Dr. Steel vs. Dr. Horrible: Mad Scientist Showdown

Intellectual property is an ever-raging discussion here in The Age of The Internet. Often the lines between inspiration and imitation are blurred but today I give you an interesting case. You decide!

Long-time mad scientist Doctor Steel has, over the course of many years, made himself an infectious image. To do this he’s combined vintage war propaganda aesthetics, catchy tunes and an image of an asylum escapee who plots away in a secret lab and seeks to improve Earth with toys and total world domination. Through his website he’s pulled together an entire army of fans called Toy Soldiers, who organize events and distribute various Dr. Steel propaganda.

Left: Doctor Steel. Right: Doctor Horrible

Now there’s come along a Doctor Horrible. Produced by Joss Whedon and starring Neil Parick Harris, “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” is a website dedicated to video blogs starring a 30-something mad scientist who sings and wants to take over the world. In the site’s Master Plan, Whedon invites fans to spread the word, offers propaganda-style banners and promises a DVD release later.

Similarities beyond the singing mad doctor character include aforementioned propaganda-inspired banners, shiny gloves, goggles and an “Ask Dr. Horrible” segment – not unlike these “Ask Doctor Steel” videos. There is also the matter of the title itself : “Sing-Along Blog” is reminiscent of Doctor Steel’s Read-A-Long album.

Doctor Steel feels slighted by this endeavor and is rallying his troops in retaliation. Now that you’ve seen the evidence it’s time to cast your votes. Personally I’d like to see a bit of Doctor on Doctor boxing, shiny gloves and all.

128 Responses to “Dr. Steel vs. Dr. Horrible: Mad Scientist Showdown”

  1. pat Says:

    hello, they’re all tulpas of dr sleepless obviously.

  2. Damien Says:

    First of all, I would like to state how creepy it is, that I was Just watching Act I of Dr. Horrible.

    Secondly, Love Dr. Steel, though I may, Dr. Horrible is connected with way too many things which have my undying, perfect, complete and Forever Love.

    Joss Whedon. NPH. Nathan Fillion.

    I think Dr. Horrible gets my vote.

  3. the daniel Says:

    I have no real allegiance either way, though I do have the Dr. Steel album in MP3 format. However, propaganda art is in the zeitgest, and mad scientists tend to generally have long coats and goggles, so it’s hard to accuse one of just being a pale imitation of the other. i think we can just sit back and see who wins in a battle royale between artist/rock musician Steel and actor/boy genius physician Horrible. no matter how the fight ends, we the spectators are the ones that win.

  4. Nadya Says:

    Never watched much of Buffy, but I love Firefly (“I’ll be in my bunk!”). Joss Whedon has a great imagination and attention to detail; the idea of him knowingly copying so much without acknowledgment would break my heart. I want to believe that this is a huge misunderstanding – like maybe Whedon hired a production designer who was dishonest about his sources, or some other such thing.

    People will argue that Doctor Steel himself pulls too many gimmicks from the cultural lexicon to be considered unique: after all, we’ve seen the 40s-inspired mad scientist archetype before, and even the idea of a band enlisting fans to form a legion/nation through the use of satirical propaganda isn’t new. Laibach did it with the NSK State in the early 90s:

    However, what makes Dr. Steel unique (as unique as any project can be in today’s mashup world) is not so much the idea behind the character and his story as the particular stylistic/media mix used to give that character life. Steel uses his image, his music, and even his fans to paint a picture of himself. He draws on a unique combination of genres, styles, time periods and outlets to create that picture. And there are too many similarities between that and Horrible’s mix not be suspicious.

    What an embarrassment for Joss – and, despite the hurt of being apparently plagiarized, a boon to Steel: undoubtedly, this story will will soon be all over the place and attract a fresh batch of acolytes to his project.

    I’d love to hear the other side of this story.

  5. Mil (not signed in) Says:

    This looks like a job for Google Bomb.

  6. Jerem Morrow Says:

    I’m a card-carrying Toy Soldier. But this other seems dandy too. Drat…if I have to choose sides, DR STEEL, it is.

  7. Tequila Says:

    What a fun little war this will be…

    Whedon has a large cult. I don’t mean a cult following I mean a serious friggin cult. His fanbase is rabid in ways that make Trekkies seems sane and downright lovable by comparison. So they cannot be underestimated in their ability to pretty much ignore wherever his ides may be culled from.

    That said…how cool is it to have warring mad scientists in this day and age?

  8. Daniel Says:

    Quote Tequila. Joss Whedon annoys me to no end, but his league of followers are frightening in their strength. The similarities between this and Dr. Steel are rather striking, and I hope he manages to come out ahead on this.

  9. Mer Says:

    Doctor Steel is fun, but come on, it’s not like he invented the wheel, here! In fact, the majority of Steel’s shtick revolves around pre-packaged, pre-existing ideas, styles and sounds. Variations on the quirky mad scientist character have been around for decades, and I think it’s fair to say that familiarity is a big part of why people gravitate toward him. For all the pseudo-Soviet propaganda posters, he’s very cozy and safe.

    Nadya already brought up Laibach, and they were definitely the first band I thought of when I was introduced to Steel’s work. However, Laibach has always seemed far less focused on cultivating a pure cult-of-personality than Steel is. In creating a decidedly uncomfortable environment that leads people to question really basic tenets of authority and power, Laibach are putting substance before style. I can’t honestly say I get the same sense of priorities from Steel at all. His only message seems to be “let’s party down, Utopian style!” Which is great… but it does make me more likely to question the validity of him sicking his fans on other people working with the same iconography.

  10. E. Brown Says:

    Someone using a cliche for entertainment value is upset that someone else is using a cliche for entertainment value?

  11. Mer Says:

    (I should add that even as it irks me me to watch anyone rally their more sycophantic fans to “march” and “destroy” an adversary, it’s pretty awesome that that’s Steel’s been able to integrate the war cry into his shtick without breaking character. That’s some savvy marketing right there… and of course I find humor in it.)

  12. creativename Says:

    I love Dr. Steel but NPH and Nathan Fillion are near impossible for me not to love.

  13. Tequila Says:

    As always good points Mer. Whatever comes of this will at the very least be damned entertaining to watch…provided the more rabid don’t take it TOO seriously.

    It feels a bit like a Coke vs. Pepsi kinda thing. One can shout “Rip off!” all they want but as long as it forces both camps to up the creative ante…all is good right?

    I’ll side with the Dr. Steel camp though…mainly cause I’m really really really sick of hearing about Firefly. It’s good…but lets face it it’s a western in space…nothing more! :P

  14. Jon Munger Says:

    I think I’m gonna side with “Convergent Evolution” on this one. Surely, the Mad Scientist is the Zombie of the …

    You know what? I couldn’t finish that sentence without feeling like a total douchebag. You get the idea.

  15. Skerror Says:

    This whole thing is such a win-win situation for both. The way this feud is being packaged…I don’t know. It seems like it might be some kind of artistic mad-scientist character ponzi scheme. Hip-hop battles always sell more records…

    I can’t help but picture Joss Whedon and Dr. Steel cooking this up over a round of cigars. More power to ’em though…looks like something people are going to have fun with.

  16. m1k3y Says:

    @pat – i’m with you! now, who will create Doktor Sleepless: the musical?

  17. Sam E. Says:

    My vote goes to the good doctor, Dr Steel.

    Doctor Steel has been around since 1999, he is the original musical mad man.

  18. Terra Trouvé Says:

    firstly, GASP @ Tequila – Firefly is so much more than just a western in space. It is a redefinition of both the western and space opera genres. but let’s not stray, this isn’t a firefly thread. each to their own.

    I think the only way to settle this is with a doc-off… a mad-scientist-off. ok, so there’s no easy way to say it, but you get the gist.
    test tubes at dawn. mortal combat; survival of the maddest. etc etc.

  19. Evil Yellowjacket Says:

    as a toy soldier and yellowjacket i must say that it is sad that a man cannot do anything on his own… Joss Whedon gets all the money because he has all the pull and the doc is left in the dust because he doesn’t have any strings to pull? i hope that the good doc comes out on top and Whedon falls flat on his face!

