Thought Bubble 2021: MF Doom – Comics And The Rise Of Supervillains

by Olly MacNamee

Hosts: Juice Aleem with artist Ronald Wimberly 

Full disclosure up front; I know Juice Aleem as a friend and as one of my co-directors of High Vis street art and graffiti festival, which we run each year in Birmingham. So, I was always going to catch up with him at this year’s festival. That, and our shared love of hip hop and comics. In fact, I covered his workshop last time round. 

While this was billed as a workshop, Aleem had a lot to cover and so it became more of a panel on the career of the now deceased MF Doom (1971 – 2020) and his own love of comics, how he included this love in not only his look and persona but in his lyrics too. And so, for the main part of this workshop, Aleem gave us a history of MF Doom and exactly how Doctor Doom influenced The creation of rap artist MF Doom.

Starting off in a rap groups called K.M.D. older hip hop heads may remember Daniel Dumile (Doom’s real name) and K.M.D. appearing on 3rd Bass’s seminal album, ‘The Cactus Album’ and the track ‘The Gasface’. You may not remember then, but they were certainly players in the late ‘80s/early ‘90s rap scene.

Unfortunately, as well as loosing their record label deal, DJ Subrock was killed in a hit and run accident and K.M.B. imploded. So, with no band and no deal, MF Doom arrives on the underground scene. Clearly based on Doctor Doom, who once said about Doom, “I liked him, he was ill… It seems like they killed him, but he always cane back.” And so too did, Dumile.

Of course, rap music has had many links with comics, as Aleem covered in his last panel, back in the halcyon days of pre-Covid life.

Artwork by Quiddortz from High Vis Festival 2021

Moving into the second half hour of the allocated hour, the attendees were encouraged to create either a list of words associated with supervillainy, or an illustration of their own creation. Then, from there, give your baddie an origin! And motivation.

Aleem used this larger-than-life character as an inspiration for the gathered group to quickly create their now villains in the time left. A lot of people in the room had heard of MF Doom, but now they certainly knew a whole lot more. And so do you.

You can check on more of Juice Aleem’s work and events at

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