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Boris

Real Name:  Boris (last name unrevealed)

Identity/Class: Human (pre-modern through modern era)

Occupation: Aide and chief advisor to Doctor Doom 

Group Membership: Doom's palace personnel (Bela, Lieutenant Borgo, Gregor, unidentified others)

Affiliations: Circus of Crime (Cannonball/Jack Pulver, Clown/Eliot Franklin, the Great Gambonnos/Ernest & Luigi Gambonno, Rajah/Kabir Mahadevu, Ringmaster/Maynard Tiboldt, others), Cynthia von Doom, Werner von Doom, Doctor Doom (Victor von Doom), Doctor Gert Hauptmann, Gustav von Kampen, Valeria Richards, Doctor Stephen Strange, Kristoff Vernard, Zefiro gypsies

Enemies: Bill Clayton, Cloak (Tyrone Johnson), Dagger (Tandy Bowen), Fantastic Four (Human Torch/Johnny Storm, Invisible Girl/Susan Storm Richards, Mr. Fantastic/Reed Richards, Thing/Ben Grimm), Rudolfo Haasen, Red Skull (Johann Shmidt), Shroud (Maximillian Coleridge), Namor the Sub-Mariner (Namor McKenzie), King Vladimir, Zarrko the Tomorrow Man (Artur Zarrko), Zorba

Known Relatives: Valeria (granddaughter, deceased), unidentified nephew

Aliases: "Faithful Boris," "Loyal Boris," "Old Boris," "Old man" (nicknames used by Doctor Doom)

Base of Operations: Castle Doom, Doomstadt, Latveria;
                               formerly a traveling Zefiro gypsy camp, Latveria (see comments)

First Appearance: Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (September, 1964)

Powers/Abilities: Boris possessed no known superhuman powers. As Doom's chief advisor,  he had a passing familiarity with most of Doctor Doom's activities and could even use some of Von Doom's inventions though he most likely had only a rudimentary understanding of their function. Boris was undeniably loyal, refusing to betray Victor von Doom even after extensive torture. Clearly a man of advanced age, he regularly relied on a cane.

Height: 5'8"
Weight: 189 lbs. 
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Grey

History: (Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Boris was a member of a band of traveling gypsies who was close friends with his fellow travelers, Werner and Cynthia von Doom. Boris felt related to and responsible for their young son Victor.

(Fantastic Four III#67 (fb) - BTS) - Boris' granddaughter Valeria grew up with Victor von Doom and the two developed a lifelong friendship that even turned to love.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (fb) - BTS) - Latveria's ruler Vladimir did not care much for the gypsies roaming his lands. He had his troops hound them, forcing the gypsies to live on the move only to condemn as "shiftless wanderers." Whoever resisted his rule met a lethal fate. Cynthia von Doom, furious about the way Vladimir treated her kinsmen, decided to do something about it. Though talented in the art of black magic, she nevertheless lacked the skill and experience to properly use her powers. Perhaps inadvertently, she summoned the demon Mephisto. He seduced her into selling her soul in exchange for gaining sufficient power to give her people the homeland they deserve, even promising to make her son king. Cynthia accepted Mephisto's offer and gained incredible, deadly magical powers that she could not control. Overcome, she caused numerous deaths, including all the children in the village. One of Vladimir's men managed to mortally wound her, though she found her way to the forests where Werner located his dying wife a few hours later.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (fb)) - Figuring Vladimir would mercilessly persecute them , Werner, Boris and the others decided to bury Cynthia in an unmarked grave.

(Books Of Doom I#1 (fb)) - Young Victor attended his mother's funeral and noticed how wary and uneasy the others were, some outright blaming Werner for their current predicament. He overheard Boris and one of the other men discuss what Cynthia had done, even considering cutting the Von Dooms loose in light of recent events. Furious, Victor Von Doom turned to his elders and announced that if they would dare to throw him and his father out, he'd grow up exactly like the mother they'd tried to disparage, ready to track them down and condemn them to an unparalleled darkness. Properly impressed, everyone kept quiet.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (fb)) - Boris and Werner then led their band away from the scene of the crime. Werner even tried to rid them of Cynthia's trunk of arcana but found the ensorcelled chest always returned, even if it had been destroyed, looking none the worse for wear.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb)) - Boris was powerless when troops from Latveria's King Vladimir came to the camp to collect Werner, whose skills as a healer had gained some acclaim. Werner was to heal Vladimir's wife but when he examined her and realized she was beyond help. Knowing Vladimir would have him killed for his perceived failure, he briefly stabilized her condition and then rushed back to the camp to get his son Victor and made a run for it. While they made their escape, Boris and the tribesmen had to deal with Vladimir's troops, who were sent to kill Werner. When they couldn't find him, they wrecked the camp before deciding to comb the countryside

