point in the story, and then gets his dreams oh-so-cruelly thwarted (in a process usually involving bruises) and then he goes away. We don't ever see any other side of them than the villain side. We don't see that their car broke down on the way to the bank job, and so they had to call the towing company, and now part of that earlier jewelry store heist is going to have to pay for a new transmission, and he shouldn't have ever trusted his cousin-in-law to fix it anyway.

Okay...we're not quite going that far in this series, but we ARE getting a better view of those people behind the villainous deeds, and it's making it awfully fun for me. Go Mysterio!!!

NRAMA: What characters have you enjoyed writing the most?

PT: For this series? So far...Mysterio. Absolutely. He has a depth of personality that can be revealed by his illusions. Plus, I like the Vulture very much, because it's so obvious that if he didn't have wings he simply be a cranky old guy on his porch, yelling "You kids stay out of my yard!" and cackling evilly each time the sandlot baseball squad knocks a ball onto his lawn, which he always picks up, never returns, simply putting it in a big barrel full of baseballs, labeled "Crushed Dreams."

In the second issue the Masters of Evil face off against the Circus of Crime, and I have a special love for both the Enchantress (which I guess makes sense) and then Princess Python, so I'm sure the script will zoom by too fast. And, yeah, what writer doesn't like to write Doom? The guy is both noble and totally without morals.

Excellent!

NRAMA: What words have you in praise of the Scherberger?

PT: Awww, Patrick's great. Right now he's turning in pages for a What If? special that he and I are doing together (What If: Newer Fantastic Four #1) and let me tell you, the man draws a mean Thanos. And his tech work is aces!

I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't mention that the stellar art of Jacopo Camagni will be on half of the first issue's pages. There's an amount of flashback material in our first issue, and editor Nate Cosby and I decided to give a different feel / artist to that. Jacopo and I have worked together before, on MA: Avengers and Super-Heroes, and I really love his stuff. He picks, and pulls off, some amazing angles, and his work is always fresh and dynamic. So, for the first issue, readers (and me) get two artistic treats!

NRAMA: What's different about working with the mainstream Marvel Universe, as opposed to Marvel Adventures?

PT: Different toolbox. Guns here, but not there. Sexier in one than the other. Embracing continuity in one place, but tossing it around in the other. They both have their advantages, and I like to keep my hand in both.

NRAMA: Who's your favorite obscure Marvel supervillian, and why? Handicap:: You cannot pick the Hypno-Hustler or Swarm. Everyone picks those.

PT: Everyone picks the Hypno-Hustler? Really? Where do you hang out, Zack? Round here, in these parts, we always pick Batroc. At my last visit to a comic shop I saw that Brubaker was using Batroc, and I was both crushed (NO! Batroc is mine!!) and super-pleased (Yes! Brubaker, basically my favorite writer, is using Batroc!).

Can you dig it?
Can you dig it?
Dig. It.

NRAMA: I’ll have you know everyone loves the Hypno-Hustler. And Batroc doesn’t count as obscure ‘cause he’s so awesome!

Okay, serious again. You've got a regular run Marvel Adventures: Avengers coming up. What are some of the stories you have planned?

PT: I've been playing around with Avengers for a little while now, and I've tossed some new characters into the mix, adding both Tigra, and then Luke Cage (and sometimes his mother). It's possible that there might be even a couple more new characters down the line.

It's really fun, as a writer, to have a rotating cast of characters to fit into a plot. The one constant is Spider-Man. I just can't get enough of writing Spider-Man. He's the greatest character ever created, although apparently the Hypno-Hustler is up there, too.

As far as a sneak peek at what's upcoming in some future issues of Marvel Adventures: Avengers, it's possible the All-Winners Squad will be around, and Sgt. Fury is on the horizon, and an issue where the Avengers have to deal with (yikes!) their taxes, the Thing will be making a guest appearance at one point, and in another issue the Avengers are due to run afoul of Batroc's dating service.

Yes...I said Batroc. I must bring him to fully realized life. Also...stay tuned for an issue where the Avengers teach Ka-Zar how to drive. It...it...doesn't go well.

NRAMA: In your Marvel Adventures stories, you've had a good time pitting Marvel's greatest heroes against such evils as phone spammers and extreme sports punks. Do you feel the contrast between the superheroic and the mundane is a reoccurring theme in your work?

PT: I do, very much. Although it's not so much the mundane aspect I'm looking for, as a connection to everyday humanity. When Marvel blew up the comic world with the publication of Fantastic Four # 1, readers weren't drawn to the team by the fact that the Human Torch could melt through any wall that the Thing hadn't knocked over, it was that they were people that you could believe in, and that the Torch and the Thing spend so much of their time pranking each other, just being jerks, like everyday people.

I think it's really important for characters to have multiple facets. When readers pick up the latest adventures of Super-Explodo, the Man with Nitroglycerin Nostrils, there's a need to believe in him as a character before he goes off to fight Lackluster Lass, or else there's no consequence to the battle. If he dies, he's just a template. Stamp the same costume on any other Joe, and there wouldn't be a difference.

NRAMA: And now, the stupidest question I have ever asked in an interview: Is Marvel at all worried about someone stealing the name "Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil" for a punk band? Because that would make a sweet band name.

PT: Why couldn't Marvel itself form the band? There's some pretty rocking musicians in the bullpen, ya know?

NRAMA: We all know Ralph Macchio’s got punk in his soul, and a microphone in his heart.

What can you tell us of your other upcoming projects?

PT: Not much at this point. These days I'm working on two unannounced projects, and one of them has a cast of characters that have been popping up here and there in my writings, and the other is so top secret that I have to destroy my computer each time I type a single word, which is frankly getting a little expensive.

NRAMA: Anything else you'd like to talk about that we haven't discussed yet?

PT: My new favorite type of cheese is Robusto. I want that on record.

Dr. Doom and the Masters of Evil #1 rocks comics shops this January. Also, Hypno-Hustler rules!

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