  20. Alex Says:

    I’m not taking sides on this one because I agree with some of the other commenters – Dr. Steel didn’t invent the mad scientist schtick and it’s hardly fair to demand that no one else be allowed to use it now that he’s using it.

    That said, I think a gadget duel would be a good way to resolve this.

  21. Zombie Stalin Says:

    Click image to Expose the theif that is Joss Whedon

    Um. Spell check is for everyone. Even outraged aspiring world emperors and their attendants. (Especially them!)

  22. Red Scharlach Says:

    Joss Whedon lacking in original ideas? Surely not!

  23. Oddex Arcadia Says:

    I think some of you that are either in the “I’m watching this” or the “Dr. H” camps are missing the real reason Dr. Steel is upset. It is not about the basic schtick of mad scientist taking over the world.

    It is the similarities to Dr. Steel that Whedon writes into the Dr. H character. As a general rule in big business this is no problem, it is just a matter of who has the correct connections and the money to back it up. When someone of Whedon’s level of cult leaderhood takes defining traits of a character this man has built up over a long period time, it destroys any chance that Dr. Steel will ever have at making it big.

    It is a big Hollywood company taking something from someone little and saying “What are you going to do about it?”

    Whedon and this crew, as much as I do like almost everyone involved with the whole Dr. H project is taking money directly out of Dr. Steel’s hands. If people were drawn to the Dr. H character because of the defining traits of that character, then that says they would likely to be drawn to the Dr. Steel camp because of the traits of his character.

    Ok, I think I am done. Now for more information about Dr. Steel, The Toy Soldiers, and the Utopian Playland movement please visit


    Thank you for your time.

    Toy Soldier Oddex Arcadia of Division 1428: The Roughneck Rejects.

  24. Ry Ry Says:

    I have to side with steel on this. He’s been around for ages, doing a world of great, and horrible swings down and is able to scoop up everything just because he has the connections to tap.

  25. gadget girl Says:

    what’s funny is, i had never heard of dr steel, but the moment i saw nph in dr. horrible, i said, “holy crap, he’s dressed just like yzma and kronk in ‘the emperor’s new groove’ when they’re playing mad scientists!!” so as far as i’m concerned, the look is one that is iconic with mad scientists everywhere, and not just dr. steel.

    this isn’t going to hurt anyone. whedon fans ARE crazy in love with him, myself included. we will shell out money for almost anything the man does, which is why the buffy and angel comics are so flippin’ popular. because of this, dr. horrible won’t end up being hurt by the similarities. dr. steel, on the other hand, which most people had not heard of, will probably get a LOT of interest and exposure now, as people go to check it out based on blogs such as these. let’s think on it this way; joss was obviously inspired by dr. steel, consciously or not. if joss, who so many of us love, was inspired, than shouldn’t we as his fans checks it out? see what inspires the person that inspires US?

    also, let’s keep in mind that for a lot of us whedon fans, the love we have for the man comes from his dialogue. the ideas are awesome, but it’s almost always about the character development, personalities and interactions that have us coming back for more.

    /my 2 cents

  26. allgood2 Says:

    Sounds to me like Dr. Steel is trying to drum up more traffic. Come on! It’s not like Dr. Steel is original. It’s a cultural appropriation, right down to the white coat and goggles.

    Besides, being part of the ‘Cult of Whedon,’ I think most of us can readily state that Whedon is all about cultural assimilation. He’s a pop culture god, because he loves pop culture—from old time musicals, to old and new science fiction movies and stories, to comic books. His work is derivative at its best, when it collapses frameworks to their essentials and creates something new and original.

    We love Whedon because Whedon loves us and our love of pop culture–the geeky, the downtrodden, the fantastic, the wondrous, and even the cliche. He plays with them, turns them on their head, and makes them new.

    Hopefully the feigned war will bring Dr. Steel some new converts; though personally I would have a preferred an ‘…if you loved Dr. Horrible, give another singing, mad scientist, villain a go’ approach. Cause, now I just have to believe Dr. Steel is too washed up to believe in ‘his’ own content and ability.

    Because a cultural ‘thief’ who blatantly accuses others of stealing the same cultural items he appropriated, sounds to me like someone out of ideas. Sad.

  27. Aaron Says:

    ok, I understand the right to use a cliche argument, that works for the lab coat and goggles. But how many singing mad scientists with videos and blogs on the internet have there been?

    I heard that if you try to comment about doctor steel on doctor horrible’s facebook its deemed abusive and reported. gon’a go try that right now.

  28. Aaron Says:

    ok, if you write “This is a complete rip-off of Dr. Steel. He’s been going since 2004. Even the name is stolen from Dr. Steel’s first compilation album “Dr. Steel’s Read-A-Long” album.” its deemed abusive.

    if you write “Has anyone heard about the Doctor Horrible vs Doctor Steel issue?” its deemed abusive

    if you just write “Doctor Steel” it stays, . . . . but for how long?

  29. ricard Says:

    Yeh, this is bollocks. There are a few coincidences, but the ‘propagnder’ thing is none existent in the Dr Horrible world, he is a character and not one that intergrates with those watching while this Dr Steel bloke seems to interact with his audience. The blog thing in Dr Horrible is a plot device not a gimick used week in week out to make sad internet based fucks feel wanted.

    The goggles are similar in the same way a character who wears glasses is similar. Horrible doesn’t wear a long coat its a lab jacket. If this is copyright infringement then Mary Shelly (author of Frankenstein) needs to sue everyone writer who has ever written a character who spends his time in a lab playing god.

    ALso that Dr Steel stuff is closer to some wierd agony aunt, who believes himself to actually be a mad scientist, while Dr Horrible’s sing along blog is a work of fiction, not some interactive bullshit people with no real purpose in their lives partake in, in order to feel important.

  30. perkyshadowgirl Says:

    While I agree that at first glance there do appear to be a lot of similarities, I don’t think that was deliberate. I highly doubt that Joss Whedon went online and looked for someone to rip off. He might have absorbed it through osmosis – Dr. Steel has done a good job of integrating himself into popular culture, and I now associate his image with “generic mad scientist”. And aren’t all “generic mad scientists” bent on world domination?

    I’ll admit that the “Ask” segments are unfortunately similar (I say unfortunately because it saddens me that Whedon’s work might not be 100% from mind of Whedon :P like you can’t find references to EVERYTHING in Whedon’s work :P) but again, I wonder if that might just be coincidence. When you have a video blog, you have a tendency to get responses, and Dr. Steel certainly isn’t the only one out there who response to emails either.

    Yes. They both sing. But you’ll notice that the music they sing is very different.

    Unfortunate coincidences, but coincidences nonetheless. Like I said, I highly doubt that Joss Whedon went searching the web looking for someone/thing to rip off. Not because I don’t think he’s like that, but because he knew that he wouldn’t be able to get away with it.

  31. (Nurse) Amy Castro Says:

    Doctor Phineas Waldolf Steel =WIN! Doctor Steel gets my vote! He is a real person, with really AMAZING music, and a really inspirational message! Dr. Steel is really trying to make the world a better place! He has vision, talent, creativity and leadership the likes of which cannot be compared! 10,000 Toy soldiers can’t be wrong!

  32. Linda Says:

    Oh, please. They’re both taking from a long history of sci-fi tropes and archetypes. So there are some similarities. It doesn’t look like Dr Steel is terribly original in concept (note – execution is something different from concept) either.

  33. Spencer MacGowan Says:

    I am Full of Sorrow at this Debacle That was unfurled it’s rubbery claws and has attacked the very Soul and purpose of Dr. Steel’s Well designed and manicured Creation. over the course of several years he has created an iconic personae and some really Kicking Tunes, The actions by Dr. Steel were created painstakingly on his own with little or no money and his technical savvy. Joss Steps in and takes from the work that is a personal masterpiece of art and music and turns it into a pre paid conglomerate Franchise with little regard to the man that made this possible and That man is Doctor Phineas Waldof Steel TM

    Take the Time to go to all the pages involved in Doctor Steel’s Cyberverse.