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb)) - Boris and the other gypsies went out to search for Werner and Victor, eventually locating father and son in the icy snow, nearly frozen. Werner was near death by the time he got back to camp, though Victor was alright. Boris sat with Victor at Werner's deathbed, where Werner used his last moments on Earth to implore Boris to protect the world from his son. Victor mistook his father's statements, thinking he meant Boris was tasked to protect him instead. After Werner's death, Boris did his best to console the outraged Victor and eventually showed him his father's herbs and remedies, hoping the lad would use them to do good. However, he soon discovered his mother's enchanted chest of magical potions and started his self taught witchcraft studies.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb) - BTS) - Under Boris' watchful gaze, young Doom grew from a boy into an ambitious teenager who frequently used his brilliant mind and knowledge of both science, technology and magic to unleash a reign of terror on Latveria's ruling body. Figuring a retaliatory strike was unavoidable, Doom treated every single wagon of their caravan with a special compound that rendered them impervious to any type of shell.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb)) - Eventually, Latveria's rulers caught up with Doom and his gypsies and sent a tank to destroy them. Boris drove von Doom's horse-drawn carriage while Victor threw a freezing grenade that rendered the war machine inoperative.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (fb) ) - Several months later, the Dean of Science of New York's State University, who had heard news of von Doom's exploits and wanted to offer him a full scholarship, finally located the gypsy camp. Boris introduced him to von Doom and watched as Victor accepted the man's offer. Victor left Latveria but tasked Boris to stay behind with the others, promising to reward him one day for his loyalty. Boris swore his master nothing would change until he came back to them.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (fb)) - After Doom returned to Latveria, having been expelled from State University and taken on the armored identity of Doctor Doom, he sought out Boris, reintroducing himself to the stunned gypsy.

(Books Of Doom I#5 (fb)) - Boris could at first barely believe what had happened to the young teen he'd last seen. Doom assured him that the armor was what he had chose to become, having made himself into something beyond man, adding: "I do not expect you to understand, but I do expect you to follow my orders." The differential old man immediately complied.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (fb) - BTS) - With Boris by his side, Doctor Doom seized the throne of Latveria within a few days. Within a year, he had succeeded in turning Latveria into the most prosperous European nation, erasing all want, thanks to the many unique technologies he had created.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2 - BTS) - Boris became Doom's most trusted aide, living in Vladimir's castle in the capital of Latveria that had been renamed Doomstadt.

(Books Of Doom I#6 (fb)) - Boris bore witness to Von Doom's mystical rituals designed to speak with Mephisto. The demon king appeared, amused by how Doom had changed and improved since the last time they met. When Doom told Mephisto he wanted him to free Cynthia von Doom's soul, the demon laughed it off. Instead he proposed a deal: allowing Doctor Doom to fight him once a year. If Doom won, Cynthia's soul would go free but if he lost, the people of his country would grow to despise him until he became the most hated man in Latveria. Doom immediately accepted the deal as Boris looked on, distrustful and wary.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#20 (fb) - BTS) - Every year on the Summer Solstice (June 21st), Doom fought Mephisto. To start the ritual, Boris accompanied Doom down to the deepest dungeons, where the ritualistic confrontation took place.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#2) - On the eve of the anniversary of Cynthia von Doom's death, Boris approached Doctor Doom to remind him the time had come to visit his mother's grave. The old man accompanied Latveria's ruler as they made the trek to the woman's burial site. After paying his respects and feeling reaffirmed in his purpose to rule in honor of his deceased parents, von Doom and Boris returned to the castle. The old man watched as Doctor Doom locked himself in his laboratories once more, scared to find out what new menace to mankind he would create next.

(Fantastic Four I#39) - Boris was present when a court magician performed his hypnotism act for Doom and accidentally erased the false memories Reed Richards had implanted in Doom's brain of him defeating the Fantastic Four. Furious that he had been tricked, Doctor Doom vowed that only death could avenge this insult.

