Let’s Talk About Doom’s IV

Doom’s IV was a comic book series that was supposed to be come out in 1993, and had a big advertising push behind it (featuring just the logo) but got delayed until 1994. Here’s a description of the book:

Doom’s IV is a group of renegade superbeings on the run from the evil Doom’s Corporation. The team is comprised of Burn (Katie), a woman with the power to fire blasts of flame from her hands, incinerating anything they touch; Slyder, who can scatter and re-form his molecules, allowing him to pass through walls; Brick, a huge being formed of sand and silicate; and their leader Grimm, a warrior from the future who possesses weapons found nowhere else in the world. They fight a desperate battle against the Doom’s Corporation, whose cybernetic monstrosities are controlled by the dread Syber Idol.

Right out the gate you might notice something. There was another book by a different company out around the same time called “The Fantastic Four” which involved a huge rock guy (named Ben Grimm) and a person with fire powers. They, along with two other heroes, fought a villain named “Doctor Doom”.

Doom’s IV was created by Rob Liefeld, who also created Cable, a mysterious warrior from the future who possesses weapons found nowhere else in the world.

So yeah, Doom’s IV was more or less just a rip-off from the get-go. Not that there’s anything unusual about that; it was pretty much early Image’s second M.O. (after releasing comics that got canceled after only a handful of issues because maybe there’s a reason we shouldn’t let artists run the whole company.)

Still, there were huge plans for the series. Why? What made this different from any other Image title?

As reported in the April 1993 issue of Wizard magazine, the book had been optioned by none other than Steven Spielberg. So yeah, this was going to be a big deal.

As noted, Rob Liefeld was the “creator” here but he didn’t do the scripting on the book or the art. The art went to Mark Pacella, who also co-scripted with Kurt Hathaway. Liefeld’s only artistic contribution seems to be a pair of alternate covers to issue #1. One of the covers features two members of the team, while the other features a third. Apparently even Rob didn’t much care about Slyder.

The book landed with a thud in ’94. There was nothing special here; just Liefeld, as usual, ripping off other ideas, including his own. It was no different in scope or style from any of a number of other Image projects and after four and a half issues (Wizard, which never saw an Image title it didn’t love, helped put out a special “1/2” issue) it died a quiet and unmourned death. Spielberg never released any Doom’s IV movie, opting instead to put out Schindler’s List. The letters page of issue number two mentions a “Doom’s IV Sourcebook”, slated for November of that year; it never materialized.

It’s tempting to call Doom’s IV one of the most notable marketing failures in comic book history, but it didn’t even succeed enough to be remembered for that. There’s not even a Wikipedia page for this thing. It’s just lumped in with the rest of the junk that even Image couldn’t bother with for more than a few issues.

So why am I even talking about it? First off, apparently Doom’s IV and I go way back.

Second, it’s Double Fakeout Month at Fake Criterions, where they run fake covers to DVDs of movies that don’t exist. Since the Doom’s IV movie only exists in Rob Liefeld’s regrets and footnotes, I thought it might be an appropriate entry, so I made this:

I don’t know if they’ll agree that it counts or if it’s up to their (remarkably high) standards. I played on both the “logo-only ads” thing and used the “Certificate of Authenticity” from the Wizard Magazine issue 1/2.

So there you go. More than anyone ever wanted to know about a lousy comic book that nobody cared about very much, including its own creator. Hooray for the Internet!

Incidentally, here’s a tidbit from the letters page of issue #2:

(Many thanks to Andrew Weiss for enabling this post, in more than one sense of that word.)

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2 Responses to Let’s Talk About Doom’s IV

  1. damanoid says:

    Good heavens.

    This… thing… is exactly one thigh-bandolier shy of being the most ’90s comic that could theoretically exist.

    The crosshatching… the grimacing… the complete lack of visible feet! Is the character in that last panel specificlly designed with a costume that obscures his feet at all times? That is brilliant, in a way.

    I demand you talk more about Doom’s IV. Indeed, the world demands it. Remember, those who forget the past are doomed to live in a future populated by turgid, veiny cyborgs.

    There are so many questions: why is a team devoted to fighting the Doom’s Corporation called “Doom’s IV?” Was the character “Slyder” created with an eye toward a White Castle tie-in? How does Rob Liefeld not even know Boba Fett’s name?!

  2. Dave says:

    Talk more about it? Why? Good grief, no. I’ve already given it more coverage than it deserves.