    Mr. Whedon SHAME ON YOU.

  34. Red Scharlach Says:

    God, it’s like none of you Whedon fans are bloody listening at all. But I shouldn’t be surprised. He loves his darlings, after all. The monstrous hack.

  35. Dashelle Says:

    Wow, this is just getting silly. All the Whedon people I must say are pretty snippy about the Dr.Steel thing. I’m sorry to say, but I could really care less for the sci-fi original garbage that he does, and feel that it will have no impact on the Dr.Steel realm. Being that it really seems to be two different things entirely.

    But I will admit, being on both sides of the fence, it does seem like the whole “sing along” thing was indeed very close to that of Doc Steel. Either way, Steel does the Robot thing, (which was pointed out to me in the whole argument) and this other Doogie Howser guy… whats his name- ..Oh yeah Dr. Horrible, are just two different individuals… with two different agendas.

    It’s really sad that this war happened in the first place, but whatever. Like I said, Dr.Steel appeals to a different crowd I think. Then again, maybe he doesn’t. Either way, I really don’t care for the Dr.Horrible stuff too much because it reminds me of the Sci-Fi original garbage that I make sure to skip by quickly when channel surfing…. where as with Doc Steel, I crank up the volume and rock out ^_^!!

    My vote Goes for Steel, because the other guy is just too corny for me.

    Oh yeah, and my vote also goes to Agamemnon Tiberius Vacuum.

  36. megaleg Says:

    Although I, yet another member of the Whedon Cult, have never (ever!) heard of Dr Steel, I’m going to join the camp who keep pointing out that the mad scientist cliché can hardly be attributed to one character – hence it being a *cliché*. Anyway, Joss Whedon is known for transforming already existing pop culture into something new, something different; but more than that, he is incredibly skilled at developing characters and plot.

    It amuses me greatly that people are actually *getting upset* over this.

  37. Zoetica Says:

    Dear readers of Coilhouse! I’d like to take a moment this fine July morning to remind everyone that this are civilized blog with civilized threads. Please be considerate and thank you.

    P.S. Don’t make me put the smack down. I have shiny gloves, too.

  38. Mer Says:



  39. Zoetica Says:

  40. Mer Says:


  41. Curulian Blue Says:

    “All the Whedon people I must say are pretty snippy about the Dr.Steel thing.”

    Really? Whedon fans are being snippy?

    What about this:

    July 16th, 2008 at 4:58 pm “Whedon has a large cult. I don’t mean a cult following I mean a serious friggin cult. His fanbase is rabid in ways that make Trekkies seems sane and downright lovable by comparison.”

    July 16th, 2008 at 6:00 pm
    “Joss Whedon annoys me to no end, but his league of followers are frightening in their strength.”

    July 16th, 2008 at 8:55 pm “I’ll side with the Dr. Steel camp though…mainly cause I’m really really really sick of hearing about Firefly.”

    July 17th, 2008 at 3:51 am
    “as a toy soldier and yellowjacket i must say that it is sad that a man cannot do anything on his own… Joss Whedon gets all the money because he has all the pull and the doc is left in the dust because he doesn’t have any strings to pull? i hope that the good doc comes out on top and Whedon falls flat on his face!”

    July 17th, 2008 at 4:29 am “thief”

    July 17th, 2008 at 8:37 am
    “God, it’s like none of you Whedon fans are bloody listening at all. But I shouldn’t be surprised. He loves his darlings, after all. The monstrous hack.”

    But yeah, you’re right. It’s Whedon fans that are being snippy.

  42. Zoetica Says:

  43. Mer Says:

    Eeeewww. Zo, put that away.


  44. Randomeis Says:

    I’ll admit I’m a fan of The Joss, but I am also a fan of the Internet. I agree that if the issue had been framed in a “If you like Dr H try out Dr. S” sort of way I would more than likely gone to find out more about Dr. S.
    As it stands I’m kind of put off by it, and more than likely won’t.
    I think Dr. S has missed out on a chance to bring more viewers to his site.
    And if we have a Mad Scientist fight on our hands lets not forget Dr. Forrester and Beakman.

  45. Aryas Says:

    Ok. I fully expect to get attacked for this but, having just gone and wandered around Dr Steel’s website and listened to the music and watched the vids… it’s awful. it’s pretensious and the music is horrible. And reading these comments, well, way to take it too seriously. Dr Horrible is fun and corny and is going to be 45 minutes long. It’ll be a fad. It’ll make some money and then it will go away. If Dr Steel has been around as long as I am lead to beleive he has been then he’s not a fad and he’s going to have the ability to carry on and make more awful music and pretensious videos. I may even come back and look at more because, well, I’m like that and I am aware that there is a delight in getting to know a product well.

    But this whole debate, this whole slagging of Whedon and Whedon’s fans, it just sounds like an annoying ploy for marketing. And that’s fine. As you wish. But don’t take it all so seriously. This is the internet and it’s meant to be fun.

  46. Dashelle Says:

    Well, this whole blog WAS set as a Vs. after all…..

  47. Tanya Says:

  48. Ellen Guon Says:

    I wrote a short story a few years ago that was a supervillain’s blog. The idea is not that much of a creative stretch.

    We’re dealing with archetypes, here, built upon a huge core of existing mythos from decades of comic books, and logical extensions into the new technology of social networking.

  49. D Says:

    Oh, this is, like, stuff off the internet? That’s nice.

    I hope we’re all bigger egos than to get swallowed up by someone else on the www, however nice/fun/charismatic.

  50. Garou Says:

    You know what? I could prolly lose my Yellow Jacket for saying this, but maybe an alliance is best between the Whedon fans and the Steel fans. Maybe me and others are blowing this way out of proportion? I think much can be gained from this. …. my only plea is that you don’t make me watch Buffy…..

  51. aliasmisskat Says:

    Yes, we Joss fans are rabid animals, foaming at the mouth, completely uncaring as to whether or not he’s ripped someone off. We’re nearly as bad as punk knitters, without the metal, pointy sticks.

    Except, I’ve been on the internets for years (since first available in my town), and a pop culture whore just as long, and have NEVER heard of Dr. Steel.

    Now I have.

    He should be thanking Joss for the exposure.

  52. Mer Says:


    Fair enough. And certainly, we encourage healthy, reasonable debate on Coilhouse. However, those who indulge in feverishly irrational name-calling and insult-hurling are not really welcome here. Flamers will be dealt with in the language of ELL-OH-ELL. (Or possibly horrifically NSFW images of plushie sex.)

    Now eez time for danse par tee.


  53. fool bean Says:

    what this whedon fangirl did:

    a) saw this thread and wondered–never having heard of dr. steel
    b)browsed dr. steel’s site
    c) decided they are similar (not just the character’s duds but the blog, singing and intentions)
    d) felt slight chest pains.
    e) got all excited about this new-to-me bit of entertainment I found.

    Hope there is a Dr. Steel vs. Dr. Horrible duel, that would be most excellent. Collaboration of creative types is a happy thing. Looking to purchase the Dr. H DVD and some of Dr. S’s mp3’s.
    Boon for me, boon for whedon, boon for dr. steel. I have no problem enjoying more than one thing at a time.

  54. Lalla Says:

    Come on guys, Doctor Steel is great, but he’s hardly original, Dr Horrible does not rip his stuff off in any way and even if you think so, that’s no reason to call Whedon a hack and insult his fans.
    You’re making the rest of us look bad.

  55. brittanica Says:

    i’ve been under the impression that there haven’t been any new ideas in a long time.

    everyone’s ripping off someone.

    how ’bout we chill? i think the dancing mal gif is already helping with that; it’s hypnotizing.

  56. Mer Says:

    Fool Bean, I like your attitude. Have some kittens.