(Super-Villain Team Up I#8) - Boris served Doom during his convoluted campaign against the Sub-Mariner and his newfound ally the Shroud, who were both stuck within Latveria's borders after some local townspeople had discovered Sub-Mariner's Atlantean aircraft and destroyed it. Boris and several of Doom's troops came by to inspect the wreckage of the craft just as Namor and Shroud approached the site. When a guard dog spotted the superbeings, a brief fight broke out which ended when the duo made a run for it.

(Super-Villain Team Up I#8) - Returning to the castle, Boris was contacted Doctor Doom, who was on Hydrobase at the time. He informed Doom that Plan Gamma had been instituted and that it wouldn't be long until the fugitives were caught. He then attended the circus parade with what he thought was a Doombot by his side, unaware it actually was Rudolfo using a spare Doom armor. The sight of Doom angered the Sub-Mariner, who blew his cover, forcing the Shroud to knock him out then realize he now had to fight off Doom's forces by himself.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#9) - "Doom" halted the fight between the Shroud and the soldiers, ordering the recently arrived Circus of Crime to leave Latveria and taking Namor and Shroud captive. Boris, still unaware that it wasn't a Doombot, silently marveled at how this robot seemed to sound so lifelike and authoritative.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#11 - BTS) - Rodolfo, with help from the Red Skull, took over much of Latveria and even threw Boris and all of Doom's aides in the castle's dungeon.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#11) - The miniaturized Doctor Doom and Captain America came across Boris and the others languishing in the dilapidated jails on their way to confront Rodolfo and the Skull. Doom lamented the fact that his most loyal of retainers were now imprisoned in the same jail as his father Werner. Captain America was intrigued to realize love for his subjects was one of the forces that shaped Doctor Doom.

(Super-Villain Team-Up I#12 - BTS) - At some unrevealed point, after regaining control of the castle, Doom freed Boris and the others.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2 - BTS) - Following his defeat at the hands of Reed Richards and subsequent descent into madness, Doctor Doom lost control over Latveria to Zorba. Doom was kept in a padded cell under constant observation but Boris hatched a scheme to liberate the boy he had once vowed to guide, aid and protect. Securing the loyalty of Dr. Hauptmann, who was tasked to watch Doom, the bandaged form of the real Victor von Doom was switched with a robot.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2) - Boris met the body of Doom when it was delivered by horse drawn carriage to the resistance's base north of the castle on a dark and stormy night. Boris checked on his master, voicing his concerns with the fact his vow now forced him to help restore a monster the entire world feared. Boris and Lieutenant Borgo were soon joined by Hauptmann, who informed them that the fake Doom had been discovered, forcing them to speed up the procedure to restore his sanity.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2) - While Boris and Hauptmann worked to get Doom ready, a small number of Doom loyalists snuck into the royal castle to steal Doctor Doom's armor that was stored there. Zorba, rightfully paranoid something like that might happen, was down in the dungeon checking on it when Boris' forces attacked. Though one of them was captured, the others managed to get away with the armor. Zorba then allowed his one prisoner to "escape" as well, correctly figuring he would lead them to loyalists' base.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#15/2) - Hauptmann's operation was a success. Now fully in command of his mental faculties and armor, Doctor Doom quickly defeated the small army that Zorba had sent after the loyalists. In the aftermath, Doom's followers erupted in spontaneous cheering but Boris kept quiet, watching the scene with tragic, mixed emotions. After the celebration, Doom took his leave of Boris and the others, ordering them to find a new base, spread the word of his revival and gather forces for his imminent return. He then left to deal with personal affairs.

(Fantastic Four I#247 (fb) - BTS) - At an unrevealed point, Boris was captured by Zorba's forces and once again imprisoned within the castle. Though behind bars, he had heard of Doom's return to Latveria.

(Fantastic Four I#247) - Growing increasingly paranoid and mentally unhinged, Zorba had Boris repeatedly interrogated. In spite of the brutal beatings he suffered, the old man refused to break, which only increased Zorba's frustration. After he had passed out during their latest session, Zorba ordered a Doombot to take Boris back to his cell.

(Fantastic Four I#247) - While the FF, who were aiding Doctor Doom, fought the legions of Doombots sent against them by Zorba, Doctor Doom made his way to the castle, where his first act was to free Boris from the dungeons. Carrying his oldest friend up the stairs to safety, he assured him all would be put to right once more.

(Fantastic Four I#247 - BTS) - After making sure Boris was safe, Doctor Doom went on to confront Zorba, presumably killing him. He then assumed control of Latveria once more.

