The Doctor is Out
Anyone with a pair of testicles can be a man. And it’s always possible to receive a field promotion to captain, however little time you may have actually served in the military. It thus falls to “doctor” to be the most unearned title in the world of super-humans. While lesser beings toil sleepless nights doing their residencies and drown in student debt to get their PhDs, any jackass who gets hit by lightning or invents a cold gun can go around calling themselves doctors without ever putting in the work. Today, we’re going to examine whether or not a selection of Marvel and DC characters deserve to be nicknamed “Doc”.
DR. BEDLAM. He’s from Apokalips, and I get the feeling they’re a little lax about accreditation, plus he’s made out of energy and you know that’s really going to be a disadvantage on the GREs. But he did invent a “paranoid pill” that makes people insane, so he’s at least got a background in pharma.
DR. BONG. I can’t believe I am spending my declining years speculating about the education credentials of a character Steve Gerber slipped into Howard the Duck as a cheap dope joke, but here we are. Anyway, he went to j-school and was in a punk band, so fuck this guy.
DR. CYBER. May not be an actual person, but possibly a construct, a robot, or a global network intelligence. So think of her as sort of the super-villainous version of WebMD.
DR. DEATH. An early and now largely forgotten Batman villain, he specialized in chemical and biological weapons, proving that the line between doctor and arms dealer is mighty thin. His real name was “Hellfern”, which in terms of bedside manner, isn’t that much of an improvement on “Death”.
DR. DESTINY: This guy had no real education, but he was (a) a criminal, (b) a scientific genius, and (c) batshit crazy, which in comics is all you need to call yourself a doctor. All that fucking around in school for nothing, you guys!
DR. DOOM. Thanks to that meddling Reed Richards fucking with his time machine, Victor Von Doom probably never got his diploma from Empire State. But he runs his own country, so it probably wouldn’t be too hard to mint himself a couple of doctorates from Doomstadt U.
DR. DOUBLE X. You’d think that if you went to the trouble of discovering how to turn your aura into an energy doppelganger that would commit crimes for you, you’d name yourself after something better than a shitty brand of Mexican beer. I guess that’s why he went into villainy instead of marketing.
DR. DRUID. Anthony Druid claims to be a psychiatrist, but most of his experiments involved hypnosis, mesmerism, and other forms of rinky-dink stage magic, so I’m guessing that his medical degree, if any exists, came from a school that advertised on the cover of matchbooks.
DR. FATE. The original version of the character was an archaeologist, which I guess means he’s probably technically entitled to call himself a doctor, but when you’re a Lord of Order it’s probably more of an honorific. The current one is just a med student so, hey, not so fast, hot stuff.
DR. FAUSTUS. Another psychiatrist, and a Nazi to boot. Maybe this guy actually did go to college, but it was the same one where Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter got their degrees, and most of the coursework involved evisceration and sorcery.
DR. LIGHT. Okay. So. The first Dr. Light was a physicist, but later he became a rapist, and he kept being called Dr. Light instead of Dr. Rape because I guess that didn’t test well. The second Dr. Light was an female astronomer, but she kept calling herself Dr. Light even though the other Dr. Light was a notorious rapist. Of women. Comics, this is what they do to us. It’s a wonder we’re civilized.
DR. MID-NITE. All three of these clowns were surgeons, and at least two of them are blind, because that’s how things work in these stories. They were all supposed to be brilliant medical doctors but none of them could cure blindness, so how good could they be? I dunno, check their Yelp! pages.
DR. MINERVA. A geneticist, which generally isn’t something you pick up on a street corner, but she’s also a Kree, so who knows? With their advanced technology, maybe being a geneticist is for the Kree what being a drywall installer is on Earth.
DR. MIST. It figures that the one African guy who gets to be called “Dr.” isn’t a scientist or a physician or even a guy with a graduate degree in Chinese poetry who calls himself a doctor just to be a prick, but instead the “wizard-king” of a forgotten empire. The bigotry of dumb explanations.