  57. Dashelle Says:


    No I totally agree, I actually am seeing both sides now, and must say that this could all end up positive for Doc Steel, and Dr Horrible. I guess lets see what happens.

    (oh noes to the plushie sex!! XD lolz)

  58. Mer Says:

    (Props to Tanya “Babushka Cat” Feldman for the mesmerizing Mal gif.)

  59. allgood2 Says:

    Aaron says: I heard that if you try to comment about doctor steel on doctor horrible’s facebook its deemed abusive and reported. gon’a go try that right now.

    I’ve seen a number of comments about Dr. Steel on Dr. Horrible’s website. If they state their point and are respectful, so far no one’s flagged them. But sure if you start off with , “this is a rip-off” or “Joss Whedon” steels” I’m fairly certain you’ll get flagged. You don’t got to someone’s home throw dishes, and food at them, and then expect them to cook you dinner. You want a dinner conversation where you can put forth your point and have it be heard and addressed, well then there’s a word called “civility’. I know its the internet age, but learning what it means and how to use it goes a long way.

    The fact is it doesn’t matter if there is or was only one singing mad scientist on the internet before. There’s been more than one singing mad scientist, if you count plays and musicals, etc. The medium is the internet because the medium is the internet. It doesn’t always matter who got there first.

    Plus your argument requires a burden of proof. Can you prove that Joss or brothers had every heard of Dr. Steel before doing Dr. Horrible? Can you prove that anyone besides the ‘Toy Soldiers’ had ever heard of Dr. Steel despite its long-term growth.

    Those two items, aside, can you prove that no one else ever, in history has never a villain that sings. I bet if you search hard enough. If you want to go there, I offer Shrek (2001), Shrek II, and Shrek III, as well as the Prophecy of Zacharias (with it’s hymn-singing villains) that’s either the old or new Testament; and even Mandy Patkin’s greedy Huxley character in ‘Elmo in Grouchland’. That was a 5 minutes with a search on ‘singing villain’ and Dr. Steel doesn’t come up on the first page at all.

    I still offer, that instead of listening to someone who from a Dr. Steel forum post, who attempted to light a fire of destruction under Dr. Horrible. The Toy Soldiers would be better off attempting to tell Whedon fans, why Dr. Steel could also be entertaining to them and worth their effort to give a try. That is if the goal is to get more viewers/subscribers/Toy Soldiers for Dr. Steel.

  60. GrrrlRomeo Says:

    Joss Whedon stole from himself!

    I shall check out Dr. Steel though. I understand the bitterness people may have over something so seemingly similar on the surface…and one getting a whole lot more buzz…which we COULD share.

    Considering that Joss has already done a campy musical episode on Buffy, and that he has previously created the nerdy wannabe evil scientists living in the basement before (who even built a freeze ray), I must conclude that Joss is simply repackaging ideas he has already done in the 6th season of Buffy. He stole from himself.

  61. Mer Says:

  62. Miss E Says:

    Have we not learned from 2Pac and Biggie? Come on now. Can’t we all just get along?

  63. widderslainte Says:

    I think they’re both ripping off Professor Chrome Dome from The Tick.

  64. Dorkritual Says:

    Weeeeee! Peace.

  65. Dragoncamulos Says:

    Honestly, I think the real issue here, and why we are all discussing this in the first place is the choice of titles Joss gave to his series. If Joss had named it anything else besides “Read Along Blog” this page wouldnt be here, we would be discussing this, and everything would be fine in the world. But by giving it that name, it raises into question how Joss came up with this series.

    In my own opinion, while i like both Dr. Steel’s Music and Joss’s Series, i’m concerned about where Joss got the idea from and hope that it really is just a coincidence. What would be great though is if Joss could invite Dr Steel on a future episode and we get dualing musical mad scientist. That would be full of all kinds of win! =D

  66. Dr. Evil Says:

    I’m a huge Whedon fan. I love Dr. Horrible. While looking around for links, I found Dr. Steel. Initially, he looks very interesting. Without Whedon, I probably never would have found Dr. Steel.

    But I have a picture of my halloween costume that I wore in 1996. My costume was mad scientist. I found a pair of goggles EXACTLY like what NPH is wearing and some hazardous material gloves at a military surplus store and a friend who is talented with a sewing maching made an ordinary lab coat into a side buttoning military-esqe coat that looks EXACTLY like that worn by Dr. Steel and Dr. Horrible. And to complete the story, in the picture I am doing karaoke.

    That’s right… Dr. Evil SINGS!
    So therefore, since both of them obviously stole from me… Dr. Evil, I will fully expect both to pay me royalties henceforth.

    My lawsuit against Mike Meyers for stealing the name is still pending.

    (Ok, there’s a bit of snark in this post, but the halloween costume is 100% true. My point is that if I can come up with that name/image in ’96, I can’t see how anyone can think Whedon needed to copy Dr. Steel. Obviously it’s not that original of an idea.)

  67. Bunny Says:


  68. Kenashimame Says:

    Wow, there are only six basic plots. If Steel wants to get bent out of shape about Dr. Horrible, then everyone who’s picked up a quill or turned on a word processor owes a hoard of royalties to some unknown neanderthal shamen who has been dead for 100,000 years.

    Rag on Whedon all you want. The most famous dervationist hack in Western Civilization is some dead guy who goes by the name of Shakespeare.

  69. allgood2 Says:

    Dragoncamulos says: “If Joss had named it anything else besides “Read Along Blog” this page wouldnt be here…”

    Joss didn’t title it ‘Read Along Blog,’ the title of the series is Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog in reference to the very cultish ‘sing-along’ shows done for things like ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and even Whedon’s own ‘Once More With Feeling’. Both which herald from the old radio sing along shows. See the dying argument.

    At the most you could complain about the use of the word ‘blog’.

    The problem is history. Too many people find something that’s new and exciting, and start to whole heartedly believe that nothing similar has ever came before. I’m not trying to diss Dr. Steel’s following. He’s obviously worked long and hard, and has a nice size community, for an internet following. Though ultimately small in the scheme of things. I say that reasonably, since in the scheme of things, its quite possible that Dr. Horrible will be measured as small but influential as well.

    The point is, most things are rarely totally unique. It’s generally worth the effort to know what influenced and artist and why. For at the very least, learning the history and influence of an artist will probably gain you some additional hours of entertainment. But also, so unsubstantiated accusation don’t get thrown around.

    Besides, it’s just not nice to think your fervor over your selected artist is worthwhile; while believing someone else’s fervor is crap. If you had even just scratched the surface of research; you’d have discovered that a significant percentage of Whedon fans or the ‘Cult of Whedon’ are academics or academically inclined, with a defined interest in pop culture.

    Which is pretty much to say, we comb through Joss’ offerings with a fine tooth comb looking for references to movies, television shows, plays, comics, song, character tics, and a host of other things. We even keep track of characters from Whedon’s shows. Not just the main characters, but even smaller ones like Felicia Day’s turn as Vi, in 8 episodes of Buffy; and even character connections. Before Dr. Horrible, Whedonesque was already tracking Neil Patrick Harris, just because he plays on the same show (How I Met Your Mother) as Alyson Hannigan.

    Sure it can be obsessive, but its better than collecting stamps (err just as intense as stamp collecting for all those philatelists reading :-))

  70. Mechangel Says:

    I love both of them, though my little industrial heart likes Steel’s music more. A collaboration would be fanfuckingtastic. Maybe instead of yelling about who’s better or who’s biting off of whom, we should be encouraging a League of Mad Science Joy.

    And Mer: Bouquet of kittens! *squees*

  71. Brandon Says:


    This thread is bizarre.

    I dunno. Maybe it was just me who saw the announcement of Dr. Horrible and went, “Well, that looks derivative.” And then saw Dr. Steel and went, “Well, that also looks derivative.”

    I don’t mean to knock either creation, but neither is exactly forging its own distinctive cultural identity in its first impression. I mean, “Dr. Horrible?” “Dr. Steel?” Goggles? A generic mad scientist lab coat? Gloves? Singing about doing evil? A page of banners, and a request to promote the creation if you like it?