(Fantastic Four I#258) - Boris apologetically interrupted Doctor Doom's musings to announce that a young gypsy woman had arrived at the castle, begging for an audience. Doom assured his loyal aide it was alright and told him to have her brought in. 

(Cloak & Dagger II#10) - While Doctor Doom was out in the middle of a raging thunderstorm, reveling in its glory and swearing its elemental powers would be his, Boris came outside to inform him that the particle projector, which Doom hoped to use to take away the world's nuclear capabilities, was nearing completion. Following his aide in, Doom explained to him that ending the nuclear age was a necessary step. He even likened himself to Zeus from Greek myth, taking fire away from man because he felt they couldn't handle the gift he'd bestowed on them. Boris watched as Doom activated the device, which caused a massive energy flare that could be spotted miles away. Boris later prepared spacious accommodations for his master's guests, Cloak, Dagger and their friend Bill Clayton, who were stunned at so much hospitality from a man they only knew as a mad dictator. In reply, Boris told them that it was perhaps because Doom felt they did not possess sufficient power to interfere with his plans or perhaps it was because even Zeus needed an audience.

(Cloak & Dagger II#10 - BTS) - Left to ponder Boris' mysterious remarks, the duo and Bill eventually decided to stop Doom. After a fierce struggle, Cloak took Doom inside his shadow dimension, figuring he would try and blast his way out. When he did, Cloak made sure the massive energy burst hit the particle projector, which was destroyed as a result.

(Fantastic Four Annual I#20) - On the eve of the Summer Solstice, which signaled Doom's annual fight against Mephisto for his mother's soul, Boris and Doom were ready to confront Mephisto once again (though Boris did not know Doom planned to sacrifice Franklin Richards, whom Doom had abducted as a bargaining chip). Moments before the ritual, Boris informed Doom that intruders had been detected in the tunnels under the castle. Doom, not wanting to waste any time, dismissed this and proceeded with the summoning ritual. 

(West Coast Avengers II#35 - BTS) - Boris remained as Kristoff Vernard's aide, even though he knew the barely preteen boy was probably not his true master, after Kristoff was left in charge of Latveria.

(West Coast Avengers II#35) - Boris watched from a respectful distance while Kristoff was lost in thought on the parapet of the castle. He received a radio report from Doom's scientists, who were monitoring the captive West Coast Avengers that had been trapped inside Doom's battle simulations. Before Boris could inform Kristoff that Moon Knight had been the first to fall after 86 minutes of non-stop combat, the tiny tyrant rushed by him, announcing he should make preparations for his midnight meeting with the ambassador of Hungary (which happened to be Quicksilver). After he did so, Kristoff was pleased but told Boris to stay nearby for any later summons. Visibly intimidated, Boris told his master he would be admitting the Hungarian.

(Marvel Graphic Novel I#49) - Boris was introduced to Stephen Strange, who had accompanied Doctor Doom back to Latveria to help him fight Mephisto for the soul of his mother Cynthia. Doom told Boris that Strange was to be accorded every hospitality of the castle. Boris served the two men the dinner he had prepared for them and poured Strange some more local Latverian wine while the mage studied the contents of Cynthia's old trunk. Later that evening, Boris guided Strange to his quarters, as he recounted the sad history that led young Victor von Doom to become the feared dictator. As he told the tragic tale, Doom watched both men via hidden cameras.

(Fantastic Four I#405 (fb) - BTS) - Zarrko the Tomorrow Man kidnapped and replaced Boris as Doctor Doom's aide. (see comments)

(Books Of Doom I#1 (fb) - BTS) - Doom allowed an unidentified American reporter to come to Latveria to interview him and several of his closest allies and aides for a personal retrospective. However, instead of meeting with the woman, he ordered Boris to take her to an abandoned Latverian castle, where a wayward Doombot, believing himself to be the real Doctor Doom, held court.

(Books Of Doom I#6) - After the reporter had heard and recorded all of "Doctor Doom"'s past exploits, she was ready to return to America to start work on her story. Boris met her on the way out and craftily lured her into a cell that automatically locked. As he wandered off, he apologized to the screaming woman, telling her that while the deal stipulated she was allowed to learn his master's secrets, she was never meant to leave with them.

