So, Are Doctor Doom and Kang Related or What?

In Left Unresolved, I spotlight storylines that have been, well, left unresolved.

Reader Patrick K. wrote in to ask:

I was reading Secret Wars #1 the other day and saw that Kang use to think he was a descended of Dr. Doom. When was that first mentioned in comics and when was that ever resolved?

It was first introduced in Fantastic Four Annual #1 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chic Stone), where Doom meets Rama-Tut while Rama-Tut was on his way to become Kang the Conqueror...

Those three pages would be a pain for future writers for years to come.

Soon afterwards, Lee made it clear that he thought that he WAS making a definitive statement when he has Kang reference his connection to Doom in Avengers #24 (by Lee, Don Heck and Dick Ayers)...

However, no one else ever seemed interested in picking up on the idea, so it was mostly one of those "hey, it might be true" things. It got to the point that we had the aforementioned Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 (by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck and John Beatty), where Doom turns down an offer from the supervillains to be their leader and Kang is basically, like, "Yeah, I might be his descendant, but I don't care"...

And then in Secret Wars #4 (guest art by Bob Layton), Doom returns the favor...

Finally, in Fantastic Four #273, John Byrne revealed that Reed Richards' dad, Nathaniel, had built a time machine BEFORE Doom did, so that way, Kang was actually a descendant of RICHARDS and THAT'S who his "ancestor who built a time machine" was.

However, such an origin does not necessarily dispute the whole "Doom is somehow also related to Kang" origin, although it DOES make it complicated, as it would suggest that Nathaniel Richards would somehow also have to be related to Doom (Reed and Doom as half-brothers??!). Or heck, it could have been much further down the line, maybe in the 1200s, Richards and Von Doom blood inter-mixed. It is unclear. So therefore, for now, at least, the question of whether Doom and Kang are related is as yet unresolved.

Thanks for the suggestion, Patrick! If anyone else has a cool unresolved comic book story that they'd like to see spotlighted, drop me a line at brianc@cbr.com!

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