    There’s some sort of argument here?


  72. QingTing Says:

    Uh… 21 years ago, I played a chaotic neutral, tinker gnome bard in D&D. He was very much a singing mad scientist. He also had his own periodical – not unlike a preinterweb blog. And he wore a lab coat… And gloves… And goggles! Does this mean Steel & Horrible REALLY ripped off Professor Rivencog? Should I sue?

  73. Darth Victus Says:

    Dr Steel’s Read-A-Long Album and Dr Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog
    Dr Steel’s Welding Goggles and Dr Horrible’s Welding Goggles
    Dr Steel’s 40’s era propanda-style banners and Dr Steel’s 40’s era propanda-style banners
    I am not going to mention the white, big shouldered Lab Coat and Shiney Gloves….
    I think that somebody saw a Dr Steel show in L.A. and was “Greatly Inspired”. At least that’s what George Lucas was forced to say when it was let on that he stole the plot for Star Wars from the 50’s samurai flick “the Hidden Fortress”.

    Viva Dr Steel!

  74. noire Says:

  75. Joe Chang Says:

    God forbid anyone else can use a mad scientist costume AND bubbly early 1900s lettering! Wouldn’t it be more believable using 2008 lettering? To insinuate that Joss Whedon ripped off Dr. Steel is like saying World of Warcraft ripped off Lord of the Rings because they both include magic, quests, hordes of bad guys, a big bad boss, and various races like dwarves and elves. See how I can make connections between different media?

    If you’ve ever come up with a good idea, you’ve realized by now that other people have come up with a similar idea (in so far as working with a mad scientist concept) with no connection or association.

    The mad scientist costume… generic.
    The bubbly lettering… generic for that time period (take a look at Army recruitment posters from that era).
    The music… yes if creating music is the same as making a musical.

  76. Fefello Amor Says:

    People can argue about Dr.Horrible this or Dr.Steel that and that they both are using an old,old gimmick the archtypical “mad scientist” or whatever and thats not the true argument.As far as i personally know,no one has come up with a sufficiently amusing and entertaining character based on the before mentioned “archtype”.Dr.Steel created it and is using it to entertain many,many people,its not just his music,its his style his”archtype” if you will.and he uses it to try to make a living and entertain his fans.now The Horrible creator comes along and creates Dr.Horrible,which has decent enough laughs and is in a differant type media,but HIS style i believe comes directly FROM Dr.Steel.not just the “archtype”.there are way to many coincidences.

    i will always love Dr.Steel,Thats where my personal vote lies

  77. Tequila Says:

    Man I was hoping for ray guns, giant robots, and cities turned to ash in this Mad Scientist war…or at the very least a dueling banjos kinda sing off…talk about disappointment!

    It seems the tongue-in-cheek nature of early comments and the general fun tone of this “war” got lost here didn’t it folks?

    Apologies if my “Cult of Whedon” comment was taken as an actual insult. It really was a fun jab and nothing more. Very much in the spirit of the age old Star Trek vs. Star Wars. (Now THEY know how to throw a War…)

    I stand by my Firefly comment though and will defend it with my army of 40K space marines!

    @Zo…low blow young lady. I had to see CATS as a young teen…the horror and confusion it caused lasted YEARS. It almost turned me into a Furry!

  78. Nidhogg Says:




    = Dr. Steel = Dr. Horrible

    All a flair of personal style and a dash of plot and you have a formula for almost anythign ever created.

  79. Bunny Says:

    Allow me this service to the public discourse by introducing the term “Constructivist” to this thread when referring to “40’s era propaganda posters.” It always helps to be a bit more specific when referencing an established aesthetic.

  80. Nadya Says:


    Officially entering “Nerd Up!” territory as I add my 2 cents to your point.

    Constructivism has left an indelible mark on the art of the propaganda poster (especially with everyone’s favorite diagonal “background rays”), but I think Steel’s images specifically refer to the propaganda behind America’s WWII effort (especially on the home front). “Enlist! Ration! War Bonds! Victory Garden! We Can Do It!” etc. Some examples:

    Nerdfully yours,

  81. Jon Munger Says:

    Sweet mother of God. You called down the fandom thunder, and now you got it!

    I stand by my Firefly comment though and will defend it with my army of 40K space marines!

    You, sir, have earned a fan for life. We all know how that one goes down.

    Humorous Pictures
    more cat pictures

    That meant nothing. I just wanted to show a picture of a cat punching a dog.

    We call that Victory around here.

  82. Fefello Amor Says:

    meh in all honesty though i think they should both join forces and in the process get alot more of a fanbase and more money for them both..its a good idea,could be incredibly entertaining also.

  83. Krevlornswarth Of the deathworth clan Says:

    yeap im a whedon fan.
    nope never heard of Dr. Steel, gonna check it out shortly, congratulations you have a new potentional fan :)
    @Tequila: your spot on with your reference to us browncoats :)

    I think the bigger picture in all of this is missed. Dr. horrible with whedons name and rep has the oppertunity to really do the imposible and help fans around the world start getting shows that are not dominated by the big cheese and his board of lesser cheeses over at FOX.
    Just imagine tv-shows that get to run their full course?
    Imagine hit series that end when they are supposed to instead of jumping the shark ?
    Imagine the posible cross overs with artistic freedom?

    About the whole who would win. I know nothing of Dr.steel but im pretty sure he would. Dr horrible seems pathetic and i love it! :)

  84. erin nicole Says:

    Seriously. Yes, they are both webisodes. Yes, there is music involved in both. Yes, there are mad scientists with googles and gloves involved. That doesn’t make Dr. Horrible a rip off. How many times has a mad scientist been shown wearing rubber gloves and googles? It’s the sterotypical mad scientist look!

    Second, it would seem that Dr.Steel is all about bringing the fun and does mostly electronica. Dr. Horrible is an amateur “evil genius” who wants to take over the world, or in his case get into the Society of Evil while he sings musical numbers and is in love with the redhead at the laundry mat.

    With all the ideas and stories written throughout the great many years don’t you think common similarities are bound to happen. It’s all meant in good nature. Why does everyone always have to take things so seriously and get worked up all the time?

  85. Christiane Says:

    @Tequila: I assumed your earlier comment was a playful tongue-in-cheek remark, I was really surprised (and disappointed) to see that people took it the wrong way and dived in with real intended insults.

    My opinion: I love Dr Steel and Joss Whedon. It would make me sad to think Whedon had copied Dr Steel so blatantly, there seem to be just too many similarities for comfort… But I prefer to live in my happy land where everything is just a big coincidence and people all get along :)

  86. corasan Says:

    Hey, Disney ripped off Dr. Steel too!

  87. Mer (not Coilhouse Mer) Says:

    Okay. Didn’t read it all, because this stopped me from Oddex Arcadia “It is a big Hollywood company taking something from someone little and saying “What are you going to do about it?”

    I’m sure someone’s mentioned it. But, I do think its worth repeating, there is no “big Hollywood company”, whoever told you that was mistaken.

    Can’t we be thrilled about the positive interviews/reviews and that how in less than a day Act 1 of Dr. Horrible was in iTunes top 10 TV shows and also number one in Top TV Seasons doesn’t have anything to do with it? This might be the start of something great

    Really, if someone merely pointed out the coincidences (which could be just that, or a shout out from Joss – something he tends to do) I could with much confidence tell you, that Whedon fans would instantly check it out even if they never heard of it before. And if they like it, they will adopt it AKA become fans to it as well. We’re always opened up to new/old directions all the time – I know I would never have even given Dr. Who, BSG…etc a single thought if not for courteous notices and directions.

    Now. Let’s all hold hands, smile and get along. We should have a saying “the more evil singing doctors, the merrier for us watching them be evil doctors – who sing” well, maybe not *that* saying, I’m sleepy, someone can come up with something better.