DR. MOON. This DC villain is a brain surgeon, a psychiatrist, a geneticist, a psychologist, and an “expert on torture”, which let’s be honest, even in the lax accreditation environment of North Korea, is probably something he only did as a minor to get the liberal arts credit.
DR. NEMESIS. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea of a medical doctor who has a sideline in building incredibly lifelike androids. It seems like you’re kind of inventing yourself out of a job on this one. Still, his android specialized in setting itself on fire, so maybe it was kind of a Tyrell situation.
DR. OCCULT. In perhaps DC’s first experiment in the name-as-destiny conceit, Dr. Occult was a guy whose actual name was Occult (of the Occults of North Bergen, New Jersey) who actually grew up to be an expert on the occult! He didn’t grow up to be a doctor, however, but rather a detective, possibly because his given name was “Richard” and not “Doctor”.
DR. OCTOPUS. Otto Octavius was a fat nerd with a bowl haircut, Coke-bottle glasses, and an overactive waldo, so you know his scientific credentials were legit. Plus, he kept up an intense romantic pursuit of an elderly woman just to annoy a guy who picked on him, which is hardcore nerd behavior.
DR. PHOSPHORUS. It’s unclear whether Dr. Phosphorus was originally a nuclear scientist or just a lab drone before he turned into everyone’s second-favorite flaming skeleton, but the odd thing about him is his name. If you were already named Sartorius, why not go with that instead of “Phosphorus”?
DR. POLARIS. One of those guys who, while in medical school, came to believe in the healing power of magnets, probably because he got a D on his anatomy final. Supposedly he’s a real doctor, but given his quackish obsessions it’s pretty likely he’s the kind who advertises in the back of Reader’s Digest.
DR. PSYCHO. Another medical school dropout, so this guy is definitely frontin’. He’s a stunted freak who failed at everything, was furious at the social dominance of jocks, and had a pathological hatred of women. Decades ago, this made him a comic book villain; today, it makes him a comic book fan.
DR. SIVANA. The world’s wickedest scientist was at one point an authentic super-genius who had the respect of some of Europe’s finest minds before he dedicated his life to fucking around with a 10-year-old newsboy who could turn into Fred MacMurray. Probably an opium habit is to blame.
DR. SPECTRUM. There are about nine versions of this guy floating around, but most of them are just random boners who found a magic crystal, so they really don’t deserve to be called “Doctor” so much as “Lucky”. All of them, however, have graduate degrees in ripping off Green Lantern.
DR. STRANGE. Say what you will about Stephen Strange — for example, that he was an uptight prick of a super-rich doctor who became an uptight prick of an incredibly powerful sorcerer, so what kind of lesson in humility did he really learn? — but he at least has a license to practice surgery.
DR. SUN. This guy was a Chinese robot who fed on human blood, but before that deeply plausible transformation, he was a scientist, so give him a pass. Do your educational credentials get revoked when your brain is put in a robot body? These are the questions that fail to keep me up at night.
DR. THIRTEEN. Alias Terrance Thirteen, and boy, if he and Dr. Occult were in the same frat, I bet they were a real hoot during pledge week. Anyway, he’s a parapsychologist, but then again, so was Peter Venkman, and I wouldn’t really trust that guy with my insurance co-payments, would you?
DR. UB’X. Ordinarily I would say that I have better things to do with my time than speculate about the educational attainment of a villainous alien squirrel-man, but clearly, I do not. Ub’x’s Wikipedia page contains the phrase “lost control of his Sucker Stick”, which coincidentally is also a plot point in the movie I just finished watching in the bathroom.
DR. VOODOO. This was the original Brother Voodoo, so he, what, went to voodoo grad school? Worked his way up through the voodoo ranks until he got a voodoo promotion? Received an honorary diploma because he donated a new gym to Voodoo Tech? Your guess is as good as mine.