Atlanta-based underground rap icon DOOM first emerged in 1997 as the mysterious metal-faced super-villain MF DOOM, after the death of his brother forced the dissolution of their hip-hop duo KMD. Taking his name and look from Marvel Comics arch villain Doctor Doom (featured in The Fantastic Four), the now-40-something Daniel Dumile has released a dozen indispensible albums (including collabs with everyone from Danger Mouse on DangerDoom, and folks like Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, and Jake One (on March’s Born Like This). Here, he takes a time machine back to his childhood to talk about the comics that made him the cartoon hip-hop king he is today. David Downs
Alpha Flight (#1)
The [comics] that I know are the old classic ones. The artwork had that style to it.. The graphic novels now have ill pages, but it's just a different texture. I think my mind was more like a sponge then—I had less stuff to do and less stuff to do with it. Reading that kind of stuff marked that time, so when I go back to my good days, my childhood days—not to say that these days are any worse or nothin’—I can really get into it.
Spiderman feels like Manhattan, and I know Manhattan, so anytime I'm reading about Spiderman, and he's swinging North on Second, I can really visualize it. It's real descriptive of the area—even though they're near the Hudson River and they're throwing cars around and stuff like that, it's all [drawn] so you can feel it. I'm into Spiderman.
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (#1-15)
There's a description of each character and where he came from, like a bio book of all the characters, whether they’re inactive or active. I think that whole series brought a realness to [comic-book characters], too—their individual status and their real names and when they were born… the whole story.
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars (#1-12)
Secret Wars is when everybody had to kind of get together. All the good guys and the bad guys had to fight the Beyonder. They were going through all kinds of time warps and had things like multiple universes going on, so they were headed to the future and then they'd come back and it'd be before things had happened so it'd change what happened in the future 'cause the past changed. A lot of it was real scientific, jumping around a lot. There was future, there was past, it was hot—good reading at the age.
The Fantastic Four
The Fantastic Four, of course. Dr. Doom's fatal flaw was his pride and perfectionism, and as a character, Doom the MC might have a similar fatal flaw: really striving for perfection. That's going to be from cradle to the grave. If you had to say a flaw, that's one of them, but my personal weak spot is children. They're so innocent that, you know, all my guard is down when it comes to children.