  88. Evil Yellowjacket Says:

    the only point that the doc is trying to make is that now that a “big name” has done something VERY SIMILAR to his own schtick, the chances of getting interested investors and backers of his own are slim to none… becuase big shots will look at steel and say “meh Whedon did that already”… it doesnt matter who is better, or who is a fan of what… its not a matter of idea theft.. its just plain unfair that someone who already has money and fame falling out of his fanny can just wave a little wand and make something soooo CLOSE to something someone else has spent ten YEARS perfecting and folks are flocking to it and eating it up… i do believe that this is an op for the doc to wriggle in and say “lookit me lookit me!” but folks will always think in the back of their minds “meh, Whedon did it already.” and that folks breaks my heart… to quote a very sexy friend of mine…

  89. allgood2 Says:

    Must say, ‘Can I have Nayda’s Join Us…Nurses Division picture for my bedroom wall?’ A large version please. Practically life size would be good. I can have dreams of all the good I can do by lending a helping hand.

  90. joshua Says:


  91. Mer Says:

    “the only point that the doc is trying to make is that now that a “big name” has done something VERY SIMILAR to his own schtick, the chances of getting interested investors and backers of his own are slim to none”

    Sorry to stir the dookie pot, but if that was ever truly Steel’s only point, outright accusing Whedon of being a thief and encouraging you and all his other eager fans to “destroy” Dr Horrible by descending like a plague of, well, yellowjackets, on any and all Dr H related sites was probably overshooting the mark by about a football field! And I think he must know that, because mysteriously, the language on all of the posts where he basically called for a riotous flame war has been rewritten or deleted entirely. For those of you who didn’t read ’em, this is what the posts originally said:

    “The unimaginative powers of mainstream media have just waged a war with The Army of The Toy Soldiers.

    With the funding of a mainstream powerhouse, this uninspired, cheap imitation of Dr. Steel could potentially damage our great name. We must not sit still for this. Dr. Steel’s vision and brilliance must be seen as rising above this watered down attempt to make a quick buck. DESTROY DR HORRIBLE.”

    This is what Steel’s edited MySpace post says now:

    “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog is a musical “comedy” about a thirty-something, singing mad scientist who’s goal it is to take over the world. Complete with vintage propaganda, an “Ask Dr. Horrible” segment and of course…goggles.

    Indeed, such themes do seem rather familar. To this end, I have received an overwhelming flood of e-mails regarding the appearance of this concept in the marketplace. Many members of the Army of Toy Soldiers have been organizing missions to double their propaganda efforts. I wish to convey my appreciation to all of you who have shown me support for many, many years in what I work so very hard to achieve.

    To anyone who didn’t see the posts before he changed them, it now seems like you and the other Toy Soldiers just got it into your heads –with little encouragement from Steel– to do a whole lotta trash talking on the interwub. I’m certainly not a Doctorow-level stickler for transparency, but I do think it’s important in this case.

    Steel fancies himself a leader? Spends years of his life developing a substantial following based on the slick, self-produced image of himself as some sort of benevolent dictator? Attracts legions of fans who buy into this concept and believe in him so wholeheartedly that they actually wear uniforms and campaign for him? Says some really strongly-worded stuff knowing that it will set something big and bombastic in motion that pits scores of his loyal followers against scores of someone else’s?

    Why not be honest about it? Why edit statements after the fact so that it seems like Base Ops had nothing to do with the ensuing Scheiße-Sturm? OWN IT, overlord. (That is, unless someone threatened to sue the good doctor. In which case, I guess he’d HAVE to back down, understandably.)

    Anyhoo. I guess my point is…. with great power comes great responsibility. And knowing is half the battle. And that’s one to grow on. I’ll shaddup now.


  92. Evil Yellowjacket Says:

    ummm MER is it??? ummm… i dont know how MUCH you know about the good doc.. but I would just like to point out that the man is TOTALLY CRAZY! i mean bat-sh** howling mad… he even talks at great lengths about it on his webpage! thats why we love him…
    i dont think that he would have a problem wiht what you are saying, i just think he might break off from the conversation for a while to speak to a little dancing bear, or something like that!! HA HA!!

    furthermore i feel that your opinion of the army is a little harsh… we do this for fun… noone is forced, or cooerced or bullied or brainwashed…. we just all know how to have a good time… im sorry that Whedon fans dont have uniforms *cough* BROWN COATS *cough* *cough*VAMPIRE CRAP*cough*…

    as far as the trashtalking goes, i think that all sides are guilty… the doc cannot control any of his soldiers… thats half the idea of being involved with this army is doing what you want, moreover what you like… there are no set standard rules… and sometimes yes that does mean things can get out of control… but i have heard some Whedon fans say some pretty awful things about toy soldiers… and just hearing your own accusations about the doc being a “benevolent dictator” goes to show that you have gone onto the site and picked apart what you wanted to find and threw the rest to the side… do a little research…

  93. Terra Trouvé Says:

    @ Tequila. I feel your pain. I saw Cats at a very young age and was terrified that there was a distinct possibility that i’d grow up to be one of those mancat creatures and be forced to live in a rubbish dump.

    Then again, i also believed that dogs grew up to be horses until i was seven…

  94. Parc Says:

    Steel just seems to want some of the action, it isn’t that original after all.

  95. Merveilleuse Says:

    Boy, do I ever enjoy both! Let’s give it up for a little mad scientist love. Can’t we all just get along? The villains of the world, I mean. United against benevolence.

  96. Beth Says:

    I had never heard of Steel or Dr. Horrible today, + watched all 3 acts of horrible after a friend sent me the link today, then read this entry while doing my daily blog roll.

    I must say, I did like Frefly, + I kind of see how Horrible was entertaining, but having seen the final half second of action in Episode 3, I thought he was supposed to be some guy who made it all up in his head. I mean, he is sitting there in just a sweatshirt, right? So perhaps, thematically, he’s supposed to be a rip-off artist. He’s certainly not a lovable loser like he’s supposed to be. I found him amusing to watch, but knew he’s the kind of person I get snippy with in real life.

    So, maybe I’ll investigate Dr. Steel, but probably not. I’m really not the type to pledge my undying love to a website/TV show/movie/etc. I can’t make a judgement call on the rip-off section of it, but agree with everybody who says that both of the doctors are crazy-scientist stock characters.

    I would like an enormous pair of leather gloves, though.

  97. MMM Says:

    I’m heavily into internet pop culture and I’ve never, ever heard of Dr. Steel. To be honest, the Dr. Steel fans have been so annoying on forums and blogs that now there’s no chance I’m going to look into Dr. Steel further.

    “having seen the final half second of action in Episode 3, I thought he was supposed to be some guy who made it all up in his head. I mean, he is sitting there in just a sweatshirt, right?”

    I think it was supposed to show that he was the same guy, deep down, who had a crush on Penny, but now things had flipped . . . Now his “Horrible” side was public and the “real him” was the one that was hidden and only shown in the privacy of his home. Definitely don’t think it was meant to imply that he was delusional or something. :)

  98. fractal Says:

    Dr. Steel FTW. Enough said.

  99. Alice Says:

    I think most people are missing the most important point, namely, that Dr. Steel is by far the most attractive of the two.

  100. Dave the Brave Says:

    Like MMM above, I’m heavily into internet pop culture and had NEVER heard of Dr. Steel. The chances that anyone on the Dr. Horrible production team heard of him, I think, are slim.

    That said, they’re both incredibly entertaining. I personally like Dr. Horrible more because I saw it first. Had I seen Dr. Steel first, maybe I would have liked him better. As is, I think they can both exist, and both be good, and I think it was poor form on the part of a pissed off Dr. Steel to utilize his soldiers in such a way, and where if I had found out about Dr. Steel and NOT had it shoved in my face across the internet that “Dr. Steel came first DUUURRRRH” I might have joined up myself! Right now, all I can think is that this pettiness turns me right off of what was actually a very good concept in its own right.

    It is, to me, like ytcracker siccing his fans on MCs Frontalot, Chris, Lars et all. Ridiculous, and if it happened, it would make me respect ytcracker less. As is, nerdcore, nerdrap, geekhop, whatever you want to call it, is the better for all the DIVERSITY. The same can be said of Doktor Sleepless, Dr. Steel and Dr. Horrible.

