The son of Latverian gypsies, Victor's childhood is very difficult. His mother dies while Victor is still young, and as a result the boy dedicates every effort to finding a way to bring her back. He begins to study the occult and magic, in the process revealing his genius intellect. When he receives the opportunity to study in America, he eagerly accepts and concentrates on science.
While in college, Victor meets Reed Richards, a man whom Victor considers an intellectual rival. Victor begins to build a machine that he hopes will breach the barrier between this world and the afterlife. Reed cautions Victor that the calculations for the machine are incorrect, but Victor dismisses the warning. The machine malfunctions and scars Victor.
Victor returns to Latveria and seizes control of the country from its despotic king. Then he creates a suit of armor and begins to wear a metal mask to hide his scarred features. Victor renames himself Doctor Doom and reshapes Latveria into a utopia. He eliminates crime, disease and hunger, but at the cost of personal freedoms. Doctor Doom holds a grudge against Reed Richards, and challenges him many times over the years. Doom uses magic and science to try and defeat the Fantastic Four, but Reed always seems to find a way to outsmart him. Doom's suit gives him super strength and resistance to damage. He can even survive underwater or in the vacuum of space - his suit can seal itself and has a four-hour supply of air.