(Fantastic Four III#583) - Troubled by the fact that he had recently suffered seemingly irreparable neurological damage, Doctor Doom was convinced he was no longer fit to lead. Boris tried to assuage his concerns, telling his lord that he could still lead. Doom would hear nothing of it and ordered Boris to summon Kristoff Vernard from exile. He then announced plans to abdicate the throne while he worked on a way to regain what he had lost. Just as Boris was busy on his PDA to make his master's demands happen, the device picked up Valeria Richards' translocation beam. Boris watched silently as Doom and the brilliant young girl discussed matters and was the only witness to their deal: she would help fix the damage to his brain if he promised to aid her father.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer), Jack Kirby (pencils) and Chic Stone (inks).

For someone so pivotal to one of the Marvel Universe's premiere villains, Boris had very few appearances. Not inherently evil but bound by obligation, he truly was a tormented soul. By keeping a promise he made to his dying friend Werner von Doom, he helped create Doctor Doom, who was responsible for hundreds if not thousands of victims. Makes one wonder how he slept at night. But, just how old is Boris? Allegedly already a grandfather when Doom was still a child, he was old but remarkably vital for a man his age. Perhaps his longevity is a result of either Doom's technologies, magical powers or both. Maybe he's an LMD created by Doom, that would certainly eliminate all of Boris' moral objections.

The exact time Zarrko the Tomorrow Man kidnapped and replaced Boris has never been disclosed. Nor was it revealed when the real Boris was freed (or where he hung out in the meantime... man, that poor Boris sure got locked up a lot).

Boris was never directly named a member of the Zefiro gypsy clan but considering his close relationship with the von Dooms it stands to reason he was also one of them.

Boris received a profile in Marvel Encyclopedia HC Vol. 6: Fantastic Four.

Profile by Norvo.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Boris should not be confused with


images: (without ads)
Fantastic Four Annual I#15, p49, pan5 (main image)
Marvel Graphic Novel I#39, p38, pan3 (Boris holds back young Victor)
Fantastic Four Annual I#2, p10, pan2 (promises all will remain as is)
Books of Doom I#6, p18, pan2 (watches Doom summon Mephisto)
Super-Villain Team-Up I#11, p12, pan1 (observed by tiny Doom)
Fantastic Four I#247, p20, pan2 (saved by Doom)
Cloak & Dagger II#10, p3, pan1 (has heard it all before)
Fantastic Four Annual I#20, p35, pan1 (alerts Doom to intruders)
Books Of Doom I#6, p23, pan1 (with American reporter)


Appearances:
Fantastic Four Annual I#2 (September, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer, editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Chic Stone (inks)
Fantastic Four I#39 (June, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer, editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Frank Ray (inks)
Super-Villain Team Up I#8 (October, 1976) - Steve Englehart (writer), Keith Giffen (pencils), Owen McCarron (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Super-Villain Team Up I#9 (December, 1976) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Jim Shooter (pencils), Sal Trapani (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Super-Villain Team Up I#11 (April, 1977) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Bob Hall (pencils), Don Perlin (inks), Archie Goodwin (editor)
Fantastic Four Annual I#15 (October, 1980) - Doug Moench (writer), Tom Sutton (pencils & inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four I#247 (October, 1982) - John Byrne (writer, pencils, inks), Jim Salicrup (editor)
Fantastic Four I#258 (September, 1983) - John Byrne (writer, pencils, inks), Carl Potts (editor) 
Cloak & Dagger II#10 (January, 1987) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Terry Austin (inks), Carl Potts (editor)
Fantastic Four Annual I#20 (August, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Paul Neary (pencils),Tony DeZuniga (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#35 (August, 1987) - Steve Engelhart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Mike Machlan (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)
Marvel Graphic Novel I#49 (July, 1989) - Roger Stern (writer), Mike Mignola (pencils), Mark Badger (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Fantastic Four I#405 (October, 1995) - Tom DeFalco (writer), Paul Ryan (pencils), Danny Bulanadi (inks), Ralph Macchio (editor)
Books Of Doom I#1 (January, 2006) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (pencils), Mark Farmer (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Books Of Doom I#5 (May, 2006) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (pencils), Drew Hennessy & Robin Riggs (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Books Of Doom I#6 (June, 2006) - Ed Brubaker (writer), Pablo Raimondi (pencils), Andrew Hennessy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Fantastic Four I#583 (November, 2010) -  Jonathan Hickman (writer), Steve Epting (pencils & inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)


Last updated: 10/24/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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