  101. Zoetica Says:

    Good to see the shirtstorm still a-brewing! Keep it up, kids. On a related note, I, curious and with an open mind, tried to watch Dr. Horrible and couldn’t even get through the first episode in its entirety. If asked, I’d call it “dull” and “corny”. Sad, I was prepared to be entertained and everything.

  102. delira Says:

    I totally agree with your interpretation of Dr. Horrible.
    I just watched Dr. Steel, and i’m afraid i see no connection.
    Okay, its a coat wearing mad scientist who wants to take over the world who sings.
    We get it.

    But the thing behind Dr. Horrible is the personality.
    Deep down, he’s not that horrible, doesn’t really want to take over the world.
    And is in love with Penny.

    I don’t see that depth in Dr. Steel. He’s just blabbering on about the utopian playground, and honestly, i don’t like his music much.
    I’m more of a fan of the corny music of Dr. Horrible.

    Also, we got to see more character depth explored in Dr. Horrible, as in more characters. Dr Horrible seems like a proper mini-tv show, with drama, as opposed to Dr. Steel’s music video cum propaganda film.

    And that, is for me, the attraction that drew me to Dr. Horrible.
    Especially the way even at the last minute of her death, Penny had faith that Captain Hammer would save them.

    Call me corny, but whatever.

    (Just to state, i’m not a Whedon fan, I’d never heard of him until i watched Dr. Horrible today. I’ve heard of Firefly and Buffy, but have never watched them. Never heard of Angel or whatever it is. Until i wiki-ed.

    So this isn’t just a rabid fangirl’s defense. Call it a corny, ignorant girl’s defense if you will.

    Also: just to state, i didn’t watch all of Dr. Steel’s videos, just some.)

  103. SL Says:

    *gasp* delira, you just spoiled the ending to a whole bunch of people! *pets you* I know you might’ve not meant it, but you got to watch that kind of thing, a lot of people have yet to see it (it just got out after all)- I know that if I haven’t seen it, this would’ve totally blew it for me (I still feel the shock I did when it happened, some might say best/worst part, for me it was a ride. NPH’s face – that made it for me!). *blush* Sorry, I got carried away. I wonder though if someone here can spoiler/hide what came after the “last minute”?

    And like many said, if Dr. Steel (who I’ve first heard of when his army started spamming and trolling everywhere – not the best introduction, not to mention when he spoke so strongly to rouse his soldiers then edited his words to sound less inducing and more approving) or if any of his followers had tried the smart way – you know, something like “Oh, Dr. Horrible? He looks like Dr. Steel in the clothes department and didja know they both sing? You should really check out our leader’s site, he will blow you mind!” or whatever, anything better than scathing words and “missions” to ruin the experience of many fans at the convention. When I first saw all of that, first words into my head was “Scary” then after consideration “Childish”. Sorry if I offend any of his fans with my words, but it’s honestly how I truly view all of this.

  104. she_who_filks Says:

    I am not a hard-core Joss fan. I am not a fan of Dr Steel. I am a fan of kitty cats though. Love all the images shared!
    People–we live in a big, BIG, really Big Universe!
    It is so mind-boggling big that… nevermind, let’s say there’s room for every musical mad scientist with hordes of henchmen and fans.
    I do not subscribe to the Highlander principle (There can be only One!). I believe in infinite combinations–the more the merrier.

  105. Dioxin Says:

    What next? Are Dr Steel fans going to start attacking Halloween costume makers that release “goggle + gloves + lab coat” mad scientist costumes? Or are they going to start denouncing Captain Hammer as copying Jesus of Jesus Christ Superstar fame, that other carpentry related singing superhero?

    I’m still waiting for Dr Steel’s apology to Mary Shelley for stealing her idea.

  106. Viktor Frankenstein Says:

    If I might have a word?

  107. Alice Says:

    I have to agree with Miss Zoetica up there…I was quite let down by Dr. Horrible’s video–couldn’t even watch the complete first episode! And I really did go into it with an open mind and expecting quite a lot better from such a popular camp…

  108. Tuesday Says:

    Archetype. Been around for decades. Calm the hell down.

    Besides, it’s totally different kinds of music. I mean, if Dr Horrible had more techno-rap beats in it, then there might be an argument, but it’s mostly showtune-type ballads and one rock number.

  109. Tuesday Says:

    Not to mention to all the people who are saying that “Joss gets all the money for this!” He financed the ENTIRE Dr. Horrible thing on his own dime and put it out for FREE on the internet. Yes, NOW it’s only available through paid download and the eventual DVD, but he himself said that it’ll take about a year for this thing to get into the black.

  110. Trevel Says:

    All I have to say is …

    Anyone who thinks that the Media Moguls will be TURNED OFF by the fact that “Hey, look, it’s been done before and everyone loved it” has NOT paid attention to media for the past oh say 2000 years. Right now, someone in some boardroom is saying “We need something like Doctor Horrible, and we need it NOW!”

  111. Neil Hunt Says:

    Meh. The look they share is echoed all the time in other mad scientist works. It’s done constantly in Girl Genius, for example. The singing villainous Dr. guy thing is the key point of similarity here, and I just don’t see it being that big. Dr. Steel isn’t so big that the Dr. Horrible creators have to have heard of him, (I certainly hadn’t) and it’s not like the idea couldn’t have been arrived at organically. I tend to believe that the Dr. Horrible team is telling the truth that they didn’t know about Dr. Steel.

  112. Miss Zahrah Says:

    I think the initial reaction of Dr. Steel fans was of an over-zealous nature, feeling the pinch of ‘too close for comfort’ when a big-named producer makes a show that in many ways does mirror Dr. Steel’s. That is not to say that Joss Whedon ripped him off, most of the elements are nothing new, but to put them all together in a similar fashion does raise the eyebrows.
    But that’s neither here nor there. I doubt Joss is a theif.
    Really now, there’s room enough on this big old planet of ours to enjoy BOTH mad scientists, and I figure there will be a lot of cross-over fans who love both, or who personally prefer one over the other.
    That’s human nature – to have a preference.
    So while hasty words and mis-applied zeal may have been the initial reaction, I think most everyone realizes that there is no need for any sort of ‘fan-war’ over this. Growing pains, and nothing more.
    Be that as it may, Dr. Steel will always be my first love – … Mind Control Cookies… mmmmmmm..

  113. Mer Says:

  114. Tequila Says:

    @ Mer… :D

  115. Me Says:

    If any of the Dr. Steel fans actually tried to watch Dr. Horrible, they’d see that it’s not going to be stealing Steel’s thunder. It’s a three episode story, not a music video. It’s even a totally different type of music. It’s show tunes, catchy, fun.. but it’s not an image or whatever Steel is trying to be.

  116. Lefthandedgamer Says:

    I have read here that Dr. Steel feels that he will not get any support because of Dr. Horrible. Oh no, history has proven the exact opposite. Remember Star Wars was once implicated in infringing on Star Trek. However, Star Wars only reinvigorated the genre. And then came BSG, who Lucas claimed infringed on Star Wars. I love, love both good doctors. I believe however that fans of Dr. Horrible will start to look for similar content in other places and they will fall squarely on Dr. Steel. This is his opportunity to pump it up. We will all be happy for that Dr. H and Dr. Steel fans alike. Dr. Horrible is the press kit that Dr. Steel could only wish for.

  117. Sam E. Says:

    Dr.Steel was featured in th first issue of CoilHouse magazine

  118. Saint Says:

    No- Doctor Steel all the way!! Aaaallll the waaaay! Though this reminds me very much of the whole incident between Charlie huston’s work (Already Dead, Half the Blood of Brooklyn etc) and that horrible tv show Moonlight. Much of Charlie Huston fan’s felt that whatever producer, scriptwriter, etc stole Huston’s idea and fused it with Anne Rice and other crap and came along a show about vampires that was supposed to be “new”. Of course Charlie didn’t make a big dead out of it- suggesting it was a zeitergeist thing….That’s all I got to say- But Doctor Steel has my vote.

  119. drea Says:

    though the two are similar, in that they are both mad scientists, they dont really look similar and their personalities are completely different so I dont think we really need to worrry about one winning out over the other. also dr. steel is a bonafide recording artist where as dr. horrible seems to be selling his entire show plus dr. steel is more interactive (to the point of almost being a role playing game) and dr. horrible is just something to watch, like a TV show.
    while I personally prefer dr. steel I can admit that dr. horrible is amusing and, as far as the whole plagerism thing goes, I suppose it is possible given that the concepts are similar but I wouldnt worry about it too much because, as I said, I dont see one as being a threat to the other. I also really hope that the similarities are just conicidence as I have always had great respect for Whedon as an artist.

  120. Mary Shelley Says:

    Hey. Chillax.

    I love cats (cute pics).

  121. rhonan Says:

    As both a Browncoat, and a Toy Soldier, as well as a long time student of science fiction, I can assure you at they both ripped-off the same treasure trove of mad scientist archetypes. So, you Browncoats that are dissing Dr. Steel, chillaxificate… and you Toy Soldiers that are calling Joss a rip-off artist, just how are you advancing the goal of world domination by pissing off possible recruits?

    Really, we all just need to have a drink, and work on something we can all agree on, laughing at folks who watch reality TV.

  122. Shadesiren Says:

    Is there no world where two vaguely simliar mad scientists cannot exist simultaneously? Can there be ONLY one Mad Scientist character in the world/on the net?

    They are NOT the same – and I’m a fan or BOTH. Honestly, I’m really a Captain Hammer fan (well.. Nathan Fillion Fan), but it’s all good. I met Dr. Horrible first, and through my brother, Dr. Steel BECAUSE of his complaint.

    And now I understand – his REAL mad plan was to make us all aware of him, who were not before! I certainly hope he has the grace to say I’m right (i.e. let this go), otherwise, I’d find my admiration for him sadly tarnished.

  123. FireCloud42 Says:

    I’m going to have to go with Shadesiren

    I’m a fan of Nathan and Felicia Day which is the two biggest reason’s I Love Dr. Horrible. And I’ve never heard of Dr. Steel till now (I did go to his site though) anyway to my point he’s not the only artist to try and build an army…I’ve been members of alot of bands that state there trying to take over the world…Heck thats one of the goals for Bungie too, are you going to get upset at Bungie for trying to take over the world too. No your not…I understand that It has a Mad Scientist in the flick but really don’t see them the same, for one, there 2 different genres of music and reach different crowds.

  124. badluckshadow13 Says:

    Oh me, oh my… all this arguing.
    What really disappoints me though is the attitude of some of my fellow Toy Soldiers here.
    While it is true that I dislike Dr. Horrible and would, of my own free-will, give my life for Dr. Steel, I don’t see the point in all this mudslinging.
    I guess though, my two-cents in all this is that Dr. Steel and Dr. Horrible are two entirely different people. Dr. Horrible, for better or for worse, is an entertainer and Dr. Steel is a philosopher who uses music as one of his many methods of reaching the masses.
    As a Toy Soldier, I understand the anger at what we perceive as stealing, or perhaps simply as enterprising on the following another artist is finding in reviving an old genre, because the Doctor has taught us the importance of imagination and individuality. All the same though, we have to realize how important creating is and how little would ultimately come from the destruction of Dr. Horrible.
    Whether or not we agree with Dr. Horrible, we should embrace his desire to create and try to make friends rather than rivals of his fandom. Together, perhaps we can be allies in building our Utopian Playland!

  125. LarryXA Says:

    Thx, this has definitely made my day!


  126. MinionThirteen Says:

    I am loyal to the good Dr Steel, some of you would have the opinion that because of this, i am blind or foolish, even brainwashed but my mind is my own, and i chose to use it as and when i wish too.
    The actions of some of my fellow T.S.U. members were naught but hurt, we have worked hard for a great while, and found joy in an idea, a dream that is inspired, maybe crazy, but inspired none the less.
    I would ask if any of you none T.S.U’s have ever engaged the Good Dr Steel in conversation? I found him to be a most delightful and intelligent man, but above all he was kind and thoughtful, and he took the time to listen and respond when i spoke. He is a good man and he works very hard to ensure that each and everyone of his supporters are treated with respect, even when he is making his music or creating something new, he takes the time to respond to whoever chooses to write to him.
    I believe he will last and will eventually benefit from this in a positive way.
    Just remember that we all have one thing in common, we all obviously love evil mad scientists, music, and creativity.
    I took the time to read every comment on here, and i feel like a certain positive element is being ignored, the fact that several people are more than happy to embrace both.

    I definitely recommend that anyone who is interested in Art, Music, Fashion, Humour, and Fun to check Dr Steel out, give the guy a chance to show you who he is and what he has accomplished over the years, with the support of his loyal fans and supporters. let them welcome you into a world filled with creativity and curiosity, a place where you are encouraged to enjoy yourselves, and share that enjoyment with others.

    Unity is a solution.

  127. Truenonymous Says:

    I realize that this debate is moot, what with Dr. Steel “retiring” and Dr. Horrible (Which honestly, never heard of it before finding Dr. Steel and I’m- err- was a Whedon fan at the time it came out. Hadn’t heard of Steel by that point either oddly enough.) passed like a blip… But I noticed something missing from this discussion that I think should have been a major talking point; Dr. Steel’s lyrical content and the overt and underlying messages therein.

    Sure, on the surface Dr. Steel is an eccentric & eclectic mad scientist bent on World Domination via building a Utopian Playland… Underneath though there is much, much more. It goes well beyond a man portraying a character as a career and a Hollywood big shot creating a similar character and webseries at the peak of the former’s career.

    A large portion of Dr. Steel’s lyrics reference conspiracy theories and spiritual science. Bohemian Grove, Skull & Bones, Illuminati, manifest destiny, the Fibonacci sequence, the singularity, trans-humanism, ascension, chemtrails, breaking cognitive dissonance, human conditioning… all things that were being suppressed in the media at the time. (And to a point, still are being suppressed with misinformation.) from the general public.

    Now, it seems a stretch to think that some mammoth group of shadowy figures that really run the world would be bothered to squash a relative peon like Dr. Steel… but who is Dr. Steel… really? What is Dr. Steel’s real name? Who was the man in the coat with the goggles and the beard? The tone of his lyricism to me sounds like it’s coming from someone who knows his time on Earth is growing shorter so he’s decided to put it all on the line before finally embracing his end. (The songs “Childhood (Don’t) A Go-Go” and much of the songs on “People of Earth” especially.)

    He creates this whimsical character so he has a way to share his knowledge and his message without drawing too much attention to his personal life keeping the people he cares about separate from the Dr. Steel persona. Then the Dr. Horrible situation pops up and we see a watered down/slightly different version of Dr. Steel from a major Hollywood player. The Dr. Steel Show had 3 webisodes, Dr. Horrible had 3 webisodes. Even the name “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog” seems like an insult aimed at Steel, poking fun at his schtick.

    Almost a sort of “Ha ha, we found you. It was a good try, but go away or bad things will happen to your family.”. Now, to me that would explain the change in his rhetoric towards Dr. Horrible. And correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t it shortly after this whole fiasco that Dr. Steel “retired” and just abruptly disappeared with only a vague letter to explain things? …Or it could just be a guy who was getting older and because of all the bullsh-t lost the love of his craft and wanted to go back to a normal life. I like the conspiracy angle better though… don’t you? Especially since we don’t really know who the man was.

    Just a thought.

  128. Ruben Says:

    Could it be possible that Dr. Steel was forced to “retire” because of copyright claims? If not by Doctor Horrible, maybe by claims by people who have the legal rights to some of the audio fragments Steel uses in his songs. I think this is the most logical explanation for his sudden forced disappearing.

    Fucking copyrights…